Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Veggie Bed Cleanup and New Fangle Dangles

My first strawberry for the season.  Almost too pretty to eat.  My neighbour picked the right time to pop his head over the fence (not hard when he is hanging his washing on the line and he's well over 6 ft) and so Mohammad was gifted my precious strawberry.  He made all the right noises to pacify my having forgone the pleasure.   I didn't get a picture but i also gifted my very first blueberry to my Bestie when she arrived.  I'll have to wait for the next one to try them out.

Yes, that's right "fangle dangles".  Yet another expression that my mother has passed on to me.  I could also have called them "thingameejigs" or "whatsits" or "doodads" or "gizmos" or....   So what new items am i referring too?

That would be the addition of my new feeder and drinker for the girls.   Looking through many Aussie blogs over this year including mine (Keeping Chickens Workshop), I've seen a few people get these, so the supplier must be feeling pretty chuffed with himself and doing well.  Gav from Greening of Gavin has trialled these with much success.  They are available through their Royal Rooster Website. On arrival a couple of days after purchase,  i can see that they are made from simple plumbing materials and yet very cleverly made. It feels good to support a small local manufacturer just outside Melbourne.   I am hoping that they will cut down the free ranging wild birds that make such a mess (poop) in the yard and eat all the girls feed.

Now the training begins.  I'm sorry to say that although i adore the girls, they are a few sandwiches short of a picnic.  Although they are very cute, lay the odd egg and i hear make great mothers, there's a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, if you know what i mean.  There has to be a reason for that damm chicken to keep trying to cross the road, right? Maybe it should just stay where it is. Now pigs, that's a clever animal but since i don't have a pigsty out the back, the girls are my only farm animals in residence, dumb or not.   (I'm waiting for the backlash - here it comes!!!)

Well its been only a few days and the girls have surprised me.  They are still clucking very loudly to be fed each morning at 6 but they they must be eating it as the level has dropped and I've caught them a few times with their heads inside.

That's Molly at the feeder and Lacy at the drinker.  They are the most bossy of the 4, so i hope the smaller ones are getting their share.

At least with the drinker being such a small receptacle, the sparrows are not dirtying the water having baths.
When we finish the front yard, it will have a bird bath for the birds to quench their thirst in.  So long as they stay away from the back yard and my seedlings, I'm happy to accommodate them during the hot summer.

The weekend was spent cleaning up all the beds and pulling out the winter crops that had gone to seed or for that matter, gone nowhere.  That would be the brussel sprouts, which for some unknown reason, i seemed to have planted many.  Also i pulled what i thought was cabbage plants with a mountain of leaves out and added them to the pile in the girls yard which was about a cubic square metre by the time i was finished.  Thank goodness they haven't worked out that they are suppose to eat the green stuff i put in there.  The next day while walking past i spotted this in the pile.  I actually grew a cauliflower.  It looks super good so i took it back from the chooks.  They didn't want it anyway.

I'm seeing cauliflower with cheese sauce in its near future.

Beetroot and leaves, Snow Peas, and various lettuces

Silverbeet and Chard -  all frozen and vac sealed in the freezer.  The boys don't eat these and yet Hubby made no comment when he had his quiche tonight.  It had spinach and chard on the bottom topped with leeks, bacon, asparagus,  feta and  cherry tomatoes.  Yum.    

Naughty girls laid some eggs behind the chard tree.  Yes that's right, chard tree.  It was over 6ft and the stem was 5cm thick.   My rotating compost bin is stuffed to the gunnels and so i was lucky that a friend came round and took the green waste home to his compost. 
My plantings for spring now include:

Bed 1 - Corn and Lettuce. When the corn reaches a foot high I'll plant beans around them so they can climb up.  This bed also has mint and dill and small white flowers as companion plants.  I tossed some radish seeds in the gaps over the weekend.

Bed 2 - My perpetual baby spinach is living up to its name and still going strong from last year.  Ive continually picked leaves for salads from it.  This bed also has the two parsley plants (flat leaf and curly) which took over the bed during winter.  After a hard prune i found mushrooms from the mushroom compost underneath which i didn't think were safe to eat.  There is also beetroot plants coming to an end now, garlic chives and a pot with lemon balm in it.

Bed 3 - There are several snow pea plants on the trellis that are going strong and are picked often.  The only other thing in here at the moment is the silverbeet which also keeps on keeping on.  Plenty of space for something but not tomatoes as this bed had them last year.

Bed 4 - Pretty much empty except for 6 heritage tomato plants about 15cm high on the trellis and strawberry crowns which i haven't separated yet, and some marigold seedlings.  I think this will be my tomato bed this year and so there is plenty of room for perhaps a dozen more later in spring.  There is also basil seeds thrown in here to help keep the bugs at bay.  I've put a few in Bed 7 as well in case a disaster hits and i lose all the tomatoes from Bed 4.  I may do up some pots too.

Bed 5 - Zucchini plants, marigolds and about a dozen leeks left over from winter being stored in the ground.  I picked a couple on the weekend and they are still great.  I eat lots of salad and so later on more lettuce will go in.

Bed 6 - More Zucchini - i know but i do love them and hope to pickle them this year. Perhaps Ive gone overboard as they were quite successful last year and i seem to run away from my failures, like carrots. I've put them in the waist high beds this year as they landed on the ground last year. I also have a raised trough planter with more strawberry plants, as above.  There's room for more but i don't know what yet.

Bed 7 -  Capsicums still growing from last year, two grafted tomato plants, lemon balm on the loose and bordered by alyssum.   Still space left.

Bed 8 -  A black passionfruit vine was planted a few weeks ago and since it is still only a foot high i have put cucumbers on the same trellis over summer.  Lots more room for more stuff in this bed.  

7 & 8 are against the wall of the back of the house and so being under the eaves they miss the rain and also get the heat off the wall.  I have to be really careful to water these two beds often and I'm looking forward to getting my irrigation system up and running (so to speak), literally.   I have a 2000L tank that is full and a water pump in the shed just sitting there.  So many projects on the go at once.

In Beds 3, 4, 7 & 8 which are all about 45 cm high i have to find a solution to the Girl problem.  They love to get into them and Tilly thinks they are pretty nice to dig in as well.  Working on some mesh gates that i can put in and remove when working on beds.  The other beds are all 90cm high and are lovely to work in.  No bending.

In separate pots i have garlic, borage, blueberries, rosemary, lemons, kumquats, mandarine, pear and of course lavenders to bring in the bees.  Surrounding the garlic box i have made a potato bed that is growing profusely. I cant keep up with it and have to keep topping the soil and mulch.   Gosh i hope that there are some spuds in there and not just lots of leaves.

So that's the role call and along with mowing and whipper snipping around all those beds it was full weekend of gardening.  Now its just feed, water, feed, water, feed and be on bug alert.

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz


  1. Your gardens sound scrummy! I simply MUST come down and check them out. I mean seriously, we are friends yet I've never seen your place, yet you've seen my dump, oops, messy house on several occasions. Slack Rabid slack! ;)

    How funny you turfed your cauli! That will make me slime today I know. We've got broccoli flowering everywhere so time to pick the last of the purple sprouts except a few (I hope to collect seed) to blanch and freeze. I also have standard supermarket style green heads of broccoli almost ready to pick so they too can be floretted, blanched and frozen. My caulis should be ready in a week or 2.

    My leeks are disappearing one by one and taste simply divine. I never knew a leek could be so full of flavour! I am well envious of your borage and lavender. I have 2 I NEED to get in the ground and soon but they will have to await funds. The garden bed is ready for them but sans soil. :(

    You girls are funny. We too have a feeder and waterer system although the other brand on eBay as the ones you have don't allow ducks to eat from them. So far ours are working tremendously well althugh Miss Anna does stick her tongue through the wire to munch on the grains as I refill the 2 feed hoppers. Thank goodness we don't use pellets for our girls (toxic to goats). :)
    Your strawberry sure does look delicious and how generous to share your 2 first fruits. Our strawberries are in flower although I am debating whether to remove the flowers t encourage roots and runners this year or not. I have 1 very pretty strawberry flower out at the moment, the Tarpan strawberry. The flowers are cerise pink! :) I hope the fruits are just as delicious. I hope to pick up some more strawberry plants from friends who are giving some away today in exchange for some parsnip seeds. I'm trying carrots again although I've not had much success either. I read (and reblogged) a great post about definitions of carrots. If we hope for big fat straight orange carrots like from the supermarket then we have a LOT of work to do to get them but if we are happy with them however they are shaped (look up rude carrot on google for a giggle) and keen for funky colours (white, purple, purple skinned orange, yellow etc) then carrot success is much better. However, getting them to actually grow in the first place... MUST go water where I popped my seeds in!

    You're so lucky with your climate that you can have plants like capsicums still growing from last year. No chance here when my veggie patch reaches -7 during the winter.

    Wishing you every success in your patch this year. I hope the weather is kind and I reckon you're on your way to having a bumper harvest. :)

  2. Hi Lynda, love your new bird/owl guarding the strawberries. I love strawberries, one day I want to have so many strawberry plants to make lots of jam, that's my hope. I am now on the look out for old gutters as I got my husband to transform a gutter or two into strawberry planters, can't wait for the strawberries to over hang and dangle down.
    I ordered my Royal Roster feeder and drinker few days ago too, I can't wait. I've also started reading "Greening Gavin", love his blog.
    I love how organised you are with your garden, I feel so all over the place.

    1. You know Ella that i was always going to be organised. Its in my accountant blood. Sometimes i wish i was more relaxed about it and have things mixed up. I thought i was being really daring just scattering the raddish seeds and not putting them in rows. LOL

  3. Wow you certainly have been busy Lynda, your vege gardens sound like they will be full to the brim. Your are harvesting some lovely greens, funny you stole back the cauli from the girls lol. I really need to get cracking with mine, Im quite dissapointed with my leafy broccoli. Your chooks are funny I cant believe they dont like scraps.

    1. Tell me about it. Trust me to have "dumb" chooks. I opened the gate to the grassed backyard today and an hour later they are still standing in their yard looking at it, going Huh! If they do they go and stand on the concrete area on other side of house.

  4. Wow, it all looks great. I have done NOTHING in my spring garden yet. Too many spring gales.
    I love the way you sneakily hid greens in the quiche...


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