Monday, 9 November 2009
It is such a battle to get anything to grow around here. I am right on the edge of the alluvial gold mining area (from the 1850s) - just a couple of kilometres away are deep shaft mines.
In the alluvial mining areas where the gold was close to the surface the easiest way to get to it was to wash all the dirt away and pick up the shiny leftovers.
Consequently, I have very little top soil.
Even after 160 years...
When I bought this place there was a LOT of rubbish around - we took 8 or 10 big tip-truck loads to the tip, and had a great bonfire that burned for weeks, and there are still some mounds that need setting fire to when (if) it rains again.
There were lots of falling down, white ant ridden goat sheds and the dirt from them was pushed into a mound to rot down, along with some other compostables.
After 7 years it is getting good enough to do things with. It is still pretty sandy but my neighbours have offered me their alpaca poo which will be yummy garden tucker!
The last few weeks I have been gardening.
The top photo is a long shot of the garden, with The Chook Palace in the background. It was once a wonderful, functioning Chook Palace until the little bastard delinquent youths across the road kicked down the walls (they also stole thousands $$$ of my stuff before being caught (and then getting only a slap because they were children, and their mother saying it was my 'fault for leaving windows open'... at least they don't come around any more).
I am slowly rebuilding The Chook Palace, Smellie 4 came up a few weeks ago when we did the fencing, and did some more on it. Have to get industrious tho because my Nearly Cousin Neighbour is soon giving me some of her spare chooks. Mud brick building is hard work and no fun on my own.
There are two rows of potatoes. I planted them in trenches and have been mounding up the soil around them as they grow so they will have more spuds. I planted corn in between those rows the other day.
And today planted out boysenberries and strawberries, 4 artichoke plants and transplanted some sunflowers I started from seed.
Lots of sugar cane mulch and some good soakings, and hopefully they will survive the heat wave. I did all this at the crack of dawn, and then came in to the radio telling me that it is going to hit 40* in a couple of days. Bugger. (That is about 105*F).
My most successful plantings are in four concrete well rings (the circles that line wells to stop the walls falling in) along the front of the house, and lots of pots:
Herbs, snow peas, lettuces, mint, strawberries, cucumbers, flowers...
And tomatoes from seed in toilet roll tubes. The kindest way to sprout seeds because the roots are undisturbed when you pot them up. These are only ten days old. You are meant to plant tomatoes on Melbourne Cup Day but there is still a danger of frosts after this (tho not now with this heat wave I suspect). Actually not all tomatoes I now remember - there are are chillies and capsicums sprouting here too.
The Sweetheart and I finally put a gate across the front gateposts - The Mighty Erections.
Screwing in the bottom peg that the gate swings on - hard work just to scratch a little hole so the peg could be turned! You can see what the soil is like - not much growing here.
And clever Trevor slithered under the gate as soon as it was hung... Never mind, another load of gravel on the driveway will fix that problem. So long as it also keeps kangaroos out of the garden. That will be the biggest battle. Just keep sprinkling blood and bone around - they don't like the smell too much apparently.
These Mighty Erections were a dead tree overhanging the house when I bought it. We planted them at the front with the help of a bobcat and anxious sweat.
Even if there isn't much rainfall, and even less soil I do like my home!