Farewell 2016

A vet to a dog, is like a dentist to a man. It’s never good news, usually involves various elements of pain. Caesar has that well figured out even though he is visiting a different vet at a different clinic. I took him there half an hour earlier so that he can roam around the car park getting used to all the different animal scents about. And of course, for him to empty his bladder so that he don’t piss all over in the clinic, like he used to. His vaccination is up to date now, and he hates the kennel cough vaccination which is done through the nose, the vet always struggled with that. He is so traumatized in the end that he refused to take treats off the vet at the end of the session. He will only eat them off the floor. And of course, can’t wait to get out, won’t even let me make payment, he just dragged me straight out of there.

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My neighbour rang me the other day while I was at work. She is asking for permission for her and her mum to stand outside my place to see what’s the going on in my garden. They can’t figure it out from their kitchen window, so they had to get closer.

A few different varieties of spinach there at the bottom left of the photo. I don’t get how they are all of a different genus and species, yet they are all called spinach. What genus and species would Popeye recommend?

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The tomatoes have taken, their primary stem grew thick and strong, and because they are grown in an exposed area, they are not gaining height as fast. The pumpkins are growing too, they are starting to crawl about now. Hopefully, I will have some to store over Winter.

There might be a change of plan with pumpkin growing next season. Cucurbita pepo, I will not be saving seeds on this pumpkin line anymore as I will be growing zucchini instead next season. That leaves me with Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moshata, which is still good. At least, I will have zucchini as well.

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Runner beans now flowering.

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I’m very proud of these apricots. they started the season looking like slingshots. Now they are well branched, ready for some good fruits next season. Throughout the season I pinched off the growing tips when they reached a certain length to encourage them to branch out. Intensive, and lots of love.

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Got a handful of walnuts this year perhaps.

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This is the Calville Blanc D Hiver apple. It is one of the oldest variety of apple in the world. Good for apple pie. Have just gone around and put a tag on all the apples along the Belgian Fence. Now, I know who is who.

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The Forest Garden. I think its more or less ready for free ranging ducks.

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There’s definitely diversity. And everything is flowering and seeding now. And full of escaped potatoes. If I ever ran out of potatoes, all I have to do is go into the garden and dig some up.

Potatoes are weedy. If you leave one behind accidentally, they will grow and give you potatoes again. And again. And again. The ducks can eat the tops.

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The almonds trio near the front. That spot has gone berserk. I can’t walk through there without getting pollen all over me.

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Just need to get more fencing done. Here’s one that I did today. It’s not finish yet, I still need to pin the windbreak into the ground. Need to buy some pins.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I’m going to paint the carport. I’ve spent the day removing most of the rust using the angle grinder with a wire brush attachment. After that, I can start building the nursery.

The nursery, the project that has been brewing for a year. Every time I revisit the idea, it evolves. It just gets better and better. This time, I’m going to be building a small raised bed right in front of the nursery, and here, I am going to plant the raspberries. Finally, the raspberries are going into the ground. I’ve got it all under control.

Finally, my new new year resolutions.

  1. Ducks.
  2. Take up a new hobby or two, day walks and rock climbing.
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2 Weeks to Go

Two more weeks to Christmas. How scary is that? I still haven’t got my new year resolution figured out yet. I have something in mind but I would definitely want to consider my options before I commit to anything.

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The Mandala Garden is growing slowly. Then sunflowers around the edges are coming up steadily and as they grow taller they will provide more shelter for the garden. Its interesting to note that they are concentrated on both sides of the garden even though I sow them in the whole circle.

I have replaced some of the tomato plants with store bought ones as the wind burned the last planting into the ground the day after I planted them. I have also replaced heaps of pumpkins as they died off after planting out. Luckily, I managed to find the exact variety of pumpkin I wanted to grow in a seedling form.

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The Forest Garden have another round of weeding yesterday. Its a rather selective weeding process where any weed that is behaving in a very dominant manner is removed before they become too much of a problem. Not to forget the usual suspect, cleavers, fumitory, and hedge mustard. I also took the opportunity to shape the herbage around the trees to give them more breathing space.

A couple more Tagasaste Tree Lucerne have been planted out. The wattles seedling are not progressing very well at this stage, most of them are likely to be written off. I’ll let the Tagasaste grow for now until I decide what other nitrogen fixing species to plant out.

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Here’s a familiar sight of brightly color poppies growing under the plum guild. I’ve made a new brew in this week’s foliar feed. A bit more nitrogen in guano form, and trichoderma fungi. Let’s give those shoots more growth before Autumn comes.

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That’s a medlar. It was the last thing on my mind to bring it over from the Orchard Cottage but I did anyway. For some reason. Diversity perhaps.

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That’s a persimmon forming right there. My last persimmon tree at the Orchard Cottage never actually do anything for years. So, I’m quite happy that this one is doing well and have got a really sunny spot to grow and mature.

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The Belgian Fence is coming along. Some of the branches are likely to hit their target this season. And some with apples to spare. Mitre10 had punnets of lavender seedlings cheap, so I got some to replace the ones that didn’t make it.

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And for the ones that did made it, well, they are flowering in a stunning purple right now. The bees are happy.

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Berries are fruiting, but I don’t think I will get much this year, the birds will get them. I need them to grow and flourish and start climbing the trellis.

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Up close and personal with leaf curl.

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Calendula porcupine. A good one to yield plenty of petals to add to your salad. Calendula seeds are one of the easiest to harvest. I’ve just harvested some and scatter them around where I wanted them to grow.

This weekend has been a good one, I have achieved plenty and is about to head out and start working on the second gate for the Mandala Garden.

4 More Weeks

Have I lost track of time completely? We have 4 more weeks of 2016 left and that was it. I had a look at the top right corner of my whiteboard with my new year resolution written on it. Career growth and better posture. Yep, put a tick on both of them, done. What will 2017 bring? What will my new year resolution be then?

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The first of the lilies have started flowering. This would be an orange asiatic lilies. Free plants that comes with the house. Judging by the number of buds, it’s a pretty well established corm.

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And taking stock of all the roses this week. Pink rose.

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More pink rose.

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White rose with pink frills.

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White rose.

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Yellow rose.

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Pink rose.

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Finally something different. Old fashioned red rose.

Whoever planted all those rose before me must have love roses, and love them in pink! I have given them a huge cut back end of last season and they have now come back dashingly. Needless to say, they are overdue for a formative pruning session. These are all free flowering floribunda style roses.

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In the Forest Garden, its teeming with surprises. Like this purple kohl rabi that was part of a mesclun mix, probably the Simply Red mix from Kings Seeds. The mesclun mixes are allowed to go to seed. They will probably cross pollinate, and self seed, and next season, I wonder what I will be getting. A blend of all kinds of mesclun mix you can get your hands on. Italian, French, Oriental, Kale, Lettuce, etc etc.

Side note, I am really not a good vegetable gardener. I am not sure if I will ever be good at it. But I find that if I just scatter seeds, the vegetables actually grew a lot better than when I planted them where I want them to grow specifically.

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Under every fruit tree guild I have sown some runner beans, and this one is running up one of the red leaf stonefruit.

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The Forest Garden occupies one quarter of this quarter acre section. I am quite please that my plan to sheet mulch with newspaper and cardboard and top up with wood chip works in suppressing unwanted growth. And then quickly introduce my own mix of seed varieties.

The grass regrowth has been kept to a minimum, and the last of the more established grasses are finally dying off after the last round of selective herbicide spray.

The black birds are enjoying the garden, and the bees are back. I can see the beneficial insects too, they are out and about. As more of the herbaceous layer starts flowering, there will be more of them around.

Till then, I should really get going and get the Forest Garden duck ready.