Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I don't know what is going on with the weather at the moment! We have had so much rain lately that every time I'm woken up by the sound of rain falling onto the tin lean-to and dunny roof I worry that the creek has risen and there are platypuses are swimming in my lounge room! Thank goodness that it hasn't happened yet - touch wood. I am however, very grateful that now every time I dig my lovely spade into the soil, it is dark and moist! So wonderful! I had never had an experience of digging into natural topsoil before I moved to The Cottage, its usually rock hard clay subsoil with a slightly dusty leaf litter surface in this area. Its certainly helped with re vegetating the creek bank!

Creek at its highest this Saturday

The Creek at its normal level
In Vegetable news, all my seeds in the new beds have germinated and are growing reasonably well, except for the beans. They all germinated within a couple of days of each other but the leaves have all turned yellow! I might get a soil ph testing kit and investigate the imported topsoil more thoroughly. I'm thinking that it will be slightly acidic because it doesn't have the lovely sweet soil smell that lovely compost has, it smells acidic and angry!
Joel and I also (well mostly Joel) started to build a temporary rabbit proof fence on the weekend around the veg beds using the wire mesh that we inherited from the previous owner of the Cottage. It is only knee high but it will hopefully deter the little buggers from munching on our tender little seedlings!
Speaking of rabbits munching - I managed to cook up some rainbow chard (that last week the rabbits were obliterating) with garlic and olive oil from my dinner tonight and it was lovely!
Its so wonderful eating home grown produce!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spring Slowly Slowly...

The last couple of weeks have been rather busy but at last things are settling in and the garden is waking up!

Three of the 4 veggie beds have been built and hopefully I will have some help this weekend to finish the last one! I have already planted out 2 of the 3 beds with a range of various things, all from heritage and open pollinated seed networks and I’m excited to say that I already have the first germ leaves! YAY!! gotta love radishes for almost instant vegetable gratification!

Veg beds!
Germ leaves of Purple Radish from The Lost Seed.
I have also managed to build myself a bean trellis out of bamboo that I 'pruned' from my mum's garden which is secured with zip ties - hopefully they will handle the weight of the beans when they grow. I think I might need to have some cross bracing in order to secure the supports together but I might just wait till the seeds have germinated - and I need some more bamboo...

Bamboo Bed
I’m following a particular companion planting method for the 'bamboo' bed which is called the 'Three Sisters'. It’s a native American Indian method whereby corn, climbing beans and zucchini / squash / pumpkins are grown together. The corn gives support to the beans and the zucchini provides a green mulch effect, shading the soil and suppressing weeds. I’m not following it strictly as I want maximum harvest from my beans, hence the bamboo support. I have an F1 hybrid white corn growing in a block of about 1.5-1.5 metres which should yield *hopefully* 45 cobs of corn (quite a bit for 2 people to consume) and I’ve never grown corn so I’m quite excited! I have planted three types of peas: Dutch Purple Podded, Sugar snap and a snow pea variety as well as Borlotti beans, Purple King, Blue Lake and my favorite 'Lazy Housewife' which is an heirloom from the early 1800s. The Zucchini is a mix of Lebanese, yellow and black which will hopefully give me lots of beautiful flowers to stuff in the summer time!

The other bed has Giant Russian Sunflowers to shade my lettuces and rocket, as well as fennel, 3 types of beetroot, 3 types of carrot - including the Afghani purple carrot which is apparently very tasty... Phew! I don’t know how I’m going to water it all. Maybe I will need Joel to Engeniate a pumping device to pump water from the creek... Illegal perhaps? Me thinks yes...

I’m having trouble at the moment with the rabbits eating my Rainbow chard. I’m going to have to build a fence quick smart if I want to harvest anything any time soon!

This little plant has recovered well from the massacre. I think some Seasol is in order to help things along...

In other News, Joel and his brother cleared out ivy from the creek bank last weekend and discovered some old brick steps that go down to a little landing by the water! There is now a bare bank that I am starting to revegetate with indigenous plants such as Pomaderis spp, Euc polyanthemos and I have plated 3 beautiful Euc leucoxylons which I’m in two minds about because its not strictly indigenous to the creek bank environment in this area, but it is to broader Melbourne... I will leave them I think because it would be so lovely to see the birds feasting on the beautiful red flowers from my bedroom!

Bare creek bank with plants in the process of being planted!
That’s pretty much all there is to report at the moment. I will do a post on the round-about on the driveway that I have planted out, but I will save that for next time!
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