Saturday, 30 May 2015

Getting the veggie garden ready

The weather at home was just beautiful - warm and sunny with cold nights. When I arrived home from work, it was Full Moon and Steve and I went for a campfire movie which was just brilliant! It was at the Historical Village and we went there and they served us Stew and Sticky Date Pudding, there was a bar, a bon fire and then we watched 'The Man from Snowy River' which was screened outside under the full moon and by the fire. I think it was one of the best nights I ever had! I enjoyed it very much. It was simple, it was cheap ($15 for the tickets which included the food AND the movie) and it was just so cosy and made me very happy!
Before I left for work in March, I planted my veggie garden. Usually during summer it's way to hot for anything to grow and I plant a few tubs of tomatoes and lettuce on the Patio, so in March I start the veggie garden back up which should supply us with fresh produce until the end of the year. I expanded my veggie garden to either side of the chook pen, following the permaculture principles of zoning - and my sanity. I walk at least twice a day to the chooks, so it's much easier to have it there. Plus anything rotten, I can chuck over the fence and the manure is there as well. Unfortunately the chooks food also attracts a large amount of Cockatoos and Galahs. The picture below shows about 40 of them flying away when I approach. These birds not only eat the chooks leftover food, the also ate my seedlings. So when I came back instead of seeing thriving seedlings, I mostly found soil.
However, they must not like Zucchinis as they were in full bloom. With so many flowers, I made us some stuffed zucchini flowers as an entrée and it was divine! Now I'm hoping for many Zucchinis.
The Neem Tree is growing nicely. Can't wait to make my first Neem Oil!
This is my bare veggie garden in front of the chook pen, the zucchini to the left.
And this one is my tamest chook eating a spring onion. I had to laugh when she gulped it down with her big comb.

And this is the other side, also very poor looking with exception of the pigeon pea on the left and the passionfruit and pineapple on the right.
A few years ago, I planted Ceylon Spinach which tastes great - cooked and fresh and is also VERY hardy. I pull remains out of my herb garden all the time and dispose of them in my compost. Well, this one has taken and is now growing up the fence which looks pretty as it covers the ugly fence and it's easy to harvest. The leaves are a nice dark green and glossy and the stem is purplish. I shall get a close-up picture next time.
I've planted some double Petunias in the Hanging Baskets and they look amazing!
This is the first year ever I planted from seed, so after all my seedlings were
eaten, I replanted and put bird netting around my veggies. As you can see, the Cockatoos are still coming - but now they can't eat my seedlings anymore. :-) Problem solved.

I connected the bird net to the fence with cable ties and used fence pegs at the bottom, so I can easily pull a fence peg out and harvest or weed or whatever else it is I want to do.
The Gang is still happy to visit which is nice.

Once I chase them away (by walking past them), this is where they sit and wait for me to bugger off, so they can return.
And this is once they're back.
We also have Magpies and they come around when I feed Hera, so they can have a snack too.
After the veggie garden is finished, I harvest in the herb garden. The Basil is still in full bloom and there're many many  bees which is beautiful! I harvested lots of it and made Pesto to freeze. The rest I left for the bees and later the chooks.
The dill has gone into seed and I collected them. If it doesn't come back, I have plenty of seeds to plant.
This is the dill flower before it has gone to seed. Very pretty.
The Rosemary is growing. Looking at this, I think it's time for a nice leg of Lamb when I come back home.
The Marjoram is also growing nicely, just the Thyme and the Oregano didn't. I will plant them in pots and see if this is any better.
The Parsley is going wild. I feed heaps to all the animals - the chooks, the birds, Hera and us. It's great in hearty winter stews.
Curry Plant and Sage - both growing nicely and taste spectacular. I love Sage and recently used it in a creamy garlic sauce with roasted pumpkin and agnolotti - Steve loved it! I also used it on our Roast Pork with apple - great pairing!
The herb garden looks a bit sad at the moment but I planted my garlic in there, so soon it show lots of garlic plants. Currently is the perfect time for growing garlic - dry and warm.
On our recent visit to the market, we came across this fellow and took him home. Another bird bath for the many birds which visit our garden. Meanwhile I have placed a rock inside it, so insects can drink out of it as well.
This is a better picture of the bird netting. Looks pretty good and it has withhold our strong Bouldy seabreeze. In here I planted pineapple, passionfruit, cabbages, tomatoes, chard and shallots. I've never been able to grow cabbage due to the heat, but I bought some heat resistant seeds, maybe it works. The sage wasn't supposed to do well either and is going marvellous.
The French Marans are now fully integrated (also they fight amongst each other a fair bit) and lay beautiful dark brown eggs. I've been told they're only average layers but so far we received 2-3 eggs a day from 3 hens.
The tomatoes are developing. I'm looking forward to nice juicy tomatoes when I come home next time. The sweet taste of sun ripened tomatoes is just second to none.
The girls happily resting.
I love the big comb of the Leghorns. Apparently they're prone to frostbites but luckily in our climate, this isn't going to happen.
This is my first turmeric shoot. I'm curious to see if it will grow properly.
Happy hens, yummy eggs...
I've created this little poultry forage garden for the chooks. Now with the wire on it, the plants have a chance to grow. I sometimes take the wire of and the pot out of the chook pen to let them grow higher and later give them back to the chooks - they love it!
And this is the completed front. Easy! I've got Zucchini, snowpeas, radishes, sweet potato blueberry and blackberry in there.
I love the cold beautiful winter mornings. I woke up early and watched this sunrise with a beautiful cup of peppermint tea warming me. What a nice start for a day.
The Bauhinia is flowering. I can't believe how much this tree has grown, I must have planted it in the right spot.
Hera is having a yearn. She's enjoying the cooler weather as well.
The Euphorbia flower in pink, yellow and red in our front garden.
Steve made me buy a cover for the BBQ so it doesn't get dirty. To be honest, I preferred the look without the cover, nevermind it gets dirty.
The pots on the Patio has a beautiful display as well.

The Mandevilla
I've got a mental blank and cannot recall the name for this one. Nevermind, it looks pretty and I wanted to share the picture.
Sunny is watching me...
... so is Stormy.
The Mint at our place can never grow big enough as I use it daily for my water, for tea and for cooking.
I finally found an Elderberry Tree!!! I put it in a pot first, so it can grow a bit bigger and stronger before I put it in the garden. I hope it grows quickly, I can't wait to make elderberry liquor, jam and enjoy the smell of those beautiful flowers which taste magnificent as well.
The double Petunias - I love them even more than the 'normal' ones.

I love autumn in the garden. It's so different to the European gardens. Here you start planting as it's cool enough for things to grow.

During my break I did my plantings for the herb and vegetable garden and I also fertilised and mulched all of our trees. The summer rain washes away nutrients, so it's important to replenish them. The garden looks really good and I love working in it all day. Can't wait to get back home!

What have you planted lately?