No such thing as a simple life on my one acre in Tasmania with my two dogs.I try to grow food, wrangle chickens and the native and non native wildlife share the land I call home. Life with CPTSD and ADHD not been easy so I share about it all. Low income, a bit frugal, real life My Life.
Uncertainty is not a great thing in my life, it does tend to impact my CPTSD. I have not been in my beloved garden a huge amount in the last few weeks, and even so what I had put into it in Springtime is bobbing along slowly this year yet productively without me quite well. So I feel happy about that.
My tomatoes are very late in developing,
Lots of flowers on the first plant. quite a few on the next with some tomatoes forming on both and one tomato and a few fruits on the third. In this bed I have two eggplant/aubergines I have one flower on one plant.
My peppers and capsicums are varied, the old pepper from last year is doing well, the capsicums are getting flowers and the peppers are I guess settling in.
I have more tomatoes vines in another bed, that does get 8 hours of sunshine but less than the first bed and these are really delayed. I thought they would be, and was just wanting to see if they would grow here.
Miss Treacle and Busby enjoy being outside too.
Now for some reason I have planted pumpkins and zucchinis, along with the possibility of a cucumber or two in two beds. I lost all bar one label, and I had labelled the seedlings. I only know one variety of pumpkin that is Peter Cundall’s . Peter was a long time presenter on the Australian Broadcasting (ABC TV) Gardening Australia a weekly. If you are interested in knowing more about Australian Gardens and all sorts of things to do with gardening and veggie growing well worth checking out show (which still is running Gardening Australia now hosted by Costa). https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/ Peter hosted the show from 1989-2008 and as a fellow Tasmanian is an incredible gardener, who even now at 82 is enjoying his gardening and good health. He only gave up his weekly radio show a few years ago. His pumpkin variety is great faviourite in the taste test so I am told. Fingers crossed these plants will be much better producers than last years. Oh the memories not a zucchini and one tiny butternut.
Asparagus spears still shoot every so often, and I enjoy picking them and eating them right away. My jostaberries and red currants did well. I harvested very few, between the birds, wallabies possums and my chooks it was their year this year. I was also not up to canning or freezing any of them and realised that I am not a huge fan of the jostaberries. They really are only good stewed, made into a crumble or perhaps a sponge pudding and of course jam.
My blueberries are also being grabbed by by all the critters and again I feel blase about it. I still have a fair few in the freezer. I always have such plans of all I will do with them. I usually harvest them and then often end up not eating them even when frozen. So instead of pushing myself when I have not been firing on all cylinders, I have just accepted for many years of my life I had never tasted a blue berry, a jostaberry or a red currant. If I am being really honest the only one I feel I would plant again are the blue berries.
My peach tree is amazing now that is something I have been enjoying the last couple of days.
As you can see they are a good size this year and once ripe juicy and even a bit green so sweet Love the feeling of the juice running down my chin. I did eat a few cherries off my trees. It has been a late beginning to the cherry season with the local orchards only opening full time this week.
My red crab apple does not have a lot of fruit on it sadly this year. I do recall there were not a lot of blossoms on it. Added to this the chooks had been dust bathing about its roots. (A job still in process excluding them from my doing this). I have managed to stop them from the espaliered apple by putting bike wheels about the root area.
The chooks had been laying really well and I was very happy to share with my neighbours. Sadly at the moment I am only averaging two eggs a day. I have not located a hidden nest anywhere as yet. I realised I may have been failing them in providing enough food for them. Though when I do provide seed they very rarely eat it all and usually pick the tastiest seeds out first. Grass is a bit in short supply so I have began to supplement their diet with pureed green vegies. They are on a free range 16%seed mix and have access to grubs and all sorts of things as they free range. I will be keeping an eye on them and fingers crossed the girls will be all laying again. Though the two -3 eggs I get are enough for just us. I did have hope to water glass enough for winter.
The Chook run has been slashed finally and the spiky native grass has been cut down. I am not sure the chooks appreciated that and so as their is not a lot of shade in their run at present they are free ranging and love hanging out under the jostaberries and my blackwoods. If they stayed there we would be living in harmony. I can only dream.
My thoughts are with those of you in areas where Covid continues to impact your lives, especially those of you overseas. I am so incredibly fortunate to have been born here in Australia and to live on the island state. where we have had no active cases of this illness for a few weeks now. My thoughts for those of you impacted by the bush fires in Western Australia.
I am thankful that I am coming out of a period of feeling out of control, I am thankful that I am again able to see the beauty of my home, and garden and how very fortunate I am. I am thankful for the clean water, clean air and abundance I have in my life. I am so very thankful for my dogs.
Do you get veggie garden envy? Do you look at others gardeners around you and compare your veggies to theirs? I do have a bit of a complex about this. Firstly I have an elderly gardener down the road from me whose garden is astounding. He has lived here for over 40 years and he grows amazing produce. Then up from me is a relatively new garden I look at each day and see how his pumpkins are growing (actual pumpkins) whilst my pumpkins are just flowering and tiny balls. Sigh.
The CPTSD part of me gets a bit triggered by this. What am I doing wrong, how can I over come it, beat him. What am I doing wrong? Why cant I grow these like they do? I’m hopeless. What is the point? I am a failure! I have spent a few hours today and I mean hours just doing that kind of fixated thought processing.
That is until I went for a wee walk in my little veggie garden and looked and saw what I have achieved this year so far. Sure mine is not the pristine, stunning, with all the appropriate structures for each veggie garden as my up the road neighbour. Or the old established garden of my elderly neighbour down the road.
My garden is my garden. It is a reflection of me, of where I have been and am coming from. It shows a hope for harvesting what I have sown. It is a simple display of my illness in so many ways. I started the day of with the what ifs, and have ended it with the wow look at how far you have come Tazzie. My garden shows even how I have been using the treatments to help me and each time I walk through it, my garden, I am filled with hope of a bounty of good produce. I am productive, I am working, I am contributing and I am looking after mother earth.
I did not realise I would be triggered today by such a benign thing such as vegetable gardens. I have a feeling that is possibly why I did not get to the first crop swap of the year, and possibly why I did not make it to the last one for 2019. My feeling of inadequacies. Yet I am not inadequate. My garden is showing that. Things are growing fruiting and ripening.
It is so frustrating to question myself by comparing. I do not have the experience of the older neighbour, and I do not have the money to spend on compost and the right soils or structures. I am not in a competition. I am doing this solely for myself. So how HOW does this become what it did for me today. Isn’t that the million dollar question for anyone with CPTSD. How and why does a trigger trigger you into that down hill spiral. I am so proud of myself that I eventually got up and walked out side, into my own garden.
I have been attempting to remove old growth and rearrange some pots on my deck, I am also making my half wine barrels into more flower space than food space as the wallabies seem to be able to get to almost anything I put in them though I have allowed several brassicas to self seed and hope that they will grow and I can share those with the wild life. I had to fence of my deck area to discourage them from coming up on it and eating everything. It includes the possums who love to denude my lemon and lime trees.
My fig and grape both have fruit on them, as long as I can keep the birds off them I may get some this year. I need to get more tulle material for next year as the netting can cause smaller birds to get trapped in it. This year it might be some tulle bags I have to attempt to save the grapes. If I can It would be my first harvest.
The chili I planted last year is looking quite happy and I have a couple of small purple appearing fruit on the one below.
The three sisters bed is going well the beans and corn are flowering, though I do fear that the squash is overshadowed for flowering. Which means I am extremely doubtful that I will be successful with any squash from this bed. I will wait and see February while a short month is usually the hottest in Australia including down here.
The tomatoes are fruiting and have more flowers which is great finally! The lettuces are doing well I have been picking some, the brassicca that has self seeded in here I have no idea what it is meant to be and has bitter leaves, but I have eaten them. It just seems to go to flower fairly rapidly. There is the self seeded sun flower growing extremely close to the the tomato plant on the left of r side picture. Everyone else’s sunflowers are flowering. My garden is an anathema. Eggplant/aubergine, has flowered though it is not doing as well as the one I had in last year. The marigolds are growing and flowering, yeah! There are also two capsicums in this bed that are tiny but have fruit, I also feel there is a zucchini/courgette or two in this bed that is beginning to take off but no flowers. There is such a schamozzle of vegetables growing in this small bed, it is a wonder any thing is happening really.
Brassicca bed is doing OK the cabbages have vanished, but the kale is holding on and the broccoli is beating the white cabbage moth with my help. Silver beet is seeding so I will let it and spread the seeds about other areas also. Perhaps not in beds as it grows quite well just in the grassy areas of the veggie patch.
My barlotti beans are flowering there are several around the edges of the three sister bed, the climbing beans whose name escapes me has purple flowers and is looking good.
The apples on the Crab Apple are getting larger. Down in the paddock the yellow gage (might be the green gage) plum is not ripe but the birds have tried them. I assume it will be a race to see who can get them. I have hardly any leaves on either of my gage plums they seem to have been devoured. Which is really weird, as it is not wallabies as it is more the higher leaves.
Blackberries look abundant, these are wild usually delicious and with the rain we have been having the last few days it should be a good season for them. Like wise apples this is the first time since I planted this apple tree (above right) and the plum( below ) they have fruited. The apple is loaded and the plum is well not so loaded but has some fruit. All the trees in the paddock get no extra water than what nature provides. The gage plums get the run off from the french drain which is the reason I believe they are so much bigger. Where as these two trees are totally reliant on nature.
A berry off my neighbours vine, I am not certain it may be a mulberry, it was lovely. I had picked it and popped it on the post while I looked for some more. This was the only one.
The Deck. I am growing quite a bit on my deck this year. I have onions, herbs, sage, thyme lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, I have tomatoes in pots and above right shows my first ripening tomato. OH MY I am excited. The basil has been doing well in the photo below left with the other tomato plant which also has fruit. There are two other pots with tomatoes that are flowering. I have lettuces growing in containers. I have Tahitian limes, normal limes, and a couple of types of lemons in pots. I have not as yet put any in the ground. I neglected my citrus trees and spent another few days cleaning aphids and scale off them, making ants very unhappy as I destroyed their farming. I have some strawberries growing but they have not taken off, and I know this is due to me not putting them in a more acidic soil. I have grown potatoes in the past but they take up a lot of space and I can buy them fairly cheaply fresh local produced. I don’t eat a lot of potatoes.
You can see the fencing I have used to keep my produce garden on my deck safe from possums in the left photo above. It is great easy to take away and move about, I can pack it away when not in use.
My garden is all my own work, I make the compost, I bring in manure from local horses, and a friends sells sheep manure. I am proud of what I have achieved this summer so far.
My garden in whole brings me so many blessings, the wild life, the birds, the views, flowers, shade on hot day, wind protection, a place to sit and watch the world go by. A place to earth myself, to get down in the dirt and feel at peace. Connected to Mother Earrth. To see the cycle of seasons, life, death. To plant a small seed and see it grow and provide food for me, for creatures. To have land to just lay down on and watch clouds roll by in the sky. I am so rich, I am so content, and I have all I need.
Mother earth is important to care for and all that lives on her now and in the future.
I shared about my vegetable garden and some issues with coldness gale force winds a few posts ago. I am happy that now with the warmer weather arriving things are happening. The plants are taking off. As I sit here typing the temperature is 31dC/87.8dF at 19:00/7:00pm day light saving time.
On my deck some seedlings still wait for planting out. As it way too hot today, they sit in water and I hope they will be ok. I have quite a lot of self seeded things growing as the carrots in the small pot, some lettuce (mentioned further down that I think was called mother in laws tongue) I noticed a tiny tomato seedling in another pot that I did not plant so it is most likely a cherry tomato. I am thrilled about it as I don’t recall getting any of these and they produce fruit for so long. The potted tomatoes are growing somewhat better than the tomatoes in the vegetable garden. When you look at the photographs and compare there are numerous flowers on the vegie (vegetable) garden ones, yet no fruit development as yet. Which is quite interesting as these are identified as an early fruiting variety. On one of the deck tomato plants you will notice one single tomato with some damage. I put it down to the dramatic change in temperature we had last week. It is all I can put it down too.
You may notice the plastic containers the seedlings are standing in. I have fostered kittens and these are repurposed kitty litter trays. The white bucket is free with a lid from one of my regional cafes. Thanks D.S Cafe in Huonville. who often put out food grade plastic containers with lids and handles rather than throw them away. They will also save up their coffee grounds for you if you ask. You take turns in this as a few people know of them doing it now.
This area of the garden is a mostly a blend of natives and some winter and autumn flowering shrubs along with bulbs such as daffodils, jonquils, iris, grape hyacinth, the pelargonium. Salvias. A self seeded wattle grove has established itself. Rreplacing the one that fell a few years ago as most wattles (Acacia) only live 10-20years. Blackwood trees which are Acacias (wattles) too, live much longer. I have found them a little annoying in that they spread their roots all under the garden, apparently not liking competition. Though my two seem not to be to bad with some things about them.
I have noticed that if I do hit a root, they will sucker. As I prefer to be a no dig gardener I don’t encounter this issue often. I have planted a cherry tree way too close well it was not when I planted it but the tree keeps on growing. Weird that; chuckle. The time I do come across the roots are when I am removing onion grass. that sends out deep connecting roots to create a new bulblet and more grass. It is one of my main challenges.
If you look at the photo on the left above you will notice it has many things growing in it. Self seeded lettuce borage, marigold small flowers I have forgotten the name of, there is even a potato plant in there. I must have chucked one in to see what would happen.
I decided to have some1/2 wine barrels for pots. (picture below) They were relatively cheap when comparing them with pots of the same size. These were purchased when I was working. These have had no treatment to protect the insides from continual moisture, and are over 10 years old now. When I got them the smell was awesome, it was almost port like. I did get them filled fairly quickly as I did not want the smell to turn into vinegar and attract vinegar flies. I love them and over the years I have grown many different things in them. Greens but they had to be protected from possums and wallabies, also the possums and other critters used them to get up on the deck escaping the fencing which is why I have pots right on the edge of the deck now. Greek Oregano grows amongst the barrels as a ground cover, with parsley and coriander self seeded coming up when ever it likes. I have a cape gooseberry plant in the garden here and one in a pot on the deck.
I am really hopeless at labeling the plants in my garden, I have had plans of ensuring that I will keep a record of everything I plant, where and when. It begins well yet every year I get lost. It has been worse the last few years since my breakdown, it does bother me at times. I look at the seedlings I have now and note several have lost their tags in the wind. I have no idea what they are. It is made harder as I have lost quite a few due to the wild and changeable weather we have had over the past weeks. I recall reading and watching videos and all gardeners said the same thing LABEL LABEL label. sigh. I can not worry or allow myself to get distressed by this as I will fixate and this is not good for me. So I am fortunate that at the moment with medication that is helping me (even though some of its side effects not so good) I prefer me now to me before this medication. I am able to ustilising my work that my psychologist has helped me with to be aware of when I may be starting to fixate, and I acknowledge that I am, that I need to do something else to move my mind brain and bodily reactions away from what ever I was doing. It is working generally so I am pleased.
Looking at the photographs of my garden you will observe that it is not a neat and tidy garden. It is a work in progress yet it will never be a tamed garden. Nature is not tamed, and I do not believe in mono-culture as anyI healthy way to grow anything. I want and encourage all sorts of birds, insects, wild life to visit. The garden has many areas (or the trendy word rooms) native areas, sunny areas, areas I am happy to share with the wild life such as Echidnas, possumes wallabies, bandicoots. Others such as the vegie garden and deck seedling area and lemon and lime trees are fenced to discourage wallabies and possums.
Notice the mish mash of garden structures and items used. Over the years I have gathered pots from the Tip Shops (rubbish/Waste tip shops that sell items that can be reused or repurposed at a reasonable price(though like many charity shops prices are rising). I use unusual things that are not actually designed for this use but do work. If I happen to be out on a big rubbish pick up day in Hobart I will have a bit of a drive around to see what is out there. I also purchased the corrugated metal garden beds at a huge discount.
Again purchased while I was working. It takes a lot of time to make enough soil to fill them that I have at times resorted to buying bags of the cheapest potting mixes and adding my leaf compost, worm castings, mushroom compost, sea weed, and other nutrient rich items such as weed tea, worm tea, manure, and straw, wood fire ash from my wood heater. I use it because I don’t get the bark taken off my wood. I also end up due to the process of my excellent North Pacific Wood Heater with charcoal (bio char) brilliant also for the garden. (No affiliation with North Pacific Wood Heaters. I also add the dogs chewed no longer desired bones to burn in it as well. giving calcium.
Everything is beginning to really take off now. It will be interesting over the next few days to see how everything is going. I refilled the Ollas (see previous garden post) and watered with seaweed tea before the hot day today. In Tasmania it may seem like the temperature is way hotter than what the gauges actually display the sun seems to have a stronger heat here. It was not unusual to get folk from Queensland (and other places)here on holidays coming in to Emergency with some serious sun burn blistering and or dehydration.
The corn has taken off as have the beans and some of the pumpkins and zucchini have flowers but they have not taken off as yet. I am happy with this bed so far so good. It is interesting isn’t it to plant out seedlings from the same punnet that have gone into a bed that you have made to be suitable for growing these vegies, watered each one similarly only to see some not thrive or die. I am pondering what I was growing in that bed last especially in the bottom left hand corner as that area is not doing so well.
Interestingly the brassica beds seedlings of broccoli and red cabbage are developing at very different rates. One of the broccoli seedlings already has a head beginning on it?? The red cabbage seedlings are struggling. Unlike the seedlings on the deck. So I am not sure what is going on there. I have left a kale to go to seed in this bed. It self seeded last year here but other than it I did not grow brassicas in this bed.
This is three bushes here a red currant and two jostaberries. The Jostaberries are a gooseberry black currant cross. They have fruited super early and not huge volumes. I seem to have an influx of (Imported sadly)black birds and they seem to have managed to beat me this year at them. Glad I had a good crop last year and made some jam and froze some. They all need a prune and you will notice the very long grass about them. I was going to remove it, until I noted the seed head were formed and that many smaller birds are eating them. It will be cut soon as it is a fire risk. I have so much stuff about that I have been hand pulling the grass, about a lot of this area. I do tend to mulch in place. Last year I forgot to turn the piles and keep an eye on sprouting things. The strange spring and early summer has seen such huge growth in everything. I kind of blinked and missed it ooops tooo late! At least the birds are getting food.
My fig tree which had figs on it but with the cold snap then hot days and cold again the baby figs dropped. I am hopeful that it will fruit in Autumn. It is in a half wine barrel. The Gooseberry bush did not produce many flowers this year, I have managed to eat four gooseberries which were delicious. Perhaps again the black birds beat me. I am not going to let them nest in my eaves next year if I can get out on the roof and fix where they are getting in.
Tragedy alas and alack, my poor neglected passion fruit is really struggling. I have bananas ready to go in to give it some nutrients, but I really think I need to move the poor thing. I have a place in mind, but…I may have missed the boat for this year. It was doing OK last year, flowered and I got a couple of smallish passionfruit off it. For some reason I added a lot of old manure to the bed, and I have a feeling that it needs to be not as well fed as it is at present. It is on my list to keep an eye on it and a possible move as I do believe I am likely going to loose it if I leave it here. In the bed just at the back of this photo is a plum tree from memory I am hoping it is a prune plum. I cannot see any fruit on it at all. This is only its third year so it is still young. It is very healthy.
The Rhubarb on the other hand is doing brilliantly . I harvested so much from it recently taking it back to maybe two leaves, and look at this baby it has flourished in the last three weeks. Go baby go.
jWhat can I say about these tow magnificant hard working life saving structures in my garden. These and the plastic one near the fig tree are my total water supply they stand about seven feet tall and in a previous post I said how many litres/gallons they hold when full. I am so very very appreciative that they are all full to the brim. I am very very fortunate, and feel incredibly wealthy knowing all being well I will have plenty of water to see me and my garden through summer and autumn. I had to buy a new tank two years ago, just over $1400Aus/$965USD. I am thankful I could do it without having to borrow money. I was very lucky in that it was developing a leak on the side, and the roof of the tank had rusted really badly. I could have just put a tarp over the tank top but with the leak in the side it was best to save for a new one. The tank was over 30 years old and it gets a lot more wear and tear than the second one, as the run off water from the roof nearly all runs into this one directly and is connected to the second tank and they fill up together. Currently the third tank is not connected to my pump, the plan is to connect it as I now have hosing long enough to reach the whole of my garden on an outside tap that is on the pump pressure and not gravity fed.
Part of my more natural and native garden area, if yo look closely you can see a huge pile of chipped material, bark branches, from all sorts of trees. The local council or electricty company were clearing the trees and branches any were that were impinging on the wires. I heard them and went down to chat to the guys as I had two things I was wanting to ask them. First one I had a tree that had self seeded and would grow into a huge tree, it was under the power lines, on my land (just). I asked them how much they would charge to take it out. At this moment it was only a sapling, in another year it would be a big tree as Acacias develop fast. I sort of said if they could help me now it would not be such a task next year. The lovely man grabbed a chainsaw and took the tree out. Big thanks. I then asked if the truck would be full of the chipped tree material before they left and if so would I be able to have it. He said he would just check with his boss. The boss came over and said yes I could have it as it would save them a trip to the tip. When they dropped it off I was again very appreciative and offered to pay them. The boss said nah it was ok, and one of the young guys said its usually a slab of beer. lol (carton of beer) the boss smiled as I apologised and said nah it was fine. I do believe that most people are lovely. I hate to think how much it would cost to get so much delivered to my home. Again I felt fortunate and wealthy.
This is a very small thing to many people, for me it is massive a joy and I am in great awe. After 20 years of trying to grow nasturtiums. I gave up and just through the left over seed in this east southerly position and shrugged my shoulders. Look look I have nasturtiums! (is it wrong to be disappointed they aren’t the brilliant red I really wanted)? I will look past this and just celebrate that I finally have managed to grow a plant that is in many peoples mind a bit of a weed. The bees love it and I am going to try and make poor mans capers out of the seed balls. Happy dance..
Philadelphus mexicanus Evergreen Mock Orange. A beautiful plant, with a delightful aroma. It is in a pot. It was going to go in a sunnier location. (east-south location ) morning sun and protected from most gale winds here. I thought it was the Philadelphus coronarius Mock Orange, which is an old fashioned plant in Australia. That is deciduous. I wanted it to loose its leaves and let the winter sun in. It also appear to have more flowers. Mine is flowering and the perfume is lovely. For summer it would be more appreciated growing on a western or northern face to give some sun protection. I will have to look up and see if both the roots and plant can be cut back so I can move it to a more suitable location for us both. I also am not able to move it as it has grown into a hellibore that is covering a porch roof and there are some wee birds nesting. There is no urgency as it will always be the native birds over plant location/pruning.
This photo is still in the east south postion and you can see a maple in a pot, more nasturtium a salvia that gets huge a native that I can not recall its name but has a lovely lilac flower and the birds love. You can also see in foreground are mushroom compost blocks I get from a mushroom grower in my region. For a gold coin donation. They are made from sawdust untreated, lime and something else that I can not recall. I get mushrooms from them for ages when I look after them I have heaps of dried oyster mushrooms in grey and white, along with brown mushrooms . Brilliant kitchen and garden resource especially as oyster mushrooms are $18AUS per kg /$12.21 USD 2.20LbS . I put it in the composting areas with manure and let it combine with other things as I mentioned previously. The only problem is they sit in plastic bags and that is a concern they cant be reused and end up in my rubbish. Or If I can I leave them behind in the bins when i pick them up.
In a pot near an entrance way to m home sits my bay tree. It is 13 years old and is a wonderful addition to my kitchen garden and as a plant. Bay trees can be huge so having it a pot keeps it manageable. It get pruned and is recovering splendidly after it had a severe prune in winter. Near bye are two Daphene plants that when in flower give off a enticing perfume as I enter my home.
I have not included my orchard area, in this post, nor my paddock I will keep that for another day in the future.
The final photo for this post is a small selection of flowers from my garden. I love the scented flowers and these varities of sweet pea are so strongly scented. I have a vase in my upstairs toilet and they perfume the room, no need for artificial chemicals here at Echidna Home.
I do hope all who read this post are safe from the fires across Australia, and I continue sending my rain dance and thoughts to drought and fire ravaged areas. Having been through the fire and smoke issues and the concerns packing up and unpacking several times myself and not certain what might be happening I am happy to support anyone if you need to just share your concerns.
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