Verge garden planting season has come

So planting has been taking place at last in the garden! Over the last month adding to the existing Rosemary and Lemongrass which are really taking off now and I hope provide a good wind barrier for the rest of the garden, I added the following herbs in early August;

  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Peppermint
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Parsley

And to finish off I’ve added;

  • 1 x Eureka Lemon Tree
  • 1 x Imperial Mandarin Tree

 

In short, yes, I am hesitant given some local gardeners stories regarding putting fruit trees in then finding they get stolen but we can only hope for the best.

My plant choices are really being targeted to what would grow well with little assistance and what people would and could find genuinely useful if they took a sprig or two once the plants become established.

This especially was behind my choice of citrus trees which won’t need multiple plants to pollinate and the trees themselves with the Eureka Lemon being a fairly hardy but productive tree and the Imperial Mandarin as a fruiting tree which will require little actual preparation to eat the produce

Now all there is really is to make sure it’s well fertilised and then well watered coming into summer to really get established.

That’s almost all I can think about on this one, but, if there’s questions or suggestions list them below or contact me.

The verge garden a few months on

So it’s a few months since I’ve made any post about where my verge garden is at. This is mostly because I’ve been busy with work and the compost did need more time than anticipated to break down to woodchip matter. In an encouraging sign though someone did appear to plant some seeds before I had to turn the compost again yesterday, I was quite surprised at this but perhaps this might be catching on? If nothing else it seems to suggest that this is almost ready for proper planting and that perhaps someone else other than myself is actually invested in this thing.

Seeding growing in the compost

I’m so sorry little one…. I had to turn this one over a few days later, you know to keep things in balance as they should be.

 

On the topic of planting, you may notice that there are a few herbs already in there now. I have planted some lemongrass and rosemary as a start to getting things ready for a month or so down the track when I’ll really start planting it out. I put these in to begin to serve as a windbreak and barrier for the rest of the garden once it’s planted. In any case, the compost is developing a nice, almost deep brown colour which I’m happy with.

 

There’ll be a few more posts soon on the garden once I begin to plant it out and in the spring as it really starts to take off. I’m hoping that come early summer it’ll be at a stage where it’s viable to leave it be if I had to and it’d still continue to thrive where it is.

 

That’s almost all I can think about on this one, but, if there’s questions or suggestions list them below or contact me.

 

Brewing fun – February 2018

juicing time for brewing

Juicing time – February 2018

So one of the things I do from time to time is a bit of brewing, my philosophy behind this however is as simple as it can get, accessible and as natural ingredients as possible. Sure, I could dive into some sweet fermenters or temperature controlled environments but that doesn’t exactly make what I’m doing accessible and doable by anyone on a budget. Basically my entire kit consists of;

2 x 5L Demijohns

2 x Airlocks and Bungs

1 x Hand pump with filter

1 x PVC hose

1 x Set of jugs

1 x Hydrometer

So for this cider brewing I needed;

9KG Apples (making about 4.5L Apple Juice)

Something to sterilise your equipment and fruit

Yeast (I needed to select one suitable for room temperature brewing, be careful what you choose)

Nutrient (Yeast cannot live on apple juice alone)

Some kind of sugary addition you can add to pitch the yeast (brewers sugar works well)

Priming tablets

Pressure rated bottles, regular bottles won’t cut it here

The first step before I got started was to pitch my yeast, adding some nutrient, some sugar and water together before I got started helped here. Then cleaning my equipment, making sure you’ve cleaned everything is super important here to prevent the wrong things infesting your juice.

Once done I got to juicing my apples, then filtering the juice to get rid of scum on top It’s also important to clean up your fruit prior to avoid natural yeasts infesting your juice. Quite a few people will use a sterilisation tablet either to wash the fruit or in the juice its self and wait 24 hours before pitching their yeast and add it then.

Once the juice was prepped, I added my yeast to the demijohn then poured the apple juice in and sealed with the airlock. I was fortunate at the time my ambient temperatures were in the perfect range but this is something to watch too and can ruin a good brew, read your yeast instructions.

After brewing for about a week, It was time to bottle, about 2 priming tablets in a 750ml bottle was enough to ensure carbonation, Much like prepping the equipment earlier, clean and sterilise everything.

 

Oh and before anyone asks, the apple pulp? It’s being fermented too as an addition to the verge garden. Using bokashi allows me my quickly break down organic matter while also not having the space for a proper compost pit.

 

brewing waste

The bokashi fermenter ready to roll.

 

As always if you have questions comment below or contact me.

 

Early Days in the Verge Garden

So it’s early days on the verge garden and I’m still working on fixing up the terrible soil here. The above picture is what the verge area I’m taking on looked like in January 2018 just after I moved here, even watering this I noticed it’s water repellent and that soil you see on the path extends half way down the street having being blown away over time. One of the neighbours advised me that there had once been a tree here but it was an unfortunate victim of the development of a unit complex nearby, regardless alot of remedial work will be require before I can do a thing here. The soil as mentioned is water repellent, compacted and otherwise devoid of any organic matter. Getting an OK to proceed from the council was needed despite some of the most progressive policies on this front in Australia due to that chicane, in short, I need to keep anything from the line of the sign furthest from the road forward to it below a certain height to retain road visibility.

Mulch pile - February 2018

Mulch pile – February 2018

After doing some things including layering down some cow manure, clay and some wetting agent along came the mulch. This was a huge load as pictured and was a freebie from a local tree pruning company via Mulchnet , while using eucalyptus mulch wasn’t a first preference it’s certainly more sustainable, it’ll just require more work.

Mulch raked - February 2018

Mulch raked – February 2018

After spending a good afternoon raking it out and watering it in, it’s been mostly a case of keeping it moist to try to pull off some kind of hot(ish) composting with the large amount of leaf matter amongst the wood chips. This has involved watering and forking it about once a week to start with to keep air moving to the lower layers.

Mulch - 3 weeks in February 2018

Mulch – 3 weeks in February 2018

Finally that gets me to where we are now, about three weeks post mulch going down. It’s holding a nice temperature inside and you can see alot of the leaf matter is breaking down quite quickly (those dark brown and black patches) and is slowly reducing in size. I may need to take some off before planting as there’s still alot of bulk there but I’m satisfied so far with progress.

Aside from one or two fruit loops nearby who have grumbled most of the reception has been fairly positive so far to what I’m up to here. As for the what I’m up to part, I’m planning to implement a full herb garden, full of hardy varieties people can still use to cook with around here. As is visible from my photos there are alot of unit blocks near by to me and a large number of those are in lower socio-economic groups, basically people without the means to either grow these or buy them without hurting the limited funds available. I’m avoiding vegetables as there are many problems that I can forsee (pests especially) here and as I am renting this house, I may not be here in a few years to keep this going which would likely be needed for a vegetable garden. Herbs at least will still be useful and make a good use of this space.

If you have comments leave them below or contact me.

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