Bredbo Valley View farm - providing quality education in Permaculture and sustainable living practices.
Monday, November 14, 2011
In the Garden
Gardening has been the major activity around here for the past few weeks. Growing enough for a year is a real challenge, and puts a lot of emphasis on getting things right first time. The Cook is the head gardener ad I am just the muscle, however this year I do have my own gardens – one of Red Indian Maize and another of two different varieties of beans. I'm planning on doing another this weekend for pickluing cucumbers
Our Garden 13 Nov 2011
I’ve also built two trial Hugelkultur beds, unfortunately for me the Cook has planted Zucchini on them - not my favourite. Hugelkultur is a system where you mound earth and sod over a pile of logs, the logs are supposed to do two things; firstly they contain a lot of the nutrients from the soil and when they decay those nutrients are released into the soil and are made available to the pants, secondly the wood absorbs a lot moisture and stores that in the ground. A third positive is the growth of soil biota is increased and helps transport the moisture and nutrients to the plants.
Although most people recommend using a Cedar type log for your Hugelkultur mound mine are Poplar because that’s what we have here. In the long run it will mean that our mounds don’t last as long as they could, but we have a fairly good supply of Poplar so I’ll just have to rebuild them every other year if they work out.
Same Garden 13 August 2011
We have a huge potato crop, it’s about 400 m2 and it’ll be interesting to see how many potatoes we get and how long they last us. For the first year the Cook is trying Sweet Potato, it’s only a couple of plants to start as a test.
Ben had a birthday recently, his favourite present is a rocket set. We’ve had two successful launches to date. These things are pretty amazing and for a pyromaniac like myself a lot of fun, so far we have launched the rockets 180m into the air, Ben has ordered larger rocket engines to see if we can get higher.
We’ve also been experimenting with grain. We are planting wheat whenever we move a pig pen, so far the results have been good, apart from the bit where the goats stuck their heads in and ate around the edges of the plot. We’ve been using old water tank halves to grow the wheat in to keep the pigs away. Unexpectantly we’ve had oats come up as well, I’ll have to talk to my feed man about that.
We’ve continued on with our Holistic Farm Management course, we’re finding it enlightening. We’d really not had a plan or a method for analysing our decisions against our goals. The course has covered a lot of ground, last session where on grazing management and how properly managed grazing can increase the triple bottom line.
We’ve sold a lot of pigs lately, by the post Christmas sales we’ll only have a small number of growers, about 8 and our breeders left – I may be able to take a holiday with the family. It’ll cut our costs for the rest of the year, most of the breeder sows should farrow some time in February which will give us pigs in time for next Christmas.
Next lot of Growers
The little black and white pigs are growing in front of our eye’s. We’ve never had piglets grow as quickly as this. They are a real scream to watch run around the paddock, they travel as a pack everywhere they go, sleep together and eat together.
Weeds are still and issue and all those Serrated Tussock plants I didn’t get are happily seeding at the moment, I think in the balance of things I am getting the upper hand and should have that problem well and truly under control in a couple more seasons.
Our bees are happily going about their business, filling their boxes with the nectar of the gods. I’m hoping this year I’ll be able to harvest my fair share. The garden hasn’t started to bloom yet, so once that flow starts we should be right.
We’ve been getting so many eggs from our chickens it’s hard to know what to do with them all. I think we live on quiche, we’ve been having it three times a week. I’m still not exactly sure how many chickens we have – yes I know count the legs and divide by two, for a few days we were getting 22 eggs. It’s slowed down now, some of the hens have decided to start sitting, and we had our first brood hatch the other day in the bottom of the spit roaster. With another forty or so eggs to go it doesn’t look like chickens are going to be a problem for us this year. I’m hoping to have our Strawbale Chicken Coup planned and teh foundation s down over Christmas.
A friend of mine from my army days took our goats away the other day. They’ve gone down the coast for a job getting rid of Blackberries and Fireweed. My friend, let’s call him Phil, kept the goats locked up and fed for the first few days, then let them out to graze. Unfortunately he had a massive storm that afternoon, and the goats used to living in our shearing shed during storms decided to find some shelter – and haven’t been seen since. So if you’re driving between Bombala and Bredbo and see four goats, two white one Boar and a ginger one with dread locks let me know.