26 November 2009

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

There's a paddock on the right of our driveway that has been growing a lovely crop of gorse since we have lived here. Every year it gets slashed and a couple of times we've had a groomer in but we have never gotten on top of it.

We have never planted it out because we've never had the water or the need for the extra space, but this year we have and we do.

A potato crop is a great way to start off new ground as it breaks up the ground as the potatoes grow.

A potato crop is also a great way to out compete the weeds because they grow a dense ground cover smothering them.

First Dave passed down and created each row on his tractor by ripping and rotary hoeing and then Bren went behind on his tractor and using an angled grader blade dug the trenches.

Wearing apple picking bags full of seed potatoes and potatoes from last year's crop, we walked along the trenches dropping the spuds in and kicking in dirt from the mounds on the sides to cover them.

The whole of last Friday Bren, Liam, Andy and I dropped and covered, dropped and covered.

We planted 20 varieties of potatoes;
Pink Fur Apples,
Ruby Lou,
Royal Blue,
Dutch Cream,
Pink Eye,
Red Star,
Up To Date (Scottish variety 1894),
Purple Congo,
and a couple of unnamed, unlabelled surprise varieties.

On Saturday it was Bren, his Dad John and I, and after lunch we realised we were racing against the clock to finish the job before the rain came. We changed the process at that point to me and Bren sitting on the back of the ute that John was driving. He drove up and down the rows and we dropped the spuds in and the occasional one through the car window (by accident).
It is such a great feeling to be covering up the last row as the rain sets in. And then to sit inside enjoying the rain and the feeling of a job completed.

The spuds will grow in that paddock for the next five months. As they come through the soil Bren will drag more soil off the mounds getting rid of the weeds on the mounds and on the growing potatoes.

You keep covering potatoes as they grow through the soil so they keep putting out roots. On each root they put out on their way up to the sun they grow potatoes, so the more times you cover them, the more potatoes you reap.

So we'll see you back here in late Autumn and because of the wonderful (and very handsome) list maker, we'll know which variety is which.

15 November 2009

Copperhead snake.

We've had a visitor in the hothouse this morning.

Watch out Pobblebonks, the Copperhead's main diet is frogs.

I think that's a sign that its time to plant everything out now.

07 November 2009

The Pobblebonks.

We're not sleeping much at the moment, the frog noises are just so loud.

The other day Bren sat down at the computer and googled frog noises. We listened to a whole lot of them until we identified the ones we'd been listening to day and night.

They are the Eastern Banjo frogs.

They also have the nickname Pobblebonk because of the 'bonk' noise the males make. When one starts others join in to make a chorus of bonks.

Lately we'd noticed some foamy nests in different parts of the house dam and decided to go and investigate.

We collected some in a jar and discovered that the foam is actually jelly that contains thousands of little frog eggs.

It must be too early for tadpoles as we only saw this one.

But after lifting up some rocks and sticks we finally came across a few little Pobblebonks.

I've heard that frogs are a good indication of how healthy an ecosystem is. If that is true then ours is very healthy indeed, you can't really say the same for my sleeping habits though.

02 November 2009

Chooks at work.

Last year this was part of our garlic patch. This year we grew carrots, beetroot, cabbages, kale, spinach, turnips, broccoli and cauliflower here. Until about a month ago we were still harvesting from this plot.

Last week it was finally dry enough for the chooks to be brought down from the bush.

We love watching the chooks when they fly out of their houses onto a new patch of garden.

It doesn't take them long to start exploring their new surroundings.

The chooks will enjoy this area for the next couple of weeks but during this time they will also be hard at work for us. Their job is to eat the insects and the left over vegies, cultivate the soil and fertilise the ground with their poo.

There's Bingo making sure Dave Griffiths from geomtree is one of the good guys.

Every day their houses are pushed further along the rows to ensure their poo is evenly spread.

In a couple of weeks the chooks will be moved on and the ground will be prepared for planting this growing season's crop.

I hope you have a great week wherever you are whatever the season.