Chokos to cumquats

Finally, the weather has cooled down and it was bearable enough to get out into the garden. We had a really productive Sunday and all beds are full again.

  • Bed 3: Potatoes and silverbeet seedlings.
  • Bed 2: Beans and more beans. Peas.
  • Bed 1: Garlic and shallots. Carrots and beetroot.

The fourth bed is still full of half mildewy unproductive zucchini and the odd butternut pumpkin. It’s  about to go. I’m tired of killing squash bugs, and just when I thought I’d gotten on top of them, I spotted some baby ones underneath a leaf.

We moved the bird bath next to the stump and a tree, and since then it’s become very unpopular. Matt moved it to near the roses and back out in the open. Hopefully the birds will like it there.

I can’t believe how many baby lizards we have. As I walk around the garden almost every step I take in the garden sends one scattering away. There’s a large one under the bottom step outside the back door. He likes to sun himself on the concrete driveway, and sometimes I’ll get glimpses of his shiny shape before he hears the slam of the screen door and the thuds down the stairs.

I have been wondering if we have planted enough fruit trees to become self-sufficient. Edible Eden Design has over “100 edible or useful plants”. Happy Earth have “over 100 organic fruit trees with a staggering 50 varieties of fruit and just as many vegetables, not to mention almost every herb you care to name”. We currently have over 100 natives, but only 20 edible trees, a handful of herbs, and half empty vegetable patches. Lots of work to go.

I was again doubtful if we would make our target this month, but low and behold. We discovered the choko vine has born some fruit. The lemon and cumquat have been teasing us for months with some growing fruit which are now flush with colour, but not ready. Hmm, what can you do with one cumquat?

Mulch vs termites

The guy behind us decided to put up a fence about half a metre inside his property. I’d never seen this done before, which was a little strange because we would have been more then agreeable to get the rusty school style fence replaced. The neglected back corner was over run with grass and I regretted not putting a thick layer of tea tree mulch down.

A few days later the wooden fence was finished and it was growing on me. It should shade our vegetable patches a little (but not too much) and will also act as a bit of a wind break. I’ve decided to liven up the area and put in a hedge of low maintenance lilly pillies.

Matt pointed out that our termite inspector would not approve of the fence. (The inspector looked like he could have stepped out of a Ghostbusters movie.)

“It’s way too close to the bare earth” and “those wooden posts should have steel bottoms”!

The biggest bump we had when buying our house was finding termites in the laundry, which we promptly had treated. Matt had to cut off all the wooden palings underneath the house so there was a decent gap between the ends and the ground. A very grubby job. Since then we get our place checked once a year for peace of mind.

Last time I asked the inspector about mulch.

He said “Nup don’t put it anywhere near the house.”

“What about cypress mulch? It’s supposed to repel termites.”

“Nar, I wouldn’t use it. Don’t believe any of that marketing stuff. If you’d seen some of the damage to houses that I’ve seen termites can do. No mulch or wood near the house!”