First visitors of 2019 and a flower filled season

Ange and her family came through while on a Queensland holiday and we enjoyed lunch together. She and Nick always strick a pose and do a jig!

Wattle blooms

This time of year also sees many Wattles blossom and plenty of pollen in the air. While it’s difficult sometimes for those with hay fever — it really is a wonderful time to enjoy the flowers and fragrances.

bee swarm tree

This being Summer time sees our bees buzzing with activity. Though not quite as floral as Spring, between hot days and many flowers — they are swarming regularly. Luckily, they so far are returning to their hive.

flowhive bee inspection window

All things progress…

A day of rest after Arnaud’s departure was in order (only planting a few trees and hanging out with Jaffa). I started back at the barn early and between bouts of rain, managed to get half of the roof fir strips (for the tin to re-attach to) by mid afternoon. I had to get to Frank’s and pick-up the side wall tin and a few pieces of steel fence for the compost pens before 16:00. I managed, with Frank’s helper, Hamish’s help, to get everything loaded and back before dark.

Here I am with the barn fir strips half done (and looking serious! ;<)

barn-Brett-2017-03-14-19-39.jpg

And speaking of progress… the planters, especially the tomatoes, are doing well and enjoying the heat and rain.

Garden Enclosure “Greenhouse” Construction

Simple hoop greenhouse being built from irrigation pipe, stakes, and fence rope – filled with IBC wicking raised planter beds.

Our garden is progressing nicely. We’ve built a greenhouse to keep pests away and are in the process of planting now. So far, have red and bell peppers, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, several types of beans, peas, beet root and okra started… SO looking forward to them yielding bounty!

Occasionally arranging helpers yet, after a poor experience with the Dutch couple as they were separating while here (come to find out) and the girl was a militant vegan who ate us out of house and home. Not a good experience — but they’re gone. A Parisian engineer guy is due this Friday (wish us luck!)

The garden cover is constructed of 1 1/2 inch irrigation pipe cut, arched, then stuck on the end of galvanised 1.5 meter steel pipe which are driven half way into the ground. The baling twine helps hold it all in place and makes it quite rigid then the electric fence wire rope keeps it strong and durable.

Hoop greenhouse half done

The planters are made from 1000 litre fluid totes (or IBCs) which have been washed. The black ones are near new and carried saline water for water purification (so no worries with nasties!) I measure and marke them before using my angle grinder to cut them in half. Seems they go a treat on hot days but are harder to cut when its cool. In the bottom of each (after all opening have been siliconed shut and water tight) I lay 7.5 meters of socked slotted agie pipe (use typically for wastewater drains). These are spun in circles, a filler neck fitted, and zip tied in place. Then the all important drainage holes are drilled about 150mm (or leaving about 150 litres of water in the tank AND overflow holes near the filler (in case it floods, the planters need to shed the excess water). Then, about two wheel barrows full of sand, then a layer of sugar cane mulch (to keep the nutrients from the soil and plants for making the water cavity down below to acidic from fermentation), and finally the top layer of two or so wheel barrows full of topsoil. They are quite a lot of work — yet conserve 80% of the water of usual in ground gardening, they make tending to them easier as they are raised, reduce the amount of weeds, and keep plants in their designated spots with out effort. Each should last for many years and only occasionally need to be refreshed soil wise and weekly water top-ups with a hose.

hoop greenhouse raised IBC container wicking beds