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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Gardening: (2016– )

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Sizeable barrel.

 

My aunt and uncle had rain barrels at the corners of the house when I was a kid. I got in big-time trouble for holding my cousin's head under water in one of them. At least, I was in trouble until it came out that he had been attempting to drown a cat in it, and I rescued the cat and decided he was a better candidate for drowning. Significant water was splashed out that day.

 

I have done my first bit of gardening at the new house, and it wasn't food-related. I've planted four peonies, and about 200 assorted spring bulbs -- hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, tulips, iris and lilies. Should look beautiful in the spring. I'm figuring to get the raised beds in and nicely fertilized next month. then cover them with straw and let them rest until next spring. One bed for asparagus, one for tomatoes and peppers, one for a few hills each of yellow squash, zucchini and cucumber. Also need to get some hostas planted this month (I have lots of shade).

 

I read, I think on here, that one could put morel beds beneath an oak tree if one had one. I have two big ones. Has anyone had any experience in growing morels? I know one can forage them up in the hills not far from me, so I'm guessing the climate is OK.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On 10/25/2019 at 4:54 AM, haresfur said:

 

I only have one rain barrell. Here it is on its side before it was installed

LfLDpHD6RCRhyMXxyIhrr5j9vXC44hDAbVO-GhVKShFwXDB5aSuQn_LTnxl1gT5fesoQ6RlDzM8vSyXT9L41P9TR1XGB_nUjSzyFp3hb3Y1U35l9vhCxCkR6fnRBNLz-MrYMIrFDBrwxMMRXrfDZiI7g8HV8Md1MmJ9tDSDgX14jpZTwSvUr5v23YhemVFfeMWmTzZWuKMgU40_Lv3jRiuE01nq9eij5Et8r85mxpjT3O8-FplfSOL3KZNtLOQRBXfcj1tj4b96RVesidVK081TLgJw0Vt_7hD9rLfqZ81ySnmZ8q7NdP8DWp9KY6UZXCL0UBuYae9aK8FKuxJtVU3OWw3idegGhFv5j0A2UsOqa78D67CVDuISEdbrqnkWEwe21-DozOn1xv7Xf9CpJch_6gRKiZYttD5mUePPm5j-JktYQwOxUm117cql_GqB8sJ-hVZvX7xhP9-pPdoF3lixdTg4iumqK1wQSTBrvpEEoFa8HPCN1vYSRuAREVIk-oF6Lws4t60rmbjx6RlIf1-6GO6esoxo9bIEQtICpn2pNvQ7KTrcteTZdBu36CTMc4orBukSAo2b48eqwDl-AVl6GVUrVJ84lfc31ytJROJYPvOiR4CQC5xzHz1299WBf2dFGdIR4e62ZkXZutNfO7Atw55VTFvM1U5NLG0QPRxhVDLU3A4NFlw=w432-h576-no

 

I am assuming you are not one of those  "Square Foot"  gardener?:D

 

dcarch

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On 10/26/2019 at 10:36 PM, dcarch said:

 

I am assuming you are not one of those  "Square Foot"  gardener?:D

 

dcarch

 

I finally got a pump for it. I had been using it only for deep watering trees and a low-pressure bobble sprinkler that couldn't keep up with everything.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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2 hours ago, haresfur said:

 

I finally got a pump for it. I had been using it only for deep watering trees and a low-pressure bobble sprinkler that couldn't keep up with everything.

 

If that tank is above ground, you may not need a pump. There should be enough hydro-static pressure.

If that tank is to be under ground, you may already know that you may have to anchor it down to prevent flotation, just like the installation of gasoline tanks.

 

dcarch

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36 minutes ago, dcarch said:

 

If that tank is above ground, you may not need a pump. There should be enough hydro-static pressure.

If that tank is to be under ground, you may already know that you may have to anchor it down to prevent flotation, just like the installation of gasoline tanks.

 

dcarch

 

It's above ground but a couple of meters head won't drive much. The pump does self-prime. Smallish pump but now I can run a hand spray-nozzle. I haven't tried it on the micro-emitters yet. There's no way in heck I'd want to dig a hole to bury the tank in our clay & bedrock.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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A follow up to what I posted before.

 

After I removed the hydraulic jacks, I was able to force the fig branches from 36" to 10". This makes it possible to use 1 1/2" foam board for insulation.

 

1 1/2" Foam board is much better than burlap or blankets. also smaller surface area can minimized heat /cold conduction.

 

Just in time for the forecast of record breaking cold wave coming in the next few hours.212139809_figwinterizing.thumb.JPG.11853173dc574bc8bab07e6396f32b7a.JPG

 

2033043983_figwinterizing2.thumb.jpg.3cb69c3b8b42854569042cb28da8af95.jpg

 

dcarch

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anyone had any success controlling earwigs?


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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They like to hode so oftn people make newspaper tents and then scoop them up in the morbing. They ARE quite annoying. They like waste like leaf debris so elimunatng that temtation can help.  From my dear Margaret's site  

Ken. Not on this scale. I had earwigs in a very large planter at the Brooklyn garden, when I still had the Brooklyn garden, in the front yard. It was like 5 foot by 5 foot—a big container. They would crawl into the buds of the rhododendron it was planted it; they were so gross.

What I did was put a small board down on the surface of the soil overnight. In the morning I would go out and there they would be, and though I’m sure I blacked out, but I think I just squished them then. But we’re talking seven to 10—it sounds like she has the invading army.

Q. Seven to 10 thousand.

Ken.  Eeewwww. They’re so creepy, and why do they call them earwigs (but don’t tell me).

Q. I don’t want to know, either. It’s good that your instinct was to put down the board and do that, because they are active mostly at night (like slugs—another thing you might put down the board for, to trap them). They apparently seek out dark, cool, moist places. Like mulch.

Ken. Like all her mulch.

Q. There you go. On every reference site where I looked up earwigs, trapping is always recommended. I have never had a bad problem, just a couple here and there, like what you are saying. But every reference site really talked about trapping as not just the least-toxic method but also the most effective method of control of earwigs, as it is for slugs. (With slugs you can bait for them, as we talked about on a previous program.)

One of my favorite sites for reference, even though I don’t live in California, is the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program. They have an incredible encyclopedia, pest by pest, and they tell you the life history and biology of each pest—what it eats, how it lives, where it lives, what it likes and doesn’t like—and the least-toxic methods in descending order from safest to chemicals. [Earwigs on the California website.]

They kind of teach you about each pest, so you know what you are up against, and here are a couple of kooky things I learned about earwigs:

Those pincers are used for defense, the forceps, but you can tell a male from a female—in case you want to sex your earwigs. [Illustration of sexes above, from BugBoy52.40 on Wikipedia; own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.]

Ken. More than anything.

Q. I knew you did. That the males’ forceps are somewhat curved but straighter in the females. That earwigs may have some benefits: some of them eat aphids (besides your seedlings). And they recommend trapping—the board thing that you said, or: “a low-sided can, such as a cat food or tuna fish can, with ½-inch of oil in the bottom, makes an excellent trap.” Apparently fish oil such as tuna-fish oil is very attractive, or vegetable oil “with a drop of bacon grease” for you non-vegetarians. [Laughter.]  The cans should be sunk into the ground so the top is at soil level.

Or rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard—the boards as you said. People even use a short piece of hose that they cut out of an old garden hose; apparently they’ll crawl into that. The key is to put them out for nighttime and check your traps first thing in the morning.

And then of course garden sanitation, because they love decaying and floppy stuff.

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On 2/20/2019 at 11:25 PM, dcarch said:

The Sun Will Come Out, Tomorrow

Today, Everyday, ---- Just flip a switch.

 

It has become easy to build your own high power LED grow light. COB 110vac LEDs are not expensive. No more need to have complicated power drivers..

I made 4 COB LED grown lights, each with two 150 Watt chips.

Cooling fans and heat sinks and switches. Plus Acrylic rods for focusing.

1,200 Watts of light. So incredibly bright. It's like having my own sun! 

408008819_LEDgrowlight2.thumb.jpg.b717cb40c4934a30fd5a59d3a4bad0bb.jpg

 

92223238_LEDgrowlight.thumb.JPG.f438bfee2a0bd84de48d376e1517aa08.JPG

315172134_LEDgrowlightc.thumb.jpg.26a07f36dfd89892b34d6e387fa34f7a.jpg

1400073282_LEDgrowlightb.thumb.jpg.86c06bab54a864d170b55dec7d9104c0.jpg

 

With only one light turned on

753341103_LEDgrowlighta.thumb.JPG.55de36f6dc691de27919aecbcc0122a1.JPG

 

No, nothing medicinal or recreational. 9_9

474215897_LEDgrowlightd.thumb.jpg.21baeba51b2b744af4d7505e7835c9e4.jpg

 

dcarch

@dcarch Do you remember what the spectral output of the COBs you used were?  I will be moving soon to a new apartment which doesn't get any direct sunlight (it's north facing) so I want to give my lime tree a lot more artificial light than I've been giving it for the last few years.  Your COB devices seem to have worked really well so I figure I'd steal your idea... most COBs I see are labeled "warm white" or "cool white" which isn't really a spectral output but more of a red/blue ratio...  I'd appreciate any help I can get so I don't have to reinvent the wheel.  BTW - after using the lights for a year, are there any changes you'd make?  Thanks!

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14 hours ago, KennethT said:

@dcarch Do you remember what the spectral output of the COBs you used were?  I will be moving soon to a new apartment which doesn't get any direct sunlight (it's north facing) so I want to give my lime tree a lot more artificial light than I've been giving it for the last few years.  Your COB devices seem to have worked really well so I figure I'd steal your idea... most COBs I see are labeled "warm white" or "cool white" which isn't really a spectral output but more of a red/blue ratio...  I'd appreciate any help I can get so I don't have to reinvent the wheel.  BTW - after using the lights for a year, are there any changes you'd make?  Thanks!

 

I don't know if there are published spectrum data for these COB chips other than "cool white" and "warm white". I have both, but mostly I use cool white. They seem to work well.

I use them almost year round. In the winter for growing salads, and spring for starting seedlings. None has failed so far.

In my setup, I use two chips per fixture. that's 300 watts total. That does generate a lot of heat. So a heavy duty heatsink and powerful fan is a must. 110V muffin fans are not powerful enough, You can find cheap used powerful 12vDC computer room rack fans on ebay (mine was $3.00 each). However, they are noisy, so I used a 12vDC power supply + an adjustable low voltage regulator(controller) to slow down the fans.

 

I was lucky to have found (ebay)  those heatsinks. Actually it was one huuuuge heatsink that I cut to size. I use two fans in case one fails. That would instantly fry the LED chips.

Those half -round clear plastic round lenses work well to focus the chips (ebay).

 

300 watts of LED can light up your whole apartment. May be you can get by with 50W to 100W. You can buy them rather them making them.

 

dcarch

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2 hours ago, dcarch said:

 

I don't know if there are published spectrum data for these COB chips other than "cool white" and "warm white". I have both, but mostly I use cool white. They seem to work well.

I use them almost year round. In the winter for growing salads, and spring for starting seedlings. None has failed so far.

In my setup, I use two chips per fixture. that's 300 watts total. That does generate a lot of heat. So a heavy duty heatsink and powerful fan is a must. 110V muffin fans are not powerful enough, You can find cheap used powerful 12vDC computer room rack fans on ebay (mine was $3.00 each). However, they are noisy, so I used a 12vDC power supply + an adjustable low voltage regulator(controller) to slow down the fans.

 

I was lucky to have found (ebay)  those heatsinks. Actually it was one huuuuge heatsink that I cut to size. I use two fans in case one fails. That would instantly fry the LED chips.

Those half -round clear plastic round lenses work well to focus the chips (ebay).

 

300 watts of LED can light up your whole apartment. May be you can get by with 50W to 100W. You can buy them rather them making them.

 

dcarch

Thanks a lot!   This is the current lime tree setup (recently pruned):

20191117_102014_HDR(1).thumb.jpg.9a1821ab71731cd2b9e42db0bb9a05ed.jpg

I am sick of the purple light in the living room - hard to see during the day, but at night it's really annoying.

 

For the new apartment, I've been experimenting with these for general ambient lighting:

20191117_100605_HDR(1).thumb.jpg.fcd053fcc6ea53bb1bfc3b760526048d.jpg

 

It's a quad row LED strip light about 2 feet long, attached to a 1.5"x2'x0.5" thick piece of aluminum to act as a heatsink.  Each 2 foot section uses about 24W... I am testing 3 of these sections in my bedroom and the lighting is equivalent to a 300W halogen torch lamp but much more even and pleasant. 

20191117_112305_HDR.thumb.jpg.de7c9bf97d6d2f6cf153943c7b926380.jpg

I thought about using them as a plant light, but when I measured it with my PAR meter, the PPFD is only about 100 umol/m2/s at a distance of 18"... so even 2 of them wouldn't make enough light as a sole light source for the tree.  One problem is that it has a beam angle of 180deg, so I'll try using an acrylic half round over it to see if I can get better results.

 

I think my biggest problem is that I don't really know how much PPFD the lime tree really needs.  There's tons of data about what other plants like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. need in terms of DLI (cumulative PPFD), but I can't find any for a dwarf lime tree, so in the absence of data, usually more light is better than less!  Plus, if it's too much light (like you can get with lettuce which has low DLI requirements), you can always move the light further away which will dramatically decrease the intensity.

 

I'm thinking that I may try to use one 150W COB per fixture (rather than the 2 that you have) - that will be less heat for the heatsink/fan to have to get rid of, and I can use two of them to distribute the light around the tree more evenly.

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

Thanks a lot!   This is the current lime tree setup (recently pruned):

20191117_102014_HDR(1).thumb.jpg.9a1821ab71731cd2b9e42db0bb9a05ed.jpg

I am sick of the purple light in the living room - hard to see during the day, but at night it's really annoying.

 

For the new apartment, I've been experimenting with these for general ambient lighting:

20191117_100605_HDR(1).thumb.jpg.fcd053fcc6ea53bb1bfc3b760526048d.jpg

 

It's a quad row LED strip light about 2 feet long, attached to a 1.5"x2'x0.5" thick piece of aluminum to act as a heatsink.  Each 2 foot section uses about 24W... I am testing 3 of these sections in my bedroom and the lighting is equivalent to a 300W halogen torch lamp but much more even and pleasant. 

 

Good of you to use a size reference all of us will recognize.

 

My Click and Grow has been out of use since I expropriated its stand for pots and pans.  But I could use some fresh basil in my life about this time of year.  (And the stand I use happens to be an amazon deal of the day.)

 

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Sounds like you have pretty good idea what you can do for your situation.

 

Couple of things to consider -

 

Find a dimmer that you can control the lighting level. Also, a driver for your LEDs which will not interfere your digital camera (flickering).

 

Setup your lights (double duty) on a track so that you can have your lime tree lit for 12 hours and your other plants on the other 12 hours. 

 

dcarch

 

 

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Dimmers are not an issue - the lights I've been experimenting with are 24V DC, and I found a great driver which is dimmable by varying the resistance across 2 terminals - very easy for me to integrate into an automated control system, or just with a variable resistor.  Are the 120V COBs dimmable?  I'd assume not since the driver is built-in...

 

I was planning on having the tree lit with different lights than the rest of my plants because the new apartment is a loft space, so I'd rather not have blinding lights on while we're sleeping!  So if I was to give the tree 16 hours of light, I'd have the lights turn on around 6AM and turn off at 10PM which will coincide nicely with our normal schedule.

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On 11/18/2019 at 8:28 AM, KennethT said:

Dimmers are not an issue - the lights I've been experimenting with are 24V DC, and I found a great driver which is dimmable by varying the resistance across 2 terminals - very easy for me to integrate into an automated control system, or just with a variable resistor.  Are the 120V COBs dimmable?  I'd assume not since the driver is built-in...

 

I was planning on having the tree lit with different lights than the rest of my plants because the new apartment is a loft space, so I'd rather not have blinding lights on while we're sleeping!  So if I was to give the tree 16 hours of light, I'd have the lights turn on around 6AM and turn off at 10PM which will coincide nicely with our normal schedule.

 

Another dimmer option is pulse-width modulation through something like an Arduino controller. You will have to send the PWM signal from a pin on the Arduino board to something like a DC motor control to jack up the signal to 24V. Bonus is that you can use the micro-controller as a timer to turn the lights on & off and even monitor soil moisture (caution many low end soil moisture probes are crap). 

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:56 PM, haresfur said:

anyone had any success controlling earwigs?

 

As a bit of a follow-up. I hadn't been mulching the beds with earwigs because I know they like moisture. But I tried and it seemed to help some (at least until I fried everything in a heat wave). Seems counter-intuitive, but I think what is happening is that the moist mulch keeps them happy under the surface at least for long enough for the seedlings to get established to where they fight their own battles.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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45 minutes ago, haresfur said:

 

Another dimmer option is pulse-width modulation through something like an Arduino controller. You will have to send the PWM signal from a pin on the Arduino board to something like a DC motor control to jack up the signal to 24V. Bonus is that you can use the micro-controller as a timer to turn the lights on & off and even monitor soil moisture (caution many low end soil moisture probes are crap). 

 

I have dimmed 110v 50W COB LEDs with regular light dimmers.

 

dcarch

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11 hours ago, haresfur said:

 

Another dimmer option is pulse-width modulation through something like an Arduino controller. You will have to send the PWM signal from a pin on the Arduino board to something like a DC motor control to jack up the signal to 24V. Bonus is that you can use the micro-controller as a timer to turn the lights on & off and even monitor soil moisture (caution many low end soil moisture probes are crap). 

I'm actually doing this now... but not using a DC motor control - just a 24V power supply with a fast switching mosfet.  The arduino sends a pwm signal to my mosfet driver (basically a fast darlington pair) since the arduino output isn't strong enough to drive the mosfet.  I have been using some really good, not inexpensive but not very expensive either, moisture sensors - they put out a dc output which the arduino reads through an analog input.  I've used it for a year and I'm pretty happy with it...

 

I like this so much, I'm actually going to use these lights to light the new apartment, but then I need to tweak the arduino code a bit since its default PWM speed is about 1000Hz, which is way to slow if you want to take digital photos inside (you get ribbed bars across). By tweaking the code, you can increase teh PWM frequency.

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On 1/14/2020 at 12:36 AM, KennethT said:

I'm actually doing this now... but not using a DC motor control - just a 24V power supply with a fast switching mosfet.  The arduino sends a pwm signal to my mosfet driver (basically a fast darlington pair) since the arduino output isn't strong enough to drive the mosfet.  I have been using some really good, not inexpensive but not very expensive either, moisture sensors - they put out a dc output which the arduino reads through an analog input.  I've used it for a year and I'm pretty happy with it...

 

I like this so much, I'm actually going to use these lights to light the new apartment, but then I need to tweak the arduino code a bit since its default PWM speed is about 1000Hz, which is way to slow if you want to take digital photos inside (you get ribbed bars across). By tweaking the code, you can increase teh PWM frequency.

 

Yeah, I forgot that the reason I went with the motor control is that I'm switching latching-solenoid irrigation valves so I have to be able to reverse the polarity. Interesting about the PWM speed.

 

Are you using capacitance sensors? We found some cheap ones were all over the map in terms of calibration, which was disappointing. I'm about to test some Time-Domain Transmission sensors but at about $300 AU a pop, they aren't exactly cheap.

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9 hours ago, haresfur said:

Are you using capacitance sensors? We found some cheap ones were all over the map in terms of calibration, which was disappointing. I'm about to test some Time-Domain Transmission sensors but at about $300 AU a pop, they aren't exactly cheap.

Check these out:

https://vegetronix.com/Products/VH400/

I don't know if they ship to Australia, but in the US, they're about US$50 each...  I've found that they've have been pretty reliable so far...

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8 hours ago, KennethT said:

Check these out:

https://vegetronix.com/Products/VH400/

I don't know if they ship to Australia, but in the US, they're about US$50 each...  I've found that they've have been pretty reliable so far...

 

Those are the ones that didn't calibrate well (I hope the person calibrating them did it right). I think they would be fine for many purposes, though. Lucky for me, work is paying for the toys.

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31 minutes ago, haresfur said:

 

Those are the ones that didn't calibrate well (I hope the person calibrating them did it right). I think they would be fine for many purposes, though. Lucky for me, work is paying for the toys.

One thing to keep in mind with these is that the output is an average of the moisture it sees over the entire length.  For what I do with them, I don't care about the average moisture, but instead only care about the moisure at the root ball - so I bury the sensor laying horizontally exactly where I want but the flat part of the blade vertical so water won't pool on top of it and affect the readings.  I have a couple of these and when I first got them, buried them side by side and found them pretty consistent.

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It was 2 years ago when we talked about retiring to the countryside in an effort to become as self sustainable as possible. We bought the property around 12 months ago, and finally moved permanently 6 weeks ago.

 

The abundant fruit trees, raised veggie beds, a chicken run, frog pond and spring fed water supply were all factors that made this property attractive to us. One of the first improvements we made was to install a 25,000 litre rain water tank. Australia is currently experiencing a drought, and although we are in a high rainfall area, rain over the past 12 months has been less than average and brown is the predominant colour in the landscape.

 

Here’s the mango tree, I reckon there’s about 40 mangoes and they should ripen in a few weeks. The netting is to prevent the critters from getting the fruit before we do. Lots of mango chutney coming up!

0FFA6C8D-4A17-4340-90D0-210CBFADCCA2.thumb.jpeg.f58be672752cf02416c55566f98e16f2.jpeg

 

These mandarins are sweet and juicy little things. We’re not big jam eaters, so any ideas for alternative uses would be awesome. In the foreground are a tamarind grown from seed which will go in the ground soon, and a curry leaf tree which will stay in a pot.

D717B6E8-A006-423E-95F4-030B659831D3.thumb.jpeg.ccaf5081166e30e5b98b370596f7676a.jpeg

 

These are two golden passion fruit, received as a housewarming gift and planted last February. We’ll plant an understory in here soon, any suggestions ?

4D1F452E-D2C4-4E99-9D3A-6A3F7D3F229B.thumb.jpeg.364d259349f0e7dfcbd1a40532916dec.jpeg

 

All the garden beds and the chook run were completely overrun by weeds. Gradually, (when it’s cool enough) we’ve been weeding, improving the soil and planting seeds. This bed has okra, eggplant, unpronounceable Chinese vegetable, gross lisse tomatoes, Madagascar beans, radish, lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and kale.

2A97C260-7CB1-45F0-9AA8-F2763A2A0F00.thumb.jpeg.0b0d73a76a3f9bc0c8c0b01355a10288.jpeg

 

We also have both white and black mulberry trees, two different orange trees, a lemon, a lime, a kaffir lime, a cumquat, a peach, a jaboticaba, an avocado, an olive tree, two papaya, a lemon myrtle (Australian native), a pomegranate and several bananas. We moved with many large pots brought from our previous city home, a tamarind, a native tamarind, a Davidson’s plum (another native), two curry leafs, two bay trees, a lime, a Meyer lemon and six pineapple (one of which has a nearly ripe fruit).

920FB6A1-1417-46F3-93CC-22AE609C0A7A.thumb.jpeg.01228594bf6e2f086f1e88abcc72cca1.jpeg

 

Then there’s the bunya pine (small hand for scale). These cones can weigh up to 10 kilos and seriously hurt if you’re unlucky enough to have one fall on you. This is bush tucker food, the nuts are roasted and ground to make flour for bread. Guarantee there’s other uses I don’t know about yet.

29FD9412-CD1D-4CD4-BF84-5C6EBC99D1E8.thumb.jpeg.7a81dd8aa4848d0216d2c776db8a66b3.jpeg

 

I’ve never been much of a gardener but I’m learning !

 

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