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Showing posts from February, 2011

March 2011 - farm update

Its that time of year where everything is growing so fast, I need to give regular updates or I'll get behind!
First the zucchinis are still going, but suffering from blossom end rot, so I've topped them up with lots of gypsum to keep their calcium levels high.  I've also got some lovely little button squash growing, which are great if you just like a small amount of zucchini in your dinner!


My tomatoes have been growing strongly and producing lots of green tomatoes that are taking FOREVER to ripen!  I noticed that one is finally turning red, so I can't wait to make tomato soup!  I have to admit I'm a bit relaxed with the organic gardening when it comes to tomatoes.  I let them go until I see a grub and then I shower them with tomato dust (very non-organic!) because I can't stand to see all my hardwork wasted.  But then I just leave it and see if any more grubs appear, so they've only have one dose this season and I wash them VERY carefully before eating.  …

Compost and weed tea

In my short gardening experience I have discovered that organic matter is the most important aspect of soil for successful vege gardening.  Organic matter provides nutrients and improves soil structure.  In my garden, the main source of organic matter is the mulch (also used to retain moisture and keep the roots cool) and fresh manure for our steers (thanks boys!).  I also keep a compost bin for all vege and garden scraps.


I have kept a compost bin in the past when living in the city, and it was never very successful, so I was little nervous about starting one for the garden, but it is working well so far.  I think the mistake I made in the past was not having the right ratio of wet/dry matter.  I just chucked in all scraps and grass clippings and the compost just went a bit slimy and didn’t ferment properly.  Now that I have access to some compost activators (micro-organisms and nutrients that are added to a compost pile to speed up the breakdown of fruit and vegetable scraps) and a w…

Feb 2011 - farm update

The chicks have reached a difficult stage!  They're not really cute any more, they have too many feathers, but not enough feathers to live outside yet.  They are messy, and eating and drinking heaps!  We have 40 more eggs in the incubator, so we hope to have more success with this next batch.

My garden is looking very green after all the rain and warm weather.  I am having to weed and trim daily to keep up.  I'm hoping to get a decent crop of tomatoes, and I've seen two passionfruit flowers, so maybe I will get some fruit this season.
Does anyone know what this insect is?  Its not very clear in the photo, but I think they are some kind of bee.  They can't possibly be a wasp as they live near the garden and haven't tried to attack me yet!  Any ideas?
I've transplanted this comfrey from a pot into the garden, and its taken off!   I read in Organic Gardener magazine to plant the comfrey in a low point of the garden so that it can accumulate nutrients.  It is growi…

Home butcher vs meatworks

We have had two of our steers killed now, one at home and one at the meatworks. The first, Trevor, was bottle-raised by me and my husband, so we didn’t feel ready to have him killed at home.  Luckily our neighbours were planning to take one of their animals to our local abattoir, so they offered to take our steer if we picked up the meat a week later.  They took Trevor away on the Thursday and the meat was ready to pick up from the butcher the following Friday.  The butcher called us before he started working on our meat and asked which cuts we wanted.  We were pretty happy with the result, especially as we didn’t really know what to expect, although the sausages were a little fattier than we would have liked.
The main disadvantage of the meatworks option is that you don’t know for sure that you are getting your own animal back when you pick up the meat.  It could be any tough old cow that turned up on the same day.  I don’t think we had that problem, as the meat was lovely and tender,…