Saturday, November 22, 2008

Long time between drinks

In case you didn't catch it in the news, South East Qld has been inundated with storms recently. All I can say is we got clipped by them, but the house is still standing. No major damage to report, other than the usual suspect - soil erosion caused by water run-off. Have a look at my agapanthus!

If you remember, this is the agapanthus I planted around the rainwater tank last year. This damage was done when the tank burst it's pipes again. The gushing water escaped out the inlet pipes and ran down the hill, taking a lot of soil with it. But this is what I love about agapanthus plants - their roots really do grow into a thick mat. I'm glad I chose this plant for precisely this reason.

While I'm not a big fan of storms, it did highlight the need for better drainage systems on our property. The retaining walls we started last year were fantastic! They did exactly what they were designed to do - which was stop the soil from washing away and drain the excess water safely. Dave checked the out-pipes during one particular afternoon storm, and he said the water was gushing out. So it worked!!

Next year we have more retaining walls in mind, but also incorporating a French drain in-front of them. Stay tuned for that project.

But now a quick garden update with some of my seedling developments. First, the sunflowers.

From this:

To this:

And that's a rouge pumpkin in the front, which has sprung up from our homemade compost. A lot of tomato seedlings have sprung up too, but they have been pulled!

My pigeon peas on the other hand, haven't been a great success. I've sewn 8 seeds in total, and so far only 4 have come up. Of those, only 2 plants have survived and one looks as if it's going to shrivel up soon. I've found better success planting direct, than planting in a seedling tray. Here is the survivor:

My brandywine tomatoes have survived and I've planted 4 along the chook run. They're only small but hopefully will grow bigger. Here is the biggest one:

And finally, not the best picture, but I made a cucumber support out of old sapling trees I had cut down. Hopefully it will hold the weight of the apple cucumbers I have planted underneath.

I must say, my growing attempts haven't been completely disappointing, but I'm realising how deprived my soil is. This is the first year I've added our home-made compost in some areas of the garden, but the seedlings are struggling to grow.

Either that, or I'm just incredibly impatient...which is entirely possible!


  1. We had exactly the same problem with our soil and were so disappointed by our first efforts. The soil here drains really fast and there is so little organic matter in it that it just dries out. It took a lot of convincing but this year I pursuaded M. to add heaps of organic matter and some enriched soil to the beds from a landscape supply shop and everything has taken off. I have three huge piles of homemade compost cooking but because we give most of the nitrogen based scraps to the girls, they are slow to compost. We've kept one patch of grass just so we can mow it to add to the heaps! Each year has been better but the magic ingredient has definitely been lots of sheep poo - the garden LOVES it.

  2. I know what you mean about impatience I am the worst but you are such a hard worker I know you will get there in the end. I have tagged you for Meme by the way, look forward to reading your responses.

  3. Thanks for the tag greenfumb. I'll have fun answering the questions. I've read through yours and it's great to hear how other's take the green challenge.

    I hear ya, chooks'r'us. We did buy some composted pig manure which the citrus loved (being surface feeders) but it hasn't been worked down into the vegie soil yet. We only put it on top because we liked the thought of not having to dig more than necessary.

    Sheep poo sounds good. We do have a few goat studs around here - wonder if it would do the same thing?

    I figure the trick will be perseverence though. More organic matter and perseverence.

  4. We struggle with enriching the soil too. My compost heaps take so long to get to the useable stage, then when you spread it out, it seems to go a disappointingly short way. This year I bought in a heap of mulch and compost/manure in bulk, and spread it around. It's really helping.

    My pigeon peas look like yours, and I got even less than 50% of them come up. They seem to be pretty picky. Hoping that they will grown now that they've started though.


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