Monday, 27 January 2014

Hodge podge happenings

Belle and I made pizza this week.  I love cooking alongside Belle.  She's in the kitchen with me more and more lately.
 It's great to talk with her about how to create a meal with what we have in the house, what we have grown or what has been given to us by friend gardeners and family gardeners.
 We've also been working in a barren paddock.  I've been meaning to address this sad and sorry state for a long time now.  Finally this job has made its way to the top of my list.
 The first step to improving the paddock was to work out the contours.
 We're laying stick, stones, leaves etc across the contours.  When (if) it rains, the sticks will catch any soil that washes down.  Eventually it will build up.
 There's an area in the paddock where it has happened naturally.  A tree trunk lay across the paddock, dirt built up behind it and you can clearly see the flattened area where the soil and leaf litter has gathered.  There are little blades of grass in this spot although the rest of the paddock is bare.  We will try and copy nature to fix this dusty mess!
 A layer of our scrub (cassinia) spread above the tiers will keep the sun off the soil and hopefully keep some moisture in!
I didn't show you the damage to my garden during our recent heat wave.  I was too busy complaining about how uncomfortable I was.  We are expecting another heat wave this week.  I almost feel like letting the veggie garden go and just keeping the fruit trees alive.
 We have an exciting new toy that Hubby built!  No more wasting water or even nutrients that can be returned to the soil.  At the moment we have it on the verandah while we fine tune its use.  Its a bit fun and novel right now and we are still using the inside conventional toilet as well.  When we decide where it will permanently sit, we will give privacy to its users in the form of walls.  Shame really.  The views from the seat are amazing!! 
 I must show you my zucchini!  For all my complaining about the garden, I am producing a bumper crop of zucchini this year.
 I am getting four or five zucchini a day and look out if I miss one hiding under a leaf!!!  They grow soooo much in a day!
So that's my news.  What's yours?


city garden country garden said...

Hi Linda. That's a fantastic way to work with the contours and what you have on site. In my PDC we learnt all about getting in machinery to dig swales but I love the simplicity of that method. I'm also wondering whether once it's built up the contours will double as hugelkultur beds? Could you please do a follow-up later in the year to show how it is going, perhaps after some heavy rain?

Cheryl said...

I can't wait to see how your paddock restoration goes, please keep us updated on that.

Several years ago my husband went outback on a fundraising trek quest trip. They visited a farm using permaculture principles swales etc. Hubby was amazed at the results, while the rest of the surrounding outback was dry and barren, this man's land while not lush and green was certainly still vegetated. The locals despite the evidence thought it was all a bit "out there" I think people like that are modern day heroes!

Kathy said...

That's interesting about the contours and the sticks which makes a lot of sense. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

Evi said...

Those swales are really quite clever, I've seen them man made with soil and with sticks in nature…so well done to you! And in all this heat too!!
Our zucchinis are just starting and I'm always tempted to leave the first ones till 'they get a little bigger' but have finally learnt that before long I'll be inundated! So I'm picking them young!!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Ohh whats going on with your new loo? Are you getting an out door dunny? Great work starting on the barren paddock, I can see why it will be a challenge but I am sure you are up for it. Do you have a horse stables nearby or anywhere else you could get free organic matter from? Maybe you could ask some of your local cafes for all their scraps? or a bit of dumster diving? Otherwise I have used bales of hay that had gotten wet and gone moldy (maybe not something you would find after the weather you have been having) but sugar cane or straw bales would work too. I would focus on having them at the bottom of the slope that way anything that gets through your sticks will not leave your paddock. Keep us updated on your progress.

Linda said...

Cgcg, we used this method in our new orchard and it works! Yes I'll do a follow up when the dirt starts to collect. We'll have to look at it the same time next year though for a true comparison.

Cheryl Swales are ridiculously inspiring! We can't afford earthworks though so we do what we can with what we have.

Yes Kathy, I hope to show you a huge improvement in the soil soon. Well, that's the plan. Let's hope it works!

Evi, love Swales. Our zucchinis seem to be taking over our lives atm. You're right. It doesn't take long!!

Fiona, I would love a source of spoiled hay but haven't found one. I'm going to take your advice though and try and catch at the bottom as well. The toilet is a composting one. You use dry material like sawdust or chaff in it. No water wasted and the matter can be composted!!

Linda said...

Fiona, I forgot to say we have sprinkled chook manure around as well so that should add to the fertility.