Beetbox

IMG_3007i’m too scared of styrofoam to continue growing my box o’ beets. I’ve researched, I’ve sought advise, I’vepondered and mused and even it is folksy and false, I’m going to err on the side of caution and transplant these little guys. Then pretend the damage, if any there be, hasn’t already been done. As the experiment it was, though, it’s mehh…the seeds germinated and grew but slowly. They are beets, the weather has been very cool to damn cold, and they would be due for a feed – perhaps overdue, as the medium is potting mix, manure and coir. A drink of seaweed emulsion before and after transplanting should help them settle in. These are Chiogga beets, a white and red stripey/spirally beetroot which I’m very much looking forward to. EDIT: I replanted. I just couldn’t do the polystyrene. It’s not based on any facts I’ve come across,  and possibly more like superstition, but I just like dirt. real dirt. The ground.

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Vegan Review

7396615Upon arriving at our town’s new restaurant and take-away business, your humble vegie was pleasantly surprised to discover Paddy’s Waterholes politely caters for the non-meater and, so, promptly ordered their Zucchini Slice with salad. Which was delicious.

Due, in small part, to their good-sized mugs of soy coffee, I’ve returned quite a few times; the atmosphere is easy-going and congenial with our host-family welcoming, helpful and entertaining. “Good old-style home cooking” I heard someone say. So, putting that to the test (and taking a fairly serious one for the team!)  rather than the vego sushi on offer that evening, and it being Sunday, i ordered Roast of the Day and matching desert – roast lamb and choccy pud. I was not disappointed. Every bite reminded me of..I was going to say my ever-hardening arteries and a small, small lamb but actually, it reminded me of grandmothers and summer and the temptation of freshly-made choccy batter “just sitting for a bit”. 5 Celeries!

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Orchard, November 2014

Although knocked back by the lack of water last summer (early January, 2014), the orchard has rebounded. There are so many things growing in this pictured section alone – some edible, some not – as things are left to do as they will, with the occasional weeding and cutting back.

The trees are peach and long-established. I’ve grown honeysuckle up one that was ailing and it seems this has given it new vigour (or limb support – they do have a habit of falling off). Globe artichokes, beetroot,  silverbeet,  a relation to Silvan Berry and jerusalem artichokes are some of the self-spreaders that sort themselves out amongst chilean & pineapple guava (*Ugni” & ” ), lemon balm, the iris that gives orris root and a host of decoratives; such as the lovely mauve verbena that has clearly thrived and keeps the soil moist and friable. Calendula (good for you, good for plants) pops up everywhere, especially where it’s needed and will often be found congregated near a plant that just needs a bit of a pick-up.  This seems true also for dandelion, that weed accursed by many and understandably so. Aware of dandelion’s reputation as a helper plant, i let a few go to seed around a sorry patch and now I have a paddock-full of dandelion. Do not trust their beguiling ways.

Very Raised Gardening

I constructed this very raised bed to the easterly side of the orchard for no other reason than a relatively flat space. There are five or six  hinged packaging planks (?) that lock nicely into each other, enclosing a double layer of six “milk crates” (those plastic ones used for storing kids toys and such). Some firm wire mesh went on top to help hold the layer of garden mesh which sits on top of that, full of growing medium. The mesh comes up each side about 40cm, and is held in place with shadecloth fasteners tapped into the sides of the wood. the “soil” level is around 35cm or so and made up of 5 bags of potting mix – 3 of a fairly average standard, 2 Home Brand – about 3/4 bag of cow manure, a quarter-brick of coir and that’s about it. I measured the pH a day after watering and firming – it was 8.5. Geep! Considering the largest by far component is organic matter from the potting mixes, this is probably to be expected. Two days is not really a decent interval to wait before testing either.  More on soil pH and vegies another time.

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Emergence after four days! this is likely salad mix. The red flower is a tip cutting I’m hoping will root, as is the dianthus.

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Go little guy, Go! I think this might be an all-seasons carrot – i scattered a lot of fine, nearly out-of-date or past-it seed on the surface, Purple Dragon Broccoli in each corner; the plan being that the salads and small things will emerge first – by the time they’re harvested the brassicas will be partially grown and ready for a top-up feed. The carrots I’m not sure about as they dont’t like a lot of manure whereas the broccoli loves to feed.

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You may be able to get a rough idea of the height from this and the next picture.  It’s currently at a good resting height, though I may add another hinged wooden thing to increase the depth of the growing medium. I really took these two pictures to help me imagine what colour to paint it, though I’m very much liking “just wood”

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This little patch is in it’s third year, with  things slowly being added as it starts to take shape.  It’s becoming a bit of a citrus-y patch, with the lime tree behind and the orange roses, hmm. A vision comes to those who wait.