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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Growing Veggies In Wicking Barrels

When turning over the soil of my garden beds recently I discovered these.
Tree roots from nearby gum trees had invaded my beds.

So I dug out the dirt and...

  out they go!

 We have replaced this bed with two barrels and two cut down curbside bins. 

This is how we did the wicking system.  
We followed Rob Bob's instructions on Youtube here

We had a couple of half barrels that could be used.  

We are hoping to get some more barrels at Paramount Browns in Adelaide when they become available. 
We bought some pvc pipe and ag pipe, 
and joined with an elbow and duct tape. 

This is how it looks in the barrel.

Next I made some socks out of weed cloth.

Here it is laid out on the table

Cut into two.

And sewn.

Then place over the ag pipe to prevent soil from falling into the gaps and blocking it up. Tie off the end.
I forgot to take a photo of the cloth over the pipe lol! So instead, this was taken when we were preparing J

 We brought in some rocks.

 These go in the bottom over the pipe like so.

Then hubby made the drainage hole.

 We placed some shade cloth on top of the rocks.

 Then added straw on top of the cloth.

 And topped with soil.

 Fill with water and check the drainage is working. 
Yes it is all good!

I planted some kale

 And garlic.

I have not had to water these for over a month.  We have had a little rain during this time, so this has helped to keep them damp. 
The plants are now doing really well.

Wicking barrels are a fantastic way to save water especially in drier climates like we experience here.

Have you tried wicking beds for gardening? If so, were they successful?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

In My World

In my world...

I have been trying my hand at making sourdough. 
It wasn't as hard as I expected.
I have been using this method

I tried some in the bread maker.

And a loaf in the pizza oven

Baking sourdough is a regular occurrence at our house now, I make a loaf at least once a week, and this is a big loaf.

I baked some sourdough banana bread. 
I  hope to make some scones, pancakes and all sorts of other goodies with the mix.

I have put one cup of sour dough in each of these jars and placed in the fridge for when I want to use them for more bread.

I have decided for health reasons to go completely vegan. 
I am getting a lot of exercise and feel great.

 We went to a concert in the park, the Salvation Army Brass Band from Adelaide were playing.  They were great to listen to. The ladies in the front were from our church and they were playing the timbrels.  I tried to upload a video for you to have a listen, but was unsuccessful, probably due to our slow internet.

 Getting wood ready for Winter.

 We will need to do some log splitting very soon.

 While out watering the garden a few days ago, three black hawks flew over.  I dropped my hose to snap this photo. There has been a lot of activity around town from the Army Camp this past week.

 I made my own laundry powder using this recipe.

 I used leftover bars of nice smelling soap, grated it up and added 1 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of bi carb soda. I used bi carb soda instead of borax as I was concerned about its effect on my fruit trees as this is where my wash water goes by way of a french drain. I am very happy with the way it cleans the clothes etc so will continue to use it.

My garden has slowed right down in preparation for Winter. We have decided to remove the garden beds as we found tree roots in the soil. No wonder my plants struggle and I need to water all the time. We will be using barrels like the one below to make wicking beds instead.  At the moment we aren't able to get any from our usual place of purchase. We have used old sulo (curbside rubbish) bins cut in half too, but I will say more about that in a later post.

In with some Kale seedlings

 and I planted garlic

 Plenty of tomatoes are still growing.

I am picking yummy juicy capsicums.

 Sweet potatoes and lots of stinging nettles.  I am hoping to make some liquid stinging nettle tea for the garden when they grow a bit bigger.

 The kale from Summer is just about finished, we are still enjoying green juices with this.

 Crazy spring onions that think they are leaks!

 I have about another half a dozen butternut pumpkins growing.

And also some others...not sure of the name of this golden beauty.

 This one is a JAP (Just Another Pumpkin) type.

 As is this one.

 I bought some more strawberry plants and placed them in one of the bath beds.

 In among the weeds are garlic and chives.

 Sweet potatoes, these just keep growing and growing.

 It is citrus time here in Australia, 
here are our oranges, they are just starting to turn.

Wont be long now.

 And the mandarins...

Very overloaded as usual.

Not my favourite fruit, but I do use it to add to our breakfast juices. Citrus is a great source of vitamin C and helps to keep the colds and flu's away. I am happy to report that I have not had either a cold or flu since 2002.

And of course my little lemon tree in a pot. I have twenty three lemons at different stages on the tree this year. The first year of multiple fruit.  

 This was my Mother's Day gift from my eldest daughter Sarah.  She knows me so well. I received some lovely smelling organic soap, a Tea Fit For A Queen cookbook and the most gorgeous little tea cup and saucer in a cute box. All of these were lovingly purchased in England on her recent trip over there.

I am loving my new little tea cup set.

 I found this cute sight when I went out to shut the chooks away tonight.  
Mama and her three chicks.

I heard a strange noise outside recently and when I looked out the kitchen window I saw this poor sleepy lizard trying to shed its skin.  

Oh and I cant forget to show you the progress on our shed.  It is getting there slowly, the cars can now be under cover and out of sight.

It is one year this Sunday since we were married after twenty three years together.  The time has flown by.  We are going out to dinner and then will go to the the same motel room we stayed in this time last year.

Hope all is well in your world.