Weather

Another day of icy Antarctic blasts after that tempting warm spell late last week. Today we had 37 mms of rain in the gauge so that at least is a positive. The long term forecast is for an El Nino this year so we can expect above average temperatures and a lot less rain. So any soil moisture we can get now, along with run-off into the dams is welcome. On the negative side – the strong winds have torn several holes in the polyhouse roof which will need fixing quite quickly.

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in ...
Fixing a hole where the rain gets in …

Luckily the only seedlings I have in there are tough old brassicas, Kailan (sometimes spelled kailaan), or Chinese Broccoli, which will be able to stand the cold for a while.

Small but tough Kailan seedlings
Small but tough Kailan seedlings

Walking around the garden after the rain I spot some self sown seedlings. Two brassicas, one Red Russian Kale and this Red Mustard – a favourite in salads.

Self sown Red Mustard
Self sown Red Mustard

Saving the best until last, another one of the hen’s started laying today. Which just puts the pressure on the last one to get a move on. Hooray fresh eggs again!

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Saturday in the garden

I’d like to say that after an afternoon in the garden that I felt a pleasant ache in my body, but my right knee is making a strong case for a nagging pain instead. Nontheless jobs have been completed.

Watering can ballet (with apologies to Olive Cotton)
Watering can ballet (with apologies to Olive Cotton)

The task today was to re-pot my citrus plants so that they stand a chance of not just surviving, but thriving. My Meyer Lemon, is currently showing it’s disapproval of not being re-potted last year by only producing three golf-ball sized fruit this winter. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see that my Red Centre Lime (a cross between and Australian bush lime and a mandarin) is starting to show a number of deep maroon fruit.

It turned out the easiest way to complete this task was to put down a large piece of plastic on the ground, then tip the pots onto it, scraping out enough soil to let me finally pull the plant from the pot. I could then replace the pot in the right spot and start re-filling it. I took the opportunity to mix in some citrus and rose food in the bottom of the pots before replacing the plants and topping up with good quality potting mix. I also added some trace elements as my plants always seem to be displaying some type of mineral deprivation. A final topping with shredded sugar cane mulch and the task was done.

Re-potted citrus and a few other random plants.
Re-potted citrus and a few other random plants.

I also managed to transplant my Alpine Strawberry into a larger pot. I will need to scavenge some pine needles from my neighbour’s garden to renew the mulch.

I know I could avoid most of this travail if I could only commit to putting these plants in the ground. But there doesn’t seem any good spot to plant them without the plants being prone to frost damage. So I will continue on as I have started and plan to just remember to carry out this task every year.

Some light in the winter dark

We may have passed the shortest day of the year, but here in Canberra we still have quite a bit of winter still to live through. Like my garden I’m slowly coming to life again.

On the weekend we read in the Sydney papers that now was the time to start tomato seeds. In Canberra tomato seeds would be facing this prospect with all the ‘excitement’ of a small child being forced into a cold swimming pool. Here it’s not going to happen unless you have a warm space inside to protect your seeds.

On the other hand our broad beans, which were planted very late this season have now stuck their leaves up out of the ground.

Young broadbeans making an appearance
Young broadbeans making an appearance

My friend M who was far better organised this year actually has pods on her broadbeans!

The new front garden has survived, to some degree the vicissitudes of the people doing the guttering and roof repairs, but the ongoing frosts have really had a big impact on my smaller plants. Just how bad the damage is can’t be fully assessed for another two months when chances of frost have passed, when I can see what will re-shoot and what will need pulling out.

TB’s wasabi plants are growing away quite happily and the citrus trees will shortly be having a new lot of potting mix in their pots ready for growing away into spring.

Wasabi is growing well in our cold climate, under the protection of the tree canopy
Wasabi is growing well in our cold climate, under the protection of the tree canopy

My first hellebore flower has opened.

My first Hellebore flower (well the plant did it really!)
My first Hellebore flower (well the plant did it really!)

But best and most promising of all, our boss hen has started laying eggs again. So far we’ve had one every second day. Let’s hope the other two hens get the message soon!

There is no such thing as a gratuitous chicken photo!
There is no such thing as a gratuitous chicken photo!