Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's connect with food

Ms Tagalong recently attended a Fair Share Festival. Did she take some of the abundant produce from the garden you may ask? No she didn't but she and Mr Ideasman came back with produce of another kind. She came back with some interesting ideas on Food Connect which certainly had us thinking that we should really be investigating some of the box services available here in Newcastle to supplement the veg we grow here in the garden. Beanstalk also had a representative there, so check them out and let's see if we can give them some business.

We also had the pleasure of meeting the two young lads who run Tree Frog Permaculture. Keen,enthusiastic and irrepresibly cute they are very interested in coming to our garden to offer a workshop offering up some of their knowledge to the local yokels. Expressions of interest are requested so that we may make it worth their while. They did say that they had plenty of friends who could come if we didn't have many people!! So come on uni students in the area unite, friends invite friends and let's generate a wonderful experience.

So how did everyone enjoy the rain? The tanks are filling and the tap is not leaking. Be frugal of course and let's hope for a good growing season. Look at those cucumbers grow! If you don't they might be exquisitely drawn by Ms Botanical who is carefully nurturing them.

Ms Tagalong will be otherwise engaged next weekend to be able to blog. I like the expression, very a propos, actually she will be unengaged. Ha ha!

Have a great couple of weeks and keep those chickens happy. One scruffy one is enough!

Monday, October 18, 2010

An ill wind...

Ms Tagalong didn't tag along this weekend. She missed out on a very windy 'garage sale' day and the postponement of the working bee. Apparently her absence was noted but Ms Mova said she liked it because she could take all the accolades about the garden singlehandedly. No wonder she was smirking this morning on the cycle to work! Ms Nimble Fingers had asked for no rain but she forgot to mention wind and so wind came along in huge great gusts, or gale force bursts lifting the merchandise off the tables and into people's bags. So I am not so sure that it blew no-one any good and I was not there to witness if some strange faces appeared when the direction changed!

The garden had received donations of prickly cactus of which not one sold. No succulent collectors in our suburb, then? Ebay might be the next method of raising funds for the garden.

Ms Lady with the Broom felt the absence of said artefact and managed to wield a hand mower with great eclat. There were also rumours of auditions for Pirates of the Caribbean!

So really did Ms Tagalong need to be there? It is good sometimes to feel the reins taken out of your hands and for the horse still to be galloping.

I have yet to ask whether the chickens got their legs oiled. No, I have been assured that this is not in preparation for some delicious recipe, this is for medicinal purposes to combat those pesky mites. So this is not a myth, treatment can be oiling with vaseline but oh, every two days? Keep your eyes open fellow gardeners and chicken husbanders for those nasty little bloodsuckers.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The wheel of life rolls on

My Dad didn't know much about gardening, or so my Mum claimed. I remember years ago when I was still in single figures laughing about his fixation with mulching. We all thought it was such a funny word and what did he know anyway? Well of course, it turns out, mulching is the way to go to ensure moisture is kept in and protection is gained. He was also a drastic pruner; the hacking my parents' poor lemon tree had to endure every two or three years is no-one's business.

Again, some plants really need the ruthless touch. Those of you who have noticed our kaffir lime tree on the verge will see its beautiful bronze-mauve leaves sprouting after one of our members pruned it to within an inch of its life.
I could never have the courage to do that and that is possibly why my own kaffir lime is scrawny, spindly and clinging tenaciously with some underdeveloped limes also hanging on for dear life.

It is wonderful to walk around the garden after the wet weather and see the new plants growing up in haphazard ways, taking an opportunity to sprout their carelessly cast seed. We should be able to keep all our seeds from our winter crops, radish, lettuce, spicy and mustard lettuce, rocket, coriander and broccoli. How wonderful, we just need to keep them dry and secure for next year.

Peeking out of one of the piles of horse manure was a feathery plume of asparagus I had been observing possessively. But horror of horrors today I went hot and cold when I saw it had gone! Errant chickens? Greedy locusts? Someone jumping the gun and serving one piece on toast? Ms Mova was with me, I saw her face as I said, "Oh no the asparagus has gone!" She grimaced and slowly very slowly said,"I thought it was a weed. They are not supposed to come up until next September!"

So how does asparagus grow here in Oz? Was this front runner normal? Looks like you just ignore them for a few years, just keep piling on the blood and bone, manure or seaweed and watch the fronds grow. I would like to add that there is another frond emerging, watch out for frantic weeders!

Water is filling the tanks, yeah! The taps are nearly ready for use and the blackboards and pinboard are attached and ready for notes. Blackboards and chalk, a drawer's delight, the children are relegated to drawing on the portable blackboard or of course if they have gigantic aspirations on the concrete!

The rhubarb continues to grow. I pointed the three plants out very pointedly to Ms Mova with their burgeoning leaves and stems. Rhubarb and ginger crumble grows ever nearer!
We are also the recipients of two rather dusty, shabby and possibly old broilers who are beginning to enjoy their new surroundings and scratch about in the garden.let's hope that this one soon regains a red comb!
The chickens certainly are complaining about the time change! Ms Mova and I met on her step with bedhair and sleepy eyes on Sunday morning as the ladies were complaining so loudly from their pens. "Let us out, there are only so many hours in the day for us to forage!" Lack of foraging might have caused the new girls to have scaly legs. Ms Mova reckons gentle massaging with sweet-smelling oils, well vaseline anyway, might improve this. A lovely task for the working bee!