Monday, May 11, 2015

Lemongrass and Ginger Growing

My poor neglected blog. It's been months since I blogged. Life has been so busy!!!

I have been quite successful with growing lemongrass this time.  I think the trick is to plant them in the ground with good soil.  I have done so in pots due to renting but they did not do well.  Finally there's good result :
And hooray I am absolutely stoked that I have success with ginger growing this year! It's difficult to grow them in Melbourne since I am in a temperate area.  But the piece that I grew in a pot with good potting mix and composted manure did excellently! I harvested a piece recently and it was fat and fresh!

Since winter is fast approaching, I have designed and erected some form of protection over my tropical spice growing in the garden. I hope it works!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Balmy Summer Days - Chickens Members

We have had a few cold summer days and it's back to sunshine.  And today we had a brand new bird visitor - the crested pigeon.  It's super cute! We have had a dozen of the usual spotted pigeons visiting and pigging on the bird seeds.  This one is on his/her own and I have not seen it feed. It just stayed around for a while but it's not very shy at all.

The rainbow lorikeets visited again.  We don't seem to get enough of them.  They are just so pretty to look at.  It's like living rainbows!
So we finally bought our three chooks.  Welcome Rubie (Rhode Island Red), Chessie (Leghorn X chequer) and Snowie (Leghorn White).  Guess who's the kids' favourite for now? It's Snowie!  She's extremely friendly and very easy-going.  She comes out of the coop first each morning and lets us pick her up without struggling.  My boys love patting her.  I just find it so amazing that every chicken has her own personality! And I am amazed at how gentle my children are towards these chickens.  It's a great decision getting these chooks.  We are definitely in love with them.  Hopefully Rubie and Chessie will warm up to us soon.
This is the choko plant which sprouted and planted at this little spot before I flew off end November 2014.  I was not sure if it will survive the cold but it certainly did.  By the time I came back, it was looking good and climbing up.  I think eventually it will sprawl over the wire fencing.  For now, I had to protect the vine from the feathered girls as it is in their large chicken area.
Selwyn (my little boy) loves picking tomatoes.  I thought he would love them.  He enjoys picking them and putting them into his mouth.  However, he soon decides to spit them out.  Perhaps it's the tomato skin that he's rejecting.  That does not stop him from trying to pick more and putting them into his mouth!
Today my little boy was very excited to see the chickens.  He was even dancing around the chicken coop.  This of course frightened the chickens hahaha! He could not wait to pat the chickens and was glad that Snowie is always so receptive and approachable.  Marco (our dog) was the first time that close to the chooks.  The chooks were oblivious and Marco was wagging his tail.  We had to supervise closely.  So far so good!
Oh my chilli plants....Chilli Fire.  Both plants really looked on the brim of death in winter and I did not hold up too much hope.  However, they looked great when I come back from holidays.  And they have flowered and fruited.  Awesome result under neglect!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back From Holidays!

We went away for a five-week holiday and came back, right in the middle of the heat wave. Thankfully, the damage was minimal.  I was actually so happy to see my plants/trees again, though lots of tall weeds welcomed me too!  After the heat went away, Paul (hubby) and Samuel (my first son) and I started the weeding work in the back garden.  Some weeds were as tall as 1 metre.

Okay here's the update on some of my edibles.  The Trixzee Pixzee peach tree produced a surprising number of peaches again this year.  We did not get to eat a single peach last two years as our dog ate all the unripe ones.  After our last house move (autumn 2014), we planted the tree into the ground in winter and I protected the tree with some plastic mesh.  I did not notice a lot of flowers in spring but when I returned in Jan, I found many peaches... probably 20.  I decided not to thin them this time.  This morning, one fell off the tree, still small but soft.  I cut it open and ate it with my boys.  Thumbs up! Sun-ripened sweetness and clingstone-free!
Here's my ginger! It's about 40 centimetres tall. I planted a piece of ginger (that was showing some green buds) in early spring.  It was in a large pot at a corner of my deck that constantly received sunshine in the day.  I also protected the pot with good translucent plastic.  Towards summer, the plastic protection was removed.  When I left, there was no sign of life.  When I came back, the ginger shoots have grown! I have tried growing edible ginger twice so far and both times they were successful.  However, they don't survive the winter and probably rot away underground.  So, I have not successfully harvested any ginger stem for use so far.  Hopefully I will this time!

Tomatoes.  Alright, I am no great fan of raw tomatoes but I love them well-cooked in soups.  But I was convinced to buy these two vines from Bunnings when I visited one centre.  Before I left for my holiday, they were started to flower but after five weeks, lots of fruits.  And these tomato sweet grapes are really sweet and juicy to munch on!
I wouldn't mind crunching on a few each day!
One cold morning, I noticed these two tawny frogmouths roosting on the large branch of the silky oak tree in our back garden.  The boys and I were really excited! Months ago, one roosted on the stool at one corner of our deck.  We are definitely happy to see more!
The frogmouths spent the day cuddling and cosying up to each other.  They really have good leg strength, sitting on that branch whole day long and at times very still.
I am thankful that my friends (Keng and Ad, who stayed over regularly) have been feeding the birds loose bird seeds in a pot on and off.  As they could not be at home (like I do since I am a home-maker), this resulted in many spotted neck pigeons congregating on my deck.  About 10 come regularly now, from the initial four. I am trying to make them go away as I do not appreciate their voracious appetite (they hardly stop eating) and pooing all over my deck.  I came back from grocery shopping early last week and hanged a new seed block.  And then I heard the familiar calling sound of the beautiful king parrot one evening.  And Ahhh! Here he/she comes!  We hope to see the rainbow lorikeets (which we hear in the trees and flying past) and the eastern rosella (which I have not yet since our holiday) come to feed too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our Garden Visitors - The Birds!!!

I am beginning to get very excited living at this new property. We realise that the wildwife that frequent this place is massive! One day we got the Australian King Parrots visiting our deck.  I was not prepared and did not have any bird feed that was suitable for them.  The next day they returned, only to be driven off by the two resident Indian mynahs living up on my aircon unit! They left behind a few green feathers.

I went straight off to the local supermarket and got sunflower seeds.  I hung the seeds on the deck for days and prepared honey water.  I was disappointed.  My older son was disappointed.  Are they not coming back anymore?

Then one fine day in October they came back!!! Two gorgeous Australian King parrots :
I really don't know much about parrots.  But these ones have a quiet demeanour.  I can now identify their calling sounds, really gentle.

Then shortly after, we had another parrot visiting.  He/She's always on its own....a beautiful lone-ranger.  I am unsure if this is an Eastern Rosella.  Gorgeous little parrot's who's rather shy. There's more reading up for me to do :

Finally success!!! I have been wanting to get the rainbow lorikeets to land in our garden.  A bunch of noisy, beautiful parrots who make their presence known easily. Two landed once few days ago and one landed yesterday but never long enough for me to take a picture.  They finally decided to visit today and have some sunflower seeds.  They have plenty of food nearby as I see that they often feed off flowers and stuff on the tall gum trees in our garden :

How exciting!!! I have several orders to make and it's a busy time but this sight just made me put down everything to watch them!

Trees Removal in our Garden

The aborists came in today to remove several trees. Initially, I was excited about removing these trees from the garden but I know they were there for a few years and to have them removed brought a bit of sadness and guilt!!! Unfortunately I did not have time to snap a few pre-cutting pictures and have two pictures of the original state here :

The aborists worked quickly and efficiently and within hours, my garden looked completely different.  Here's a picture of the agile aborist cutting down the dead gum :
In all, about 6 medium sized trees and two dead gums were removed. All the low canopy is now gone and it's wide open, leaving the tall gum trees beyond my garden :

I think I can fall in love with such a view.  Pardon me for the overly bright photos! Was trying to figure out the best camera settings to use!

"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541