Gardening

Moving mulch

A paddock workers best friend in the paddock is mulch. Obviously that refers to inatimate objects and not to the Resposible Adult who is this paddock workers best friend in regard to humans. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil and to keep that harsh Oz sun from heating and baking the soil. It brings worms and micro organisims into the garden and eventually breaks down and becomes humus in the soil. So having established an area in front of the groovy pad for a garden, it is time to mulch and plant. The cheapest mulch is called forest blend. Forest blend is the chipped remains of trees that some other person wanted removed. If I ever have a tree removed, then the resulting forest blend stays on the paddock, but some people actually want it removed! So, you just phone tree removers and ask them to bring you someone elses unwanted mulch.

Having had your bloody big pile of mulch delivered, it then needs to be moved and spread onĀ  your garden beds. The easiest way to move this, or any other big pile of stuff is to lay your barrow on a low angle and start raking the stuff in. You can get a fair bit in this way without having touched a shovel. Then stand your barrow up and shovel until absolutely full. Obviously, if you were shifting somethin heavier, say gravel, then half a barrow load is probably heavy enough. But with mulch, you should go really full so as to save a few trips.

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Old Boots

As a fashion concious Paddock Worker, I always insist on wearing Blundstone Boots. These very chic boots originated in Oz specifically for our tough conditions. For the clumsy oaf, they can come with steel caps. After making the boots in Tasmania for 137 years, the company sacked its 300 staff during the Christmas break in 2007 and their product is now made somewhere else – India? Indonesia? – who knows? Anyway, after this act of business bastardry, they still produce the best boots for manly workers. Unfortunately they don’t last forever but you should expect about 5 years worth of rabbiting around your paddock. So, then, what to do with the old ones? See pic:

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Herbs in Strawberry Pots

Geez. Long time no blog. What happened is that the Responsible Adult and I finally moved into the groovy pad. Part of the idea of building our little retirement home was to, well, retire. I figured that house maintenence would be a snap. Just a bit of landscaping and I could lay back and enjoy with minimal weeding perhaps 5 minutes a month. Well, the landscaping has been keeping me busy, busy, busy. And there’s a whole lot more to go. But, in between mixing loads of cement, I have been having fun with container gardening. Over the years, starting about 37 years ago, I have bought strawberry pots with the idea of growing herbs in them. Well, long story short, I never got round to planting them until now. Hope you like them. From left to right – the bay tree (see earlier blog), thyme with a rosemary top, strawberries, oregano with garlic chives top. And a minature rose just to be pretty.

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Funky Fungi

So, been reading some blogs from the other side of the planet where they’re a bit over winter and looking forward to summer. So were we about 6 months ago, but we had no idea what sort of summer the planet was about to give us. It was not much fun – scorching heat, torrential rain, killer winds, bushfires, floods and so on and on. I’d like to ask Nature for my money back or a replacement summer at the very least. (Actually, I’m taking the Responsible Adult on a 4 week holiday to Asia soon, so we’ll have a second crack at summer there)

 

My observations in the paddock during summer have shown that plants are a bit confused by all this weird weather. Plants can’t work out whether to grow, run to seed or what to do. Some trees I planted made heaps of leaf growth at the expense of root growth. They looked good, but failed to survive the wind and rain. Others started to make flowers then dropped them before they were properly formed.

Among all this weirdness we get to see some pretty funky fungi. I happen to know very little about fungi as I once worked with a fungi expert who gave me a peek into this world. That peek was enough to let me know that it is a big subject. Anyway, here’s one we don’t get often – I’ve only seen it once before and I thought it worth sharing.

I’d be happy to slice it, fry it in butter and serve on toast, but I’m not convinced you would survive the eating of it.

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Planting trees

Here’s my latest little project working on a dam wall. Nice and steep so I can fall over a lot. Looks pretty hideous, I know. 2 years ago, it was wall to wall weeds. There was so much stuff, I just had to drop and kill. 2 years later and I was able to break stuff up to make it a bit tidier and plant some trees. Then we had a record heat wave and I’m not sure how many survived. It must rain soon.

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Bloody Hot

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Having a heat wave here. It’s way too hot to be out apart from early morning, so I’m fiddling around the house paddock in whatever shade I can find. Stuff like pruning the Jasmine.

 

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Rain, Rain, Rain

I may be exaggerating. They copped a flogging in Brisbane but at least we got some half decent rain. Good timing just after a bit of planting. Now more weeds will grow, but, in the words of the great Dalek, they will be exterminated.

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Barung Landcare

You may think I’ve forgotten the paddock, but no, after the Responsible Adult, it is the foremost thing on my mind. I’ve been working on a steep bank on the second dam. Given it a decent cleanout and need to put in some trees. Luckily, there is a world class Landcare Nursery just around the corner from the Paddock. So I’ve been down and got some stuff to plant and now must perform rain dancing. Here’s a link to the Landcare: http://www.barunglandcare.org.au/Image

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Free Staghorn

I was wandering past the Mango tree and noticed a Staghorn growing. The Mango Tree came up from some compost before I realised that Mango seeds survive composting. Mango trees don’t fruit here – too wet – and I have been meaning to cut it down. But I live in hope that it may, one day, give me a Mango to eat. Anyway, here’s another reason to leave it alone and have a glass of Shiraz instead.

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Don’t throw your Weeds away

Nothing that grows on the Paddock leaves the Paddock. There’s no point in tossing away weeds, prunings or anything else that has used the nutrients from your soil. You want to keep all that stuff and put it back into the soil. The only stuff that goes to landfill from here is Moth Vine seeds (too risky to let loose) Avocado and Mango seeds both of which will survive composting and grow. I keep about 6 compost bins in various locations around the place. They are almost impossible to fill. The stuff at the bottom rots and compacts so there is always room for weeds, small cuttings, vege scraps, coffee grounds and whatever.

Every so often, I stop putting stuff into one and leave it for a year. When you come back, there will be a small pile of black compost.

OK – but what about those bad, bad weeds that may still manage to survive a compost bin? I keep a handy wheely bin with a lid. The bad boys go in there. Leave it in the sun for a while to cook those little buggers. This bin gets emptied under the Mulberry tree where it is very dark. Nothing survives. Cool ain’t it?

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