The results will be posted up over the next few weeks.
So garden wise what have I been up to? Well research in a big way. I've been reading anything and everything I can on permaculture and finding ways to make it work here.
Here's a list of the changes since last post (over a year ago!)
- Built a keyhole shaped 'potager' - mainly filled with herbs. It's made out of the recycled roof tiles from our old house and is thriving! What a change from the dry patch it used to be. Plan to cover it with shade cloth for summer and put up a grape on trellis at the back shield carport.
- Put up a small shed - second hand passed on from a neighbour. It's blue and I love it! It got deemed 'mine' and has all my gardening stuff in it, plus a bench for workspace. I think I finally get the whole attraction men have about sheds.
- Built a swale....well sort of. I dug ditches in the orchard to catch the rain that runs downhill so fast. Not sure that they're exactly on contour as my method of planning them wasn't very scientific. I got the hose, watched where the water ran, and heaped dirt in front of it to stop it going down and redirect it sideways. Soon had a horizontal line across the orchard which I dug and heaped the dirt on the low side. In any case it works! I've also redirected the water from the driveway. The orchard is always so very dry in summer. Hopefully this year will be different - in any case it's never had this much water in it before.
- Built 2 ponds. Below our decking was a dry spot where nothing grew (water resistant soil due to the effects of leaves from the eucalypts above it). Since putting the 2 ponds in the decking area is noticeably cooler in summer and the wildlife has thrived. Insects abound and the quenda diggings have increased in that area 20 fold.
- Planted more fuit trees.
- Rezoned the main vegie patch. The orginal spot we tried years ago was too dry at the time. Since then the lavender hedge and lime tree surrounding it have grown and offer enough protection for it to be sheltered and ideal as a vegie patch. Again- recycled tiles form the raised bed.
- Build a rough compost bin area from old corrugated iron and some star pickets. It's not fancy but I have compost for the first time ever!
- Changing the face of the orchard - sowed a pasture of green manure (hoed and sowed by hand I might add!) and am trying to establish a food forest there instead of the typical orchard in rows. It will be some years before it looks as it should but this is a start.
- Saved some old grapevines that were lying on the ground in the paddock and have raised them on a wire/star picket fence.
- Built a fire pit/drumming circle area. We have to remove some pines due to the risk of borers. The segments have been arranged in a circle with brazier in the centre. I'm in the process of planting up the outside with natives to eventually create a 'cave' or secluded area. The kids already love it and we've had a few marshmallow toasting sessions to try it out.
- Have started making our own yoghurt. It's so easy - why haven't I been doing this for years?
- Installed a wood fire - this one we bought new for two reasons. Firstly we looked for months and couldn't find any decent ones secondhard. Those that were available aren't legal anymore due their emissions levels. Secondly Hubby insisted we get a 'pretty' one. We ended up getting a 'Jotul' which is supposed to be incredibly efficient (one of the best brands in the world in this regard apparently). The brand is Norwegian but I understand the parts were made here. There was much debate about getting a wood fire but the research showed they actually are greener than gas and electricity. With the cost of electricity going up too we thought it was silly to not make use of our land and be self sufficient in this regard. So I'm madly planting firewood for the years to come.