Friday, October 8, 2010

The wheel of life rolls on

My Dad didn't know much about gardening, or so my Mum claimed. I remember years ago when I was still in single figures laughing about his fixation with mulching. We all thought it was such a funny word and what did he know anyway? Well of course, it turns out, mulching is the way to go to ensure moisture is kept in and protection is gained. He was also a drastic pruner; the hacking my parents' poor lemon tree had to endure every two or three years is no-one's business.

Again, some plants really need the ruthless touch. Those of you who have noticed our kaffir lime tree on the verge will see its beautiful bronze-mauve leaves sprouting after one of our members pruned it to within an inch of its life.
I could never have the courage to do that and that is possibly why my own kaffir lime is scrawny, spindly and clinging tenaciously with some underdeveloped limes also hanging on for dear life.

It is wonderful to walk around the garden after the wet weather and see the new plants growing up in haphazard ways, taking an opportunity to sprout their carelessly cast seed. We should be able to keep all our seeds from our winter crops, radish, lettuce, spicy and mustard lettuce, rocket, coriander and broccoli. How wonderful, we just need to keep them dry and secure for next year.

Peeking out of one of the piles of horse manure was a feathery plume of asparagus I had been observing possessively. But horror of horrors today I went hot and cold when I saw it had gone! Errant chickens? Greedy locusts? Someone jumping the gun and serving one piece on toast? Ms Mova was with me, I saw her face as I said, "Oh no the asparagus has gone!" She grimaced and slowly very slowly said,"I thought it was a weed. They are not supposed to come up until next September!"

So how does asparagus grow here in Oz? Was this front runner normal? Looks like you just ignore them for a few years, just keep piling on the blood and bone, manure or seaweed and watch the fronds grow. I would like to add that there is another frond emerging, watch out for frantic weeders!

Water is filling the tanks, yeah! The taps are nearly ready for use and the blackboards and pinboard are attached and ready for notes. Blackboards and chalk, a drawer's delight, the children are relegated to drawing on the portable blackboard or of course if they have gigantic aspirations on the concrete!

The rhubarb continues to grow. I pointed the three plants out very pointedly to Ms Mova with their burgeoning leaves and stems. Rhubarb and ginger crumble grows ever nearer!
We are also the recipients of two rather dusty, shabby and possibly old broilers who are beginning to enjoy their new surroundings and scratch about in the garden.let's hope that this one soon regains a red comb!
The chickens certainly are complaining about the time change! Ms Mova and I met on her step with bedhair and sleepy eyes on Sunday morning as the ladies were complaining so loudly from their pens. "Let us out, there are only so many hours in the day for us to forage!" Lack of foraging might have caused the new girls to have scaly legs. Ms Mova reckons gentle massaging with sweet-smelling oils, well vaseline anyway, might improve this. A lovely task for the working bee!

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