Sunday, April 12, 2015

an update in autumn

Just a few photos here. It's been a hot/dry/hot/wet summer where growth has been wild in places. A lot of seedlings coming up here and there (the rocket at the wrong time of year, swiftly burned to death), also curious things also arising from nowhere, like this:

I didn't plant this, arising in the shade of bananas
 and in company with aloe vera and volunteer parsley,
but very welcome, the flowers lasting weeks
and bringing a smile as you walk past.

I have experimented with some things for soil improvement, which will be in a separate blog entry.

Among the easiest innovation has been decision to add volcanic rock dust to my miserable sandstone based soil. This has produced amazing results, producing better growth and fruit generally. Interestingly, though they've been eaten not photographed, some of the volunteer tomatoes (the only ones I grow) have departed from the normal pattern of compost-origin tomatoes of being very small, to be big standard sized tomatoes. It would seem that it's not just a simple genetic shift to produce small fruit, but also a nutrition issue. The volcanic rock dust is clearly the best additive I have ever used, providing a huge array of mineral needs in a slow release manner, so that there is value, not risk, in heavy application. It is also, as a stimulus to general growth, much appreciated by worms and productive of more humus and bringing the pH into optimal range. Applied both to soil near plants and to compost and worm systems.

walking from the back veranda, life becomes crowded!

from the back bedroom french doors:
removing much of the tree shade further from the house
(hence the red prop under that branch - we had to reduce the tree
because it was tending to lean over and at risk of uprooting house foundations)
 has let the sun in and growth has been rampant
... we await some colouring of the leaves of the sweet potato (kumera)
to dig and discover whether there is much underground.
To encourage layering I threw bricks into the wild growth.
See also the tamarillo, water chestnut (long reeds), chokos and mandarin. 

The goddess of everything Isis has moved elsewhere, being involved in a new construction.
So Hanuman, the shape-shifting Indian god who can be bigger than a mountain or as small as a cat
is in charge of this garden, which has changed shape dramatically this year. 
Hanuman was not good at identifying herbs and, unable to find the right one, lifted a whole mountain and took it 
 to the battlefield with its herbs to save the life of Lakshamana.
... Now time to relax... but don't tell them where he is!
lots of tamarillos, have been finding new culinary uses for their sweet and sharp flavour 
I've found the best harvesting technique is to shake the tree gently and the ripest fall easiest.

the tree prop frames living space outside this east bedroom.

I didn't plant this tomato, it just appeared in a raised bed after spinach crop finished.
Hitherto, volunteer tomatoes always tiny. Volcanic rock dust value? 
I've never succeeded with eggplant (berenjina, aubergine, melanzane, brinjal) before,
see the fruit sitting on the mulch. Volcanic rock dust effect?
another view of choko (chayote) vine (bigger leaf), kumera (smaller leaf), water chestnut
and a young wampi tree in the middle.

You will see that the banana flower head keeps opening,
but only a few flowers have been pollenated, up the top.
Whether this is because the weather went cold at the wrong moment,
whether because of inadequate nutrition,
whether because not enough bees (very few around until a few days ago)
I don't know. Perhaps a combination of factors.
I am trying to get more affection and attention into this awkward garden corner. Things are improving!
The young hens are growing well.

... and the roots of the passionfruit run under the hens' (chooks') space, fertilised well,
growing from next to nothing in one season, starting to provide fruit
 and shade over the chook run.
The young tamarillos have huge leaves.
more pumpkins, among many things, in the front years. Volunteers. 
Sorry, you didn't get to share the massive crop of cherry guavas...
this is the end of the big crop on this small bush.
That's the end of this haphazard photo collection, separate blog entry on innovations.

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