Tuesday, February 10, 2015

and in late summer

We have been busy during the summer, only partly in the gardens.

We had weeks of hot-dry, which killed some things, weeks of torrential rain, two events of 80mm in 30 minutes at night, with problems of flooding and mulch being washed away. But after the severe drought last summer, we have a water table restocked and we have now also sufficient plant size and sufficient humus in the top layers for the garden to have some robustness against severe weather. Into mid-February, days of very high humidity, temperatures wandering into the 30s at times, night down to about 18 or so.

There are likely deficiencies, potassium is so soluble it is probably much reduced and we need to top up to improve fruiting. I began adding volcanic rock dust several months ago and this seems to have had very good. This being in origin tired cow paddock, negligible soil, with superphosphate induced hard-pan on top of several hundred feet of porous sandstone.

Here some pictures, inventory my place February 2015.

To begin, when I wake to the light from the east, this is the view from bedroom's French doors. I had removed a huge weight of a large tree which hitherto shaded this eastern back garden, because there was risk of it falling and uprooting the back wall of the house. But there still remained a couple of large branches, threatening to fall over time, hence the now red coloured gate-prop to hold up the branch.

and this is a 180 degree landscaped view from the step outside 
click any picture to enlarge

From the front, the other end of the property, you arrive here, among food production with a tiny amount of grass, mainly to tear up for chickens. The house shouts tame-ordinary, the garden however is going wild.

There are guardians. I dream of carving a crouching figure from that stump.

Beyond that large tree, a fruitful lilly pilly is what permaculturists have with some kind of exotic panache, begun calling a hugel bed. In early spring, when we had a lot of logs from pruning, I put these, together with seven bags of horse manure, under dark plastic, after watering deeply. Left until January, the logs are still intact, but surrounded with rich soil full of worms. Too dark for many plants, I have begun to put some rainforest items there. This is a pleasant visual barrier from the street.

There is another small hugel bed by the drive, 
with a flowering plant but also the base for a passionfruit. 
This garden has summer sun but shaded in winter. 
By winter I hope the passionfruit has climbed well up the trees to catch the light.
Right now the sun is intense, so as well as mulch, while these plants are very small and shallow rooted, I have also put some prunings on the top, loose and open and shading the mulch.

Adjacent to that is bare ground, so sun struck I thought geraniums might survive where others have failed. But having watered and deep mulched the geraniums, to my surprise a dead stick of failed tamarillo has suddenly returned to life. Tribute to rock dust, water, mulch, light, heat.

Across the drive is wider garden with full sun, a sun trap for much of the year. When I arrived in 2008 it was all grass, now deeper life.

the mulch we make. Perennial basil, chilli, pepino

pumpkin, blood orange, tomatoes, tarragon, basil

pumpkin, banana

lime and sage: the curtain protects strawberries from birds

Yarrow as a live mulch aka groundcover.

scaevola as live mulch.
this guava is a success and fruit are growing well

This jackfruit really shouldn't be alive here. It was sent to us in a mistaken delivery.
It is a tropical tree and in the last four months more than doubled in size.
It sits between a sun-heated north-facing wall and a fence.
To get through winter I placed a mirror nearby.
Should it really grow to 15 metres I don't know where we will put the house.
It shares space with the washing line. What will happen if fruit reach 30kg each?!!?

enter the back yard past the espaliered lemon,
an essential near the kitchen

also a kitchen essential, the bed of chives under the lemon tree

I recently planted a number of hardenbergia plants adjacent to fruit trees and vines. A handsome additive to the garden, this legume also improves the soil.

Still too young for eggs, these eight month old hens are also soil improvers.
Since the hens came to live around the roots of this passionfruit it has gone mad. Last winter one metre high.

Passionfruit flower. You do not pick the fruit, you collect it daily off the ground. But no fruit yet from this plant. 

Young tamarillo amid golden marjoram and parsley. Tamarillo trees will grow to four or five metres.
They only last a few years. New trees grow from seeds of fallen fruit. We may then move them or give them away.

This bush basil, perennial basil, has a deeper, earthier flavour than the annual basil.
This bush, now six years old, I pruned again recently, it recovers from savage pruning.
From this plant I have seedlings everywhere. 

A view from the back veranda. The bangalow palms were two feet high in 2008, this year grown very rapidly. 

Sunflowers grown along the eastern fence now beginning to bloom
... and of course heads turned east in the morning, a gift to my neighbour.

At last a banana flower!

A raised bed with eggplant, leek, spring onion, other self-sown greens

My neighbour cuts a lot of grass and at my request drops it over the fence - for mulch or compost

The maqui berry plant on the right seems to be shrubby though described in wikipedia as a tree.
On the left, asparagus has now been left to grow up, having been robbed of its shoots in spring.

This Gymea lily by the compost has grown slowly but out there in other places I see the bases of some are huge
... will I have to move that gate?
Under a banana a young volunteer palm tree lurks. We will watch it grow and ask it to explain itself.
This raised bed, in a former life bed for someone's large dogs, has had a spinach crop scared to death by heat.
But a fine tomato vine has taken over.
Rhubarb does not like the heat, but it has survived and will crop well in winter.
A view of the door from which the first photo in this blog entry was taken.

Parsley under a palm tree, such a wonderful edible mulch.

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