Archive for June, 2013

Companion planting

This is a post from a while back that didn’t get published at the time.

These days we’re coming to think of our garden as a tiny created ecosystem. I’m now trying to expand what started with companion planting and the chickens to another kingdom: fungi. The idea of foraging for mushrooms is a tempting one, but comes with its dangers. Foraging for spore-bearing mushrooms for companion planting had many of the benefits without the risk!

The ink caps are endemic it seems and grow on decomposing matter. We have a ready supply of decomposing matter in our chicken manure, so I hope to be able to keep a colony supplied. And curiously, structures in the fungus are damaging to nematodes. Nematodes are a natural part of the soil, but some species eat vegetable roots.

We have what appears to be a species of ink cap that grows naturally in the garden:

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Using some shaggy manes (I think!) that I found in a garden, I’ve inoculated my garden beds.

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Hopefully they’ll flourish and I’ll have a poo-digesting, nematode-busting, soil-stabilising and curiously autodigesting ally in the garden!

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Winter solstice preparations part two

Last week Mme Four and I went for a walk and gathered some pine cones. We then spent several days this week painting them with glue and sprinkling them with glitter. Every four year old’s dream. (Our house has never looked so sparkly either). We finished them with some ribbon and buttons hot glues on so we could hang them.

Mme Four took great delight in helping to decorate the house this year and really being part of the family festivities.
And I’m really enjoying making new family rituals that are in sync with and celebrating the changing seasons around us and watching and noticing how nature changes through the year.

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Hail!

We had a fairly heavy storm come through yesterday and it dumped a lot of hail on us. Here are a few pictures of our yard just after the storm.

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Thankfully the chickens were sensible and stayed in their house.

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Our broccoli seedlings were safe and warm in their little mini greenhouses (aka upturned plastic cups), installed the night before in the nick of time (good work MacGyver!)

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The silverbeet looks okay but this might be the end of the basil and mint for the season though – I’ve been expecting them to curl up and die for well over a month now, but so far they have stayed alive.

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This morning there was still lots of hail left on the ground.

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The chickens came out and braved the icy ground this morning and seemed quite perplexed by the cold white stuff.

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Splash was not amused by the cold stuff.

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The broccoli seedlings and mint (amazingly) look fine, but I think this is it for the basil.

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Our makeshift kafir lime greenhouse (aka a plastic bag over a tripod) has also done a great job of protecting the little tree.

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All very exciting really.  It’s rare for Canberra to get snow that sticks to the ground so seeing everything white was a big novelty for the kidlets.  Mme Four had a lovely time building “hail castles” after the storm had passed.

Winter Solstice preparations – orange pomanders

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orange pomanders

We spent the afternoon today making these beautiful decorations from oranges and cloves.  While it would be more awesome if the oranges were home grown, sadly we bought these.  They still smell delicious though and look very festive.  And Mme. Four had a lovely time helping to make them.  M. One, however, did not have as much fun – he found and ate a dropped clove.

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