Weekend Working

After all of our weekends away from home I was very keen to get into some jobs around the property. Brodie was very busy over the weekend so I made sure I had enough supplies and got into it!

I used some of the last large pavers (salvaged from the property) and continued the path down to the tanks, demonstrated here by a zooming Benny. Using the pavers with the woodchips/mulch between has been great because it gives a really natural look but still gives a solid surface to walk on. And it doesn't get muddy in the rain!


I moved 299 (!) pavers from the front yard. They had haphazardly fallen from their original piles next to the driveway and were beginning to annoy me. I didn't realise there were so many! That area is quite overgrown and there are probably still 100 to go. I moved them down to the back patio where it is flat and is a good storage area as it is a bit of a weird inbetween space. I would have done more but I was very tired after all of this!


We had a crazy self seeded tomato patch as seen here.



I wanted to see if pruning them would make them fruit more, and I needed to refresh my skills. It has been a while! It turned out to be only 3 plants.



And most of the garlic I planted 2 weeks ago have popped up and are growing bigger everyday.



I picked some lemons a few weeks ago so before they rotted away on the counter I juiced them. I freeze the juice in an ice cube tray and when frozen I pop them out so I can use them later. I also made some citrus vinegar for homemade cleaning products using the squeezed fruit.



We have also been busy pursuing bigger and better things for our property and Brodie's business and have made good progress in these spaces. Next weekend is market day again for Brodie's business, lets hope for a nice day.

Until next time,

Kat

Mid Year Update

Hello again my friends,

I had no idea but I haven't posted anything since April!! We have been very busy with off-property activities and have been taking a bit of a break.

Brodie had to have Carpal Tunnel surgery which has slowed us down a bit. He has had it on his left hand and is due for his right around the end of June. The first surgery went well and he has had almost instant relief. It was really bothering him before he got the left hand done so when it is all over he will be a lot happier.

We went on our annual trip to K'Gari (Fraser Island) in mid-May. We had beautiful weather and even got to go swimming a few times! What a fantastic 4 days away. This was one of the highlights:


And yes, I was driving! We managed to get it out without a tow. It was a good experience.

Two weeks ago I had a look at my Queensland Arrowroot which I had planted in March along the side fence. I noticed that it was spreading pretty well so I separated some of the corms to make more plants. This is what it looked like before:



And this is what I got out of it!



I have planted more along the fence so when they have grown a bit they should make a good privacy barrier.

We have also had a spell of cold weather over the weekend with single digits overnight. We have been having the fire on even in the morning and I have been cooking our breakfast (porridge) on the fire. It is a different but very nice experience. We also installed a small ducted system to push hot air from the loungeroom to other areas of the house. It has features a quiet inline fan and makes the whole house very warm on those cold nights, whereas previously we had a very hot loungeroom and very cold house!


Last weekend was the Maleny Show and Brodie and his mum were asked to give a last minute presentation to fill in for someone who had to pull out. They gave a very interesting speech on how their micro farm was set up and there were lots of questions at the end.



On the way back we stopped in at our favourite brewery to grab some beers to go. We found out they now do Growlers, which we can take back and get filled up.


Zero waste, locally brewed beer! How good is that!

Brodie's dad also donated to us a bunch of building materials that he has no use for anymore. Now we have a whole heap of great building materials for our future projects, including lots of hardwood.



It has been a great and challenging couple of months. It has been nice to step back from the property for a bit and have new experiences. Hopefully big news coming soon regarding the house!

Until next time,

Kat



Brodie and Benny on the micro farm

Cooler and more productive weather

This past weekend saw us emerging out of the very wet weather we have had over the past few months and the temperatures have started to drop. Perfect weather to get stuck in and do some work. I don't have any before photos this week because I didn't know exactly what we would be doing. Here is what we achieved.

We made a dent in the woodchip pile and tidied up the path from the driveway towards the house (i.e. buried the problems).



We also used some logs we had from chopping down the leopard tree to shape the bed where the citrus trees live to the left. We topped up the woodchips here too while we were at it.

These are some of the grubs we found in one of the old chip piles. Massive!



We pruned, weeded and mulched around these azaleas next to the driveway. If was pretty hard to get out of the car here before! Not sure what to do with this area yet so these shrubs can stay for a bit longer.



We weeded and mulched under the fig tree. We also fixed the chook house which had taken a bit of a tumble. Just have to dig a swale along the tree drip line and put up a fence and we will be ready for some fresh eggs!



I have also been reading Retrosuburbia, the new book from permaculture co-originator David Holmgren. I borrowed this one from the library but I might get my own copy. I have been enjoying it a lot so far and brings into context some of the ideas I have been thinking about. I think Benny likes it too!


We have this Wednesday off for Anzac Day. We will go to dawn service and see how the day goes from there. This weekend is meant to be sunny and cool, bring it on!

Until next time,

Kat

Working by the Moon

Ever since I have started working with nature and spending more time outdoors I can't help but notice the effect the moon has on me. Perhaps it is because I am a woman. I am not sure, but I can't dispute the fact that every time it is full moon I never sleep very well!

I read a book by Lyn Bagnall called Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting (affiliate link). In it she described that moon planting hasn't been proven, but by what she has seen in her own garden that it could be possible. So I am going to give it a red hot go.

According to the moon, in April on the weekends I should be completing these tasks:

7 & 8 April - Weeding & Pruning
This is because sap flow is low and prevents regrowth.

14 & 15 - Prepare soil
Another point where sap flow is not ideal for plant growth, but not its lowest. It is the time to prepare the soil for the planting of crops which occurs on the:

21, 22, 28 & 29 April - Planting of above ground crops
This is a much longer period than the others and will cover two weekends this month.

So on the 7th & 8th I prepared the herb garden which involved pulling out some weeds and fit in with this cycle. Last weekend (14th & 15th) my parents stayed over so no work was completed. I don't think I can plant things for two weekends so I will have to do some other tasks instead, but I will try to minimise the weeding. I will definitely start some more seeds as my tiny shadehouse is freeing up a bit now.

An aspect of Lyn's book that spoke to me was even if the moon planting has no effects, it still creates a cycle of tasks to occur in the garden. I really liked this as at the moment I am kind of running around like a headless chook being quite overwhelmed with all the things that need doing. By separating the tasks I hope to keep my workload under control and receive the best results for my efforts.

I bought this Laminated Perpetual Lunar Moon Calendar Planting Guide (affiliate link) to help me with my planning. I reset it at the beginning of the month according to the date of the new moon. It is very simple to use and has easy to understand explanations of the phases of the moon on it. I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to giving my weekends a set purpose and seeing some results.

Until next time,

Kat

Creating our Herb Garden

Over the weekend I managed to get enough time to finally finish putting together the herb garden. It is placed right by the front door that goes to the kitchen. By placing it here we are going to try our best to keep an eye on it and full of tasty herbs. I thought that I would make a step by step to help any other gardeners out there wanting to do the same thing and to keep a record of what we have done. Maybe it will work out really well, or maybe it will be a total failure! Only one way to find out :)

Step one: Collect materials. For this method of bed formation we wanted a weed barrier, a fertiliser and a mulch layer.

I got the paper for the weed barrier from when we moved offices at work as everyone was throwing away old documentation. I have been squirreling it away at our place until we needed it. For this garden I used mostly manila folders to see how they go.

For the fertiliser my MIL had some leftover composted cow manure from her garden, so she kindly donated it to us. We used this because it was available to us and locally sourced but you could use any type of well rotted manure.

For the mulch layer we used  woodchips. Any conventional mulch could be used here. There were some contractors clearing around powerlines just around the corner and Brodie had a chat to them and got a whole truck full of woodchips delivered to us, for the very convenient price of a case of beer. This is the pile with a dog for scale.



This is the area before I started. It was a bit neglected as we had been concentrating on other areas.



Step two: Pull out any vegetation in the area, then rake to remove rocks and large chunks. The leftover rocks in this bed helped to create the border.

Step three: place the paper weed barrier overlapping over the raked surface. In this photo both stages can be seen.



Step four: Add the fertiliser layer on top of the weed barrier layer. I mostly did it at this point to prevent the papers from flying away as I was working. This is most of the garden area with the weed barrier and fertiliser layers.


Step five: Add the mulch layer. Some of the woodchips we got from the contractors had a lot of leaf matter in it so I used it for the garden. It is less chunky and should break down quickly to add fertility and organic matter. I put this mulch down to about 5cm thick.


Step six: Repeat the steps until the whole garden is complete.



By using local materials available to us we have helped to improve our soil and prevent further carbon emissions. It cost us negligible amounts of money for this area and we prevented some papers going into landfill. We planted out the bed with basil, lettuce and silverbeet. We haven't got a lot of herb seedlings to plant which is why we decided to get some greens in the ground as well. I also installed the retaining wall to the right at the same time to create some separation from the deck and reduce the slope a bit. These were scavenged from the property.

I hope this can help someone to build their own garden bed, let me know how you go! This time of year is great to do it as it is cooling down and lots of great herbs can be grown, like my favourite, Coriander!

Until next time,

Kat
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