Friday, July 31, 2015

40 hours with no food!

For quite a few years now I have participated in the World Vison 40 hour famine.

I am doing the 40 hr famine again this year.
If I raise 100.00 I will give up food for 40 hours
If I raise 200.00 I will give up TV as well for 40 hours
If I raise 300.00 I will give up Facebook as well for 40 hours.

A few facts:
 This year is the 40th anniversary of the 40 hour famine.
 In the past 7 years alone more than 2 million people have benefitted from food assistance through 40  hour famine funds.
 This year you will be supporting World Vision projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos,  Malawi, Nepal, Swaziland and Uganda.  The funds will go towards solutions like nutrition training for  parents, child health services and better agricultural practices.

If you would to donate or find out more please visit my fundraising page here:
Gillians 40 hour famine fundraising page

I will start after dinner on Friday the 14th and will put up a blog post here to let you know how much I have raised.  Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What have I learned from the world wide web?

As I was doing my update on my in ground worm buckets last week I began to mull over how my gardening has changed since I started blogging....

Worms;  I had never even heard of worm composting when I first started gardening.  In fact I thought they were talking about earthworms.  I didnt have room for a worm bin, so discounted the idea of having compost worms in my small garden.  Then I read about worm tubes, but wanted to be able to harvest the castings, so with a little bit of inspiration from here and there my worm buckets were born.
worm buckets

Permaculture:  This is something that still does elude me a little.  I have such a small garden that I really only have zone 1/2 or 1.  Permaculture can spill out into other areas though and so I see those principles popping up in different areas of my life.  Nice to know that we dont have to own a huge farm to become permaculturists.

Food forest:  I have lately been seeing more and more videos of fairly small gardens absolutely chock full of produce.  I have slowly introduced more layers into my garden hoping to achieve the same effect.  So far I seem to be having success in certain areas. Some plants I found needed more light than this gave.  My fruit trees actually do better in the sunny site that is fruit salad alley.

fruit trees in the tropics

Organic:  I have never wanted to add chemicals to the garden, and try to use free or foraged items wherever possible to amend and enrich my soil.  Seaweed, comfrey, compost and worm castings are added regularly.  I still buy sugar cane mulch as that is so nice and fine and good in the veggie patch, it would be good to be able to provide my own mulch.  At times I have used some of my lemongrass, and might think about doing more of this.
producing my own mulch

Wicking beds:  I dont have a huge budget for the garden, so discounted wicking beds until I heard of someone doing it with polysterene boxes.  I have had eggplant growing in my two wicking beds for a few years now, and they are flourishing.  No sign of the bacterial wilt which has killed every eggplant I have ever planted into the soil.
wicking beds

I would say that 90% of what I have learnt comes from other bloggers. Do you find that your gardening has improved through the world wide web, and how?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garden bloggers bloom day July

I thought I would show you a photo of my lady slipper orchid for Garden bloggers bloom day
It is a vine, and climbs the weeping tea tree just outside our bedroom window.  I was so excited to see this one flower, and then I looked behind it to discover 4 more buds forming behind it!  How aweosme to have the area dripping with orchids!
 These eucharist lillies are so nice to have in the shady areas of the garden.  Most flowers need sunshine, so they were a good choice for that area.
 These do better in the sun, the cordeline is a lovely hot pink.
 I am just loving this flower and am not sure if it is a jacobina - does anyone know?

thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for the chance to share the lovely blooms in our gardens - HERE
 is  a link to more of them! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tutorial - propagating by lthe layering method.

One of the best ways to propagate ginger plants is by the layering method.  My pink ginger was acquired from a  friend who popped one of her flowers into a pot, and now I am doing the same.   One I put into a pot, and the other I put straight into the ground.  Both were held down with wire pegs so that there is firm connection with the soil.  as you can see the original branch is dying as it gives  life to the new plant.  Isn't that awesome?

A  lot of plants can be propagated in this way - here you can see that the flower is already putting out new leaves, and as soon as it is pegged down into the earth or a pot it will begin to grow roots and a new plant.
Sometimes gardening just amazes me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dont throw away that carboard - re-using and making do

I suppose like all gardeners I do a few strange things.  One is that I cannot bear to throw away (or even recycle) cardboard.  We were very blessed recently to be able to purchase some new items for our home.  These all came wrapped in a huge amount of packaging.  What couldnt be immediately torn up into the worm buckets and compost heap or used as mulch was laid in the veggie garden paths. 

This keeps it out of the way for now.  It soaks up the rain and watering runoff, so that when the compost has room again for more browns I simply rip up the floor!  Worms  (earthworms and red wrigglers) simply love cardboard, so even laying it down on a patch of dirt will do wonders to your garden.  You can cover it with mulch if you dont like the look of it. I was burying a pile of prawn shells under one such pice of cardboard last night and the worms were big and fat and juicy.  I wonder if they eat the prawn shells? - I know someone does, beecause within a  week there is nothing but lovely rich soil in that patch.

The other thing I do is make my own seed tape, and it has worked quite well with silverbeet and beetroot - two seeds I have found hard to start in the past.  Those seeds need to be pre-soaked, preferably in seaweed solution, and I found that easy to do once the seeds were encased in a strip of toilet paper.  Now they are coming up, all nicely spaced too!  Happy gardener here!

I love to see produce hanging down ready to be picked, but that often requires more room than I have in my tiny patch.  The cucumber vine is doing so well though, that I added an extension from one trellis to another. A piece of scrap aluminum bar was put to use for that.  I hope soon the paths will be lined with ready to pick cucumbers.  A salad bar!

What do you make use of in your garden?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Garden share collective - July already

I always look forward to this season, it is cooler, the humidity is gone, and I can grow "normal" vegetables in my tropical garden.  We have had an usual amount of rain this year - it seems as though the wet season is starting later in the year and then continuing on later.  Of course that means it is cloudy a lot of the time, and things need sunshine to grow.  I suppose we cant have it all ways.
My cucumbers were the first crop of this season and they are still going strong. I made some pickles last night, and realized I dont have  a pot high enough to water bath them, so they are in the fridge.  How long can you keep them in the fridge unopened?

I have noticed a little bit of mildew on the lower leaves, so I might give it a bit of a spray with some milky water.  These are growing on the edge of the asparagus bed.  One thing I add to the asparagus bed that I dont put on the rest of the garden is fresh seaweed, and now I am wondering if that is worth adding every now and then as a mulch to the rest of the garden.  The paths are nice and clear now that the rosellas have been removed. Along this fence I have purple podded beans and snow peas.  With a row of lettuces in front of them.  I am trying some seeds a workmate gave me - Darwin lettuce.  rocket is doing well as are the spinach which I am constranly picking.  I think I will let them go to seed eventually as I have never had any type of spinach do so well in this climate.
 I have been re-thinking the perrenial asparagus bed.  The only asparagus plant that has been satisfactory has been the purple asparagus, and I have tried to start more plants from seed with little success.  The green asparagus is incredibly skinny, so I think I will eventually pull  them out.  I have popped a few tomato plants in between them for now.  .

Out in the front fruit salad alley has a name tag. :)  I moved both the lemon and the lime tree into the line-up.  The pomegranate was re-potted into a bigger pot.  The mulberry has been suffering with some kind of disease, and I sprayed it with my new organic bug spray which did nothing.  In the end I chopped it right down and will see what happens next.   The citrus trees are enjoying the full sun and putting out lots of new leafy growth.

 My first passionfruit is forming, so hopefully soon we will be eating some fruit from fruit salad alley.
To do:
The main thing to do this month is to keep up the watering with a little bit of help from some organic fertilizer and seaweed and charlie carp.  
I will also keep sowing seeds so that I have a continual harvest of leafy greens.
I have my brother and his wife visiting next month so I want to make sure the garden is overflowing with yummy goodness.
I am linking to the lizzie for the Garden share collective and understand there will be different hosts

Garden Share collective

Off to go and see what everyone else has been doing this last month.


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