Seed patch

It’s crunch time. We were humming and haaing about getting enough pots to plant seeds. We were cutting up used milk bottles. We were considering asking the neighbours up the road, who have piles of pots, for a loan of theirs. Then we realised that we could fit over 1000 seeds into a relatively small patch as long as we don’t mind separating them out later.

Pots at the hardware shop are 50c each.

So a seed patch it was. There’s a totally redundant area near the trampoline, which just grows stupid long grass that has to be cut. When everything else is dead, that spot is going gangbusters. Looks like it’s got an outflow from the septic tank, after the sand filter.

You’re not supposed to grow vegies on septic outflow, but (a) it’s gone through the sand filter and (b) we’re going to transplant all these seedings somewhere else just as soon as they get big enough. So it should be safe enough. We’ll rotate this area, planting a new crop each season of seeds that suit that time of year.

I cut that grass last week, and left the clippings on it to try to kill it. Now it’s just going to go and stop being a problem.

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So dig up all the semi-dead grass. It’s very dry and compacted under there, but no matter. The seedlings will root into potting mix and we’ll strip it back each season.

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Next, rake it back to make sure we didn’t miss any nasty grass. Shelley found a pipe by putting the mattock through it; luckily it wasn’t attached to anything and it came straight out. We put soaker tubing into the trench it left, and attached it to the washing machine outflow.

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Now some stakes, to keep the netting up (to keep the birds and possums out), some straw for feet between the seed lines and little hummocks of potting/seed raising mix for the seeds.

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Now that’s a patch. Let’s all go running with our rakes around the garden.

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Interlude: eastern rosella

We don’t see many eastern rosellas about (Platycercus eximius), but they do come on occasion.

They’re a bit hard to see because they like to rummage on the ground in the long grass, and are hard to photograph because they’re very shy, zooming away as you creep up on them. Not a very good picture, this one, at maximum zoom on the camera.

eastern-rosella

A drain for the fish pond

S reckons she’s hit bottom on the fish pond, so it’s time to fit it out – with a drain, circulating pipe and a whole bunch of rocks to keep it all together. The drain took about 4 hours to complete, getting bits from the shop, tunnelling a hole through the pond wall, cutting conduit from a steel pipe found in the yard, backfilling with rocks and dirt and getting the steps back into order.

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The pond end. Want a screen for this end but Bunnings wasn’t coming to the party. We’ll get one from the water pump shop over in Monbulk instead.

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It works!

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R got a bit hot digging out the channel for the conduit. So it’s time for shirts off and manning up. He’s taken the mini digger as his own, and the dirt flies. Some new op-shop boots keep the “pointy grass” out of his socks.

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With the steps back in place. The drain is supposed to be invisible from most angles.

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Top down. The overflow comes over the rocks and tumbles down into the hole to the conduit at the bottom. The drain will open up if we ever see a need to empty the pond.

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Bottom of the hole. A nice flat rock stops the water from wearing away the hole floor. Conduit to the left goes under the steps and currently drains out onto the hillside. Next step: get the recirculation happening!

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A flat spot for the wood pile

Previously, there was a picture of the space to the east of the house posted, with some lines on it showing where the levels go.

Time to get cracking and get digging. We want to put the wood pile, the compost heaps and the chicken coop in this area. While it’s not ready we’re throwing good compostable waste away, and the wood is covered by a big ugly tarp.

The corrugated iron has to go – it can make a roof for the wood pile. The scavenged pavers are going on the ground to make it ant-proof and sweepable. The big stump will be buried. The level matches to the spot where the big tree grows out.

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Found some big mama rocks in that hole. I have no idea how far down they go, but they have to come up because the whole area is supposed to be paved …

Pricing up wire and pipe

I fixed my busted solar panel that’s been sitting around for 4 years, now that I have a use for it. I wanted to run the pond pump off solar, circulating the water to aerate it.

It wants a small cost-benefit analysis: do I put the pump near the solar panel and run pipe, or do I put the pump near the water and run wire? The operating cost is zero, so it’s a simple capital expenditure issue (wink).

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So $13.48 for 25m of pipe, or 54c/m, or $2.60/m for wire. So I should run less wire and more pipe. It’s a bit like high voltage transmission lines and gas pipelines. This is why the power station is always near the transmission.

Path half done

The path comes across from the bottom of the steps, pretty much straight across the hill towards the big totem tree. The bricks were scavenged from another spot where the bins used to be kept – it was treacherous getting down there to dump some rubbish, so we moved them. And we get spare bricks as a bonus!

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