Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Today in the Garden (and Raised Bed Construction)

I had a very productive 1 1/2 hours in the garden today - or at least it felt that way as I got a couple of little jobs done that have been nagging me for a while.

First I ran wire from the berry canes to the fence that is to be their support.

Raspberry - this one has 5 runners.

Thornless Blackberry
I then fertilised them with weed tea.  I did the other fruit plants last week.
I make my weed tea by fermenting all the invasive weeds and those with seeds in an old Esky that has lost its insulating ability (not surprising given that it is over 40 years old, genuine vintage!).  This is a great container for this purpose as it seals well and has a drain hole to make it easier to empty.  Look out for one  (even a more modern plastic one) at your local tip shop!

The Esky Fermenter - I grew up with this being our fridge every holidays.

The fermenting contents - newly started.  I am putting my 'suspect' fruit fly infected passionfruit in as well.

A real fermenter - for home brew!  

I use a home-brew barrel to store the fermentation liquid after the solids are inert enough to go into the compost.   I then just decant as much as I need into the watering can using the tap at the base, dilute it (10 parts water to 1 part weed tea) and pour it over the plants.

The next job I did was to set up the second compost bin ready for use again.
To reduce potential pest problems (primarily rats) it is a good idea to dig the base of your compost bin into the ground about 10cm.  This reduces the attractive (to the rats) odours escaping, and makes it harder to dig into.

Hole for the bin

Check that the base of the bin fits all the way into the hole & dig more as necessary.

 Back fill, give it a good soaking & stomp down to get rid of the air pockets and make it a little harder for the raiders to enter.
 I then put a layer of loose carboniferous material in to trap oxygen at the base of the heap.  Now we can leave the other bin to compost down & start filling this one up.

One other job I did last week is already yielding results.
I chopped down a very tall stalk of cassava.

Then I cut the main stalk into approximately 30cm long pieces and shoved them into the ground (and I do mean shoved, no finesse here).  The stump, and the partially buried pieces are all already showing new shoots just a week later.

I also stripped the leaves and deposited them inside the first of my new garden beds.  Yes, I have (partially) constructed one, with the help of the usual suspects Mr & Mrs Skivvy.

It's not finished - partly because that was the day that I came down with the 'flu, and partly because SMD thinks it looks unfinished.  For some reason he had got it into his head that it would be rounded like the commercial ones.  Don't know what made him think that.
But anyway - he didn't like the corners, so I've come up with a way to dress them up (and make them safer in the process).  I'll show you when it gets done.

But this way you can see how simple the construction is.  I just drilled three holes half the width of the supporting wood block in from the end of the corro, and set in the base of the troughs.  Then drove self tapping roofing screws in.  Each end of the long sides first, then attached the short sides.

I also have to finish putting the irrigation pipe on the top edge to make it safe.  I needed a stanley knife and hooked blades for this, which I now have, so there shouldn't be any more excuses.

I hope your gardens are all blooming & fruiting.

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