I was taught years ago to maintain a seasonal diary, or blog, to keep track of the changes, successes and failures. It’s always interesting to go back and re-read what went on during a season. So easy to forget all the little details unless you write them down.
Main things going on in the photo above – this shows my backyard and primary growing area. My block is about 24perches or 600sq m.
Two of the raised beds (numbered 1, 2 and 3 from the right – don’t ask! that’s just the way I did it at the time and all my blogs use this system so I have to stick to it) have been re-done. Basically they are big compost bins replenished with whatever I have in the compost pile, any manure I can get my hands on, rock minerals from the local landscape shop ($2 a bucket for Granite/Deco for potassium and Basalt for calcium and iron), Organic Xtra and whatever else I happen to think would benefit eg Dolomite, Epsom Salts and Potash.
I have tried many different types of commercial garden supplements. No doubt they are each good in their own way but are usually expensive and tricky to source and I’ve never found one that blew my socks off and felt I just had to continue buying. The locally produced Organic Xtra has proven it’s worth and it’s easily bought from the produce shop.
My focus is tropical/sub-tropical veg more suitable to our Brisbane climate but during winter I grow all the veg I grew up on and love – all the brassicas and beans, peas. During our hot summer when these crops won’t grow a lot of the focus is on learning to grow alternative crops such as Aibika, Warrigal Greens, yams, taros, nopales, yakon, jicama, jeruselum artichoke, arrowroot, cassava and sweet potatoes along with the more traditional cucumber, snake beans, okra, peanuts, corn, radish etc.
I am trying to educate my tastebuds to accept the new veg….but I find there are some things I just simply don’t like. Like yams and taros. I find them sticky or floury. I like old fashioned potato but have had difficulty growing them well in Brisbane. There are people doing it successfully though, so I just have to keep trying. The greens I find more palatable and once cooked up you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from the more traditional silverbeets.
I have a native bee hive of Tetragonula carbonaria – dear sweet little things that take care of themselves mostly, and a top bar honey bee hive. The top bar hive requires a lot more attention but is more rewarding with honey.
I also have a native stingless bee hive of Tetragonula carbonaria. The extra bit on top is for honey collection.
I moved on to this property around 13yrs ago and immediately planted some fruit trees. Despite the drought hitting around the same time I was able to keep these trees alive and they now (mostly) reward me with regular crops. The Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry (below) is one of the new additions.
Some of the fruiting plants I grow include: mulberry (both black and pink Shatoot above), Soursop, Carambola, pawpaw, pineapple, Pepino, Lychee, Custard Apple, Wampi, Persimmon, Tamarillo, Jaboticaba, Grumichama (yet to fruit), dragonfruit, grapes (animals steal them before I get any), pomegranate (yet to fruit), avocado (Dwf Wurtz yet to fruit), bananas, tropical nectarine, persimmon.
I wanted to “farm” some protein also. I can’t keep chickens or quail as my dogs would kill them and I suspect I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to eat any of my birds once they became pets. I looked into aquaculture but found it too technical, expensive and prone to disaster. So I’m trying snails (see my snail blog).
Home unwell with diverticulitis, so to divert myself from the pain I have gone out into the garden to take some photos.
The snail farm is becoming a major problem and I’ve had to ask for some help in securing the sides from this very determined rat. Every night new holes that I have to try to bung up and my snail population is quite obviously going down.
Plenty of lightening but not much rain last night. Rain would be great but the lightening has it’s own benefits, releasing nitrogen from the air. The garden looks refreshed this morning.
I’m having rather an odd problem with one of the raised beds. It seems to be more than usually infested with Slaters and Wood Cockroaches which aren’t normally a bother as they help consume the organic material I have put into the beds. For some reason they are attacking and eating the seedlings I have growing in Bed 1. They have ruined my cucumber seedlings and are trying to chew through the stem of the tough Jeruselum Artichoke.
Bed 2 in comparison is going great.