The feature photo above is of some corn, beans and pumpkins – the famous three sisters – coming up in the Dreamland potager beds. OK and some weeds too… a lot of weeding and composting going on.
Way back when in autumn, as part of the winter cover crop kit I got from Diggers Club, there were three packs of Lucerne seeds, which had to be sown in spring. Makes sense hey? Anyway, so I had 9000+ seeds to sow. Now some Lucerne would be a good addition to our gardens, make no mistake. It is very useful in no-dig beds, as chook feed and bedding, the flowers attract bees, it’s a good nutrient miner, useful in compost, and so on. But 9000 seeds are quite a lot! So we sowed some in our most problematic raised vegetable box – the one nearest to the compost heaps and the gum trees just the other side of the fence. If their deep roots can outsmart the gum trees for water, it would be great. We sowed some all along the edge of the driveway orchard – they don’t get any irrigation, so they are left to their own devices. And we have a little problem child bed in the front yard where we unsuccessfully tried growing myrtles before, so now the Lucerne can do battle with the invading kikuyu runners.
Problem bed before and after
As part of the multi-tasking, we started renovating the old chicken coup on Dreamland, but I’ll cover that in a separate post. It’s a massive project…. However, in the run we planted some Lucerne too. These ones are lucky, they get some “fly-over” water from the pumpkin patch just outside the coup – so they are spouting nicely!
Lawn and compost
I don’t mow the lawn to make it look nice – we have no Garden and Home aspirations here – it’s all about sustainability. I mow the lawn when I need compost fodder, as simple as that. So as some of the compost heaps started running low in temperature, it was time to mow. Especially the little paths and spaces at Dreamland are great for compost fodder, as they are loaded with white and red clover too.
So as a certain young gentleman was mowing, I was using the whipper-snipper to trim some of the bushy grasses next to the long market garden beds, as Patricia has also been planting these with capsicum, cucumber and some more members of pumpkin family. Just as well I trimmed the bushy grasses, because I whipped out a baby tiger snake (about 30cm) in the process! It was a bit stunned from the whip, but seemed to recover quite quickly. So it first had to be released at the creek nearby. Don’t tell Patricia – but the little snake was right where she sat on the path and planted the capsicums a few days before…
Tiger snake and capsicums
I must say I’ve been getting very good assistance with the mowing lately. Young Markus has been pushing the lawnmower and has been collecting cartloads full of compost fodder as a result. This week alone we turned three of the compost heaps by adding in new clippings. But of course, his favourite is using the ride-on, which I have now been slowly letting him do on his own. He is really careful through the narrow Dreamland paths, maybe because he helped to tie the borders and sow them. But of course, young boy that he is, we caught him out doing s-curves on the concrete paths at Homeland! We were furious and of course gave him the “trust” speech, but I had to chuckle afterwards – it’s probably what I would have tried too… but maybe I wouldn’t have left incriminating evidence on the concrete paths though. I mean, the gravel driveway is so much better for s-turns, but don’t tell him that! (Unfortunately the “evidence” photo didn’t come out very well, but we have it…)
I measured the compost this morning, and it’s so welcoming to see the grass and clover clippings had pushed the temperature up into the 60C again. Or was it the snake oil? Actually, I must still add a bit of Valerian water to revv it up a bit more…
No, this is not a landmine site… Patricia has been planting sunflowers and more pumpkins in the mulch in the bottom corner. This part of the garden used to have such dry dead soil, but the mulch and the regular biodynamics sprays have really turned it alive, even though it is still quite dry. She has a very interesting approach of sowing the seeds and planting the seedlings in a pocket full of seedling mix into a hole in the mulch. It seems to provide the seeds with a good base for germination and give the young seedlings a good start before their roots hit the hard but nutrient-rich clay which has been softened slightly under the mulch.
We got such a good pumpkin harvest from the new vineyard right next to this corner last year, let’s hope we get another bumper crop from the corner itself!
We started harvesting the first few strawberries from the terrace conversion bed… but of course, we’re not the only ones who discovered the strawberries! So the first set of bird nets had to go on. Being a new bed, it wasn’t just drape and clip – the stands and wires had to be made and screwed on first. Fortunately, the old terrace net fits – even though it’s showing serious signs of wear and tear (literally). These flimsy white nets just don’t last.
It was really interesting – these strawberries, which were directly planted from runners during autumn, are about 2 – 3 weeks ahead of their compatriots, which were also planted off runners at the same time, but which overwintered in the greenhouse and were transplanted early in spring. We have a few beds which will need cleaning and redoing after this summer. I know which approach I’ll take this time round – especially as it saves me a lot of useful space in the greenhouse!