28 January 2008

Getting ready for planting

I'm really pleased to let you all know that Kerry is fine. He has a few bruises and sore bits, but he's fine. Hanno and Shane have gone over to see him as Shane is applying for the job Kerry is currently doing. I've spoken to Kerry a few times since the accident and apart from feeling a bit silly because he rolled the car, he's in good health. No doubt Hanno will tell me all about it when they come home. They left yesterday and will be back tonight.

I love spending time alone. I am, by nature, a solitary person so when circumstances present a chance for some time alone, I grab it with both hands. I'm not sure exactly why I love it so because I generally do exactly what I would be doing when my family is here. I still rise and sleep at the same time, I don't do anything especially out of the ordinary and yet there is a relaxed feeling of freedom to do whatever I would like to do. Strange that, as I know I can do whatever I want to do when Hanno is here too. I suppose it's knowing that I have only myself to take care of, there are no cups of tea to be made for someone else and no meals to prepare unless I get hungry.

So what did I get up to yesterday? I worked in my bush house, cleaning it up and getting ready for our main vegetable planting of the year in March. Hanno build a bush house for me shortly after we moved here 10 years ago. It's a simple construction of shade cloth and timber that gives just the right protection from sun, rain and wind. At this time every year, I ready it to hold the seeds I will plant. From late February onwards there will be trays of seedlings in there protected from the elements until they grow large and strong enough to be planted out into the main garden.

The bush house is also home to the worm farm - which you can see in the photo above in the old bathtub, bins of potting mix, pots and various fragile or sick plants. This is where I propagate plants that will later go into the ornamental or vegetable garden. Rosie sits in there on the cool stone floor when it's really hot.

Now is the time I start planning the vegetable year for us. I talk to Hanno about what we'll grow, go through my box of seeds and work out what is there and what we need to trade for or buy, and then write it all down. I generally draw up a plan of our planting so we both know what our original plan was because often when we start planting, it changes for various reasons.

I also grow orchids and maiden hair ferns in the bush house. It provides ideal conditions for their growth and when they're looking good, I sometimes bring them into the house or onto the front verandah so we can see them during the day.

Above and below is a bat flower (Tacca integrifolia) that has just flowered for the first time. This plant is native to south east Asia and Africa, and although our winter temps sometimes drop quite low, it grows well in our sub-tropical climate. I really like the long rubbery whiskers that fall from the centre of the flower.

And last, but not least, is my pride and joy. One of the many bunya seeds I had, has sprouted. It's taken almost 10 months to get to this point but the plant looks strong and healthy so we may just get our own bunya pine to grow in our garden.

The region I live in is the indigenous area of the wonderful bunya pine - a bush tucker food for the aboriginees. I was given the pine seed cone last April (see below) and I divided it up into many segments. I put a hen's egg next to a seed so you can see the size of the seeds. I sent some to my friend Chris in Belize to grow on their permaculture farm in the jungle. His should be almost at this point too so I must remember to email him to see how they're going. He wanted to trial them in their renewable timber forest.

Today I'll be organising myself for work tomorrow and writing a few things for work. It's a public holiday in Australia today and usually I would be working on a Monday. But I look forward to a slow and relaxed day that will prepare me for the week ahead. To my fellow Australians, enjoy your long weekend and to everyone else, I hope the week ahead is a good one for you.

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