Friday, September 3, 2010

Outlook Fine

We caught a glimpse of a lady on Close Up the other week, billed as a 'Dr Dolittle' who talked to animals. The only bit I saw was a cluster of animals making a noise. 'So what are they saying?' says the presenter.
'Oh they're just talking about the weather.' How we laughed. I have a saying that life is always telling us something, if only we would listen and this lupin below is signalling in bright colours: 'Look at me and do something.' My first guess was nitrogen deficiency. These are the glasshouse beds that I buried in wood chips and pony droppings; wood chips tying up available nitrogen as they break down which they will release once the process is complete. Now the lupin is fixing nitrogen from the air but that won't be released until the roots are dug in to rot.

I swallowed my pride and shot another question off to Dirt Doctor wishing that I had enrolled under a psuedonym. If I ever do one of their courses they'll see my name and roll their eyes. Jim says a number of interesting things: Could be burning from excess nitrogen in fresh manure, could be herbicide residues in the poo or chemical residue from anything the calves-that-mucked-the-woodchips were treated with (eek), or pathogens in the soil or introduced. He suggested applying lime. I noticed 'greening' on the soil here pre any Autumn additions so had planned to do the same thing myself.

So moving right along...

Photo on the left is one of the paths in the same glasshouse. A quick weed and shovel up what the birds have scratched out of the beds. Then I've put down heavy white plastic strips in between the beds, photo on the right. This has been done before (not by me) and I remember it helped keep the paths weed free. It will also reflect light and heat back up to ripen tomatoes. Those tomatoes so far, thanks for the suggestions Tim, are 'brandywine pink', and a small one 'black cherry' both from Kings and I have booked some 'Grosse Lisse' from master greenfingers (Hamish) down the road. In addition, my own beefsteak seed has failed to germinate so I will be browsing the garden shop next week and can try some others instead.

The bees are enjoying the weeds in the vegetable garden so much I haven't the heart to pull them out so I dug out the raspberries and moved them into my backyard instead. Having read up about them I've decided they are Autumn fruiting. Of course I trundled them up in the wheelbarrow first, then went inside to learn that I shouldn't let the roots dry out; went out and turned the turf over to begin to prepare the ground, thus day one. (photo on left)

Day two dug 8 holes, added a shovel of grit and compost and chopped it all in with the turf. Pruned them right back to stumps(photo on right), see what eventuates; raspberries I hope. Autumn fruiters are supposed to be better for a hot climate, don't need staking, are completely cut down in winter and pruned again back to 6 stakes if required. I should be so lucky.

Now apparently we are in for a mild start to Spring with some cold snaps and it snapped today alright. Life is always telling us something but sometimes it is just talking about the weather.
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  1. Cripes Miri you must be freezing - I saw there was a cold sweep down South on the news. I got a letter from Mum this week that said, "I enjoy your blog but I don't understand a lot of it." That's how I feel about yours - each to their own speciality!

  2. Brrrr that snow does look cold, I bet the sheep on the farm had a good old chin wag about it, too. Did you feel any of the rumblings last night? I didn't feel a thing myself. All is well with the chch father-in-law, house, driveway etc. all in one piece. Hope all your chch in-laws are similarly lucky.
    We have an outbreak of the chicken pox in our household. Poor H is going mad with the boredom of being at home all day.

  3. Yes thank goodness that every time life speaks it doesn't have to be profound. That would be very tiring indeed. Once again your garden never fails to inspire. I have finally executed the brussel sprout plants. They are withering on the garden and I'll chuck them into the compost as soon as I get around to it.