Yeah, I know, I haven’t blogged for many months. We’ll explore that, as well as a few random observations in this post.
Hopefully a blogging comeback
With a full-time day job, which is now all online with the work from home situation, I find it very hard to spend even more time staring at a small square screen and hammering away at the keyboard. Also, I used to write a lot of my posts on the train – I must say I really enjoy not commuting – but it did create that dedicated undistracted writing time.
The other reason is, I haven’t been outside “farming” much. Mosquito bites seem to affect me even more than before, I feel really lousy for a few days after a few bites. And our mosquitos have been relentless – even right through winter. So this factor together with the full-time working has kept me mostly indoors. It’s funny, I used to be the plants guy and Patricia the animals person, now she’s doing a lot of the gardening stuff and I mostly only do the bees, chooks and ducks. Oh and the odd mowing and whipper-snippering. They seem to leave me alone if I’m working with a noisy moving vibrating device. Patricia’s been very busy with the vegetables but we’ll cover that in a subsequent post.
We planted the shelterbelt between Dreamland and the school behind us in July 2017 – all very small plants, which battled to grow for a long while, mostly because of a row of large Eucalyptus trees just on the other side of the fence. Then in January this year, the school took those trees out (as described in this post). Since then the shelterbelt has shot up nicely and is starting to create a great natural buffer and wildlife habitat.
With my absence from the garden I can really see the effect of the different styles of gardening. At Homeland, which was just developed as a conventional garden with a big vegetable patch with raised beds, the grass and weeds are absolutely taking over. Add to it that we inherited kikuyu grass from the previous owners, which spreads like wildfire in the Australian potassium-rich soil. So Homeland is now totally overgrown in places. Pulling out kikuyu roots is a very mosquito prone task – they love the damp grass and it’s a slow-moving type of operation, so I’ve just turned the other way and pretended the problem doesn’t exist. But it does… and it’s getting worse.
And to think I almost had it under control!
At Dreamland, which was designed and planted as a food forest, it is a totally different story. We have had a pretty mild winter, with more than sufficient rain, but lots of beautiful in-between, so most plants have been growing steadily on. The result is that Dreamland is starting to look nice and lush. With some of the hedges and the shelterbelt shooting up, some of the “rooms” are starting to come into their own. And literally all I do is mow the paths once in a while.
Of course the areas laid out as vegetable areas are overgrown, but these are pretty well contained. I see the ducks now venture in there – there must be snails and slugs in there. The vegetable market garden, however, is a total disaster. Between the tall grasses and the deep-rooted dill it’s becoming a bit of a wilderness. I’m not sure yet what we are going to do there. The permaculture solution would be to lift the irrigation pipes and lend or exchange two little pigs and let them sort it out. Unfortunately I haven’t found anyone in our area who lends or rents out pigs yet.
And to think, our permaculture class – way back when when we were still allowed to “gather” – basically cleared this whole area!
To be continued…
The birds and the bees have been carrying out usual shenanigans, so I’ll do a post on that shortly. As I mentioned, Patricia has been doing great work with the vegetable gardens. So far, the tagasaste experiment is working great in some areas, so we’ll report on that too.