Sep 8, 2019

Community Gardening

Even though today was very windy, I cycled out to my garden to get a little bit more done. I was able to nearly finish mixing and filling two more beds (added alpaca manure to these two) and mulch my broad beans and one patch of peas next to the rhubarb I planted yesterday. I've placed sticks over the mulch to stop the birds scratching it onto the ground.  At 3pm the wind picked up and the sky looked rather ominous so I rugged up and cycled home.

Mixing and filling more beds. 

Added pea straw mulch to the rhubarb and peas.

Added pea straw mulch to the broad bean bed.

Sep 7, 2019

Community Gardening

The third plot I was offered was an extension of my first garden, so planning it is a lot easier - all I have to do is line up the beds and continue them to the south side of the garden.
Today I finished leveling up the six beds on the western side of the garden. Two days ago I filled and planted up one bed with garlic and bok choy and today I filled two more beds, and planted out the sprouting snow potatoes in one of the beds. These beds had rabbit manure and straw mixed through them.
My nearby gardening neighbour Minh divided her famous rhubarb plants this morning and offered me some, so I've planted it opposite the globe artichoke in the middle archway bed. She also shared this wonderful-looking savoury recipe, Persian lamb with rhubarb and chelow.

Garlic and Bok Choy

Snow potatoes in the corner bed. 

Sep 6, 2019

Community Gardening

Three years ago I returned to study fulltime at the University of Canberra and have just completed a Bachelor of Heritage, Museums and Conservation majoring in Conservation. A year ago my life went completely topsy turvy caring for my elderly parents. Coping with the stress was hard, and I found the only way to cope was to garden, so I joined a local community garden and got started. Literally - I was given a 50 square metre patch of rock hard clay, so I put in raised beds and built it up. My journey was documented on my facebook page and consumed a lot of my life. In January this year I applied for some more land so I could grow potatoes and sweetcorn, in March I was offered a plot and then refused a plot. So began another nightmare, this time dealing with community garden internal politics. In July I was finally offered two lots of 25 square metres of land, accepted them and made a late start trying to get all my raised beds ready for Spring. I am still trying to get the new garden ready, Spring has arrived, and the politics haven't stopped. Hopefully, with an AGM at the end of this month, I might see a return to a normal community garden.

Documentation of Plot 2: My Extension of 12 Raised Beds

These beds are filled with a mix of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 cocopeat and 1/3 mixed compost and manure. I have to be careful what I plant because some of the beds contain horse manure that has not been hot composted or aged for 12 months. I've read that potatoes can get blight if planted with fresh-ish horse manure so am planting them up in my other beds which contain more soil.

Compost from my tumbler

Mixing compost with cocopeat and vermiculite.

Planting some young rosemary plants.

Weedmat pathways.

Barley straw on the weedmat until I can bring in some sawdust.

I organised the delivery and sale of a truckload of straw.

Jun 9, 2018

Inkle Loom

I received an Ashford Inkle Loom today that has been in storage for some time and needs a little bit of TLC. I'm sanding it back with a very fine sandpaper so I can then oil and wax the wood. Sadly the screws have rusted and won't come out - I've applied some oil to them and will see if I can get them out later.

I've removed the screws - simply get the drill piece that matches the screw head and hammer the screw in a little further with this drill piece and unscrew. They are rusted so need to be replaced with new screws. Having it in pieces will make the sanding process more thorough.

Woad in Canberra

I planted some woad (Isatis tinctoria) in my garden in early March. It is still thriving, larger but staying low over the winter. I've put a cover over them to make sure my family don't bury them with leaves.
When I planted them I added blood and bone mix to the soil and in late April I mulched the site with green lucerne hay.

March 2018 (Autumn)

June 2018 (Winter)

Jun 8, 2018

Its cold outside, let's spin some wool...

I’m spinning some black merino fleece I washed at Christmas. Not as soft and nice as the Polwarth I spun recently but I don’t want to leave it sitting around gathering dust. Any ideas what I can knit with it?

Winter Rye

Today I planted two beds of winter rye that I bought from Eden Seeds. Not sure what variety it is but is certified organic and may survive possum attack better than my poor little spinach seedlings.
I've read that rye will grow in any well-drained soil as long as it is in full sun. It is frost tolerant and can survive temperatures down to -29C (-20F) if the plant is well established before the ground freezes. As I don't expect this bed to go below -10C this winter I'm crossing my fingers that it establishes itself quickly as I've planted it a bit late.
I'm hoping to use the rye to practice on for straw braiding for my bonnets - but if that doesn't work it will be chopped down and dug back into the soil as a winter manure crop.

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