Garden tidy up

Autumn is nearly over, the garden is slowing down for the Winter season. I decided to do a tidy up. 2 of my garden beds do not get any sun to 7/8ths of them throughout Winter. I do not plant anything in that area from Autumn til Spring.

Today I tidied.

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I will scatter this pile over the lawn and then mow the lawns,  I will give the lawn clippings to the chickens and the compost bin.

I brought Maggie in, as she cannot dig she does not do any great damage to my garden. She found some fairly tasty worms and bugs to eat!

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I allow the garden to get overgrown throughout Summer to minimise the amount of concrete pavers exposed to the sun. I think this helps keep it a little cooler in there. It certainly means I get burnt soles of my feet less often! I tidied all that up today.

I did not take before pictures. Too enthused to start the job! The next 2 pictures are taken some time during Spring/Summer to give an idea of my overgrown pathways.

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Today I pulled out a lot of nasturtium, old beans, tomatoes, more nasturtiums, weeds, a few baby sweet peas and whatever else was where I didn’t want it to be.

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I even swept!

I did leave some things like the thyme growing over a full paver, but this is unlikely to get out of control and I can still use the path.

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I also have yet to cut back the salvia. I still love looking at the purple. Til it dies back a bit it will stay.

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Next on the list is to prune the apples and pears. That is for another day. Today I am done.

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Less than success Part 2

Sweet Potato:

I planted 2 plants, then a couple of weeks later put my bee hive there.

The sweet potatoes were promptly given a fairly wide berth. They were with the potatoes, once I harvested the potatoes I ignored the sweet potatoes. Mostly, as I didn’t want to be too close to the bees flight path, but also so that I could see what happened with my irrigation free self seeded tomato plant.

I only harvested one sweet potato per plant. Pretty poor!

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Obviously I had help in digging them up. I waited til a cool day so there would be less bee activity. I was aware that I was in their path. A few flew into me, one stayed on my arm for quite a while. I would like to say I was cool with that but I wasn’t really. I was a bit nervous.

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Things I took away from this:

-Don’t allow the chickens to help dig them up, they don’t respect the sweet potatoes.

-Don’t let the chickens free range as they will eat most of the leaves making things difficult for the plant.

-Watch where the trailing vines go and make sure they stay on the ground so that more sweet potatoes can grow. The ever giving feijoa tree that grew tomatoes for me also has sweet potato growing through it…

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-Put more effort into the soil and continue to care for them after planting them

-Don’t plant them in front of a bee hive.

Next season will be better 🙂

Less than success Part 1

I guess failure doesn’t feel like the right word when so much was learnt. There is certainly room for improvement though…

Ginger: I am unsure what I planted (size of rhizome wise) as I bought it in a pot with already small above ground growth. I did not want to disturb the root so I just popped it straight in the ground. First thing I will change is to try planting it earlier, I think I planted this one in December (first month of Summer) If I kept a proper garden diary I would know the date. A proper garden diary is on my list of things to do.

I chose my place based on it getting very little direct sun light, morning sun mostly. I think that was a good choice.

I then neglected it. I rarely watered it. Ginger likes moist soil. Very naughty gardener! Turns out if it is even remotely challenging to get to, I won’t tend to it diligently. This was at the back of the fenced off flower garden.

It was not a hot Summer, ginger being a tropical plant loves heat. Plus you are supposed to let the soil dry out near the end to encourage the plant to fatten up the rhizome. This soil did not dry out at all thanks to lots of rain.

I did not put enough effort into the soil. I should have added some sand or something similar to aid drainage. The soil is also too compact here for ginger growth.

I harvested before all the leaves had turned yellow as I was worried about it rotting in the soil. If the soil wasn’t so water retentive I would have left it longer.

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I pushed back the soil covering the rhizome, I felt like an archaeologist. This is what I exposed.

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I used a shovel and my hands to loosen underneath and break the roots. I was unaware that there would be roots. Makes sense that they are there but the ones in the shops look so clean and root free. I didn’t expect it. I am fairly certain they aren’t supposed to look like this though!

I have no idea what I have here. There are heaps of roots. I broke one off and it doesn’t smell intensely like ginger so I am assuming I don’t eat those. The rhizome itself looks thin and fairly pathetic. Not what I hoped for.

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This looks terrifyingly like spider legs to me.

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I rinsed it off.

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Looks no more like ginger than before…

I found this, who knows what it originally was but it is a piece of plastic, it is not mine, the roots grew through a hole in it. Nature is amazing!

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My plans for next growing season:

-Trial of growing 2 pots indoors in Spring then moving one outside (still in its pot) for Summer and leaving the other inside.

-Plant some in the soil but with more attention paid to the soil. This means 3 different bits of ginger growing.

-Water more attentively.

-Apparently ginger needs fertilizing, I will apply worm tea next season.

-The internet suggests to harvest in the second year, with my pot system I could try this. It is too cold/wet to leave in the soil where I live.

-Wait til fully died back before harvesting.

-Don’t let the chickens help when cleaning away the dirt.

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I am unsure what happened with this lot. But I trimmed it all up and it still doesn’t look like ginger, I will eat it and try again next season. Gardening is great like that, just try again next time!

Free Success

I guess not completely free as I did buy the initial plum but…

I ate a glorious plum in Summer, it had a deep red flesh outside and in. It was sweet and delicious. I wanted more. I had read on the internet previously about growing fruit trees from the pip. I gave it a go. I had very low expectations but nothing to lose.

I used a hammer to break the outer shell away. I do not own paper towel so I used some clean toilet paper, wet it, wrapped the seed up, popped it in a jar in the fridge and forgot about it.

I remembered about a month or 2 later. Looked at it. Nothing had changed. I put it back in the fridge.

A couple of weeks ago I looked again. Maybe 3 or 4 months after I put it in the fridge. I really should have dated it. Anyway! There was a root growing out. It was about 8 cms long. I was beyond excited. I put it back in the fridge for a few more days til I had time to plant it. I planted it last week.

Now this.

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This is so cool!!!! Obviously this is a long way from giving me plums and there is a lot that can go wrong between now and fruit but this is a great start. For free. Did I mention that. For free. My favourite.

Garden stuff

It feels like Winter is here. Winter gardening does not get my full attention, it doesn’t inspire me to the same extent as Spring, Summer and Autumn do. This is the first year that I am growing broad beans. I have not over committed, 5 plants is all. A trial. So far I think I have failed to meet every one of their requirements but they seem to have forgiven me and got on with the job of growing. There is a rogue left over capsicum plant in there that I haven’t pulled out.

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They look pretty happy.

I forgot all about the stinging nettle when I choose the garden bed for the garlic. They are just going to have to be companion plants. I love free self seeded food. It has come up in abundance. Free nutrition, I am so lucky! The nettle seems to have tolerated me digging all the soil up and adding compost, it came up a couple of weeks later.

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The ginger has not received the memo that Winter is here. It is not growing any more but it is not dying back. I am just waiting. I will hedge my bets with it. Harvest half with the hope of sprouting some and replanting in Spring and leave half in the soil to hopefully sprout for itself in Spring. I am suprised it grew as much as it did. I cannot wait to see what is going on under the soil. I hope big fat juicy ginger!

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The bricks and flower pot are my way of deterring the chickens from digging it up. The browning on the leaves has been there all Summer, the new shoots are still all green. I continue to wait patiently.

The late Winter flowering bulbs are doing their thing. I am intrigued to see where I planted them (the amnesia is real!) and if there are any extras growing from leaving them in the soil all Summer.

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The little ladies

Between my sister and I we have 3 cats, definitely qualifying for the crazy cat lady title. Lucy, the only female cat, has many nicknames. One is the little lady. The other little lady of the family is Maggie. The disabled chicken. I am unsure if it is her breed or the lack of muscle from a lack of foraging or if she is just a little lady. She is tiny compared to the other big ladies of the yard.

Seems I am only inspired to take photos on sunny days. It is currently 7 degrees (45F) outside but oh so sunny. Here are my little ladies.

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Lucy is quite challenging to take a nice photo of. I know these are not reflective of her true beauty but these are pretty damn good for her.

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All the cats love a nest, Lucy is no exception.