2007-05-22

Green Fingers

It's all been about the garden the last couple of weeks. No, not that kind of gardening - I haven't gone that Nimbin native - yet!
To the South (facing the road) we have now finished cutting and clearing around the pond - but I've realised that it's a bigger project than I first thought to get the pond wired up to the mains (even assuming I do it all myself - illegally, rather than getting in a licensed electrician to wire everything up to meet New South Wales standards for external wiring, it's going to be quite an expense too) and then getting it oxygenated, and a pump to keep it all moving, and at least one light, and some fish and a couple of plants will add up to hundreds of dollars and a good few man-hours. So, the pond project has been relegated to the bottom of the pile. Also to the South, C has done a great job planting small ground-cover plants and herbs near the front deck, and we're slowly learning which things can thrive on a shaded South facing bit of garden (and which things either rot or turn crispy).
Driving back from Lismore we scared the cars behind us by performing an excited U-turn across oncoming traffic and screeching to a halt in a farmer's driveway - he had 2 bags of manure left, and a sign asking for 2 bucks in his post-box per bag. We've seen many such signs, but demand seems to outstrip supply most of the time, so there's the quick and the dead.
We're fortunate in having the "Nimbin sawmill" about 500 yards away as the crow flies (and one minute away as the Holden bounces along pitted country lanes) - a friendly local hardware store stocking bottled gas, garden supplies and a variety of obscure things we've discovered we urgently require at odd times through the week. This week we got a big bale of mulch, reinforced the raised beds with a few extra stakes, and then decided to skip the weeding completely and lay a thick layer of mulch and water instead: Hopefully very few weeds will push through that, and we can pick off any that do. The raised beds are fun (though small, they somwhow feel like "real" gardening) but we're growing things we could have grown in the UK - cauliflower, strawberry, broccoli and so on.
The most exciting food crops for me are the things that still (for the moment) seem impossibly exotic: We have a big bunch of bananas ripening just beyond the deck, a row of (thriving thus far, but time will tell) pineapples, and our lone mandarine tree, that produces about two impossibly delicious mandarines every week - they're so good I want to run out there and focus mirrors on the green ones to speed it up! On a sadder note, it seems we have a couple of large carob trees in the garden, but that, due to our ignorance of the seasons here, we left it too late to harvest the beans (there would have been, tens, maybe hundreds of kilos - they're big trees) and they have turned to mush on the tree. We'll be ready next year!
I'm enjoying growing some of my own food immensely, but there will be wails of anguish when the wallabies from last week's post discover all the delicious delicacies in our raised beds - it doesn't really matter whether they eat them or just bounce all over them, the result will be just the same. I'm somehow loath to take protective measures until things attack (backwards though that may sound) for the simple reason that I'm SO ignorant of the threats and dangers, that i'd almost certainly be wasting my time. Famous last words...


2 comments:

Alex said...

We're putting in our garden too this week (as time allows). As usual, we weren't able to get it together to grow any of our own seedlings, so all the plants are store bought, except for those that lay dormant over winter and are now coming forth (like the horseradish, chives, and parsley). I now have about 16 tomato plants in the ground, about 10 different varieties. We'll also be planting corn, zucchini, yellow squash, beans, cucumbers, various melons, tomatillas, chili peppers, and various herbs. Writing that, it sounds like a very American mix.

Our season begins in May and ends in September or October, so it's probably a whole different ballpark. It's cool that you can grow all that tropical stuff. You should plant a jaboticaba tree.

Jay said...

Yeah, you're pretty heavy on the new-world crops there. We can sow all year round, but the major time should be September or early October I guess, so pretty much the mirror-image of yours. I'll look up what the hell a Jaboticaba tree is, and then we'll plant one, or several...