Facepalm moment

When you stand staring at the bottom of your pear tree for some minutes wondering why the leaves growing out the bottom aren’t the same as the leaves on the rest of the tree. Is it a mutant? Something wrong with the soil? Something else growing there?

Oh, wait. Grafting. Cut those guys off.

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Black nightshade

This plant is Solanum nigra, black nightshade. Unlike deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), this plant is edible and is widely used as fodder.

Whenever we put manure down in the soil these guys invariably pop up – obviously the horses/sheep/cows that make the manure have been tucking in.

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According to the experts you can make a fairly tasty jam with the berries, but they can make you sick if you eat them unripe. Recipes often call for boiling and re-boiling the leaves, and discarding the water in between. Seems like too much trouble to me, so up they come.

 

 

Steaming compost

Last week we spent a day cutting the grass and making compost piles out of it. Nice to see them steaming in the cold weather.

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The space where the trampoline used to be is proving quite useful!

Terrarium refresh

The little plants in the terrarium S made me for Christmas ’14 struggle a little bit. There’s not enough greenery in there to keep the moisture in, and the rocks develop a bit of mould after a while.

So the whole lot was pulled out, the rocks washed and new plants put in. Some ferns were chosen this time to see if the leaves would crowd the opening enough to keep the moisture in.

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More conduit burying

Eventually this washing machine outlet will be under the ground all the way down to the compost heaps.

Found a nice flat rock along the way; that can go straight up to the wall around the cherry tree.

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More bulbs

The great bulb planting exercise continues; a border next to the chicken run would also make things look a little nicer over there.

Can be a bit hard when the chicken decides to take a bath in the spot where you want to plant them, though.

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C’mon Popples, givusabreak love!

We also put bulbs by the meadow steps and in strategic locations around the meadow.

Bulb box

This pipe from the washing machine snakes down the yard and empties out down the hill a bit. It’s kind of ugly, so it’s going under the ground.

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This retained bit here had a bit of asparagus in it, but was mostly weeds. We have to get the tub full of bulbs in the ground, so here’s as good a spot as any.

A fine morning was spent piling nice dirt in there ┬áto cover the tube …

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Spreading some bulbs around …

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And popping them all under the ground.

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Ok fellas, do your stuff and grow grow grow!

Bee hotel

The bees that make honey are European. Australia has over 1,700 species of bees, most of which don’t live in a hive and don’t make honey. They’re still great pollinators, though, and will happily coexist next to their European cousins.

Most Australian bees are solitary. This means that if you want to attract them to the garden, they need somewhere to live that is private. People make “bee hotels” using bamboo or by drilling wood or sticks with narrow, deep holes. The bees take up residence in them and then lay their eggs nearby.

We’ll get a few bee hives eventually (for honey), but for the moment a bee hotel is a quick and easy thing to make. We cut some logs, drill holes in them, and then make a frame out of some leftover ply.

The bees need a little overhang on the roof, to keep the logs nice and dry.

We still have some cedar weatherboards hanging around too. We only need to use one to completely clad the hotel.

A spot of weather-proofing linseed oil and it’s all done!

The bees like their hotel up off the ground so we’ll mount it on a post.