Showing posts from June, 2012

Giving back to the soil what the veggies take out

I have been thinking about the veggie seeds that I  grow for immediate consumption.  I suppose they just take from the soil, then covert it into vitamins and other goodies that we in turn use when we eat them.  I have been reading a lot about how much more nutritious our home grown organic vegetables are than those sold in most grocery stores. There are all different ways that I continually add goodness back into the soil, because if the growing vegetables are taking it out, then I better be replacing it with something. I am cropping quite intensely and also want to try to produce food year round.  I know outright of a few things I do to amend the soil, but wonder if there is something else I am missing.  If I want to take so much out of the soil how do I know I am putting enough back? Generally in this area of the tropics vegetables are grown in the "winter" or dry season, and the ground is left fallow for the wet season.  I want to grow year round, and if the wet season cr

Destruction and davastation

I knew there would be damage to some of my garden after the lychee tree was pruned.  I really thought though that he would be leaving some longer branches that would shade the garden a little bit as the other branches grew in.    My hubby said he was very careful to drop as many of the branches as possible on the pavers or the neighbours lawn.   Still, this heart shaped anthirium flower reflected what my heart felt like when I first saw the damage.  I had taken a  photo of that same flower the day before the pruning.  I have spent every available minute tying plants back upright, trimming off broken leaves, and adding a little fresh compost to the base of the ground orchids that were totally flattened to the ground.  I somehow don't think that name was intended to be that literal.  The area facing the gate was hardest hit, but luckily that area had also contained  a lot of pots which I had removed before the surgery.  They were replaced and given some protection from the f

The beginning

When I began my gardening journey almost 3 years ago, this blog did not exist, and I began to search the web for any information I could find about building up the soil and starting a new garden.   All I had a was a small garden with a lychee tree in the middle. I discovered Kitchen Gardeners International  and found a wonderful group of very chatty members from all around the globe.   I learnt so much, and every morning would sign in to see what new information I could glean from the very clever gardeners who regularly posted tips and answered questions.  I learned about heirloom plants, lasagne gardening and things like wilt and soap spray to control bugs.  I had found a gardening community!!!  I live in a  remote area so there are not too many gardeners I can discuss things with over the back fence.  I began a blog on site, and then I discovered blogger and created this blog,  and nothing has been the same since!  I do occasionally go back to KGI, but the format has changed.  Li

Massive pruning of the lychee tree

Here I sit at work while the lychee tree is being trimmed.  As I discussed before, this is something that needs to be done occasionally , and in fact is long overdue. My hubby sent this photo first; and my heart sank - it is actually just as well I am not there.... then this photo arrived - wow I never realized we were talking about so much of the tree being trimmed.  He is a professional and so I have to trust what he is doing, but my gosh that is a lot of the tree. My hubby wasn't sure whether to send me a photo of the ground, I am hoping this is all on the pavers, and no branches have landed on my plants, but I know that thought is not realistic. We have already taken any plants that were in pots around to the back along with the gazebo.  I have a shade cloth that I will hang over the more tender plants, but I think it is going to be a while until  the garden is looking "normal" again......I might be very sad for a while, and busy.

Propagating Cordelines among the green and white foliage

I love the splash of color that the Cordelines and hibiscus flowers give to the variegated green and white foliage in my front garden.  So I decided to insert a few more along the length.   Cordeline are so easy to propagate -  cut off a branch and stick it in the ground, and it will grow.  Out in the sun the colour becomes very vibrant.

There are going to be some changes in my shady garden

Our units are going to be painted, and in preparation for the work, excess vegetation needs to be cut back.  Our rather large lychee tree is going to have to be pruned back.  The leaves clog the gutters, and in a cyclone the branches might snap and cause some damage to fences or break windows. I love that tree - I love all the birds that hide in its branches and call out with their different songs.  I love the cool shade that it provides to the garden - on a hot day you can feel the temperature drop the minute you walk into the back.  I love all the free leaves I get for my compost bin and I imagine those will be drastically reduced.   My hubby, often the one to mulch all those leaves is not so sad about it :) I love the lychees that we get to eat. I don't love the bats that came very night when the top half of the tree was filled with lychees nobody could reach to pick them. I don't love the fact that he said some of my precious plants might be damaged. This huge

Poodle Hibiscus and frogs carry love across the miles.

Years ago when my non gardening youngest daughter was living with me in Florida USA, we bought a hibiscus together.  I don't know if that was its official name but we called it poodle hibiscus.   She has always requested that I try to grow that beautiful flower again. I live in Australia  now and she in New York, so I love to find connections that reduce the miles between us.  Over the weekend this bloomed :  I must have at some stage found one and taken  a cutting.   I nurtured that little slip not really remembering which one it was.  I e-mailed my daughter, and she confirmed it was just like the first poodle hibiscus we grew together.  Don't you love those delicate red veins running through the petals? the lower "tail" part looks so lush and full, yet delicate, and what a gorgeous salmon color. My daughter is at the moment in Paris for a couple of months and says she will look out for more flowers I can grow for her.   ;) My eldest daughter took a photo o