Thursday, December 29, 2011

Late December 2011

This post is a quick one about summer. Christmas was nice and relaxed with lots of summer fruit and family company. I have been working a fair bit too so the days have gone by quick and my days off have been spent keeping the garden trained as it is turning into a sprawling jungle.

Despite working my wife has managed to get a few shots of the garden before we started to harvest some of the edibles. Most of the sunflowers have done well this year. A mixed bunch though. The Giant Russian have been out-grown by the local seeds given to us that we grew out and kept from last year.

We have also started to harvest the babaco fruit. Two so far. I'm glad to say that the taste is rather unique and I will be happy to keep growing the trees and propagating a small forest of them. More posts to come...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Extra Finds

Some surprise finds in the garden. Lily flowers coming up in the hedge garden, jelly beans coming up amongst grass and self-sown tomatoes, melons and herbs. Oh, and a gratuitous pic of the corn, cos I enjoy it so much!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Growing Chicks

The chicks are now just over a month old and have a bunch of feathers growing along their back and wings. They are very adventurous and keen to get up high on objects around the garden. I took this as a sign and removed their cage yesterday and put them in the strawyard with the other chooks just before twilight. Jenny was keen to get up on the roost and one little chick followed her. The others were not so up front so Jenny reluctantly joined them on the straw for the night. Tonight there are three up there with her with one of the ground due to a sore leg which 'she' did not seem to be too fussy about so I have left her to rest for the night and will investigate in the morning. I couldn't see any point in stressing her and the rest of the chooks right before roosting time.

After only a month they are acting like adult chooks in many ways. Running, flying in short bursts, taking dust baths and scratching around. They are still peeping like chicks. The rest of the chooks do not seem to mind their presence in the coop so I figured it was probably a good time to get them in with them and that way they can be in the dark a little longer rather than stirring at 4am in the morning!

Clarice is the solid little layer at the  moment as Penny is clucky and Stella is only laying every second day or so. Penny and Clarice sleep in the nest overnight, with Stella on the roost with Jenny and the chicks that can make it.

On the Table - Summer Fruit Salad

This was breakfast the other morning. Fresh stone fruit with home-made yoghurt, a little bee pollen and some raspberries straight from the garden. Just delightful! Such as welcome taste sensation.

The Filling of the Fruit

I am in awe of the garden at the moment. The weather has been favorable for the majority of the garden, though not so much for farmers wanting to harvest. The combination of rain and sunshine with humidity has meant that the fruits forming in the garden are doing really well. We were fortunate enough to get a reasonable harvest from our apricot tree with the New Holland Honeyeaters and Silvereyes sharing some as well. Not so much of a drama for us with one tree to keep an eye on.

The corn is doing well also. This one is a hybrid from Diggers. I have enjoyed growing it and will be looking for some heirloom varieties I think. The guinea pigs are quite happy with the occasional leaf of corn. With the warmer weather the babaco has been in full swing, ripening up a little each day. Nearly there.

Another pleasant surprise in the garden has been the beans and the cucumber. I had moderate success with gherkins and cucumbers last year so put in a little more effort this year as I really do like them. In the back garden just near the corn is a melon that has self-sown and is forming a fruit - rather quickly too I might add. Other self-sown plants are tomatoes and a pumpkin which is really starting to spread out into the garden.

The fig is doing well. On some stems there are small fruit starting to form now, even though the tree is already in the midst of a reasonable crop. Not sure if these new ones will be retained by the tree or not but it is getting regular water and talking to.

Our nectarine tree is also doing us proud this season with a good crop forming. Very slow to fill out but I am not wanting to give it too much water with the rain we've had. I do need to watch it though, because being in a wine barrel it can dry out even in moist weather.

This afternoon I picked our first ripe tomato for the season. It was found hiding behind this bush which came up during the winter and has managed to survive given the mild winter and the shelter is has received from the nearby plants surrounding the pond. A very, very firm fruit despite it being a nice ripe colour which leads me to think it was simply because it was straight off the plant.

Other observations to note are that the yacon are doing really well with the humidity are have good leave growth. These have probably been in the ground about a month and a half now. I have not put a picture of the passionfruit vine but it too is covered in a good solid crop and still continues to flower.

The sweet peas are also still flowering well and most of the very first flowers for the season have produced near-dry pods ready for picking.

Oh, and the raspberries! A handful every few days to feed the wife and keep her happy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wet Wet Wet

Since about 2am yesterday morning we have had a reasonable amount of rain. This hasn't stopped Jenny from standing out in it sheltering her little brood. They are nearly always on the go looking for food and are starting to leap up onto higher objects to perch.

Whilst so much rain at this time of the year is not what the farmers want, it has given the garden a good drink, and with the apricot, nectarine, passionfruit, the figs, tamarilloes, tomatoes, corn, babaco, strawberries, sunflowers, grapes, pepino, cucurbits and raspberries all in the process of forming fruit and seeds it will give them a bit of a boost.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Pond Set Up

This is the pond being transformed from a sunken one to an above ground one. I must say I did prefer the old pond, but the new one is going to be more functional and effective in many ways. Plus it will be a little safer with a little one around. Or little visitors.

It still requires some further work and I have yet to build up the edges of the smaller pond in the background, but I'm sure you get the idea. Both ponds will be full of aquatic plants that we can use in the kitchen. I hope that Frog approves of the new pond. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Maiki & Jaz

I found this gif of our little garden munchkins today. I made it about a year ago but had forgotten about it. It really captures their characters well and shows how inquisitive Jaz can be. They have been busy recently cleaning up some of the green matter pruned off the trees or pulled out of the garden. They also like the water-melon rind which is a real treat for them. Now that the weather is warmer they also appear to be spending more and more time camped under the cape gooseberry bush and eating any stray fruit that falls - or is within reaching distance!