Sunday, December 21, 2008

We're back.

I guess it's no surprise that the last post here for a while has been about the bread - it stopped us in our tracks for sure. I'm starting to question the xanthan gum ingredient as the cause.. Anyway, we've done a little gardening over the past two days - onto the pics!

Firstly, the lemon tree wasn't being watered, despite this setup from our rinse-water sink:

The red arrow shows the greywater diverter, so that we could switch it back to wastewater if the need should ever arise. The problem was the diverter was designed to allow 5% of the water to flow-through to the wastewater, and it never did provide enough of a flow down the purple pipe and onto the lemon tree - it simply waited until it emptied down the 5% allowed flow-through. Bummer. So, Marty did some creative plumbing, and here is the result:

At last, enough pressure to water the lemon tree every time. :) The lemon tree thanks Marty! (Hopefully with some tasty good-sized lemons soon)

Our Blue-Tongue lizard friend is still hanging around, this time in the warm compost heap:

We were careful not to squish him when adding more. :) The compost heaps are finally starting to work well - it must be the warmer weather:

Can you count the pea-pods in this picture? I can't! It's amazing how well the peas are doing. I know what we'll be planting more of next time.

The 4 surviving beans are doing well.

I give much thanks to the skinks, geckos and lizards living in the area for helping keep down the earwig population in the front garden beds. We've made this area for them, and it seems to really work - as well as being one of my favourite parts of the garden!

Down in the corner I've put down eucalyptus mulch and thrown any old bark down there too. We've put many rocks in random piles, and it just looks great. Every time I lift a piece of bark or such, there is a little skink disturbed - so I try not to. ;)

The photos also shows the water tank, in it's final resting place. We dug out the ground in a circle, made it level, added about 3 inches of sand and made that level. The water tank is now ready to be hooked up to the house drain-pipes and store some of this lovely rain.

Now, I know I promised no more ikky earwig killing photos but we're still battling them here, and we're pretty happy with the latest earwig trap bait - cooking oil. It's cheap, it's been used for chips, so we're recycling.. it attracts the earwigs in large numbers - better than a few days old yeast and sugar water! So, here's the latest largest ever trap we've made to try and get the earwigs out of the no-dig vegetable garden (with the corn and beans it it!!):

That's corn on each side of the huge bowl there - we put a cover over it because something drank the trap the night before last! Yuck! Luckily it was only yeast and sugar. :)

The newest potato cage has been badly effected by earwigs since it started to shoot - they couldn't get even a single leaf open. This is the same cage this morning, and wow. 2 nights of serious trapping and they're able to get leaves out properly!

The container in that cage was an old Nuttelex container with a little hole cut into the side. It is then filled with oil (in this case, linseed oil), and put into position. It works, and it has quite a few earwigs in there too. Of course, there were 3 other traps in and around that little potato cage too.. The hardest thing is keeping up the effort. Having so many glass jars to clean and fill every night or two is quite a task, but well worth it.

The last of the bean seeds are being sprouted in pots, up and away from any earwigs. It's our final effort to get some more beans in this year. Once they sprout, we'll put them in with the corn - as all the beans we planted in there earlier have been eaten before they could even sprout their first two leaves. It's been quite sad to watch.

I've done some research into why we're experiencing such a bad earwig plague, and it seems as though we've done everything to make it worse since moving in! We've cleaned-up a lot - moving wood and bricks means the earwigs homes were taken away. We didn't have a diverse garden yet, meaning they had nothing else to eat other than delicious new potato and bean shoots - and not much around to eat them, including skinks and geckos. We mulched heavily, using newspaper then pea-straw, providing them a perfect home of rotting material around all the new plants. Now we understand what went wrong, we can be more careful next year. Once the summer hits, the earwigs will go hide, and the garden should have more of a chance to grow once more.

Of course, next year we won't be mulching until we're well into summertime, and in the meantime we're making it our mission to bring some diversity to this garden. We've already planted 8 trees out the back, and there are many more to be planted and native grasses and flax to be sprouted.

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Again,I am so impressed by your ingenuity. Marty I am sure the lemon tree is very happy about its new water situation. And Manda you impress me with your research on the killing of earwigs and the growing of veggies. You two are great for the environment. Also, I have been wondering how the worms are doing.