Monday, 17 September 2012

Suffering Citrus!

Geez! If the plants could talk around here....they would be screaming out for help!
I'm getting better at gardening, but I'm still not very good, still learning, and 'winging it' most of the time. But really, to be honest, you've got to be bold and do something drastic before you really get my attention.
Dropping all your leaves in a slow but deathly downward spiral will surely do it for you!
This is the lime - those spindly stick things are the branches that have been doing the leaf shedding.
The lemon isn't as bad as the lime, but I was reading a book the other day that characterised lemons as having 'glossy dark green leaves'...hmmmm....
Given this display, it was time to move them to a more sheltered position. This has been a bit hard up until now, as we haven't really had any safe 'pockets' to shelter plants that little bit more. But after the lime has up and lost 70% of its leaves (it did do something similar last year and recovered - so fingers crossed it will come around), Hubby and I started scouting around for another position. Interestingly the oranges and mandarins are OK and aren't suffering as much as the lemon and lime are.

The old position. They were too far away from the wattle wind break and were in a quite exposed position.

So we settled on the little garden near the kids play area that is protected a bit more from the severe winds and more protected from frost. This spot will allow us to cover the trees better for frost season as well. Being closer to the house and near the kids play area, I'm hoping the boys of the house may be able to 'tinkle' on the trees a little more regularly than is currently occurring.

After preparing the soil with some of the mushroom compost we picked up at Yass, we re-planted the trees in the area that I am hoping will be a bit kinder to them. I am not entirely sure I have transplanted them at the right time - there is no new spring growth yet, so I think I am OK, heck there might not be any new growth! - although some books have suggested that I move the trees at the end of spring. I'm taking a gamble and hopefully it will work and we will get some more fresh lemons in the near future.

Oh and as an aside, I need to apologise for the quality of my pictures lately. Our kids destroyed our camera with some icky sticky goo that has stuck the lens cover shut and has also seeped its way into the internal mechanisms making it highly unreliable. So we are relying on our phone cameras...which just aren't very good. Hopefully we will rectify the problem shortly :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A time of firsts

First plum blossoms
The first day of spring came around and what a morning it was! Very close to -8C, the coldest morning we have had since moving out here - and the water tank pipes froze! So that meant no water for us. Our youngest daughter came running into our bedroom and flung the curtains back to excitedly exclaim 'SNOW!' at the top of her lungs.  Must admit it looked very close to snow. Hubby braved the cold (OK I pushed him out!) to go over to our other tank to fill up the kettle for a cuppa and he reported back that there were actual icicles coming out of the hose!

Lucky for us we had the fire going and the house was warm and toasty. After so much hassle getting this thing in and approved we were very grateful for the warmth. I fall asleep most nights in front of the fire.
We recently built our first wood shed with very kindly donated tin from our next door neighbour. This also meant that I got my greenhouse back when all the wood could be moved in.
And here is our veggie garden as of this beautiful bright sunshiny day. We recently harvested our first lot of winter veggies from the garden. It has been so cold this winter that nothing really grew much. The broccoli and shallots are from the garden and the potatoes and carrots are from the greenhouse.
In anticipation of spring, and also reviving the garden, I have been planting out some seedlings in the greenhouse.
These are my herbs - Chamomile, Thyme, Mint, Marjoram and Basil. As the Basil was closest to the wall, it actually got hit by the -8C frost we had. It didn't completely die and has started to reshoot green tips so all the work wasn't lost.
These are my pumpkin, rockmelon, watermelon and loofah seedlings, although the loofah seeds haven't come up yet.
Here are my tomato seedlings. This year I am growing Roma, Grosse Lisse, Mortgage Lifter, Money Maker, and Sweetie. *May* have gone a little bit overboard :)
In anticipation of the dream of one day getting sheep, we planted some trees at the front of the house so they will provide some shade for them when the trees get bigger. We planted three manchurian pears (I have always wanted some of these trees and finally got my wish). Although they are not edible, they still have purpose - shade for both the sheep and the front rooms of the house in summer, screening the neighbours across the road, beautiful colour in autumn as well as leaves for mulch and composting in the autumn. After much discussion, we have also planted our new little fig tree out the front as well. Hopefully for shade for the sheep and front rooms of the house and fruit as well.
And finally.....TA DA! My first loaf of bread - raisin bread! tastes yummy too!
Time to cross another off my New Years Resolutions:
Make bread from scratch, even if just once.  DONE!
Other firsts in the household - my youngest daughter turned the big 6, my twin bubbys turned 3 and also started preschool (big boys now *sniff*). We opened our bees for the first time since ANZAC Day and - phew! - they are still alive! I am about to embark on a permaculture design certificate in a couple of weekends time and I have almost completed my first semester back at uni and survived to tell the tale! Well - that is at the end of October and a lot can happen between now and then!