Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ready, set, grow!

Autumn is such a busy time in the subtropics. It's my spring cleaning time. The heat and humidity of summer is over and I feel energised by the cooler mornings and nights.

Growth in the garden has slowed (finally!) after all the rain we've had. Coming from Adelaide originally, we were always reluctant to cut anything back too hard in the garden, but here on the Sunshine Coast you really need to.

Lots of work underway - all overshadowed by an ongoing problem with the neighbours chooks and peafowl getting into our winter seedlings, but that' s in the hands of the local council officials.

Composting, harvesting worm castings, mulching, setting up new garden beds, running repairs to trellises etc etc.

We've planted potatoes, corn, cucumbers, and now we've secured a safe growing area while the neighbours and the council fight it out, broccoli, broccolini, cabbage and caulies will go in tomorrow.

Also inspired to put a little fun in the garden, statues, seats, local sculptures from the markets, those types of things.

Around the house, it's time to de cobweb the outside, tidy everything up, and start thinking about extensions, and more accommodation generally. Fixing up the other bedroom (we only have two) so we can have wwoofers and guests stay. We also need a propogation area, a fire pit for outdoor cooking, and sorting the deck out so it's more usable for us.

Great time of the year though, and when the bloody pests from next door get sorted out, it will all be good.

Looking forward to the first meal cooked on our heater/oven this winter. We bought a Nectre baker's oven last year and haven't regretted it!. It's a slow combustion heater, an oven, a cooktop and we could have added a water jacket too for hot water, but we're getting a solar hot water system so won't need it.

Baked spuds, soups, stews, lamb shanks on mashed spuds from the garden....


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Winter crops and favourite books

I've been waylaid with a minor flu, so been spending time indoors and catching up on some reading.

I've got out Robin Clayfield's Teaching Permaculture Creatively (I did the course in late 2006) and it's got me all fired up again about teaching permaculture, although there doesn't seem to be much interest in it from the community unfortunately.

I thought when things started to hit - as they seem to be now with reports of houses being repossessed, the economy going into a spiral, food and fuel prices they highest they've ever been - people would start looking for things like permaculture, but I think what will probably happen inititally at least, is much more chaotic than that.

I'm also reading Rob Hopkin's The Transition Handbook, which is a goldmine of information and well worth getting hold of.

As for the garden, my husband's doing a great job getting potatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, lettuces etc in. The weather's perfect at the moment - a little rain overnight with mild 26 degree days. Autumn, winter and spring are definately the best times here on the Coast.

The only problem we have is with our neighbour's animals - their chooks, peafowl and horses keep eating our plants. It's unfortunately got to the point we'll have to go to the council to see what they can do. I've already called them and it's clearly their responsibility to keep their animals out of our place, so we'll see what happens.

Lots of composting being done, lots of garden beds being set up and lots of mulching. I love this time of year (except for the flu thing).