The Gorgeous Garden

Leave a comment

This weekend GMan and I have had 3 days at home so finally managed to catch up on some much needed work in the garden.  We have had a combination of plenty of rain plus some hot, sunny days over the past few weeks which has been a recipe for everything to grow crazily – especially the weeds.

Thankfully, the weather was not too hot and mostly fine this weekend.  GMan ploughed through everything on the mower and now I can actually see the vegetable garden area again.

2016-02-14 01

We also had a blitz in this area in front of the verandah.  The hibiscus we planted last year are doing really well and I think we need about 3 more.

2016-02-14 02

The weeds were going mad and there were piles of branches waiting to be mulched.  The mulching has been done and weeds mostly pulled up and discarded in the compost heap up the back.  The thickly mulched area in the background of the photo with cardboard/newspaper underneath has very little weed so we definitely need to get more mulch and finish the whole area.

This afternoon GMan planted the capsicum plants we bought last weekend and the 4 shrubs we bought at a new native plant nursery in Maleny.

2016-02-14 03

The plant in the foreground was a Christmas gift and has more than doubled in size in the 6 weeks since we planted it.  The one up closer to the road was also planted towards the end of last year.  The new plants are barely visible in the photo but can be identified by the areas were the lawn has been dug up.

Although it is not clear in the photo, this is quite a steep embankment and difficult to mow.  So, we have decided to cover the entire area with native shrubs and groundcovers.  Nothing will be more than a couple of metres high and we hope to have it densely covered and eliminate the lawn in this area entirely.  It may seem like a vain hope when you look at it now but here is a reminder of what can be achieved.

2016-02-14 04

This planting is along the front boundary a provides privacy from the road.  The whole area was just a wide expanse of lawn when we came here 10 years ago.  It took about 4 – 5 years to get this level of screening.

We have many grand ideas for the garden and look forward to getting more done but in the meantime it is gratifying to see how much we have achieved.  The chicken run, vegetable gardens and fencing in the first photo have all been established since we came here, the area in front of the verandah has been completely revamped and the native screening grown.  Many other areas of the garden tell a similar story.

I hope you enjoy seeing some snippets of our garden.

Flown the Coop

Leave a comment

We have a small flock of chickens.  It ranges in number from 2 to 7 depending on circumstances.  We had 5 until last week when one of them died.  We usually let them out for a couple of hours late in the afternoon when we are home so since I was working from home today I went downstairs to let them out about 4pm.  The 2 brown chickens came running but there was no sign of the 2 black ones.  I searched everywhere for them but to no avail.

Then I noticed that the shadecloth that we have over part of the run was split.  The join had obviously deteriorated in the sun.  One of the reasons I put the shadecloth up was to stop the chickens getting on the roof of the henhouse and then using that as a launching-pad to fly out of the enclosure.  The black chickens were the main culprits and The Duke had christened them ‘Harriet Houdini’ 1 & 2.  It looked like they had lived up to their names and I was not sure whether I would see them again.

Wire clips
I decided to fix the split so I used these fencing wire clips.

Repaired shadecloth
Here is the finished result.

About an hour later the 2 escape artists returned and carried on scavenging in and around the garden beds as though nothing untoward had happened.  I am hoping that I have solved the problem and they will stay in the run.

Going, Going………Not Quite Gone

1 Comment

Last weekend we did some more demolition work on the old chicken coop.  We have been fairly careful in how we went about it because it was our goal to salvage most of the materials for use in future projects.  There is now only one piece of chain wire to remove and then the posts.

IMG_4088

The Colorbond sheeting from the roof and walls will come in handy for some of the remaining raised garden beds that we are planning to construct.  The posts have been earmarked for use in building the perimeter fence of the vegetable garden.  That was the reason that we fenced the new chicken run before the vegetable garden as the posts for the run were taller so had to be purchased.

The woodshed which is in the foreground of the photo will be retained and some minor modifications made to it.

IMG_4089

I will also be making some changes to how the wood is stored.  Although it cannot be seen in this photo, I had wood stacked quite high against the side wall.  I use the past tense of ‘had’ as recently there was a tremendous crash during the night and we have now discovered that my carefully stacked wood has collapsed and is now a disorganised jumble on the ground.  I suspect that some of the local wildlife was instrumental in this event.

As always, there is always another project lurking in the background, even if it is only in our minds at this stage.  Once the structure is completely removed this will open up the possibility of having at least one large limb lopped from one of the jacaranda trees.  There is also a very large boulder which has dislodged from higher up the mountain and is resting against part of the old fence at the top of the block.  We may remove the fencing to allow the rock to roll to the bottom of the garden (another ‘meteorite feature?) before repairing the fence.

Then there are the possibilities of what to do with the area where the chicken run was but I will save that discussion for another day.

Chicken Castle

11 Comments

We have been working on a new chicken run for a couple of months now.  The end is now in sight and at last I can show you that we are really making some progress.

Chicken run

The chicken wire is unrolled and attached temporarily to the top wire in several places.  Obviously, it still needs to be tensioned and attached but we have a much better idea of how the finished product will look.

I hope that by this time next week our chickens will be firmly ensconced in their new home.

New coop

We have assembled the coop which we bought online.  It was easy to assemble and I think it will be perfect for the girls.

I Can Grow Carrots

11 Comments

This probably seems pathetic to many gardeners but I have finally managed to grow some carrots.  It is a crop which has eluded me for the best part of 30 years of growing at least some food crops.

Some of my earliest memories are of the carrots growing in my grandfather’s vegetable garden.  Carrots were one of the vegetables that my parent’s grew also.

So why is it so difficult to grow carrots?  The seed is very fine and can easily dry out, blow away or be taken by birds.  Whatever the reason, I have been unable to even get them to germinate previously.  Then there is the issue of the soil.  It needs to be a bit on the sandy side, well-drained and definitely no rocks or you can end up with some strangely shaped carrots.  Mind you, I was so desperate to at least have carrots growing that I could not have cared less about them being misshapen.

When I sowed carrot seeds a couple of months ago I covered them with a few layers of damp newspaper until they had germinated and this seemed to do the trick.

Carrots and beans

These are the carrots I picked today.  They are really just a few that I pulled to thin them out.  They are still smaller than the beans that are also from the garden and I can almost hear my grandfather telling me that the soil is too rich in nutrients as they have all gone to the tops.  I know, I know……..but at least I have carrots.  I am so proud of myself.  The beans and carrots were eaten for dinner.

We have been busy putting the strainer wires up for the fencing on the chicken run today.  Tomorrow we hope to attach at least some of the chicken wire and also assemble the coop which we bought.  It is currently still in the 2 flat pack boxes in the garage.

I am looking forward to the day when the fencing is all done and the remainder of the raised garden beds are built and then hopefully I will be able to concentrate on improving the results of my vegetable gardening efforts.

Demolition Derby

6 Comments

We have managed to get a bit more done in the garden this weekend but is has not been all about building.  Some of it has entailed destruction – namely demolishing the original vegetable gardens.

Vegie Garden

This is what it looked like about 2 years after we moved here.  These beds served us well but we are now working on a revamped plan.  So far we have built 3 raised beds and eventually there will be nine of them in a fully-fenced garden area.

New garden beds

You can see some of the old beds in the enclosure in the background of the photo above.  Below is what it looks like now.

Demolished

You can see the posts for the chicken run in the background.  That will share a common fence with the bottom of the garden enclosure.  The string line on the left hand side marks the eastern boundary of the vegetable garden enclosure.  As well as the 9 raised beds I plan to grow herbs in beds along the fence line nearest to the house and asparagus and rhubarb on the eastern side.  I do not want these in one of the raised beds as they are perennials rather than annuals.  There will also be chilli bushes and blueberries nearest to the front boundary as well as a screened area for the compost tumblers.  We have one tumbler at the moment and will probably get a second one as well as keeping one ‘open’ compost bay.  I am quite keen to clear up the ‘Steptoe & Son’ arrangement that is there at the moment with a cut down rainwater tank as well as a rusty 44 gallon drum.

We put in 4 more posts for the chicken run fencing so next weekend we should be able to attach at least some of the top rails and the strainer wires.  Because the fence is 1800mm high in this section we will have three horizontal wires.  One at the top, one close to the ground and the other in the middle so this should prevent any sagging of the fencing wire.  We are using heavy gauge chicken wire as our plan is to make sure that the chickens do not get out nor any unwanted guests finding their way into the run.

Our original plan included incorporating a coop into the run but it all got too complicated so we have opted to have a ready-made, freestanding coop situated in the run.  It will be something like this.

What a Weekend!

9 Comments

Our weekends are usually full of activity at home because we are at work all week.  This one was no exception and I have to admit that it is great to get to Sunday evening and feel a real sense of achievement.

Of course there are all of the basics to be done so I had 2 loads of washing done and hung out on Friday evening.  The weather has been fine and dry for the past few days so the washing almost dried overnight.  This meant that I could do the ironing on Saturday morning.

Our first job was to split and stack some more firewood.

Woodpile

We will probably not use the fire much more this winter so there is now plenty of wood split and ready for next year.

Pile reduced

There was a huge pile of logs that needed splitting and they are almost all gone now.  Just lots of smaller pieces to be sorted and stacked into boxes.  It was great to get this done as we will be keeping the woodshed but dismantling the adjacent chicken house before long.  That is because we a building a new run for the chickens.

The new chicken run has been a considerable time in the planning and preparation but now you can actually see some progress.  We have dug the holes and set the 4 corner posts in concrete.  There are another 4 intermediate ones done, too.

Posts for the chicken run

There are still 6 more holes and posts to do so we are hoping that the fine weather continues so that we can do them next weekend.

The garden is looking really good at the moment as you can see.

Lemon tree

The lemon tree is groaning with the crop.

Vegie garden

Vegetables are growing well.  We need to have bok choy with a few meals this week before it completely overwhelms everything else.

AzaleaThe azalea is looking particularly pretty.

In between the outdoor work, I managed to do the shopping at the local Co-op, fruit and vegetable stall and Aldi as well as host some guests through AirBnB last night.

Here is a final shot looking down from the verandah of the area which will be the chicken run.  There will need to be some re-arranging of some of the plants that fall within the area, although I think the mango tree will probably stay.  This was taken late in the afternoon but you can see the peach tree on the left of the photo which is already starting to blossom.  In another couple of weeks it will be in full flower.

Garden

All in all, it has been a fun and productive weekend.  How was yours?