Fly veil for protection against the swarms of flies, gum boots for (some) protection from the brown snakes, if my friends could see me now - Pasta with a White Wine and Cream Sauce and Marinated Prawns recipe and more….
Early October, back at Mount Sugarloaf Farm, where did all these flies come from? And let’s not mention the grass- it grows while we watch it. Let’s talk about Dave though. Dave lives down the hill from us and he has (no not a combine harvester) a Bob Cat (like a small JCB and sometimes called a “skid steer”) . He clears and smooths out a piece of ground that was too hard to do by hand (and too hard for my doggy to negotiate as you can see). He and his Bob Cat also fill the remaining beds with soil – it takes them about 5 minutes. It took me 2 days just to fill one and a bit!.
The soil we bought is a little sandy, I would really like to dig in some organic matter - some compost, manure or chook poo. Although I have started a compost bin, I don’t have any compost yet, I can’t find the cow manure in the long grass (I’m too scared of the highly poisonous brown snakes to look too hard) and the garden centres have sold out of chook poo. Looks like other people prepared their garden beds for sowing some weeks ago! Never-the-less, I need to do something. I purchase a bag of blood and bone and water crystals that swell up and help hold moisture in the soil, combined, these should be a reasonable substitute for compost. I sprinkle generous handfuls of each onto the soil and lightly mix it in. Now I need to water it and we still don’t have a watering system. But I do have a watering can and, donning fly veil and gum boots (wellies), up the hill I go and down again, about 10 times until I have damp soil in the 4 beds in which I am going to (finally) sow these vegetable seeds. The dog wasn’t much help!
Two days to go before we leave again and 4 out of the 7 beds are planted and watered. I’ve also made three extra beds on the ground, lining small areas with newspaper to keep the grass and weeds out, using rocks for borders and filling them up with my organic garden soil, with blood and bone and water crystals added. I plant sweet corn, pumpkins and cantaloupe melons in each of these. I’ve also sown snow peas, sugar snap peas, 3 different varieties of beans, cucumbers, rainbow chard, bloomsdale spinach, lots of radishes, spring onions, rocket, lettuce, bok choy, red pak choy, zucchini, zucchetta, turnips, carrots, beetroot, aubergines, capsicums not mention some herbs and garlic to keep the bad bugs away. There is no fence around them yet, but I figure that until they’ve grown a little there is nothing for the hares to get at. Need to get a watering system in though because the soil will need to be kept moist for germination to occur and it doesn’t rain often enough to do that. The weather’s warmed up (spring arrives a few weeks later at Mount Sugarloaf Farm compared to Sydney) so we should get a good start.
The day before we leave, an exhausted husband attaches the 4 veggie beds to a temporary watering system with a very long poly pipe and some spray nozzles. Eventually we’ll put in a drip system as this uses less water, prevents leaf burn and reduces the risk of mould, but this will have to do for now. Only the raised beds are hooked up for the moment. The sweet corn, melon and pumpkins will have to fend for themselves until we come back. They’re sown deeper than the small seeds and I’ve given them a deep watering (with my watering can) so they should make it. Hopefully we’ll get some rain.
Better make hubby his favourite dinner tonight, Pasta with a White Wine and Cream Sauce and Marinated Prawns with the fresh, home-made crusty bread that I made this morning. He’s earned it.