30 April 2012

Yesterday in the Country Garden I Harvested...

Leek (the first one!)
Baby fennel
Cavelo Nero
Spring onions

27 April 2012

A Visit To Another Kitchen Garden

Yesterday I visited the Heide Museum of Modern Art and wandered around the Heide 1 Kitchen Garden.  Planted by John and Sunday Reed, it is now used by Cafe Vue to provide some of their produce.  It's a lovely peaceful place, thriving with autumn plantings.

And on the front lawn of Heide 1 is the Heart Garden - Sunday Reed's tribute to Sidney Nolan.

24 April 2012

Night-time Noises

Have you ever noticed the sounds that birds make as they are settling down at night?

I've never really taken much notice until we got the chickens who make a trilling and nervous sort of urgent chirping sound as the evening closes in, before they make their way into their house to roost for the night.  At first I thought this was them being becoming agitated, scared of the dark perhaps, however I've started to notice that lots of other birds that are roosting in our trees or nearby make similar noises around the same time.  On a couple of occasions I've run outside thinking that the chickens are getting really upset about something, only to discover that they are fine and it's a completely different bird making the ruckus.  

What a lovely added bonus that in getting the chickens I have become more aware of the other creatures that live around the City Garden!

15 April 2012

A Chicken Challenge - The Results!

Well it's been two days now since the Chicken Challenge began, and already the results are pretty much finalised....


13 April 2012

A Chicken Challenge

I'm not posting this photo as an example of how great Cavelo Nero can look...!  Since the seedlings in the City Garden outgrew their shade-mesh protection they have been attacked by the worst of the garden bugs - cabbage moth caterpillars.  I've had a reasonable crop over the last month or so, and can cope with a few holey leaves, but there are starting to be more holes than leaves now, so it's time for action.  

09 April 2012

I Made Sourdough Bread...!

I've been eating sourdough bread for years, being lucky enough to live within walking distance of seven bakeries or outlets selling really good quality artisan, often organic, sourdough bread.  But I've always been intrigued with the process and wanted to try making it myself.  Last year I started by doing a workshop at the Convent Bakery and decided it was time to jump in and have a go at the whole process.

02 April 2012

Slow Living Month - March

Once again it's time to join up with Christine of Slow Living Essentials to take some time to look back over March's achievements with the Slow Living Project.

This month can probably be summed up in one word: Chickens!  It seems strange to look back at my February Slow Living Month post and remember that when I wrote it I wasn't even ready to utter the word aloud, just give a bit of a hint of the idea forming in our minds.  And now, a month later we've designed and built a chook house, sourced and bought some chickens and are now all getting along famously!

There have been a few other things going on too:

01 April 2012

Preparing for Autumn/Winter

In the attempt to grow vegetables all year round, you need to always be concentrating on what needs to be done next, and thinking forward to the next season.  But it's also important to take notice of what's happening in the current season.

It's the start of April so therefore it's time to get the Autumn/Winter plantings sorted, which I was working on last Friday.  But then I stopped and looked around.  Yes it's definitely getting colder in the mornings, and Daylight Savings ended this morning, but there are still the last of the tomatoes in the garden, and none of the fruit trees (or my beautiful Crepe Myrtle) have started losing their leaves yet.  So as I started working toward the coming seasons, I made sure I also enjoyed the beautiful, warm and sunny Autumn day.

I've decided to do the annual rotation of the garden beds in the Country Garden each year in Autumn/Winter.  It's approximately 70% completed, but won't be finished until after the frosts of winter have passed and the potatoes are planted out in early Spring.

Based on the Planting Plan I developed earlier this year, this is what is happening in the beds currently:

  1. The beans and capsicums are still going strong and will continue for the next couple of months.  Who knows when the soy beans will be ready...!
  2. The lettuces and strawberries have been transplanted into individual barrels out of the rotation system.  Radish, beetroot and carrot have been planted in their place
  3. The tomatoes have finished and been replaced with purple sprouting broccoli and brussels sprouts.  The eggplants still have some fruit on them, so hopefully there's enough warm weather left to ripen them, then they will be replaced with cabbage, cauliflower and more broccoli
  4. Garlic has replaced most of the beetroot and the spinach.  The silverbeet is going strong, so will stay there for a bit longer until the seedlings in Bed 5 are ready to start picking, then we'll plant some onions and some more garlic in their place
  5. The corn and cucumber has finished and been replaced with an interim crop of silverbeet and cavelo nero before the potatoes are planted in Spring.  My Planting Plan did nominate a green manure in there, but we decided that we need to maximise space use at the moment - hope we don't live to regret this, will definitely get the green manure rotation going next year...  The second planting of fennel is going well, as is the celery 
  6. Most potatoes have been picked, but there is a small second crop coming up.  Broad beans have been planted in about half of the bed, with a carrot crop coming along slowly, and a spring onion crop in its last few weeks.
  7. The leek and pumpkin will continue through for the next month or so, then be replaced with peas.  Sadly only one pumpkin has survived, but it's looking good
  8. The tomatoes and beans have been replaced with peas (not broad beans as I nominated in the Planting Plan as I thought a whole large garden bed of those might be enough!)
As well as that we have added lots of extra pots of lettuce, rocket and herbs that will continue throughout the year, outside of the rotation system, as well as a few boxes of garlic to try to get as much as possible planted!