It’s been awhile since I’ve written here but we have been busy – work, some gardening, Christmas, New Year, family, holidays. Back to work tomorrow!
Over the past couple of weeks, when the weather has permitted, my husband and I have been outside in the garden. We love it there, and on summer evenings it’s so easy to remain outside till after 8pm, watch the sunset and enjoy hearing the nature around us.
A week ago we spent two days working in our chook pen and house. We could see signs that the rats were setting up a nest and last summer we were overran with rats – well, our chooks were. The fact that I could see chicken tail feathers lying on the ground at hole entrances was a sure sign the rats were pinching tail feathers at night and lining their nests. Well, we pulled up all the pavers in the hen house, dug up some soil, saw the rat tunnels and poured powdered cement over the entire floor, watered it, let it set, put soil back over and the pavers back. We also did the same along the entire edge of the hen house, where we could see tunnel entrances. While the rats could still get through the chicken wire, we’re hoping what we’ve done will be a deterrent for awhile and they’ll have to go build their nests elsewhere.
Mid to late week got too hot to work in the garden. High 30C temperatures and Friday at 42C was a scorcher! Thankfully a cool change came late afternoon and the temperature dropped over 20C! We had some rain overnight Friday and more Saturday afternoon and evening. Total of 5.25mm – not a lot but better than nothing. I did water the veggie garden and some of our newer trees Friday morning and then checked on them in the evening.
This weekend, with temperatures of 21C and 22C it was perfect weather for working outside. Some cloud so not full sun and a gentle breeze both days. We worked in the vegetable garden, clearing the bottom tier of weeds, then Graham ran the cultivator over it, adding chook manure and dynamic lifter and topping it with sugar cane mulch. I worked on the top tier, clearing weeds but also adding three more tomato plants in front of the three that have now begun fruiting. This should enable us to have tomatoes for a longer period. We’ll probably add three more in front of those newer plants once they begin fruiting too.
Once Graham had spread the mulch on the lower tier I was able to get stuck into planting seeds and planted the following: cauliflower, lettuce, zucchini, stir fry mix, broccoli and carrots. For the first time ever, I’ve actually recorded these activities in a garden diary and even added plant markers in front of where I’ve planted. All have been watered and bedded down – we now will wait for signs of growth.
Several weeks ago we planted pumpkin seeds and now have several plants in an advanced stage of growth. Looking forward to them flowering and fruiting. And three weeks ago we planted corn seed – the plants came up about a week ago so we watch those eagerly too.
As we finished the activities for today we were delighted to see small birds in our silver birches for the first time – that is, the first time we’ve seen this. We planted the trees 12 months ago and they’ve grown amazingly in that time. Where they were once short trees just reaching my thigh, they now tower well over my head and that of of my husband too. So glad we planted these. There is a bird bath nearby and we watched a grey fantail and some brown thornbills bathe while a blue fairy-wren hung around to watch. Such a joy to see the bird life enjoying our garden.
What’s more important is that 3 years ago the family of our elderly neighbour cleared much of the land on her property, preparing her place for sale. Sadly, some of the bird life lost their homes and that also meant they went away. But with the increased plantings and work we’ve been doing over the past 12 months, the birds are starting to show up again and we are indeed grateful for that. Our back paddock is a garden for wildlife, and then in the top part of the property we’re developing our vegetable garden but are also growing fruit trees and a grapevine and strawberries. Eventually, hopefully, we’ll be able to supply far more of our own foods, rather than having to buy it.
As I was packing up for the evening I noticed the head of one of our sunflowers nearly ready to burst open. And then close to our back door I heard the unmistakable buzz of the blue banded bee in the hot lips salvia. Love watching these bees.