Thursday, December 29, 2011

weed mat experiment - a few months later

It looks a bit hard to tell but the potatoes are growing own the middle of the grass.
They have been planted at different times, more recent the further away.
But all are doing well and growing. I think there should be a good crop underneath when the time comes to dig up. Most of them were from sprouting spuds in the cupboard. So a good use of wasted food.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Veggie garden update

Hello to whoever is looking at this blog. I hope you enjoy it. Now I am putting on a collection of photos of my veggie garden as it is now. It is 4 months old.
This is a patch of 4 bean mix. I bought the seed from the supermarket. You know dried seed for making your own 4 bean mix. Well it germinates. We have had the best beans from them, very sweet and juicy and crunchy. Behind them are some lentils, also from the supermarket. I put them in as a green manure crop really to cover the soil before the weeds did. Worked well.

Here are 2 beds with my transplanted asparagus crowns in them. Also a couple of self seeded tomatoes and some iceberg lettuce and lots of weeds unfortunately.

Capsicum on the left and silver beet on the right with spring onions and strawberries in the back ground. The capsicums were in the bed when we arrived, still alive in spite of the cold. I put bricks around them and my cloche on top (Aframe with glass panels like a mini glasshouse) This kept them alive and I pruned them and fed them and now they are forming fruits. Apparently they can grow for 3 years if protected from the cold.

I planted comphrey along the fence to act as a barrier to the weeds, it works well. I added more lentils and chick peas from the supermarket) and now have an edible weed barrier. On the side of the aviaries are a vegetable spaghetti, a jarradale pumpkin and a butternut pumpkin. Doing well.

This is the most recent bed to be planted up. it has eggplants, celery, capsicum and basil. Some beetroot and potatoes. Next to it is a bed filled with broad beans and parsnips. I thru all this old seed in here as a green manure crop, but we will eat the parsnips and as many beans as we can wrestle from the rats that have taken a liking to them. I am sad about this as I have been keeping the broad bean seeds for over a decade now and have none in reserve. The rats are decimating the crop.

Figs forming on our little tree. We have 3 such trees of different types we brought with us from Croydon. We planted 2 in their large pots, that's pots and all and the other in the ground as it was too big for the pot.
Why did we do this?
Because I have read that if figs get their roots into lots of good soil and water they will grow huge and make lots of leaves and no fruit. The one planted out of its pot already looks fabulously green and lush. The other 2 have figs on them.

Golden zucchini and gross lisse toms behind. They are growing so fast from all the smelly water I put on them. I keep a large bin filled with weeds and water till it stinks, then I ladle it out onto the plants, about 2 litres per week. Undiluted, unless it is very dark then I will dilute it a bit. It is magic!

Green Zuccs

This is a netted area the other side of the polyhouse from the veg garden proper. I put our thornless blackberries in here, with a few tomatoes ( I am glad I did this because the locals told me the blower birds pinch all your unprotected tomatoes). Green squash on the right. Globe artichokes I grew from seed, so still babies. A couple of rockmelons, veg spaghetti and 2 blue berries in wicking bed boxes.

I have never grown onions so big, some are as big as newborn babies heads! And very nice to eat too. But we have had a lot of rain so they may not store well. We'll just have to eat them, oh dear!

Peach tree with nets over the fruit but the rats are climbing up the trunk and eating the fruit from the inside. I have destroyed a few nests and will keep looking for more.
Rhubarb is loving the stinky water too and we have had plenty of feeds of it. M likes it very much.

This is along the back showing the unfinished paving. Above the retaining wall I have sown the rest of the 4 bean mix and lentils plus all the remaining rainbow chard weeds I had saved in an effort to beat the weeds and provide greenery for the chooks. Poor chookies, I can't let them out into the paddock as the fox is waiting for them. So I have to grow their greenery and take it to them. A new fence is planned in a few weeks though.
Well I hope you enjoyed the garden tour. This afternoon our son J, is coming to dig some holes for some posts so we can plant our raspberries and loganberries. This will make girlfriend C, very happy, she loves raspberries.
Thanks Linda and David for the plants.

Another unidentified tree, can you help? African Daphne

Oh this is a real beauty, with such glorious perfume too. Don't know what it is. When we moved in in August, it looked ordinary and a bit sick. Going yellow on the leaves. A month or so later they all fell off and I thought it had died. But lo, along came a new crop of fleshy bright green leaves and then flower stalkes, one per stem and looking like drumsticks.
Took a while but it has opened to this splender.

And it is covered in these, all kinds.

Lots of skipper butterflys too but they were too fast for me. This one pictured is rather pale compared to the others and there were orchard butterflys too and more.

I hope you enjoyed these as much as us, if you can identify the tree and the butterflys would be very nice thanks.

PS I have it on good authroity that this little tree is an African Daphne. My friends Bill and Joyce have one in their garden. Although it is constantly eaten by the possums so its future is not assured.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

tawny frogmouths from Meekatharra

My family in Meeka sent me this photo I just had to share with you. Aren't they wonderful.
Reminds me of another fabulous thing that happened in meekatharra a few years ago.
Do you remember this?

It was on the news and gardening Australia. A mining company putting in a new road to a mine had this enormous boab tree in the way. They say it is a thousand years old.
It was being taken to Kings Park in Perth and it is doing very well.
here are some small ones growing in the park.

And here is the one from the truck, growing very nicely thankyou.

that's me in front of it.

Apparently they took prodigious care of it.

Hope you have enjoyed seeing this bit of history.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Does anyone recognise this tree please?

It is a large tree about 10m tall. lots of branches. I thought it looked like a bay but was told by those we bought the property from it was not and it was poisonous.
Well it has flowered and produced blue berries at the same time.
Rather lovely and full of birds.
Any ideas?


What a beauty!

The magpies were giving a loud response to something in the garden. A bit like when we had the fox and they chased it off. We looked out the window to see what it could be and there he was.

Up the Japanese maple he did go.

Making a hasty retreat with an angry bower bird on its tail, oh and me with the camera.

must have been 1.5m long, he growled and hissed at me. I didn't get this close the zoom on the camera did that. He was too scary looking to get too close to and it would have upset him too much.

My Friend margaret has been hard at work and has identified the goanna. Thanks Margaret you are a star.

Tree Goanna or Lace Monitor Varanus varius

The Tree Goanna or Lace Monitor, Varanus varius, is Victorias largest lizard reaching a snout vent length of up to 760 mm, and a total length in excess of 2 m. It is very dark, usually with lighter yellowish banding.
Photo of Tree Goana or Lace Monitor, Varanus varius
Lace Monitor
Photographer: Peter Robertson. Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.

Distribution and habitat

It is quite common from far East Gippsland through to the Healesville area, and along the Murray river system and lakes of north western Victoria. It lives in holes in trees.


As one of its common names suggests, this is a semi-arboreal species. It is an opportunistic carnivore, feeding mainly on mammals, birds, reptiles and carrion. Females lay 14 eggs in a clutch, often in an active termite mound, where the constant temperature and humidity are ideal for incubation

My family in Meekatharra said 
"That's Bungarra in meekatharra. Taste good also"



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2 new quilts off the ranks

Hi, just want to share with you 2 new quilts that myself and Theresa have made through our on line shop, Champagne Creations.

These two were a little unusual for us as they contain no wadding. The lady who wants them needs them to put on the ground for families and babies to pose on while she takes their photos. Wadding would make them take too long to dry when washed and they would need frequent washing with people trampling them regularly.
They measure 165cm x 136cm apx.
Here are some more shots of them.

I did the blue one as Theresa didn't have time to spare to do it with me, which is understandable at this time of the year. I think we may have a problem in the future with our business partnership. Well you see I moved to the country and it is a long way to drive to my place.  I have the fabrics stored here and a huge table to lay things out on. I think it will not be good for our partnership into the future, which will be a shame as we sew so well together. Bounce ideas off each other, bring different expertise's to the fore and generally get on. Very efficient we are actually.
We shall have to get our thinking caps on and work out a solution!

 So no wadding huh? Well we bagged them! We put right sides together of the front and back, sewed around the outside leaving a 30cm gap and turned it inside out. Sewed a line of stitching just inside of the edge to keep the edges flat and did some knotting instead of quilting. I normally don't do bagging as it tends to balloon the quilt top and make it lumpy. But with just a little knotting it works fine.

you can see the knotting here, just a stitch through both layers with 6 strands of embroidery thread and tied in a knot. This will keep the top and back opposite each other and not allow it too balloon out and lose the edge!
We took 4 hours to knock this one up, it is beautiful, they both are and the lady buying them said "just beautiful as always"!
She has bought a few from us over the last year.
hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

toothbrush rag rugs

Hey I have just finished 2 toothbrush rag rugs.
What a wonderful experience. I read about them in some ones blog, sorry I can't remember. Then I googled the technique and got onto some great you tube videos about how to get started. M made me a needle or toothbrush.
Originally the needle was made from a toothbrush. The old ones which had holes in the handle for hanging it up. The brush was chopped off and the end was filed to a point. The fabric strips were threaded into the hole.
Well they stopped making those toothbrushes about 20 years ago. Then some inventive people in the US got some made but I didn't want to buy one and have it shipped across the world and who knows where you buy one here.
So a clever girl on you tube
showed how to start and what the needle her hubby made. So I got my hubby to make me one. Don't know why, I could have made it but I felt like I was following some tradition. Or maybe I just wanted to include him in the process.
Anyway it works a treat.
And now are you ready for the great unveiling of the rag rugs?
112cm across

132cm across
All made from scrap fabrics that I couldn't throw away because I have some mental block that won't let me but I was seriously starting to resent.
Well now I have loads more room in my stash boxes so I can go shopping for more!

But seriously I have been wanting and trying to make rag rugs for years and couldn't hit on a way that was easy and quick and makes a rug that is sturdy and long lasting.
The Scandinavians have been making rugs like these for hundreds of years apparently.

If you would like a needle, let me know and I can make you one for you or give you the dimensions. Just need some reasonably sturdy wire and some electricians tape. I used paper tape after the electricians tape melted on a hot day with all the work it was doing.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spring flush

Gee the garden has been riding on the Spring flush, surfing the wave of tremendous growth!
M does get a go on the mower some times. See Julia looking on, watching out for the flock. They did get in the way a bit, following the mower around as it mowed, watching and catching lots of bugs that got thrown up.

We had our first taste of this years broad beans, I do love broad beans. I picked several small ones 4cm long and some tips out of the plants and put them in with the other veg we had for dinner. I little taste of spring.

Garlic are not coming on so well, they are skinny and a bit yellow. Perhaps because they went in so late? I put down some lime, just a sprinkling to see if that perks them up. The onion tribe like a bit of lime, usually when planting.

The rhubarb is tremendous, wouldn't think it had been wrenched out the ground from Croydon, split up into 6 plants and stuck in here just as they were waking up. We have had a feed already.
 I have several large bins of weeds covered with water and rotting nicely. Stinks to high heaven but who cares, we have no close neighbours to worry about. Gee that is a wonderful feeling, not having to worry if the neighbours might get upset or dob me in for making bad smalls.
The veggies love it!
The weeds get recycled without reseeding!
Or the bin doesn't get them and they go off to the tip to off gas methane!
So a win win situation and the plants love it!
The golden zucchinis are flowering, small tomatoes will be forming. Broad beans as I have said are podding up. Rhubarb is being eaten too.
Last years capsicums have come back to life and are filling with leaves and lots more too.
So make some weed tea for your plants, water it down to the colour of weak tea and pour on, every week.
Keep the lid on if you have neighbours and decant it when they are at work or just before it rains.
ps don't get it on your clothes or skin, it takes ages to stop stinking!

These are coming up all over the place, glad they are not the common death lily, wonder what other colours I'll find.

Planted out my Dahlia tubers this morning, they were shooting so it must be time.
They will be a surprise, I have some of my own I raised from seed a few years back and we dug up a lot in the netted area where we put the blackberries. So we have a mystery unfolding. I love Dahlias, perhaps because they are almost my name but more so they are just beautiful and I have grown them since my child hood off and on.
Put in bean seeds and planted out 3 butternut pumpkins to grow over the avery house. Sowed beetroot, 3 varieties. M had better eat these or that will be it! No more beetroot to be grown by me. I know, I'll give him the seed and they can be his responsibility.