Monday, March 18, 2013

Capers (capparis spinosa)

Picked up some more compost and manure today and found a caper bush.
Love capers but don't know much about them as a plant. I didn't realise there were native Australian varieties as well, but called a wild orange (or pomegranate).

Capparis spinosa
Caper. Wiki Commons
There's an organic producer based in South Australia that is doing some nice capers, plus the caper berries and also the leaves (check out their range) - yum!

Be interesting to see how capers go in the Perth humidity. At least they require little water (once established anyhow) and a bit of compost love every so often. Now to find a nice spot in the backyard for it.

Will keep you posted!

Happy gardening!

Some Autumn Rejuvenation

OK so maybe we don't need a building site in the backyard :-).

We spent the weekend cleaning up the brick and limestone rubble extracted from our bathroom. We separated the good stuff for reuse and have a "throw out pile" as well. Amazing though how small the pile became once we looked at what we could reuse.

I also put in some lemongrass, galangal and wormwood cuttings around the chook shed and fence line to catch some of the water run-off and give the chooks some extra foraging. They will keep the winter grass down around our mulberry tree too, as it crops up after the rains. As long as the cuttings survive their scratching and digging they should be good!

On another note, our worms took a hit over summer. We've moved them back under the mulberry tree too. Hoping they'll replenish their numbers in the coming (cooler) months. Another reason to get some more green crops in is to feed the chooks and worms better as they compete for our meager food scraps right now.

We topped up the pots including the lemon, lime, fig, olives, guavas and more so they too can make the most of the rain when and as it comes.

Next, our no-dig patch gets a work over.

Happy gardening!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Preserving and jams

I made some plum and fig jam recently - both with beautiful fruit - figs supplied by our lovely neighbour and plums from the local markets.

A neighbourly gesture

And, just look at the colour!!

Fig jam - my fav!

Santa Rosa Plum jam

The plums are Santa Rosa and have red-black skin giving the jam a dark, rich colour. Normally I look out for Blood (Satsuma) Plums, but only saw them one weekend and they were quite expensive. The Santa Rosas weren't too bad, about $3/kg.

I'd like to do more preserving once our renos are done and we have some pantry and laundry space!

Happy gardening!

No garden!

Well, forget about a no-dig garden, we simply don't have a garden at the moment! Thus, it's been a loooong while since I've posted to this blog.

We have begun some renovations on our house which has, until recently, turned our productive backyard into a building site! We have built a deck that transitions out to the garden, but there's still some work to do to finish things off and re-connect to our gardening activities.

Thus, we are researching ideas and designs for our backyard, as we have an opportunity to "start from scratch".

I've been reading up on Permaculture Design (Simon gave me Bill Mollison's lovely book recently) and we are turning our thoughts to a sustainable garden that can produce things for us but also for itself to keep it self-sufficient (you know, mulches, composting, seasonal mixes, etc).

So, while we are keen to put in rainwater tanks and a grey water system, we need to also think about the layout and the slope of the property and use the best areas for the best fit to our (outdoor) activities. And of course, we need to look after our little ladies who are keeping us in a fine stock of eggs!

We also want to maintain our worm farm and also a space (or theme) in which the kids can play and explore.

Between now and then (likely about 12 months) I am gathering together plants, propagating things we like the look of, eyeing off secondhand bricks, sleepers and limestone blocks and researching ways to generally make our garden summer-proof here in Perth - and ouch, what a summer we've just had! Hot, dry and simply bears NO fruit/veg wihtout constant water and shade (two things we don't as a constant).

So, wile we will maintain a small garden bed over the coming cooler months, our focus will shift more to our bigger plans in creating a backyard garden to cherish.

Happy gardening!