New Year and a new blog post

 

We have just gone past the end of the 2015 year and it is time I got to rejuvenating my blog.

In this post I will try to give a summary of what has happened to me over the past year with some of the items I mention being subjects in future blog posts.

Before I continue I would like to mention that when I started this blog, I was very enthusiastic in bringing my plant knowledge to the fore as well as other things in nature, along with my passion for being sustainable in the garden, food production, recycling & reuse (or as I heard the CWA once say, “refresh, renew and regenerate”), solar energy harvesting, water harvesting, worms and compost to name a few.

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This past year my health has been up and down as per usual with things like severe skin allergies (I have been making my own bath soap for 2 years) and hives, mouth pimples, blisters and ultimately ulcers (I have been making my own tooth paste all year), cramps (I now make my own electrolyte replacer too), with many aches and pains, and ongoing food allergies and intolerances, and general malaise.

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We have many native visitors to our garden.

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Earth Garden had a major problem in February when their garden Path site kept being invaded by spammers which destroyed my whole input to the site and ultimately closed the site in May 2015. It was a great loss to me (and depressing) as it had been my garden diary since the beginning of 2007. The item I called “jimc’s garden” had over 92 pages on it with many comments also being made by fellow eg gardeners. I created numerous subjects, usually to do with my experiences and things dear to my heart, added my thoughts on various subjects, researched questions that other earth gardeners had and added to these and contributed hundreds of photos from my garden and photo collection.

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Unfortunately all my text was gone because I never thought it would be necessary to keep a copy of my thoughts. I do still have my photographs except for a few dozen we lost several years ago at the time we updated our computer and after it was too late realised one month’s worth of pics hadn’t been backed up properly.

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Another winter time activity.

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I found it difficult to understand the principle of wicking beds, thinking that anaerobic activity in the base of the unit would become sour and destroy the whole bed. About 8 years ago I developed a worm leachate hydroponic garden bed and to my surprise it worked very well yielding about 7.5Kgs of carrots from about a square metre of gravel. I watched an earth garden Path member develop her own wicking bed system on the Path. I decided to give it a go during 2014 because of a developing issue in my garden and made my first wicking bed garden growing climbing peas, carrots and lettuce together. The result was a great success and that bed has now become a tomato bed this season in my 3 bed rotation in the tomato house. This past year I have developed 9 more with another currently being constructed. Plans are being made for another two for my tomato rotation, one or two for the cucurbit bed system and another for our hothouse.

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We continue to grow enough fresh vegetables and fruit for our family so that little or no green grocer shopping is required. The weather dictates a lot in this regard though. For instance a hot dry period early in the year slowed the potato patch down then we had a big early frost in May which stopped everything dead in its tracks.

 

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We ended up buying some Ebor potatoes in November, the first in nearly 4 years, just weeks before our next harvest was due. Then a big late September frost scorched a lot of our spring growth and burnt off many of our young flowers and fruit on the trees.

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Our current summer fruit harvest has been brought forward by about 3-4 weeks with a much reduced production, in some instances less than half of normal production.

 

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Throughout the year I have been able to maintain about 5 succession crops of lettuce, usually of 3 or 4 varieties and 3 succession crops of beetroot. Other greens are germinating all the time so I have a continual harvest all year round.

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My fruit tree planting program continues with an addition of 4 macadamias this year and other fruit tree seedlings and cuttings coming on.

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Also this year we became the proud owners of a black baldy calf, just a few days old, found abandoned on the roadside with no owners coming forward. She still had her umbilical cord attached and was in a very low condition life wise. It was touch and go initially as we started to raise her on a bucket. Within a few weeks she began to grow. So we named her Hope. She remained tethered for many months and I would move her 2 or 3 times daily until she developed a mind of her own and wanted to go and do her own thing. I found it dangerous to lead her so we securely fenced her own paddock. She is grazing well and producing copious amounts of manure which is good for the manure composting pile or chook compost heap. Our garden is already responding to the addition of cow manure.

This year I also built another new worm farm from recycled pallet timbers, the biggest yet with a cubic metre capacity. I am currently renovating another which unfortunately was attacked by termites and fell to pieces.

 

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On a sad not, my neighbour passed away in late May. Bob had become like a big brother to me (I didn’t have one) and we did a lot of things together in the past 11 years. I helped him with his gardening and he helped me with electrical and mechanical things. The two of us spent many hours together monitoring and keeping our community water system going. Our backgrounds were so similar and it was a pleasure to know him and now we help his widow, Margaret, as much as possible.

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It was also sad we lost our old horse recently. My sister-in-law had him from near birth and when her circumstances changed we took him on because we had an aged horse die not long before. We only had him for a few short years but it was great that we could see his final 30 years in retirement, again keeping our grass down and supplying copious amounts of garden manure.

There are so many other things I could write about but I am sure this is enough for now and allows me to keep posting regularly in the future year.

 

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