Alternative Production

When you are not being productive, but is actually doing something, what do you call it? Alternative production. That’s what I have been up to this weekend. Alternative production. I’ve been catching up with Spring cleaning in the house. Then picking up all of Caesar’s poo in the Forest Garden and move them to his poo spot behind his kennel. Giving the workbench in the garage a wee tidy up. It is tidier now, but could definitely use a lot more organization.

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I went and got this really large plastic dog house on Thursday, but I couldn’t fit it in the car, so I had to go back on Friday with the truck to pick it up. It was an inch too big to fit through the rear door. And definitely will not go into the boot. It’s not for Caesar. It’s for the ducks.

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Correction on this “Globe Artichoke”, it is actually a Cardoon judging from the size of the flower buds.┬áThe stems of Cardoon were eaten while the buds of Globe Artichokes were eaten. I’ve got a fair few of Glove Artichokes seedlings now, I’ll plant them out in Autumn.

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Looks like I’ll be having some Jonagold apples this season. Should I confess I am so far not a big fan of apples, hopefully I will find something I like from all the different varieties in my collection. I like sweet juicy plums.

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I haven’t figure out which one this is. So far, it looks like it’s going to be a bumper pumpkin season by the way the pumpkin vines are taking over the Mandala Garden.

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Fancy a sunflower hedge?

I’ve been going around and doing some selective weeding. On the list, anything that’s a prick, nightshade, hedge mustard, mallow, fumitory, cleavers… My spray free lawn is turning into a meadow, I’ll share it with you next week.

My Berm is Greener than Yours

It had been a good weekend despite the threat of rain which never materialized. I am sure it rained everywhere else. Not enough, so the irrigation will keep going. The garage is slowly emptying out as more and more building materials are used up for projects around the property. Soon, I will tidy up my very messy work bench.

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The raspberries have been liberated from their pots, into raised beds of half a cubic meter of compost. The stand will be thinned out at a later stage giving preference to strong growing erect stems.

I figured out a way to make compost go further. I sieve them, and my sieve is just one of those black seedling trays, and it separates out the smaller particles from the larger particles. The finer compost can be used as a seed raising medium while the larger stuff can be used as small grade mulch. Can be used for capping off seed trays to reduce evaporation.

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Bamboo trellis and gate are now completed. I made a booboo while putting the final touch to the trellis, but if you don’t look hard enough, you can never tell. It will be one of those things that’s right there in your face but you can’t tell there’s something wrong with it.

I’ve swapped the pots for something else now. The first three pots to the left are mainly rescued plants that had been living in planter bags ever since I moved here. Plum rootstock where the scion has died. Golden Pippin, Cornish Aromatic, and Winesap Apple on mm106 which are extras. A mm106 rootstock where the scion has died. And the three pots to the right are all mm106 rootstocks.

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The final gate built just now. Essentially the Forest Garden has been fenced off.

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While I have fenced off the Forest Garden, the Mandala Garden is trying to keep me out with rampaging pumpkin vines. And the few varieties of spinach to the left is going to seed. I didn’t eat a single leaf, how hopeless of me.

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Looking into a keyhole. Can’t really get in there without disturbing the pumpkins.

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They don’t seem to have any respect for clearly defined footpaths. I am not sure if I am to cut them back or not. But I might politely point them in the right directions.

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And them sunflowers will probably just look on in my futile attempt. If only you can hear them laugh. It will be a gust of sunshine.

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Tomato Indigo Rose. I’ve grown these for years. Very hardy plants. But the fruit takes very long to ripen up.

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Persimmons! I had a plant at the Orchard Cottage for a few years, and it never really did anything. I had this for less than a season and voila! Mum is going to be stoked! But you aren’t suppose to harvest until after the first frost or something like that.

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The wildflowers are slowly coming through after my more consistent irrigation regime. A mistake that I never seem to learn, but hopefully have by now. So, I’ve sown more wildflower seeds.

I’ve also move the two Blood Oranges to both side of the side doorway. They might do better there and will benefit from the watering.

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More wildflowers in the edges of the Mandala Garden. Perhaps, by the end of this season, the neighborhood will present me with the Neighborhood Hippie batch. This property is not for the faint-hearted.

Just feeling a moment of pride here as I mow the berm this morning. The grass growing on my berm, despite not receiving any irrigation, turns out to be the greenest on the street. I’ve explained it to my neighbor once, its too dry and they are cutting the grass too low, the soil is getting sunburn. You put a hat on when the sun is bearing down. I’ll be sticking with the #5 cut for now.

I didn’t mow any grass in the property, those will keep growing slowly and provide good protection to the soil. Only reason to mow the berm, neighbor from an adjacent property is selling, so, just being a good neighbor and put up with a good presentation on the street. Everyone likes a well cut berm on the whole street.

Stuck In

The weather is doing funny things at the moment. We have a high of 31dC, and a low of 4dC, all within a month, within days of each other, in the middle of Summer. This Summer, is quite fickle minded. It needs to make up its mind.

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The radish is still growing. It’s still not going to seed. It’s as big as my garden gloves. The beetroots on the other hand has started going to seed. So I am starting to eat them. There’s a kohlrabi in the Forest Garden too, and that’s the size of a football, almost.

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The amazing weekend weather means that I am able to get work on some of the projects. The nursery is now completed. Clad with microklima frost cloth.

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There’s the option of putting another layer of frost cloth from the inside to have a sort of double glazing effect but I think one layer is enough, the environment feels rather calm in the nursery while its gusting its head out in the open. I might setup the other nursery stand next week. I’ve got some asparagus to start from seeds.

Processed with Rookie CamOn to the next project. Continue to fence up the Forest Garden to get ready for the ducks. The wee gate is the door to Caesar’s run, and of course, he doesn’t get locked in the run at all, so the gate comes in handy. Getting some of the stakes in are hard work as the maple tree that I have removed have left huge roots all over making it very hard to hammer the stakes in. Always be mindful where you plant your trees, and know your trees, and what their roots are going to do to your building.

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Here’s the almost finished work. I still need to cap the top off. The bamboos are held in place with 3 horizontal 50×50 timber with holes drilled all along it at 5cm spacing. Getting the holes in are the main work. First, I got to drill the guide holes, and these got to be straight through. Then, a borer drill bit is used to enlarge the holes so that the bamboo stakes can go through. I’ve lost count of how many times I have to recharge the battery for the drill. That’s 2 days of all out work there.

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The prickly Worcesterberry has grown really well this season. It must have love its new home. I’ve gone along and tied each branches to a vertical stakes yesterday and they will form a thorny fence along that part of the Forest Garden. Those prickles are vicious.

Next week, the place should be fully fenced up by then ready for the ducks. Only one more gate to make. The raspberries will be transplanted into the raised beds. And some more wildflower seeds to be sown.

Conservation Against Natural Progression?

Sometimes, I wonder if the conservation work that we are doing is actually good for the environment. It is good if we are reversing the degeneration of the land, but what if what we are doing are actually preventing natural progression of the landscape? A while back I was doing some volunteer conservation work at a stony beach ridges, we were mainly weeding. To my surprise, we are also removing some native tree saplings.

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Should we perhaps rethink conservation, to regenerate, and to assist in the natural progression of the landscape? Maybe merely removing the wilding pines so that the native grass can survive is not enough? Grass is just the beginning, forest is the end result, just because the area is covered with grass when man first inhabit that land doesn’t means that nature intend that to be grass forever. One day, that too shall be a forest.

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Then sunflowers are starting to flower. Just magnificent. I am just anticipating the main show from the sunflowers surrounding the Mandala Garden.

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Last season, I was growing corn along the front fence line, and threw away a few cobs that I deemed did not meet the grade, probably too small. And here they are, bunched of them popping up here and there, like wild grasses.

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This Globe Artichoke is starting to flower. There’s a few more seedlings on the go as not many survived in the last batched due to poor watering practice. My fault. And the nursery got blown over as I didn’t secure it, and everything was scattered all over and re-potted haphazardly. My fault again.

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The Feijoas are flowering! Must have done something right for them to flower in their first season planted out.

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When you sow radish in the Forest Garden and forgot about them. This is now a swede. Or a turnip.

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Carrots flowering. The flies, big and small, are so intoxicated. It’s like a giant buffet of tiny florets all round, drink all you can, all the nectar.

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Hopefully, back on track with the Brussels Sprouts show down. There’s 6 varieties of heirloom Brussels Sprouts in there. I never have any luck with them but hopefully, some this year with the lot of diversification.

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I am intending not to mow at this time of the year, and just let the lawn, the berm, turn to meadow. It’s getting hotter, dryer, and I wanted the land to have more cover instead of a mere half inch of grass. But I can’t help myself on this one as I am doing some work which requires me to trim the grass way down. I did something different much to my amusement and curiosity. Each strip of grass is mow with the mower set on a different height setting. Just to see. I think I like number 4 best.

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Why did I mow? Need to cut the grass back so that I can turn the turf upside down where I am going to build a raised beds for the raspberries. The raspberries, are finally going to be liberated from their pots!

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This is the first time I am building something with 300mm x 50mm timber. I had some salvaged when I moved out of the Orchard Cottage, paid good money for them, waste not want not, re-purposed. These heavy duty timber were originally intended to be floodgates. Also involved a bit of simple joinery work that a circular saw can easily handle.

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And the frame goes up to form the bones of the nursery. No permanent modification has been done to the carport, no holes drilled, nothing. Next up will be to get the mikroclima cloth on. In Winter, it can be enclosed with a curtain of mikroclima around the back and further moderate the micro-climate in there.

Once that’s done, a gate will be built to shut that side of the Forest Garden out. Then I’ll start working on the final set of gate and trellis by the old pump shed. And the Forest Garden will be duck ready.

Noticed the new coat of paint on the carport? It took me 2 days to put the first coat on, and 2 hours for the second coat. The color is named Grapevine, hence enticing a greenfinger like me to choose it due to emotional appeal. I really should have just gone for red.