Arrununuk

This is the page dedicated to the property my parents bought early 2013. I’m staying here while I complete my postgraduate.

May 2013

expansion of kitchen gardenFelt bad for not doing anything except for watching TV series all the way through from Seasons 1 to 8. Went to Mitre 10 and bought a garden fork, gardening gloves, secateurs, a bag of ‘blood and bone’, some potting mix and a few seeds. Came home and potted them up.

Up came all my tomatoes, ‘Tommy Toe’ and ‘Burke’s Backyard Italian Tomato’. About 5 lettuces ‘Baby Combo’ of about 30 seeds decided to join the party, as well as all my Chilli Peppers ‘Long Red Cayenne’. The big boys of the group were my four zucchinis that dominated their pots. The only seeds that stubbornly refused to sprout were the Basil ‘Gourmet Mix’. I kept them in the ‘glasshouse’ for extra warmth.Β chilli bush

On the 30th, I panicked because I was leaving for Perth the next day and couldn’t leave them in the glasshouse – they’d die of thirst. I planted them in a hodge-podge manner out in the hurriedly prepared bed. All I did was rip out (I had to use the fork) all the grass, mix in some blood and bone, plant the seedlings, cover the ground with a very thin layer of mulch and water them. The next morning, after another watering, I went to Perth for a week. I figured if I was lucky, half of them would survive.

June 2013

I got back from an awesome week in Perth to discover that the seedlings had taken off and were doing beautifully. I wanted to wait to see if any would die, but they didn’t! I was going to transplant some of them, but I would be going up to Townsville for a couple of weeks on the 20th, so they would probably die then anyway.

July 2013

Kitchen garden

Again, they didn’t die, but now it was like a little vegetable jungle and it was going to be almost impossible to transplant anything. Plus the plants were so big, they might not survive the move. I decided it needed to be done anyway and moved 10 tomato plants into a few straight lines. I then went a little crazy with some string to help support the tomatoes, and for a while my garden became a bit of an obstacle course. It is now fixed, and I can again get from one end of the garden to the other without contorting my body into unnatural positions (or as I like to think of it, Garden Yoga).

I went back to Mitre 10 and bought a shovel, a couple of buckets, some more string, more potting mix and some more seeds. This time I was a bit more economical with the potting mix. I had swung by the $2 shop on my way home and picked up a few little containers. I 3/4 filled these with soil from the garden (which is (I think) a light clay), mixed with a bit of blood and bone. Then I topped them off with the potting mix.

This time I grew some Cucumbers ‘Burpless’, Pumpkin ‘Butternut’ and Climbing Peas ‘Telephone Pole’. While re-potting them – the containers I had bought for $2 were a littleΒ too small, and since they were clear I could see them getting root-bound – I accidentally stepped on one of the peas, so now I have 3 of those.

I also tried to see if I needed to fuss over the plants in this manner, so I tried planting a few directly into the garden (into large pots so that they didn’t have to compete with weeds). I planted about 20 coriander seeds and 16 Cucumber ‘Gherkin Pickling’ seeds. None of them has shown up, and I ended up using the ’empty’ pots to re-plant some straggler tomato and chilli plants.

I’ve since used the little containers again and planted some more coriander, pickling cucumbers, basil, lettuce and new-comer, Cabbage ‘Sweet Eureka’. Lets see if coddling them a little in the glasshouse will help. On another happy note, I was pulling out thistles from behind the garden (it relaxes me), and I found about 8 ‘wild’ cherry tomato plants growing in the midst of these thistles. Luckily I saw them before I pulled them out too! I carefully cleared all the weeds around them, then rigged up some supports and string so that they would have something to lean on. I know they were cherry tomatoes because there were two ripe ones on one of the vines. They were delicious πŸ™‚

compost bin

August 2013

As you can see, an animal keeps getting into my compost bin and destroying it. Growth is slow, as there has been no rain for the whole month. I ration the water because I am restricted to tank water. I was forced to buy drinking water for a couple of weeks when I ran my upper tank dry, and had to refill it from the capture tank, which is lower down. I pumped up the water, but it must have stirred up a lot of dirt. The water was noticeably brown for sometime. Despite this, I am getting enough produce to make a delicious salad every day. I love mixing the gourmet lettuce leaves with sprigs of parsley, sweet and Thai basil, coriander and nasturtium leaves and flowers.

salad

September 2013me on hill

Received 3mm of rain on the 9th, but the sun is strong, and as such almost all the plants with large leaves (pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber) wilt during the day. I am hoping my careful rationing of the water will let them survive until the next rain!

I set up a bean tripod (see first picture), which will support purple beans and telephone peas. I also decided to make a dedicated raised garden bed for my herbs, so I wouldn’t need to keep them in pots – they dry out too quickly.

Got another 4mm on the night of the 16th, which was very welcome. Thought it might have been more, the way the wind was carrying on!

Planted out my three corn plants – they will be an experimental trial. I’ve planted them ‘in front’ of the grapes, hopefully the corn will provide the grapes with some shade during the height of summer.

Interestingly, this lull in gardening (due to not having enough water to keep planting nilly-willy) is coinciding will a lull in my uni studies. Might have to come up with something to do…

Wow, it’s so hot at the moment!!! My garden is actually dying – I wish it would just rain! I am being very careful with water, but I think it will not be too expensive to re-fill the tank if I really need to.
I am finally building my chicken coop! I am using the old pig holding pen and reinforcing it with chicken wire πŸ™‚ I am hopefully getting 2 goats and 6 chickens from my neighbour – hopefully for free πŸ™‚ he is moving for work, and she can’t be bothered looking after them. This means my chooks will be free-range… but I guess it will be ok until my dad comes and builds a movable coop.

I have eaten many ripe tomatoes and strawberries from the garden. The cucumbers are slightly bitter… perhaps from a lack of water? I saw a Korean recipe for pickled cucumbers, so I am going to try that (and see if I like Korean food!). Ended up watering the garden yesterday… everything looked like it was dying. Most of my celery is dead… but I don’t really like celery anyway πŸ™‚

October 2013

Still no rain. Everything is growing slowly.

The Korean cucumber pickle is delicious, but I can still taste a hint of bitterness, which I’m not a big fan of. Maybe if I mix it with something else? I find it hard to judge when to pick them. I am now getting some yellow squash, and my pumpkins are growing…
I think it might still be their mating/breeding season, so snakes are a little aggressive. I also saw a beautiful large goanna yesterday. He lives in the tree next to the goat pen, I think.
No rain as yet, and I ripped out all the cucumbers (they grew, but all were bitter), so now I just have the tomatoes, squash and pumpkins (I think the strawberries might be finished). I hope the broccoli makes it… but the caterpillars love them, so I’m not sure. I have 2 ripe chillis!!!

The goats are doing well, but I don’t have any chickens yet. not really sure if I want the extra hassle. Maybe I will wait until my parents get here.

November 2013

The goats are doing well, and have stopped escaping, which is good πŸ™‚ It’s very dry here as well, though we did have about 5mm last week which was nice. Will be doing some gardening tomorrow in preparation for when my parents come over.

 

My birthday came and went πŸ™‚

 

My parents arrived on the 18th, and just before they arrived, it bucketed down with rain, resulting in 35mm in one go! As a result, they where unable to drive one of the vehicles up our steep dirt/gravel driveway!!! They were happy that the ‘drought’ had finally broken! Two days later on the 20th, we go another 10mm, and then on the 24th, another 2.5mm. I took out all the dead plants of the garden, and we started a watering regime. Since then we have been getting good growth, so will hopefully have a fully functioning garden by the end of the year. Sunflowers, radishes, capsicum and lemon-grass have been planted, as well as 3 pineapples for the heads of those we used for breakfast. Come December we will be continuing our planting. Bringing November to a fitting close, we got another 3mm on the 29th, and 3mm on the 30th.

December 2013

Plant purchases have begun, after a trip to the Museum markets on Sunday. Two mandarins, a lemon, a pink grapefruit and a grumichama, as well as an assortment of tomatoes, purple Thai basil, tarragon, thyme and some oak-leaf lettuce. The latter will need a cool spot to do well. Thanks to dad fixing the tanks so that clean water can now enter them, we can water the gardens regularly, which they are responding well to. The temperature can’t really be described as ‘hot’, but it certainly is warm when standing or working out in the sun. We have been on the lookout for a suitable Christmas tree, as there are quite a few pine trees growing in the area. This is possibly a legacy from the massive pine plantations in the area East of us.

 

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