Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Fruit tree heaven!

I'm finally feeling like I'm getting the structure of the garden under control. I've made various sections about the place - vegetables, fruit/orchard, a cottage garden and 'native' entertaining areas. After the longer autumn-feeling weather we've had - they have had a bit of a random burst of growth and are finally starting to take shape about the place! A long way to go of course! But does a gardeners paradise ever feel completed? ;)

My Grapefruit Delight!
After hubby allowed me to buy a Golden Special Grapefruit tree last month (YUM!) - I feel like I have almost everything  in the way of trees(who can say for sure they have enough fruit trees?!) that I want to eat throughout the year now! Pity most of the trees are only a meter high, so the yields are obviously not going to be that much for at least a couple of years! But if everything takes off and gets fruit on it - we should theoretically be self sufficient for most fruit seasons over the year! That's the goal anyway!

We do have a mandarin tree that was here when we arrived and that gave us about 3kg of fruit and its only 1.5m.... so I have high hopes for the rest!

I've separated all the citrus trees and stone fruit trees into different areas and after a few re-arrangements I'm finally really happy with where they are all placed. Sounds like a lot of effort - and it is! Taking into consideration the final size of the tree and that I wanted some to provide us a bit of privacy from other houses - it was quite a tricky expedition! Guess that's the blessing of being in a city and not rural!

Poor Mr Avocado

My avocado trees are looking a little bald..... I'm in the hope that they have lost their leaves due to shock and will re-bloom fabulously come spring time!


Peaches, apples, plums and nectarines are all starting to bud! Whoop whoop! Time to get out that copper to control the fungus!

Look at this! Poor Mr Loquat tree had a dire case of black spot all over it and was not a happy tree. In fact I thought it would die after it lost most of its leaves. But after many Bravo (Yates fungicide) applications over the last year - the black spot has definitely become less, although not completely gone yet. It even has a single bunch of fruit and new leaves!!!!! WOW! Can't wait to see what they taste like!

Brilliant! Some fruit!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Its that time of the year again!!! :)

Well its that time of the year again to prepare the beds for the next exciting summer vegetable garden! :) 

I'm feeling like I'm not as in the dark as I was last year - so I have much braver plans on how to use the space in my garden this year. We wasted space last year with failed crops and crops that we didn't fully use or preserve, so this year I plan to use everything that comes out of the garden - through better planning and more preserving mainly!

Still.. a lot to learn! I used growveg.com last year as a planner and it was fantastic. This year I'm trialing plangarden.com and I'm finding it no where near as good as growveg. Much harder to use, no guide on numbers of vegetable plants to put in the space you have/square foot gardening, and no colour co-ordinating vegetables/plans/years so you can monitor the rotation of crops. On the plus side it does have facilities to communicate with other gardeners and add photos of your garden. But it's free for a month so we will persevere!

Draft plan 2013 Summer
Here is my draft plan for the summer. I've tried to do a bit of rotation planting as well as companion. But going from different websites - its actually quite hard as there is conflicting information! So, it is what it is :)

Some of the additions this year are; eggplants, corn, melons and more herbs (not on the plan). I'm also going to get those lettuces growing! They failed last year.... how can lettuce fail? Not sure... apparently easy to grow... well not for me! haha. This time around there will also be less beets and zucchinis and more cucumbers (that were a dire failure last year!) and potatoes (which lasted for months after harvest!).

Its funny - you never have enough space! But I better not take up more of the valued cricket pitch!!

On a very exciting note - the compost has been successful! The whole layering and adding compost enhancer plan has paid off. So when we went to see if it was usable, a lovely rich, dark, worm filled compost was there - much better than the random rotting fruit that stunk to use last time! Definitely a winner there!

Something that did surprise me was that the raised garden beds dirt had 'disappeared' basically down to ground level. They weren't full to the brim to begin with, but it did surprise me that the dirt had reduced that much. Lucky for the compost! :) Is this normal? I have no idea! I was under the assumption that the dirt would get bigger or at least the same each year with all the compost and plants added.....? Maybe it's just because they are new and the dirt settled down over the months of no use? Bizarre!

So, I've put a cover of compost, sheep pellets and clay breaker (gypsum) in each bed and turned it (Thanks Mr Hubby!). It looks fabulous! A nice rich dark soil, compared with a dusty clay/grey bed. It will need some time to settle and mix in ready for springtime. I would love to add some blood and bone to fertilise it, but its rather expensive so not in the budget this time around!

This winter has been truly bizarre - no rain now for about 3 weeks here, then suddenly it pours continuously for a week and floods the place.....??! So now, it's time to get rugged up as winter has arrived~! Good time to settle next to the fire and plan Plan PLAN! :)

Don't they look gorgeous?!