Category Archives: Food forest

A little oregano garden

All of our oregano is up by the road. It’s dotted around the place and is certainly ample for our needs for most of the year, except around the end of winter when the old growth has aged and yellowed and the new growth is yet to emerge.

A couple of flower heads were planted in seed-raising mix a little while ago, and they sprouted much better than expected. They were starting to get a bit big for their seed tray, so they were put into their own little oregano garden down in the orchard. We’ll plant other herbs down here, too, to make it a one-stop food shop.


Our original raspberry canes have disappeared under the Mexican puffball which Got Big Fast, and the top garden is looking less like a potential berry farm these days.

We got some new raspberries, plucked out of a friend’s patch, and we thought this time we’d put them somewhere a bit more accessible. There’s a bare patch of fence down at the end of the orchard, and it will be nice to cover that with something, so it looks like raspberries are going along the fence. Hopefully we’ll be able to extend them along the fence in both directions in years to come.


First lemon

Yay! Our first lemon, but from the second lemon tree. Which is a “Lemonade” variety, so we have big plans for pitchers and pitchers of lemonade from this little guy.


Orange tree

So I said that we’ve probably already got all the trees that we need … except another orange tree. Like all the citrus, it goes next to the chicken run for conveniently fertilising with chicken poo.

As always, any job around here starts with some digging first:


It’s a good thing we dug up a bunch of rocks lately, because the slope is steep in this spot. A little rock wall on the downhill side keeps all the dirt in place.


Lovely! Ready to go.


We put some looser dirt and some of the old chicken poo/hay mix that’s sitting at the bottom of the run into the hole. Then a good thick layer of mulch, as this is a pretty dry area. It gets a lot of sun, and the giant mountain ash sucks the water out of the ground.


The final step, not shown here, is to surround the tree with cut bark. The chickens won’t scratch around the bark, so it protects the delicate surface roots from their tough loving.

That’s probably it for citrus: two lemons, two oranges, two mandarins and two limes. Yay! … and we’re getting a couple of passionfruit on the vines over the run! Woohoo!


First apples

We’re quite excited to get some apples this year. The Fuji appears to be the most prolific. This one’s a Granny Smith, the only fruit on the lone tree in the meadow. What are the chances a bird gets it?


A touch of spring

C’mon spring! Coldest winter in 26 years …


Lovely furry peach blossoms. Didn’t know the colour when we bought them, but we lucked out and got a red one, a pink one and a white one.



Down the road at number 15 they took down a big stringybark and were giving away the wood. They have a couple of lovely purple magnolias in the yard.


Last dwarf peach

The dwarf peach trees have these lovely long mop-top leaves. We got 3 at the Monbulk cricket club fundraiser in February, and two went into the ground in April as part of the wall-building around the back of the cherry tree.

The last peach has sat in its pot ever since. We wanted it to go on the left of the steps going up the meadow, to balance the one that’s on the right, but we’d run out of rocks. The ground levelling over in the garage area produced plenty of new rocks, though, so we finally had enough to complete the next bit of wall and the time to do it.

We’d tried to grow a bunch of stuff here, but the slope means that a drop of water will never rest here long. Everything we planted was stunted and sickly (although that thyme plant doesn’t seem to mind).


We scraped away the dirt, popped in some rocks and made terraces that match the other side of the steps.


That little carnation is getting choked to death next to the thyme, and we need something to put on that little ledge, so out he comes. There is another carnation under another bush further along, so he comes out too and they can be friends. In goes the peach and Bob’s your uncle. Hopefully these three in a group will cross-pollinate and give us some peaches.

It can’t be seen from this angle, but there’s a little “Lorna Doone” thyme plant just to the right of the peach. Hopefully it’ll cover the ground in time.

Almond and ash trees

With the birthday silly season out of the way, we can get back into the garden. Wanted some maple trees for autumn colour, but Emerald Gardens was fresh out. We got an almond and two claret ash trees instead.

A pretty easy dig this time for the almond tree. It’s about 4m away from the last apple and just below the chicken run. The string there is making sure it’s at the same level.
This one’s self-pollinating, so we don’t need to get it a partner. Fingers crossed the little stick grows into a mighty nut harvest!
The two claret ash trees can’t even be seen from the house. There’s one in the little brown patch just to the right of that baby ash tree, and another behind the wattle in the middle of the shot. Five apples in the mid ground and the almond on the right.

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.