Wednesday, December 5, 2012


2012 has been a very busy year for us here.  Its been a very quiet year for the blog, mostly because we have been busy!

This year we have expanded our intensive vegetable garden, with the addition of another 9mx9m potatoe patch, and a garden for the kids which is actually quite big at 9mx2m (or thereabouts) (they have planted tomatoes, basil, peas, beans, sweet corn, sunflowers, capsicum, eggplants, cucumbers and salad greens).  I've been flat out getting the spring/summer garden planted, with some sucesses and failures.  My biggest failure was raising my tomatoe seedlings - many succumbed to the damping off fungus.  I think a green house would help alot in this department, and its been on the to-do list for years already, but once we have our polytunnel set up, we will be able to have reliable plant propagation. 

Our potatoe patch is growing great, and I think this year all being well we should be able to produce a year's worth.  Its hard to go back to buying potatoes, and having to think about how much one needs in a fortnight.

 We are ready to harvest the garlic, definately should be enough of it for a year, plus hopefully enough to replant as well.

We are getting plenty of eggs, which is a nice change to winter, when the eggs are few and far between.  One hen has hatched a clutch of chicks which are very cute and already about 5 weeks old.  Looking at them, I am feeling confident that we don't have too many roosters this time. 

 All the fruit trees I planted over winter are putting on good growth, and I am looking forward to the years to come the abundance of fruit they will provide.  At this stage there are about 20 large trees, plus smaller varieties like blueberries and currants.  I think this winter will be the last year I need to plant and we should have our food forest planted.  Then the main work will be underplanting with 'good bug' attracting plants to complement the fruit trees. 

We are harvesting loads of strawberries, and the raspberries and loganberries are starting to ripen too.  Time to pull out the jam pot and start preserving! Although there is nothing quite so nice as sitting down to a big bowl of fresh organic strawberries for dessert!  The plan is to expand these berrie patches more, so there will be even MORE next year, YUM!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Still here!

Its been about 6 months since I last updated this blog, my apologies to those who read it!  We have been very busy, but then again there isn't all that much to say!

We have been working hard on our house - you can read about that here.  Things are coming along, but as with most owner builder projects its slow.  

The farm has been keeping us busy.  All the spring babies are all grown up. The two baby goats, are now pretty much fully grown, and capable of major destruction to trees.  These will be the last goats to come here, NO MORE GOATS!  On the up side, we are now milking our two girls and have plenty of milk.  Milk production has slowed a bit now that the weather has cooled down, but will pick up with spring.  Goats (and suspect cows are the same but we are yet to try) can be milked continually, after one kidding.  Our older goat Dorka is now coming into her third year since she had her kids, and milk production only varies due to the weather and feed availability (mostly because when it rains the goats just stand under cover and don't eat!!!).

baby goats are not so little now...
 I've been working on my food forest, trying to get some ground covers and understory plants going, as well as planning out winter fruit tree planting.  I've read some very good books recently on this, which have provided me with much inspiration.  Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemmenway and The Wilderness Garden by Jackie French.  Both great books if you want to design a productive garden modelled on natural ecosystems. 

We finally updated our chook pen.  The original pen was supposed to be movable, to be moved weekly or so, but it was just too heavy for the two of us, and visitors are not so common to these parts!  The new pen is  a large paddock (between 1/8-1/4 acre in size) and has a 'raw' bale house in the middle.  Eventually the paddock will be divided up into 4 yards, and the chooks rotated between these yards.  Once the chooks are out, the yard will be planted in good things for them to eat, and will start to have some impact on our feed costs.  The chooks are happy and snug at night in their insulated house.

I'm planning lots of tree planting for our land this winter (and the next few after that).  We have lots of springs here, and with all the rain we have had, many places in our local area have suffered land slips.  Its something we don't want to happen here, and the only thing that can stop it is deep rooted trees to use up the water and to stabilise the soil.  Observation also helps, and I've noticed that blackberries grow on some of our most vulnerable spots. I reckon they are actually helping (but don't let the neighbours hear me say that, having blackberries on your land around here is worse than harboring a criminal....). 

Winter is cold up here, so I'm catching up on spinning (and some of my overdue garden projects) and dreaming of the summer season to come.  Big plans for tomatoes this year (I know now we need about 100kg of tomatoes to cover our sauce etc requirements, so that is the goal...).  I also want to have a go growing maize for animal feed, as well as the usual summer stuff.  Lots to do, and never enough time to do it all!