Birth Announcement

Well it seems that our broody hen actually did know what she was doing and we are very pleased to announce the birth of two new chicks somewhere between yesterday evening and this morning. Yay! We know nothing about raising baby chicks and had no idea we would actually get any this year so we’ve been a little taken by surprise. We’ve arranged to pick up a rabbit hutch from a friend which we will have to convert tomorrow to accommodate our new mummy and her babies (and the eggs she is still sitting on). We’ve got a little information on what to feed the babies (basically ground of feed). They will be on grass and we hope that mum will teach them to free range properly. We really need to start thinking a little about forage plants for the chooks. Tree Lucern (tagasaste) is the most highly recommended. I also want to look into a few more water food plants for the pond (for the ducks and geese).

This are so exciting in the garden at the moment. We just enjoyed a yummy lunch including our own fresh peas, beans and lettuces. Have you ever picked a pea pod off the vine, snapped it open and tasted those little green peas? Well I hadn’t until this morning and they tasted like sweet little lollies.

We also have some broccoli starting to head:

 

More of the fruit trees are in the process of feeding us too. Here is a persimmon.

The olives I mentioned last time:

Our single blue berry bush 

Look at the itty bitty kiwi fruits, they are born hairy!

 (oh and the photo from my other post that I said I wasn’t sure what those little pods where are actually more kiwi fruit, that’s the stage just before they become flowers).

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What’s growing

Here’s another photo heavy post, (oh who am I kidding my posts are always photo heavy lol), of everything that is currently growing, flowering and budding in our world of food.

First up we have some zucchinis.

Here’s another photo heavy post, (oh who am I kidding my posts are always photo heavy lol), of everything that is currently growing, flowering and budding in our world of food. First up we have some zucchinis.

“A banana” (must be said aloud as per Fozzie Bear)

 

(we have one bunch of banana’s in a dark cupboard slowing maturing)

In the green house (I think I previously mentioned how we had recovered the large green house)

The first tomato 

Corn

The peas, corn and zucchini’s are in a “three sisters guild” arrangement which I’ve mentioned before when we were at Earthsong. It’s so far the only “guild” planting we’ve done and it works well I think.

Back out in the orchards we have:

Peaches

LOTS of grapes (lets hope they are a yummy variety)

Now one of these is kiwi fruit flowers and one is another fruit which I can’t remember the name of right now (banana passion-fruit maybe).

The other one

We also have fejoa flowers and itty bitty olives, not sure if the figs have started to produce yet though.

We have a huge variety of beans including dwarf beans, borlotti, cannelloni, and slenderett.

We are self sufficient currently in all our leafy greens which has been very exciting, and the roast vegetables with dinner the other night included our own beetroot. The potato crop is going exceptionally well so we are looking forward to a good harvest there.

Craig and Buffie also harvested some of broad beans from our patches at Earthsong and we have 2 sandwich bags of beans in the freezer along with some baby leeks and a variety of herbs.

Pea Arch

Pea Arch I decided these Te Anau pea seedlings needed to get into the ground today and I needed something for them to grow on. A quick trip over the the bamboo and I clipped of a few of the newer growth shoots – still nice and flexible and created this little arch by simply pushing several inches of the saplings into the ground. If I feel it’s not holding up I might pop out and tie the center area together but I think it will be fine. The idea is that the peas will grow up and over the arch making a serviceable and attractive trellis for them.

Seedling Update

The peas are coming along splendidly and supper fast.

Te Anau & Southland Snow PeasTe Anau (top) & Southland Snow Peas (bottom)

Some of the Beesteak (pictured) & money maker tomatoes are starting to come up.

Tomatoe seedlings

There are actually two cucumbers coming up in this photo, one in the bottom left corner and one at the top right edge.

Cucumber seedlings

Almost half a dozen of the Kentuky Beans are sprouting. I believe these are the type of beans I grew up on so I’ll be very excited if they do come up and even more so if I can save some of the seeds.

Beans

No basil or cabsicum yet though. I also harvested my first few broad bean pods yesterday (not from the balcony garden), I’m thinking tonights dinner will be meat and three veg featuring the broad beans 🙂

While I wait

While I wait for the days to pass before I can leave for Earthsong, I have decided that I really need to get focused on gardening again. When I sorted through my book collections the other day I piled up all my books on Permaculture & Organic Gardening, so it was to this pile I turned.

I pulled out all the books I had by Jackie French, devoured them in 2 days and then set to work deciding what I could do on an upstairs balcony with full sun all day (practically). Eventually (as it was pretty much my only choice really) I decided to build 2 “box gardens” and to replant my other pots. I grabed the car keys, wandered down to the green grocer and begged sweetly for 2 stirofoam boxes and a cardboard box of cabbage leaves, which he was more then happy to supply. I then drove over to CERES to get my potting mix, seawead fertiliser and of course – the plants.

After wandering around the nursery for about half an hour, I finally decided that I wanted seedlings rather then seeds. Why? because I’m hopefully not going to be here for long enough to nurture seeds into full grown, harvestable plants. So the decision was:

  • Cos Lettuce
  • Baby Spinach
  • Flat-leaf Parsley
  • Chilli plants (compleate with 1 chilli each 🙂
  • Snow Peas (which I am growing around a wire desk organiser that I don’t use)
  • Basil
  • Strawberries
  • Rosemary
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • and Silverbeat (I think that’s what it is, I can’t recal now, oops)

Then came the task of actually creating the garden. Jackie recomends filling the boxes half full with something like lawn clippings or cabbage leaves (green folage type stuff) and then fill the rest with potting mix, plant densly, water everyday and fertalise with something like a liquid seaweed fertiliser.

The end result was thus:

Lets just hope they yield me a bumper crop (or better yet, we leave before they mature and I have to give them away, lol)