Aquaponics for everyone
A wander around central Vic with Costa.
Had another opportunity to hang out with my mate Costa in between jobs we had him do for us around National Science week and later the 20th Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar of which he was our presenter.
We did a visit to one of my Community Houses at Maryborough to give them a bit of a pep and the house nearly went up in flamers. Second from the right in the pic above is Kerri-Anne Price who had conniptions when Costa walked in! I thought she was having a panic attack or some serious medical incident. But no! It was just the presence of the beard that set her off. Priceless.
King of Gnomes visit to Bacchus Marsh Primary School
Over 130 Foundation Students from Bacchus Marsh PS dressed up as gnomes and paraded before the King of Gnomes, Costa Georgiadis. It was a novel way of celebrating Science Week with workshop demonstrations for the gnomes on worm farming, composting and sustainability in schools. We worked on the idea that these were the age the ABC is targeting with the Dirt Girl & Scrap Boy program and the new Getting Grubby show. All feature Costa as the King of Gnomes. The messages are based on reducing, reusing and rethinking sustainability at a very young age.
Last of the Seasons harvest.
Almost the last of 2015’s plantings. All bar one potted tomato have been knocked off by the last frost two nights ago, last three corn cobs and eggplant picked and composted. Had over two inches in the old language of rain in the past two weeks, nice and cold clear night and only a couple of really windy days. No damage!
All the garlic and Golden Shallots are in and beds 13 to 24 are plumbed ready for some strawberry runners to go in today. I’ve left a cover of English Nettle as frost protection (see pic below)
Bed 13 (the one closest) now has three rows of strawberries equaling 200 plants! I’m planning to pin down any runners as they appear so I have a self perpetuating bed…
Lake Crest Controller
My 48 station controller died last week and the solution from Lake Crest was beyond description. Play it and see for yourselves.
Avocado from seed!
The Garden of Earthy Treasures believes in food sourced as locally as possible and in season. That shouldn’t mean that you forgo certain luxuries such as avocado. Had bought one years ago before I got into what I’m doing now, it got frosted and died, I gave up after someone told me they won’t grow below Sydney.
Recently I heard someone was growing a banana in Horsham, 35 km south of me, and the thought of an avocado popped back into my mind, I know the Boss would love homegrown avocados! Did some reading and came across the method below. It has worked once, as you can see, and now I’m successful once again. See that little green stem arising from the center of the seed? (Don’t mind the cobweb, did’t notice it when I took the pic).
The secret is, as far as I can tell, is to keep the base in water and do not let it dry out!!! When topping up the water do not let the top get wet, it has to dry out, crack open and then shoot. Water at the base and keep the room temperature between 18 and 27 deg C. The constant temperature assists in drying out the seed so it will germinate. I cheated because I have a terradome to use but if you leave it on the window ledge of the kitchen, for example, the heat radiated into the room during the day will be negated by the cool air flowing down the same window at night. This leads to the next secret that is they do not need light to sprout. Therefore to maintain a constant temp you can cover the seed and bottle with a clear plastic drink bottle (top chopped off and turned upside down over it) to create a little micro climate enabling the constant temp and humidity.
A tip on the tooth picks! Make sure you can see the seam that runs bottom to top on the seed. I peeled the lower seed to show it up. This line is where the crack forms to let the shoot through. If you put in the pick on that line one of two things will happen.
- the pick introduces disease into the seed and it dies
- the crack opens and the pick falls out letting the seed drop and drown. Once the top dries out and then it gets wet again it will fail to germinate
Better to leave the seed on the bench top to dry so the thin light brown skin cracks showing you where the germination line is (middle seed in the pic).
After 12 months this is what you get…
Avocado on the right with some frost damaged leaves snipped off around the base. New shoots are growing so fast you can almost see it! Canna on the left has a new shoot too. Another experiment in growing stuff here that we shouldn’t be growing.
Both were protected by a plastic tree guard and stakes over the winter and placed on the north wall which has full sun in winter and shade in summer, fertilised and mulched now for the growing season. Will monitor how they both do and next spring I plan to graft onto the avocado both Bacon, Tonnage and maybe if I can locate one a Anaheim!!!
It is recommended to pinch out the growing tips to create a bush rather than a tree. Keep in mind there are male and female flowers that open at differing times of the day evidently. We’ll see…
The best single document on growing avocado in Oz is below…
Click to access avocado-growing.pdf
Ararat Community Garden
We organised a rejuvenation get together for the Ararat CG and held workshops on worm farm, compost and the ethics of gardening. Invited two really good speakers in Rebecca Sullivan, Granny Skills, and Costa Georgiadis, ABC Gardening Australia.
Had a powerful day of talking and answering questions while meeting new, like minded people.
For those of you who don’t know, that’s Costa on the right…
Rebecca, La Vergne and Costa…
Some of the more than fifty people who turned up listening to me talk about how to set up a proper garden shed and perform some maintenance on your gardening gear to make work easier.
Rebecca talking about how she became concerned about how gardening and eating skills are being lost and how she is trying to keep these “Granny Skills” alive
Chooks Chooks and more chooks
The first hatching of the year is on the ground and now those chooks that we thought had been taken by dogs/foxes are running around with their own clutches. Don’t know how they survived on the ground with all the predators we’ve had lately.
Dusted off the incubator and filled it with a weeks worth of eggs from Bantams, Frizzles, Silkies, Rhode Island Reds and some crosses to see what results we would have this year. The trouble is…
… Jasper, our Russian Blue, thinks it is his special heat pad! This is the same cat who likes to hop into the wood fired oven and get toasty…
Had this old wardrobe left after kids moved out and needed a place to put my incubated chicks, works well.
With a hole saw I cut entrances to each box with heat pads in each one set on a different temperature. The first box has a lamp on a time which has now been replaced with a ceramic lamp that does not emit light and works on a thermostat.
Missing hen we thought had been taken but had hidden herself so well the foxes/dogs missed her. Here are some of our other breeds…
Sold the first lot the other day thru FB! Still got more laying and sitting so get your orders in…
Jeparit Communal Garden
The Jeparit Communal Garden has recently formed and with the power of a handful of people are making terrific headway in getting established. I was invited to advise and help direct them through what can be at time a minefield of rules and regulations to beginner gardeners.
These innitial pix show the truely greenfield site it was. Given to them by the owner in Melbourne for a dollar for 99 years the site is two house blocks with a frontage of almost 80 m by 100 m deep.
In honor of the owner the gate was decorated with this handmade sign.
Looking past the front gate to the back of the blocks…
The first of many donated gal tanks that will be used as wicking beds.
More to come as time passes…
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