September at South Head

Spring

Spring is finally here.  I can tell by the unsettled nature of the days.  One minute sunny, the next rainy, interspersed with strong winds from both the south and the north.  Today there is only a light breeze, however.

The new garden gate.
The new garden gate.

Garden Gate

Yesterday, Ben installed a wooden gate in the back fence, which means we can now easily walk through to the ‘wild’ area under the Lilly Pillies.  There is a pile of prunings over there that we can put through the shredder for mulch, and also cut up for kindling.  With the change in weather, more warmth in the sun, etc., I am keen to get out there and knock the garden into shape after the winter months.

Growing from Seed

seedlings_2

I’ve been sowing seeds for my more tender crops indoors to get them started and have had a really good strike rate with tomatoes, especially.  But also with zucchini and buttercup squash.  I’ve transferred these wee babies to the barn to harden up a bit before planting out.

Fruit Trees

Blossom on the plum tree.
Blossom on the plum tree.

The first plum tree (the one with the dark red flesh) is a mass of white blossom, and I was pleased to note this morning that it’s being frequented by many bumble and honey bees.

The bumble bees are such great little insects for pollinating the fruit trees.  Season after season they are always there.  Sadly, honey bees are less common these days – I think this is a feature for many parts of the country, not to mention the more populated areas of our planet.  But seeing so many honey bees this early on in the season has made me optimistic for the rest of Spring and Summer.

The Macadamias are covered in buds.
The Macadamias are covered in buds.

The last few nuts are still dropping off our macadamia trees, but they are covered in blossom, too.  Again, they are buzzing with the busy little bee bodies.

olive

And finally, it looks like we may get our first olives this year, as there are tiny buds appearing for the first time.

Vegetable Garden

A selection of the lettuces we have at the moment.
A selection of the lettuces we have at the moment.

In the vegetable garden we are eating our first asparagus, and are still inundated with lettuces.  The latter grow all year round and we never seem to keep up with eating them all.

We are getting to the end of our broccoli and cauliflowers – it will soon be too hot here for Brassica, anyway.

Rocket (Erica Sativa) in flower.
Rocket (Erica Sativa) in flower.

I’m allowing a couple of Rocket (Eruca Sativa) plants go to seed, the plan being to collect our own seed and use this for successive crops.  We’ll see, I may get fed up with them sprawling there amongst the ‘soon to be tidy’ (do you believe that?) garden.

A row of green peas.  (The messy leaves are from the Lilly Pillies - they are all through the garden).
A row of green peas. (The messy leaves are from the Lilly Pillies – they are all through the garden).

I’ve also sown two rows of green peas and these are looking great, as is the garlic I put in on the shortest day.  The strawberries are in flower and desperately need to be weeded.  Sadly, a row of Edamame beans I sowed a fortnight ago, have been chewed up by (most likely) slugs.  I had to put some bait out earlier – but I really do hate putting slug bait down in our garden.

Russian Kale in the foreground, with self-sown Dill to the left and Broad Beans behind.
Russian Kale in the foreground, with self-sown Dill to the left and Broad Beans behind.

The other plant successes in the vegetable garden are the Russian Kale  (this, thanks to my friend Maureen who provided me with seeds from her own garden) and the always reliable Broad Beans.  The latter are simply covered with their pretty white & black flowers at the moment.  I can’t wait until we can eat them!!

Early potatoes popping up through the soil.
Early potatoes popping up through the soil.

The early potatoes are up and will hopefully ready for Christmas.  2014 was such a bad season for potatoes… fingers crossed we’ll have more success this year.

Hens

The hens are still going well.  All seven of them.  (The three Red Shavers and four Orpingtons.)

We'd toyed with attaching a mobile phone to Lottie's back in order to track her using a phone app.
We’d toyed with attaching a mobile phone to Lottie’s back in order to track her using a phone app.

Lottie is still wandering, but now comes back, which is very odd.  We even installed a low fence along the front and edge of our property – these are the two places the hens can wander out – but Lottie just climbs over it.  She trots off along the newly-ploughed field adjacent to ours, following the fence-line next to the road, until she disappears out of sight.  Later in the day she is back – I never actually see her return, she’s just there.  I’d love to know where she goes and why.  She was missing for two or three months, before one day just turning up again.  Ben and I spend a good deal of time musing on this.

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