Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Poor Bulbs

They were starting to do their thing still in the packaging.

I bought them ages ago, when bulbs are available in the southern hemisphere via mail order. Whilst I didn't forget about them I ended up sooo busy with costume cutting/making/trimming that I didn't get around to putting them into dirt until today.  Lucky for me they have only just started to sprout.  I hope they like their new home.  I would show you a pic, but a pot filled with potting mix is a bit boring.  I still have a couple more packs to pot up, but I want to get one or two more troughs for these.

The seedlings I got in spring, well the puppy found them and up rooted most of them.  I ended up with one lonely lettuce that struggled to survive.

The fence I put around what was to be the new back yard vege patch was a success.  That is until the puppy got big and figured out how to jump over it.  I had put the grow boxes in the fenced of area.  He had great fun digging into them.  Has broken one box completely.  Dug down enough to remove the agg pipe and the mesh covering it.  This dog is a bit of a digger!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

seed sewing

The other day I purchased 4 punnets of seedlings from our local supermarket. I got Tomatoes (grosse lisse var.), Lettuces (mixed), Marigolds and Capsicum (not sure of their var.).

Today the Lettuce got planted out into my grow tower.  The tower is a set of connected trio pots that has four layers. It all stacks neatly up and sits nicely on a wheel-y circular base for easy moving.  Well it would be easy if the ground was level - mine isn't as some of the pavers have dropped or risen; only a tiny bit but enough to make trying to move the tower an effort.  I haven't put anything into the lowest set of pots as yet - I am waiting to see if the puppy will dig in these.  Last time I put veges in the lowest level they got dug out by one of the dogs.  This level does have mulch in it though so I can see if he has been digging in them.  The tower also has 4 strawberry plants from last year that didn't die over winter (bonus) and onions in the very top layer.

I am thinking of putting a couple of tomatoes in with the roses and the Nashi pear, some in the new back yard bed and the others out in the front yard.  The ones not with the roses will need staked; maybe I could use the old plastic trellis from around the roses to make a circular frame to go around them as support.  I might do the same with the capsicums and marigolds too.

Six of the peas that I planted the other week in the grow box have sprouted so I have placed some wire towers over them for them to climb onto.  I noticed that one bean has poked up through the mulch.  I have moved the mulch and found a couple more are also starting to sprout.  I will have to get that trellis in a couple of weeks.

I mixed up some carrots seeds (atomic red var.) with some sugar into a spice bottle and have sprinkled that over the soil in the rest of the grow boxes.  I added in the sugar so I could see where I had sprinkled the carrot seed as it is the same colour as the wet potting mix.

I must be feeling very energetic today as not only did I take 2 dogs for a walk I also did a bit of work on the vege beds out the front.  They got a digging over - well 5 did, the last one is chock full of weeds.  I removed lots of teeny potatoes and the weeds.  Beds 1, 2 and 3 all need manure and compost and mulch.  Beds 5 and 6 need the same but a lot more of it.  These are the newest beds so they don't have much in them in the way of soil.  I will be fill them up no-dig-style - cardboard, manure, straw, manure, straw, compost, straw.

There is an ever getting larger Agapanthus next to my Dwarf Orange tree's tub that is home of lots of snails.  The snails love eating orange leaves.  So the Agapanthus got a a severe hair cut too - every single leaf chopped off.  As nice as they are, I don't really care if it dies.  I doubt it will though.  Those things are as tough as nails.  This particular one is a baby from the one that lives at the front of the driveway.  That plant is 30 years old.  I did try to dig it up once - failed miserably.  This is it when in  flower......

You should see the size of another plant in my front yard.  It is supposed to be a dwarf Diosma.  It must be over 10 feet wide!  This is the monster......

I have decided it has to go.  It has smothered a native bottle brush and a convulvulus and is harbouring what I think is a prunus variety.  It is threatening too take over my apple tree too.  The poor apple is leaning over trying to get away I think.  So something for me to do during the week - plant chopping.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

more seeds

Not much to report, but I recently planted some dwarf snap peas and three different lots of climbing beans in the earth boxes. Peas in one and beans in the other.  I had help via the puppy who was very keen to see what I was doing.  When the time is right I will put in some carrot seeds in the rest of these boxes.  I have a Moon Gardening Calendar and am trying to follow that.

I also removed the old plastic fencing from around the roses and replaced it with the wire fencing I bought last week. I also added in some sugar cane mulch around them.  You can see it in the background of this photo.

I also finished off the fencing around the new vege bed and mulched the path to the clothesline.  The fence section that is in the bottom left of the pic is the gate so I can access the bed.  I have yet to lay out the pavers for stepping stones. Luckily the puppy has gotten big enough to not fit thru the fencing any more.

The seeds that I started in peat pellets are doing well. The kale seems to have all spouted and quite a few of the tomatoes have too, as has the broccoli and the asparagus.

Two weeks ago I got an avocado seed and took off the outer layer of the seed, stuck some toothpicks into it and popped it into water. I checked it today and have noticed that there is a large crack in it on the bottom and I can see what appears to be a root inside the crack. Exciting stuff.  Last time I tried to grow an avo tree absolutely nothing happened. I had that seed sitting in water for over 6 weeks before one of the cats decided to play with it. This time I may have success.  I haven't changed the water yet, just been topping it up with straight tap water.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I recently purchased a perpetual moon calendar and according to it I was supposed to weed and prepare beds for planting during this past few days.  Didn't do any of that even though the intent was there.  Oh well.

Yesterday I put some seeds in coir pellets - three pellets each with 2 or 3 seeds.  Here's hoping they do well.  I have the following in:

3 colour Capsicum
Tomato - Mortgage Lifter variety
Mini Cauliflower
Purple Coneflower, and
Red Russian Kale

This will be first time I have tried to grow Kale, Cauliflower and Asparagus. My previous attempts at Broccoli were not very successful - they bolted to seed waaaay too quickly.  I have had reasonable success with Tomatoes though this variety is new to me. last year I managed to get enough toms to make a few jars of sauce with. Last years Capsicums grew and fruited, but bugs got the fruits before I did.

I haven't tried Coneflower (below) before either. How hard can they be?

Image result for purple coneflower

They are currently sitting in my mini portable greenhouse/box/thingy in the laundry.

Today I finished setting up my earth boxes.  I added in the fill pipe which is a piece of 16mm clear poly tubeing cut to size. I made sure I cut the end that goes into the aggi pipe at an angle.  Then I put a couple of layers tulle over the aggi pipe in an attempt to stop dirt getting into it.  Tokk them both outside and into their final resting place.  I had help filling them up with herb/vege mix.  Our 11 week old pup thought I was making a dig patch just for him. Nearly 100 litres of mix and they are full.  To finish them off I out a think layer of sugar cane mulch.  I will get around to planting the seeds soon.

These are going to have carrots, sugar snap peas and beans.

I still have to get some sort of trellis to put behind them for the peas and beans to grow up.

Next of the agenda is to replace the fencing around the rose bushes.  I have some wire edging panels that just push into the ground - quite easy to do.  I do however need to bend them around the corners of the beds as the bed is not made to fit these panels.  They are the same as the ones I have used on the other vege bed next to the path to the clothesline.

Should pull the weeds too - check moon calendar for best time to do this.  Knowing my luck that won't be for another 3 weeks.  In this bed are 4 roses - a white, a pink, a red that I planted and a red that self seeded - and a Nashi pear.  The pear had fruit last year but it all fell off, or was knocked off by something.  Not too sure which.  That was probably a good thing as it will enable the tree to grow bigger and better roots.

Have you done any planting this weekend?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Earth Box DIY

I like using self watering pots on my indoor plants.  Just fill up the reservoir and forget for a couple of weeks.  They are such a brilliant idea.

I have a section of our house out the back that is all brick wall and it faces the setting sun - in my case west.  You can imagine how hot that wall can get in summer.  The other side of the wall inside the house is our office area and our air con doesn't really reach that space.  So it can, and does, get quite warm during the hottest part of summer.

I have been thinking for a couple of years now of ways to shade that wall - it's not very wide, only around 2m. I have searched for suitable solutions and I think I have found one that will work - at least for the office area. Above it on the second floor is the upstairs bathroom and it has a high window that probably should have some sort of awning over it.

My solution needs to be something I can accomplish by myself - DH is of no help when it comes to this sort of thing. Not that he can't, he just won't.  It needs to cheap, it needs to be easy to maintain, and it needs to look good. Oh and I am not that great with power tools so if I can not use those that's a big bonus.

So my solution is a couple of earth boxes (or wicking beds) with some pine trellis behind them.  I can grow some sweet peas or some beans up the trellis and some other small flowers and veges in the front of the box.

I researched various earth boxes - btw this is a brand name for a large self watering pot/tub - and diy and came up with this....

They are just a couple of large black storage tubs into which I have placed 50mm slotted agg pipe.  There is also a small overflow hole in one side.  So far I have spent $15 on the tubs and $35 (ouch) on the agg pipe (it was a 20m roll so I have quite a bit left for more earth boxes).

I am not finished with these babies.  I have to get some electrical conduit cut to 40cm long with a diagonal cut on one end and some netting or shade cloth to cover the agg pipe with so dirt does not fall into the slots. I also have to get the trellis still too.

Once I have those I will do some more pics.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Spring Prep 2016

Spring will be here in 2 weeks - we are getting a taste of it this week with temperatures in the mid to high teens.  Along with spring comes my annual "I must do something in the garden" urge. After much deliberating over winter as to what to do in the backyard I have devised a plan.

After we ripped out the trees in one of the back yard garden beds I layed down a heavy load of sugar cane mulch in the attempt to keep weeds out of the bed.  I will say that I am quite surprised that it worked as there have been very few weeds come up.  This is what is used to look like with the trees still in it.......

It's a bit hard to see as the bed in question is behind the daisy things in the foreground, but you can see 2 trees, a dog house and a shrub.

Today it looks like this.......

That's where the dog house was.  This is the rest of the bed......

I uncovered the bricks along the path and relayed the upright bricks the other day.

In the car waiting to be gotten out is some bags of euci mulch that will be going on the path and some garden edging that will be going in around the edge of the garden bed.  The edging is more like a short fence that will hopefully keep the dogs out of the bed as I intend on putting in vegetables. One of the edging pieces will be used a 'gate'.  I hope I have some pavers left to use as stepping stones in the bed.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vege Patchs

It is going to happen!

Today I bought straw to mulch the back vege bed.  Tomorrow I will give it a good water, after cleaning out the dog poop and then lay the mulch.

I have pumpkin seeds sprouting in the kitchen and it looks like the melon seeds are starting to sprout also.  I'm not sure what is going on with the capsicum seeds - they are from a batch purchased a few years ago so they not be viable any more.

I think I will also make up some paper pots for zucchini seeds.

I also got some bamboo stakes to support a bag around the seedlings - hopefully that will keep the dogs away until I get the fence up.

I would really like to use pine trellis for the fence as it a bit sturdier than wire but it is a lot more costly at $19 per 1.8m length as opposed to $27 per 5m length of wire mesh fencing.

The pros for the pine: It looks better, more stable, easier to make a gate out of.
The cons for the pine: It needs to be cut into smaller sections to fit the curve of the vege beds border, cost.

The pros for the wire mesh fencing: Cheaper, can be formed to fit the curve of the bed easily.
The cons for the wire mesh: Not as stable as the pine so will need more uprights to attach it to, harder to make a gate out of, the dogs may not see it when doing laps of the yard and run into it and injure themselves.

I have yet to measure how much fencing I need, but I am guessing it will be more than 5m.
I also bought 3 strawberry plants for $4 each from a local building/garden superstore.  Thought that was a good price.  They can join the last remaining strawberry plant in my tower pot.

I need to dump out the pots in the front yard that had strawberries in them that died.  The everlasting spinach is huge and going to seed.  I also need to fill up the 6 front beds with manure and compost and straw.  Though I may redo them using the no dig method - Sara Lee style - layer upon layer and then plant into the top layer of mulch by making holes in the mulch and adding in potting mix and then the seedling.

The raspberries have fruit setting!!!   Now to keep the birds away as they ripen.  Hubby reckons we need to net them.

The orange tree has some flowers too - hopefully we get an orange to two.  Not too sure whether to leave them on the tree and see what we get or to knock them off so the plant has a change to grow and get stronger.

The Nashi Pear had flowers and then something came along and ate them - methinks it was the resident possum.  I sometimes have broken stems on my roses and we hear the possum going across the roof of a night.

The apple is still not much more than a stick.  I imagine it will take a few years to do much.  I have been tempted to order some more apple trees.

So much I want to do and so little time to do it.  I probably need to take a leaf out of my Dad's book - 1 hour a day and eventually it all gets done.