Thursday, April 25, 2013

Construction, production with chooks and compost

A constructive day in the garden today. . .

Simon built a compost heap using reclaimed pallets. Good timing too as the mulberry tree is now dropping its copious amount of leaves for autumn. So we now have our chooks, worms and compost going well. A side note, my Mum is providing us with a top-up of worms, as hers are going great guns and need dividing. Good for us, as our worms took a hit over the summer months.

Compost bins using pallets
Simon's compost bin from reclaimed pallets.

In terms of compost production, I'm hoping we can bulk up a bit more by getting leftovers from the nearby markets. This can also help to feed the chooks, as our kitchen scraps are pretty meagre really.

I also put together a lightweight chook tractor. I used polypipe and the pipe fittings to make up the frame, plus some some bird netting from our grapevine, as there's plenty to spare. It's a bit on the flexible side (and we did have an escapee for a short while), but at least we can move it about easily and wedge it into some of the confined spaces in our backyard as needed. The girls didn't know what was going on at first, but then they didn't seem to mind as they got stuck into the long grass! They are so cute. :o)

Chook tractor
Chook tractor made with polypipe and bird netting.

We are hoping the chook tractor idea can help us to keep the grass down a bit (it's patchy at best and we don't have enough to warrant a lawnmower), plus keep the pest population down a bit. Our seeds were systematically chomped by slugs and snails as they pushed through the soil! Come on girls, get eating! Hoping they'll keep the slaters down too, plus leave their valuable manure around.

Happy gardening!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Raised garden bed and autumn plantings

Raised garden bed Autumn by margoc
Raised garden bed Autumn a photo by margoc on Flickr.
After celaning up our building remnants, we got to work on our raised no-dig garden bed and have since planted a range of seeds. We've over-planted with the expectation that some will not surface and others will suffer from the slaters and millipedes - natural attrition in other words!

So, we have from top left to right: yellow beans, radish, Swiss chard, climbing beans; Middle L to R: baby carrots, leeks (Musselwhite), peas; Bottom L to R: pansies, beetroot, peas.

The radish and beetroot have both sprouted so far (not quite a week since sowing the seeds), they got a head start with the warm weather and the bit of rain we've had since.

We've scattered a healthy layer of coffee grounds too, to try to deter the slaters and millipedes and are keeping our fingers crossed. I'm going to try to bring in the potted mints to see if that will help deter pests too - worked a treat in our Canberra garden, I recall!

Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year: everything seems to rest, the weather goes calm and if you make it to the beaach, the water is like glass for much of the day. Stunning!

Happy Autumn gardening!