Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dust

After scrubbing the door screens and cleaning the windows we realised that the dust is getting too bad. You can tell it is the dry season - our soil is basically just sand and so when there is no rain the grass just dies - especially the parts in the shade under the gazebo where we want to eventually lay pavers. The area outside the back door gets walked on so much, and it is in continual shade so that the grass is thinning out, also exposing dust. I decided to put some paving stones in a path leading out toward the vegetables and also to the gazebo, and then plant mondo grass between them and in that whole area. I realise it is going to have to be watered, which I havnt been doing with the grass, because all we end up with is a mud bath. I think that is a more sustainable choice than grass as once the mondo is established it doesnt require watering. So hopefully we will be picking up the paving stones and mondo grass this weekend.


We got the paving stones home only to discover that we had the wrong size. I planted mondo off to the one side to see how it goes. anyway this is the general idea:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

http://picasaweb.google.com.au/vemvaan/InFlowerJuly2009#

what is in flower in July







I fully intended to take photos of what was in flower on the first of the month, well now it is already the 12th, but the camera got misplaced, and I really thought I didnt have much in flower. It is much like a gratitude journal though, when you start looking you find little flowers tucked away everywhere. It makes me very happy! so enjoy!



We are begining to enjoy some tomatoes out of the garden so thought I would post an updated photo of the vegetable garden so you can view them in sequence.



Monday, July 6, 2009

Progress of the tropical garden


This photo was taken about three months after I planted the area under the lychee tree. We had a lot of rain the first couple of months and so that seems to have given the plants a good start. I fertilize about every three weeks with a liquid seaweed foliar feed. I have made my own mix by leaving seaweed soaking in a bucket of water for a couple of weeks. I dont think it is as concentrated as the mix that you buy, so would like to experiment with that. I went to a gardening talk about natural amendments and it seems humic or fulvic acid is very good to add at the same time as a foliar feed as it makes it more available to the plants. I think the roots of the tree are going to fight for nutrients first and that is the reason I am trying foliar feeding.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What is in flower on the first of the month - June

http://picasaweb.google.com.au/vemvaan/WhatIsInFlowerJune1st#

What is in flower on the first of the month - May

http://picasaweb.google.com.au/vemvaan/WhatIsInFlowerMay1st#

Herb spiral


this is the herb spiral from the side



this is a view of the herb spiral from on top.


I had tried to grow rosemary here before, and it always failed. Rosemary likes it hot and dry, here it always seems to be hot and wet. Then I began to read about herb spirals, ahah I thought, the top area would be perfect for rosemary and sage. The rocks would keep it hot and water would always drain away. I began to bring rocks home from the quarry every evening, along with a couple of buckets of crusher dust which filled up the center. This I reckoned would help with the drainage. Here are some photos:



I have started adding a few herbs, right on the top is rosemary, then going down the spiral I have sage, rocket, oregano, stevia, parsley, thyme
and then in pots mint, spearmint, vietnamese mint, and in the ground in front of the spiral basil, dill, shallots, garlic chives and walking onions.

The vegetable garden

The next area to be planned was the vegetable garden and luckily it was the wet season so as most vegetables cannot go into the ground until around April around here it gave me a little preparation time.


This time I did not dig out the grass, I just marked out the area and then began to lay out cardboard, and wet newspapers. The one edge toward the boundary already had some logs and I inserted plywood to bring the height up a a bit. The other edge I laid out with cinderblocks, and planted some aloe vera inside the blocks. This idea was two fold - I was hoping it would deter bandicoots from entering the garden and also create a nice looking, useful edge.






I added layers as I acquired them - seaweed, crusher dust, lawn clippings, hay, and then finally a layer of the coir composted mulch. I have since decided that that was not composted enough and have pulled that away in the areas I am planting and filled those areas with potting soil. this was after a bit of trial and error - the nature of gardening I suppose
As you can see the very narrow edge of the triangle has some rocks - this is a herb spiral which I will explain in the next posting.

The beginning: side garden under the lychee tree





We moved into our little place the middle of December, and I began to keep a blog of my gardening progress on Kitchen Gardens International. Since then I have decided it would be better to keep my blog here, so will post a few progress reports and pictures all in one go.




so, the beginning:




Really all that was in the side and back garden was grass and a huge lychee tree. Luckily we moved just before christmas so with my two week christmas vacation I worked every day in the garden. I cleared a triangular area under the lychee tree for a tropical garden. I dug out all the grass, then amended the soil with dolomite lime and dynamic lifter.





Then I lay down weed mat and cut holes to insert the plants that I had brought over in pots from our previous place. I placed them proud of the weed mat and then laid quite a lot of mulch around, first hay and then a mulch from the muncipal dump. It is mostly coconut husks and has been maturing for about a year, so I hoped it was a good choice.
Load of mulch.

Heleconias costus and gingers were placed at the back towards the boundary fence , with cordelines, coleus caladium and anthirium in the middle layer. Then along the front edge there are ground orchids, kalanchoe and begonias. There is a tree fern and two fan palms in the very shady spot. Right close to the trunk of the tree (and some on the trunk) are bromeliads, orchids, a tree fern and some elkhorn ferns.



So other than a few additions here and there, that part of the garden was completed just after the New Year. All everything had to do at that stage was grow bigger.






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