The beautiful apricot blossom is out, and thus the windy spring weather comes and 'thins' the crop. Last year we agreed we needed to thin out the fruit more to protect against brown rot on the apricot trees. Also we promised the apricot trees we would prune them once their sap started moving. The wind took care of the first item, and we pruned the bottom apricot tree on Saturday morning. Above the blossom there were long whippy growths about 5-6 foot tall which we lopped off. And that tree looks comfortable again. The shape of the tree makes it possible to climb up inside it which made pruning easier.
A bonus this weekend was the free green waste disposal at the local council tip. After we emptied the trailer which was jam packed with about 6 months of tree prunings, we refilled it with mulch – $10 for a cubic metre. Bonus upper body workout shifting it to the front garden when we got home. The rain yesterday has washed away some of the stink too. Ewww – smelt like compost with fish waste. Cheap though. That'll be my garden job this coming weekend – spreading out the wee mountains of mulch and pulling out/ burying some of the emergent weeds.
The chickens are averaging 4 eggs a day at the moment. And I'm saving the small ones (about 25 grams each) for an egg curry as part of a dinner with friends on Friday night. Should be decorative.
‘scuse the mud on the eggs – it’s been damp here and the chooks have muddy feet.
Also – go buy a pressure cooker. Seriously. Lamb Tagine in 25 minutes? Deliciously tender and flavoursome.
Last weekend we put in the star pickets for the fruit trees in the driveway and front gardens, and this weekend finished the job. After memories of arguing with wire in past efforts I was surprised at how easy the job with the right materials, including tensioner doohickeys.
Having squished 8 apple and pear trees across the front fence, they most definitely needed a decent espalier, and the side fence plantings also did.
We ran a string line through the middle of the star pickets to make sure that lines were straight and this is a trick we'd repeat again.
On the inside of the front fence we have wooden posts so we just attached eyelets directly into them to run the wires through.
Bending over the trees to tie down to the wire was nerve wracking after my "attack" on the nashi pear left me ubercautious. But we were very pleased to be able to follow the guidance from Woodbridge Fruit Trees and we're looking forward to enjoying the ground work we've down this winter for many years to come.
In other work:
- Turned compost bins (the one-week old mix of horse manure and chook shed clearings was steaming)
- Weeded C6 and mulched with horse manure to add more organic matter in prep for summer vegies.
- Cleared out the rabbit cage and now have a stash of lovely compost booster.
- Admired the leaves emerging on the blueberries and the blossom on the apricots.
We're debating what to do with the front of the deck.
We had been thinking of putting an aquaponics system there (fresh rainbow trout anyone?) and then thought in the shade near the side fence might be better, leaving the front of the deck for a combo winter cold frame/ extra summer outdoor rabbit run. We've now come full circle and it really is the best spot for the aquaponics. And through winter we can erect a greenhouse style shelter over the aquaponics growbeds to achieve the cold frame idea. But the rabbits enjoyed their time out this weekend so much I'm wondering about more space for them to run around without having to be with them all the time.
In reverse order:
Current state of play in the garden
- Eating more carrots. Two full circles would be a generous amount for next winter.
- Apricot and Peach buds are swelling on the trees
- Baby chicks are ready to move into the big shed but I want a fine day so they have lots of space to figure out pecking order etc
- Clover is growing really well – the first planting from about 3 months ago has proper clover leaves (the three together measure about a centimetre across), and the batch I planted 3-4 weeks ago is up and green.
- Salad box gave us a week of spinach for lunches. It started noticeable growing when the day length stretched out in the past ten days.
- We are now getting more than the magic ten hours of day light for plant growth. Shame the drizzle diffuses most of it.
- Chatted to the seedlings in the greenhouse. They say they like having the shelter from poxy late winter weather.
- Collected two more eggs on Sunday, another hen has started laying as we got two of different colours. Finally!
- Promised all the animals I would clean out their cages next week and added another layer of bedding on top.
- Hid inside out of the rain.
- Tasted exquisite pinot at the Tasmanian Pinot Showcase in Launceston.
- Sprayed the back garden & driveway fruit trees with a white oil/ copper spray.
- Planted Chilliwack raspberries for autumn fruiting at the top of the side fence.
- Pruned and tied up the rest of the raspberries, rolled more carpet underlay through the middle as path material.
Weekend before that [ ie I think this was the weekend ...]:
- Planted 2 Mary Washington and 3 unnamed Asparagus into pots while I wait for the ground to dry out where they are going
Played with Used my new soil blockers and transplanted rocket and lettuce seedlings into 5cm blocks, and planted seed in tiny ones.
Garlic through the garden