Wednesday, 29 February 2012

We've been taking advantage of the fabulously cool weather this week to complete some missions outside.  Steve continued on with the cleaning up of the felled tree.  This photo was taken in October 2010 while we were in the process of dragging all the bits of tree into a pile. 
And this photo was taken yesterday, mission complete apart from the last load in the foreground.  Bits of tree gone, bracken slashed and grass mowed, a great job done.
In the meantime I got busy constructing a small vegie bed.  What I wanted to do was to make a small bed that was off the ground so the kikuyu grass couldn't get in and take over.  At the back of the shed I found a flat timber box that parts of the shed were delivered in.  It's been sitting out there in the weather and the thin base was looking a bit dodgy.... time will tell whether the whole thing collapses!  Anyway, I raised it up onto bits of wood to about knee height, which should keep the kikuyu and the bunnies at bay.
I had to mix up a concoction of goodies to fill the box, we are on a very sandy soil which water disappears through very quickly.  I ended up using bark and leaves off the forest floor, sand, sheep poo, seaweed and worm castings, all mixed up into a lovely goo.  This next photo is especially for Michelle, who cannot understand my joy of all things poo - here you are darling, a closeup of poo just for you.  :-)
Now, this box is about 1 metre square and I must confess that in my enthusiasm for my mission, that I may have been a little over zealous with the amount of seeds I've put in!  8 rows later, I am having a go at spring onions, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, spinach, garlic chives, coriander and dill.  My companion planting book tells me this should all work together well.  Whether the box is big enough to sustain the plants will remain to be seen!

I decided to mulch up some of the dead bracken that's around the place.  Big fronds grow on the perimeter of the forest.  When they die off they get very crunchy and brittle, perfect for mulching up. 
I want to use the mulched bracken on top of the soil in the box once the plants get big enough, so I decided to put it under black plastic to let the mulch compost  down a bit while I'm impatiently waiting for seeds to sprout and little plants grow.  To help it along I added some seaweed and some comfrey leaves, both of which I've heard are compost activators.  To finish up, a damping down with a couple of watering cans full of diluted Seasol, wrap up in black plastic and see what happens!

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