15 July 2007

Mid winter gardening

It's a beautiful, crisp, winter day here. Mid-winter, my elder son's 27th birthday. Unfortunately we won't see Shane today as he's gone away for the weekend with 15 of his friends. My other son, Kerry, will be here for his 26th birthday next week, so we'll take them both out for dinner at their favourite German restaurant. Kerry will stay with us for a few days before he goes back to his current home on the Gold Coast. Fun times!

I've spent the morning ironing and gardening. The vegetables are growing well - some too well, if I have to eat anther turnip in the next ten years, I'll run into the bush. The willy-wagtails were out and about this morning and although I had my camera in my apron pocket, they wouldn't stay still long enough for me to snap them. I did get a photo of a new bird feeding area H put in during the week. It's for small birds like wrens, the willys and finches. We have a large bird bath for the bigger birds and make sure it's always full of fresh water, but the smaller birds don't use it. I think it's too deep for them, even with a large stone in it. Hence the new place. There is enough room for food and a shallow saucer of water. I haven't seen any birds there yet but the seed is being eaten so they must have discovered it. Further down from that area, is a perch for kookaburras. They like to watch us in the garden and usually sit on the bean trellis. This spot is much more stable for them.

I haven't written about our aquaponics garden for a while but it's going really well now. Last week I harvested the last of just over 14 kilos of pink brandywine tomatoes and pulled out the plants. I sowed some more brandywine seeds a couple of weeks ago and noticed they're starting to come up now. I hope these will produce many more tomatoes and now we're about to plant up our second lot of aquaponics plants, we have a better idea of placement and shade needs.

We have some ruby chard and silverbeet growing and even though they're small, I've been harvesting them as salad greens. They're very tasty and crisp. That's one difference I've noticed between the soil and the aquaponic vegies, the ones in the aquaponics garden are much more crisp.

The parsley and celery continue to grow, as does the cayenne chilli. I picked some this morning and cut back the plant to stimulate new growth in Spring.

And the fish. Well, they're doing really well. Even though the temperature is getting down to 3 - 4 degrees overnight and the water temp drops to about 12, they're doing fine. They're not eating much, and therefore not growing a lot, but they're surviving well and they look really healthy. They'll make up for the lack of growth in Spring and we hope to have some to plate size early next year.

We'll pass the 5000 visitor mark sometime today, so I want to thank you all for reading and giving some great feedback. I wonder if Gary and P are the only men reading. Cooeee all the men, if you're out there, please let me know.

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