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|
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.
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