splodgenoodles: (Default)
Not quite. It's afternoon, just.

I just ordered my wicking bed! My wicking bed is going to be three metres long and 700mm wide. Also: 80mm high.

I'll be able to grow plants in it at a height that means I can mess about even when I don't have the energy to bend, or when maybe I just want to grab a few lettuce leaves for dinner...and don't want to bend and rummage.

My ace gardening person will install it for me. Possibly with the assistance of Eldest Brother.


In other news, I'm feeling good and cheerful.

Part Two.

Jan. 24th, 2015 08:22 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
I just had an enormous burst of energy, spent it outside playing with irrigation hose. There's a hole in the pressure valve which is letting out water, can't work out if that's a sign the pressure's too high, or a sign that there's something wrong with it. When I turn it down enough that there's no water coming out of that hole, there's only a very occasional drop coming out of the irrigation hose.

My mood is better for the effort.


I also watched some cycling (the Tour Downunder), and tweeted merrily for a while with likeminded folks.

Puzzled by fans who go on about cheering on the Aussies. Procycling teams are trade teams, consisting (usually) of people of all nationalities, and while one does tend to have favourite cyclists, cheering for any particular nationality seems to be missing the point.

My sentimental favourite is an Australian, Cadel Evans, who is retiring this year - this is his last Grand Tour - and he's coming third. I love his ability to keep grinding along even when everything goes wrong, and even when other cyclists are giving him hell above and beyond the usual. He is also one of the few riders who was riding in the Armstrong era who kept his nose clean as regards doping and performance-enhancing drugs.

There are compelling reasons for cyclists (and sporting people generally) for using these methods and substances, but the fact that Cadel did not cave in and use shows a level of pigheaded determination that could have cost him his career and almost certainly cost him many wins (and therefore a lot of money) - but he rode clean anyway. So I really like him.


Dec. 2nd, 2014 05:47 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
Planted out my punnet of lettuce seedlings. A bit hard to say how they'll go in the long hot summer, but it's worth a shot. I've put some in the vegie crate, and poked a few into other pots in shady places, that get a lot of water. There's a few in with the orange tree (placed as far away from the plant as is possible in a pot, as the roots of citrus lie close to the surface and do hate to be disturbed, and as the trunk of citrus is prone to collar rot, which is more likely if there is not good airflow around the trunk). Also a few in with an abutilon, which I grew from a cutting as it's probably one of the easiest things to go from cuttings (and for that reason will be cheerfully removed if I have more plants I particularly like than space to put them) and a couple more in a large pot that already contains onions, silverbeet, basil and parsley.

I got stung by stinging nettle a few times - it's a plant that cheerfully self seeds around here. Some self seeding plants lose out when you start cultivating an area, but clearly not stinging nettle and it loves living in large, well watered pots. I'm not engaging in a war of attrition with it though, as I understand it has uses and I might look into using it at some point, so I only pull it out when it's actually in the way. And when it's bitten me.

My whitefly traps are, pleasingly, now coated in whitefly. Oh and one bee. Sorry bee.

Then there was watering. And I have more to do later. (Y'know, once I get the watering mechanised I'm going to have lots more fun out there. There's a lot to be said for handwatering, as it slows you down and reminds you to look closely at everything, but not every damn day.)



Nov. 29th, 2014 01:29 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
I'm thinking of starting up a separate blog for gardening stuff. Mostly so I can rattle on about my philosophical thoughts regarding plants.

Of course, it may not happen given my to-do list already has me pulled in too many different directions. But it might provide a framework for actually thinking through what I write. This has a become a place where I ramble without much consideration. This is not a bad thing (for me at least), but I do feel I've lost something.

Or maybe I'll just continue doing it here and remember to tag things properly.
splodgenoodles: (Default)
I'm very pleased that I splashed out on CDs last week.

Combat Rock by The Clash, is what I knew it was. Now I feel motivated to put "burn all vinyl to CD" back on the to-do list. And then move onto cassettes, as I've got Sandinista tucked away somewhere, and on chrome(?) cassettes, so it may not have completely deteriorated yet.

The Cat Empire's Steal The Light is exactly what I was hoping it would be. Referred to as "ska and jazz" online, I'd add "with a very Melbourne sound".

Good music is good.


Tomorrow will be effing cold. And alas, the last cold snap (and some thirsty birds) seem to have made short work of some seeds I planted, in spite of said seeds being okay for late winter sowing. So I've filled up the bird's neglected birdbaths and I'm holding off until later in the week for more seed sowing.


Jul. 28th, 2014 05:43 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
I may have just done something very foolish. Attempted to get the bottom hatch of the compost bin open for the purpose of collecting compost. Oi vey. I really should know better by now. Next time my garden person is here, I'll ask her to pull out as much as she can and dump it into a bin for me to use at my leisure.

Anyhoo, I've planted my next lot of spring onions, some mibuna, more spinach and some 'Paris Silverskin' pickling onions which I don't use for pickling - they're a lovely small, sweet, white onion that grow quickly. The mibuna went into a pot that sits on a table at waist level, the rest went into the vegie crate.

I also pulled out the remains of the last crop of non-hearting lettuce as the new crop is now ready to start using.

It's made me quite peckish.


Jan. 25th, 2014 06:53 pm
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
It being silverbeet season, I'm definitely getting in the iron.

This is a great plant to have in the garden. It's pretty hardy, you can neglect it then revive it, and even keep it going for a couple of years. I once had a plant that went to seed and grew up to about a metre or so, then fell sideways and began sprouting perfectly acceptable leaves - in the manner of new, small individual plants - off the top side.

I really only need a few good plants, and I have a definite preference for the varieties with flatter leaves and more delicate, thinner stalks than the Fordhook Giant one always sees at the market. French Green is my favourite but failing that I quite like Rainbow Chard.

And it makes brain-free, low effort dinners so inadvertently healthy. You grab three or four good sized leaves (always pick from the outside), rinse and snip them up with kitchen scissors to avoid pulling out a chopping board, straight into a bowl with a little extra water and zap for a couple of minutes.
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
Oh lordy.

I have a plethora of projects underway at the moment.

Many of them are quite pleasing ones to have. And the pleasing ones are making the other ones more palatable.

But I am aware that I am losing spoons just to the business of juggling them all. Just to keeping track of the various tasks that need doing takes a lot of effort.


My day book is being relied on a great deal, but it just isn't working well enough. I need a day book that does the tasks for me as I write them down.


One of the projects is the garden and all it requires. GardenWiz is getting me all inspired and much is to happen/be arranged. I wish I'd met her months ago - spring is not actually the best time to be arranging set up and landscaping, it's best done in winter. But a lot of it can still be done even if some things then lie fallow until early next spring. This is, after all, about long term changes and plans.
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
It's a warm, windy and dry day here.

Saline spray is being snorted liberally and I see a spot of codeine consumption in my near future.


Today I fed the Magpies Of Presumption out the back. Today there was one mum, and two fledgelings at the stage where they can only flutter, are beak-fed, and squawk all the time.


My new gardener came again today, and the place already is taking on better form. We have plans!


Eldest Brother also came today to complete some plastering and haul around a few bits of furniture. My living room has been quite transformed. The telly now sits on the pew that was in the shed, the bench that it was on is now across the front window, and the bookshelves have been reconfigured to make a reading nook.

It is a work in progress: I now need to get myself a nice heavy wall hanging and some curtain material.

The wall hanging is to come out of the wall at 90 degrees, to hang above the edge of the pew and thus provide a visual barrier between the front door and my television and whatever else winds up on the pew. Being a television, it's ugly and kind of uninviting: not the sort of thing you want to see from the front door.

I feel the most appropriate sort of fabric hanging will be of the sort that could look appropriate in a church, except that my church didn't do soft furnishings. I shall have to chew over this for a while, I suspect. And ask my papist and CofE friends for advice.

But in the (possibly) less distant future I'll get some pictures hung: the area above the telly now looks like just the right spot for hanging pictures salon-style. That's the style where you put up a few key pieces that draw the eye, then fill in the gaps with others. It's a good way of cramming visual art into a small space. And in this particular space, it means you get past the problem of competition between the telly and one big picture behind it.

And finally some of my arty postcards will see the light of day.

Oh and - Eldest is building some pelmets for my living room windows and when we checked the colour samples, the one that matches with what is here is "suburbia". Almond was a close match and I was tempted to go with that for the name alone but in truth it's suburbia. It really is. Oi vey.


In less good news, I've been texting so much lately that I seem to be succumbing to txtspk. Srsly. Bt thumbs hrtng, wot was i 2 do?


Oct. 7th, 2013 06:10 pm
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
Today I decided I had enough capacity to simply hack out the Jerusalem artichokes I could see in the fence bed, rather than using glyphosate. I'll keep doing this until I either need to spend my spoons on other things, or the bed is crowded with enough other plants that I can't hack at 'em without disturbing roots.

When they're still at the 2-4 leaf stage, it seems they just break off from the tuber which means they'll probably resprout. With the larger ones (with base leaves a few inches long) I could get out some tuber as well.

The fence bed and part of the shed bed have been planted out, quite haphazardly, with basil, parsley, rainbow chard (all bought in punnets) and a couple of my rouge de marmande tomatoes, which I started from seed on a heated propagating tray.

My broad beans are about a foot tall.


Today I fed mince to magpies out in the reserve. They've been making noise out there for a few days, but when I went out today, it was like they'd been waiting for me to appear. Through the gate in this bit of the fence. I now suspect the previous owner of this house fed the parent and earlier offspring, and the parent (or earlier offspring) is now teaching the youngsters about how to forage. ("You go to this place, and sing and squawk until a strange lumpy creature will emerge - through the gate in this bit of fence - and produce edibleness")

One parent, two ?fledglings. One of the littlies is being fed by the parent, the other is coming closer for food. Maybe they're both parents? The littly squawks with its beak up for food, and the one that I assume is another juvenile does both the lovely magpie warble and a bit of squawking.


Oct. 6th, 2013 05:06 pm
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
Dammit! The Jerusalem artichokes of Dooooooom are starting to resprout. While I prefer not to use poison, I am resigned to using glysophate as I have been told (by a gardener) that you can kill them with this, so long as you get em' when they're just sprouting. Which would be now.

Unfortunately you can't safely apply it when it's raining or windy. Ideally you apply it on a warm, sunny, still day. Looking at the long range forecast, next Friday might be okay. If the little bastards aren't monstrously huge by then.

As for glyphosate:

it has long been considered one of the less dangerous poisons, and IIRC, you could once use it and still get organic certification with NASAA, but this no longer appears to be the case. It doesn't appear in this document about what is approved for use on organic farms in Australia.

A few other links that I lost when I edited this post suggest it's not the benign herbicide it used to be thought of. Other sites I've visited offer arguments for and against, no one seems to be impartial.

So I'm not really happy with this, but mechanical methods are a bit much. There is Rely 280 but do I believe the blurb of a chemical company?


In other news, 10B just dropped off several bags of excellent stuff for the compost: lawn clippings and leaves, and a few bags of garden waste that are quite hot and happily composting all by themselves. The compost bin is now topped up and it's probably time to start pulling stuff out of the bottom. The hot bags of stuff are going to moulder happily in the invisible corner of the backyard and might just be used straight from the bag.


He also bought round some ginger lily rhizomes - we had plenty in what is now his place, and I miss them. Ginger lilies should grow quite well in a shady spot near my living room window and their scent should waft enticingly through the house in summer.


The other useful garden things were a couple of panes of thick glass. Many, many years ago we glommed a stack of thick panes of glass from a place being renovated because they seemed to useful to throw out. And needless to say, we never touched them again. Well, now about 2% of this vast quantity of glass is about to become useful. Hurrah. They will assist in the drying of worm castings.
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
My worms are doing well at the moment - almost eating faster than I can feed them. So I'll be busy with the paper shredder this week, and will probably supplement the food scraps with stuff that usually goes into compost.

The castings I collected a little while ago seem to be drying nicely, even though they're in a bag. They are on concrete that's painted black, relatively protected from rain, and in a sunny spot. This bodes well.

And given how busy they are, I can probably empty the next box whenever I'm able to.


I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that drying the castings makes all the difference in terms of usability, and probably in terms of whether or not the castings actually do anything useful.

When I used to just add castings straight - to soil or to pots - I would find, even after months, that I had a wet clump of muck that would not disperse and was therefore of questionable value.

Big A., my gardener for several years when I was a lot sicker and had a bigger garden, argued that worm farming was best thought of as a sound way of getting rid of household scraps rather than making something useful for the garden. For the garden, you do compost. And good compost is hard to do with kitchen scraps. She knows a lot more about this than anyone else I know, what with being a *trained* and qualified gardener. And on top of that, I've seen it work this way.

Now that I'm using castings when they're either dry or at least dry enough to crumble, I think they might be more beneficial. But I don't actually know.
splodgenoodles: (Penelope intro)
I am having an attack of wanting to Do All The Things.

Thus far, I've planted out some Thai basil into the pot that contained parsley. The parsley, which was bolting, has gone into the compost. The potting mix in the pot has been treated with wetting agent and seaweed powder. Everything else has been watered.

So that's enough vigourous stuff.

I'm a little peeved about this pot. I bought it from a shop that specialises in sustainable outdoorsy stuff, primarily because it was nice and big and has castors, for the wheeling around thereof. It also has bits for attaching stakes, which I've not done as yet because I'd need to empty it first and that seems like too much bother given I can plant staking things elsewhere.

But it's sold as a green way of growing in pots, and it's not. You are supposed to fill it with potting mix to above the level of the pot, add the proprietry fertiliser in a trench along the middle, then put a plastic cover over it to hold the potting mix in. Then you break little holes in the plastic cover and plant your plants. And it's a waterwell style pot, so you fill up the base through a pipe rather than watering over the top and it wicks up.

So. Whenever you want to replant, you are supposed to buy more of their fertiliser and more of their disposable plastic covers. This is not green. The product comes from the US, where I can only assume issues around artificial fertilisers and phosphate runoff into the watertable don't necessarily apply. But for the life of me I can see no justification for using plastic. I'm also never impressed by systems that require dependence on the manufacturer year after year.

And while it did grow things well enough, fortunately I'm now cocky enough to say sod that. For that sort of method I'd want the pot to be doing considerably more - possibly making my breakfast and tidying up round the house a bit too. So the potting mix is now below the level of the pot, where it should be. The wetting agent should fix the problem of the mix having become water repellant(!), and the seaweed fertiliser is safe to use here. I'll still use it as a waterwell, but IMHO it's safe to water a waterwell from above. I'm also of the opinion that not all plants like waterwells, hence I'm putting in Thai basil which loves water so I suspect will be fine.


In other garden news, the local supermarket were selling little solar garden lights last week, I bought a box of six for ten dollars and they now help define my front garden at night time They do look quite nice, I'm wondering if my neighbour might like some too as then we'd have a long line of them, which would unify the whole space.

Recently I planted out my frangipani, which has been in a pot for over ten years. It went just next to a large daisy bush of my neighbour's. It went there because the daisy would give it some shelter from wind but alas, the daisy got knock down by the wind and so my neighbour's had to prune it right back almost to the base.


Am becoming more aware of the wind tunnel effect of this block. The driveway faces almost due north and I'm at the rear, so the wind whooshes along and through and smack into my place. Soon we'll be having hot north winds. When added to all that concrete and all that sunshine, I may start to feel that I'm living in the Sahara.
splodgenoodles: (Default)
Looking for photos of something-or-rather, but stumbling onto photos of my old garden.

In the process of finding a new home for myself, I'm having to not think about, or make any comparisons, to what I used to have. It's gone. It's gone for good. And the potential for a new one - no. I just don't have the finances to ever have that again. People like me just can't have a space like that.

A Good Day!

Apr. 4th, 2012 10:48 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
I was a total achievonaut today! I'm quite pleased with myself because it was all stuff that I'd been avoiding, and the avoiding itself was becoming the problem.

Then I had a really nice dinner with Miss D. at one of my local favourite Japanes place.

And it has occurred to me that this particular restaurant needs a loving and devoted goodbye, especially since they have an awesome eel and egg dish that I don't think I've had before. This devotion is probably best expressed by repeated visits twice daily until my departure.

What the hell, why not? I must find out if they open for lunch.

And since I got back I've been browsing the web re-vertical gardens. In the new place I will have a grand total of about two square metres of dirt, plenty of high paling fence, and a long narrow path to get to the aforementioned two square metres of dirt which can't be seen from anywhere inside. I have a concrete car space.

I don't like container gardening much - too much mollycoddling required and not enough spontaneity/surprise, but I do want to keep certain things going (that can't be readily replaced, like my cattley guavas) until I can get somewhere where they can be planted. And I do want a regular supply of parsley and such. And I will be better off looking at greenery than a paling fence, even if it feels a bit contrived.

And as I know from my experience here, when I have a nice area that doesn't need much tending I really love it. To my mind it's the goal of gardening. Getting the right plants in the right places.

But I digress.

Vertical gardens it will be.

In Which I Blather About Container Systems And Irrigation )

Tl;dr: Not the same as playing in the dirt, but it might keep me in parsley at least and I might learn more about cliffscapes and bromeliads and stuff like that.

I think I should call it a day.
splodgenoodles: (Default)

Tulips on the bedside table. Tulips on the bedside table.

Bedside table. Bedside table.

Asparagus Asparagus This will be tomorrow's asparagus. The variety is Purple Asparagus and goes green for the longer that it's cooked. It's not as sweet and has more nutty flavour.

Apricot blossom Apricot blossom View from where I sit, with the curtain hoiked up.

Right In Front Of Me Right In Front Of Me

Chewed Leaves. Chewed Leaves. These leaves start all curled up, so if a grub gets in and starts eating you get some really nifty patterns when the leaf opens up.

Tulip With Aphids. Tulip With Aphids.

splodgenoodles: (Default)
From Saturday.

First I got arty, then I got crafty (felted slippers for the lovely [livejournal.com profile] hometime), and between those two points we went out for a drive.

The Promised LJ-Cut )
splodgenoodles: (Default)
From Saturday.

First I got arty, then I got crafty (felted slippers for the lovely [livejournal.com profile] hometime), and between those two points we went out for a drive.

The Promised LJ-Cut )
splodgenoodles: (Default)
Alas I dropped the ball for a couple of days this week, but here are today's piccies.

Local magpie. Local magpie.
S/he sings to me regularly, especially at this time of year. I don't feed it often, but it does understand the concept and comes straight down when I whistle and put something on the front gate post.

Two more )
splodgenoodles: (Default)
Alas I dropped the ball for a couple of days this week, but here are today's piccies.

Local magpie. Local magpie.
S/he sings to me regularly, especially at this time of year. I don't feed it often, but it does understand the concept and comes straight down when I whistle and put something on the front gate post.

Two more )


splodgenoodles: (Default)

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