Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Spring In The Garden

When we left our house in Perth, I wanted to bring some of my garden with me.  I took cuttings of my favourite native plants and I dug up one variety of plant to bring to Torbay, my cliveas.  I adore cliveas, they have green strappy leaves, grow in the shade but are tough as old boots, and the best thing is that they flower in late winter when not much else is in flower.  And the flowers are beautiful, vibrant orange with yellow centres.  When I dug them up I bunged them into old buckets filled with potting mix and holes drilled in the bottoms for drainage.  8 months later they are still in their buckets as I'm waiting to plant them in the house garden, and they are going strong.  6 of the them have burst into flower and we are so loving seeing the explosion of bright orange.  And the roos haven't eaten them which is a real bonus! :-)
 It's amazing what a couple of weeks of warmer weather and lovely sunshine does for the growth of plants.  Check out the flowers on the sugar snap peas! 
 Steve has planted the new tomato bed.  He's planted Black Russian, Roma, Sweet Bite and TommyToe so that is something to look forward to.
 He's also planted lebanese cucumber, leek and capsicum in this bed.  What with Steve's plantings plus what I put in last week, I hope we have scads of fresh vegies to eat over summer.
This is the "outside the vegie patch" potato bed.  This is an experiment to see if anything eats the potatoes without the protection of the vegie patch fence.  Nothing is bothering the plants so far apart from a few holes in the leaves which have the suspicious silvery trail of slugs.  It will be good if this works as the potatoes take up a lot of room and it will free up more space inside the fenced area for other things.  The nearest row of potatoes are Nadines, the next row are Norlands and the smaller back row are Nicola.  We are just starting to eat King Edwards which were already growing inside the fenced area, they are very nice. 
This is one of our crazy strawberry plants.  We have five, they are teeny tiny things that we planted in June.  All they've done is flower like mad since then.  I read you should pull the flowers off new plants so have dutifully done that all through winter, but I've given up now as these tough little plants are determined to flower and fruit.  Isn't it too early?  I thought strawberries fruited in summer.  Each plant now has about 8 strawberries on it, with the first one showing signs of a red blush.  I wonder if we will get to it before the birds spot them? 
A brief interlude from gardening meant making pumpkin scones, yummo.  This batch worked really well, the last batch was too sloppy and sort of collapsed into pieces.  These ones didn't last very long.  :-)
Today's mission was to pull off the outer casing of my compost bin and reposition it, turn the fresher stuff back into the empty compost bin so it's at the bottom, then gain access to the rich, black, fantastic compost at the bottom. 
One of my personal challenges is to make great compost and I've been experimenting with different methods.  This batch has so many worms in it I can hardly believe it.  This is the kitchen scraps compost bin, but I add lawn clippings, bracken and some prunings to it.  I'm planning on using this compost to try a recipe for home made potting mix that I found on the Internet.  1 part shredded sphagnum moss, 2 parts clean river sand and 4 parts compost with some blood and bone added.  We have a patch of lush sphagnum moss growing in the lower area near the creek, so I harvested some of that today.  I figured creek sand would do for river sand and I've mixed the concoction together with the compost in the wheel barrow and will have a go at planting some seedlings in it soon. 
I will leave you with a couple of videos of my favourite feathered friends. 

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