Gardening for more self sufficiency

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nuttylizardguy

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My raised beds were built over 5 months starting back in July using 75mm x 200mm Sienna Sleepers and Steel posts mostly .

Hired a one man mechanical post hole digger to make the holes for my steel corner, end and joiner posts, and timber f4 grade posts ( had 33 of them to set in concrete , all the holes dug in one weekend ( 3 days ).

Filled with excavator fill (sufficient to allow good soil on top at least 20cm deep) & and bits of broken up old footpath ( from my shed upgrade and driveway extension ) and topped with premium garden soil ( delivered in 16 bulkabags in November + a loose 2 cu m delivery in early January).
Hired a tilt tray 4x4 ute to move the soil from my green strip down my driveway to the backyard.

My beds
> 6m x 3m , in 2 levels , avg depth 0.6m at front of house , will be my wifes pretty bed.
> 6m x 1.5m (avg depth 0.8m , doubles as a retainimg wall) x with a full length 1.2m tall privacy lattice work screen at my back fence ( will put fruit & berry trees in this ).
> three x 3m x 1.5m x 0.4m beds , will grow greens, herbs, berries, veggies in these.
Was planning 4 of these but I want room for a garden shed , a big off ground deck at back of house and my roll off roof observatory.
> Hockeystick shaped 2 level bed one level 3m x 1.5 x avg depth 0.6m + 3m x 1.2m avg depth 0.3m + lower level 3m x 0.5m x 0.3m deep nearest garage . This was made enterly form timber and doubles as retaining wall ( hiding a very dangerous cliff about 0.8m high left by the idiot excavator contractor ) and my wife want pretty ground cover in this ( will be putting some low bushtucker ground cover plants in this and some of this ( strawberries , Pig Face , Karkalla , CREEPING / BERRY SALTBUSH , WARRIGAL GREENS , and a few others that I can't remember names off at this moment.


Was not worth planting the beds up til February , as we were under Level 2 water restrictions . no point planting stuff that will just wither and die of thirst, so I left the beds full of soil and fallow. Waiting for the rain to return.

So along came Covid19 and suddenly people started panic buying and even vegs and basic meats vanished off the shelves along with dunny paper, paper towels, batteries, and lots of other basic items.

Decided it would be
1) very good to become more self sufficient with veg and herbs
2) a very good excuse for accelerating getting the beds productive NOW

I've wanted to pick up veg and herb gardening as hobby + organically home grown food always tastes much nicer than shop bought , so I got my nephew involved in my microfarming project ( going 1/2 and 1/2 plant / seed costs and he'll do some weeding , and we'll go equal shares on the produce )

But I missed my chance to get some starter seedlings ( all gone everywhere and still hard to find ). Bummer. :(

No seedlings for herbs, vegs, greens anywhere, so I opted to start from seeds and cuttings .

Bought a bunch of winter and summer variety veg and herb seeds (enough to get my nephew who has 2 kids and helps his mum in law out with meals) and us ( just me and my wife) mostly pretty self sufficient in veg , greens and herbs in a few months from sowing .
We like the idea of saving money too, so eventually I expect my investment the beds will pay off and keep on paying for themselves for many years ( rest of my wife and my lives ) my son will have a great asset when he inherits .
Plus our grandson loves berries & fruits , so more incentive for him visit granny and pop.

Bought 8 worm bombs to get the beds ready ( 1000 eggs per bomb ). Bombed a few weeks ago.

Here are my gardening results so far ( MY BABIES !!! ) .

So here are my babies now ( all sowed as seeds 20 April ).
26may20-coriander-lettuce-cabbage-seedings.png

Coriander finally sprouting , lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

26may20-pak-choi-nasturtium-reg-chives-garlic-chives-mustard-gns-spanish-onion-seedlings.png

Pak choi , chives ( regular and garlic ) coming on OK , nasturtium is going crazy.

26may20-spanish-onion-perpetual-spinage-seedlings.png

Spanish onion and perpetual spinage are going well.

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Mulberry is battered but still has leaves .

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Bok choy cuttings are going great.

26may20-spring-onion-experiment.jpg

Did a chicken honey soy stirfry using some chicken breasts slices and chopped , so decided to do an experiment with some spring onion cuttings.
( That's a Finger Lime Caviar bottle ).

No sign of growth yet for my leek cuttings ( put in water for a few weeks , the planted , no new green yet but not rotting away either .
The sweet potatoes ( put in water to sprout a few weeks ago ) , nothing happening yet.

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How I arranged my beds in the backyard .
bed-layout-despensing-with-4th-3x1.png


The 6m x 1.5m bed / retaining wall .
dealing-with-deep-camfered-fill-at-back-fence-25july2019.png

The four 1.5m wide beds are actually on a sloping ground , so each bed is approx. 5cm lower than bed above it ( closer to the house ). I used a laser to line up all my posts perfectly before the quikset concrete started hardening , two posts at a time all double checked and then checked again to be sure ( was time consuming - but you have to get it right first go , is hard work to try to pull a post out and do the job again ( as I learnt when built my Sth bdry fence using square hollow tubes back in 2000 ).

The full length privacy screen
6m-privacy-screen-details-31july2019.png

The hockey stick bed
key-heights-for-hockey-stick-shaped-beds-23aug2019.png

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The monster feature raised garden bed at front of my house ( my neighbours thought I was doing a house extension til I started filling it with fill and then premium soil ) , everyone in the street loves it and cant wait to see it full of shrubs and pretty native plants ( will be all native and will become a bird and insect and lizard haven when it's all done , might take me a year or so to find the plants I want ( but wattle and banksias and a grass tree are on my list ), hopefully some will also be edible as well as pretty ( this will make the missus happy , and I'll enjoy getting some bush tucker too ).
PB100865.jpg

Is offset 20cm from the front of my house ( no I didn't make that common mistake that lets termites have access to house ). Just prior my big tree being trimmed and the exterior of the house was painted.
https://i.postimg.cc/vHbfsssT/IMG-0263.jpg
And After the house was painted and I added a top up with 2 cu-m of extra garden soil ( delivered in 2 bulkabags right next to the front of the bed at end February 2020 , took care of the compaction/settling of the fill and soil from July .

There is a wild eastern BT and several eastern water skinks who hang out around this bed already and seem to live in "that 20cm wide gap" . << already working nicely as a lizard habitat area even without any plants in it >>

Is now ready for my wife's pretty shrubs and ground covers , just a matter of deciding what she & I want and working out the bed's garden layout.

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One of the small beds before being filled with fill then topped with premium garden soil.
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Waiting for the ground to dry after a big storm in November.

[doublepost=1590510867][/doublepost]The Hockey stick raised bed / retaining wall one issue I wanted to get rid off.
P8150506straightened.jpg

( 100x100 F4 pine posts into ground in September )

A forest of posts in concrete , at this stage I hadn't decided how deep I wanted the hockey stick bed to be and was thinking of 3 levels rather than 2 levels , so since the posts are cheap , I didn't bother cutting them at this stage.
P8180532.jpg

My neighbours thought I was building a deck to connect the house ( silly them ).

I had ideas for what I'd use the offcuts for and have used most of them to build benches and reinforce retaining walls and made some furnature with them ( so they weren't wasted ).

A couple months later - it's looking nice ( but hard work building it ).
P8250554.jpg


P8260557-cropped-looking-south-at-top-of-hockeystick-shaped-bed-finished-26aug2018.jpg

Like my spiffy sloping sleeper under fence retaining wall ?
...it fixed the issue of the big dig below fence line nicely .

P8260558.jpg


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A layer if concrete pavers under the bottom sleepers to help keep it dry , driveway and slab rain runoff flows to a bluestone gravel filled drainage trough. This means the bottom sleep should literally last decades and never deterior with wet rot.
P8260565-low-bed-showing-some-carpentry-details-completed-26aug2019.jpg


Finished ready for filling end of August.

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Called it = old 5-7 yr old seeds were duds .

I've sowed new herb seeds, greens seeds and veg seeds in the "fallow" seed raising mix in the converted tubs .

Did find 4 or 5 tiny rosemary seedlings so left them in place and sowed new rosemary seeds around then and sprinkled a 3mm - 5mm deep topping of new seed raising mix over top , I think the little seedlings will simply push through this in a few days or so.
IMG-0380.jpg

the biggest is about the size of two pinheads, the others I had to look hard to spot ( just emerging !! ).

So I've added the following TODAY :

parsley - triple curl and italian
english spinach (wife loves it)
basil - sweet
rosemary , 2 lots ( sowed one lot before I discovered I had a few baby rosemary seedlings afterall from my old seeds )
rocket
red onion
shallots - red stem and white lisbon
mustard grns ( 2nd attempt , new batch of seeds this time )
thyme ( 2nd attempt , new batch of seeds this time )
sage
and a bunch of baby carrots seeds.

So I've now got a quite a wide range of herbs and veg on the go.
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nuttylizardguy

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My backyard in July after the excavator and concreter were gone .

The excavator left a bloody disaster area behind him ( wanted $600 per load to take the fill away ( 15 LOADS !! ) , ans = no , told him to leave it where I could use it , he covered my other 1/2 of the yard and wanted to do the same at the front infront of my house ( moron !!! ) .
So I told him leave the rest of fill in a pile and I'll find a use for it and then told him to FO.

And immediately got busy with my tripod mounted laser & tape ( didn't have a lasertape then) and surveyed the living death out of my front and back yards, and got busy designing my retaining walls, my beds ( my ground is not flat some so I needed to model the volume of fill and soil I needed in order to decide the final size of my big display bed --> triple integrals for the front bed volume ).

Ended up curve fitting the profile in 0.5m wide partitions to hyperbolic partitions to do my "numerical triple integral" and get the volume based my desired bed heights ( do it right first go , leave no chance for a cockup ( good engineering principles ) , this gave me my best estimate for fill and soil volume ).
Top area was easy ( 1.5 sq.m per 0.5m wide partitions on top ).

How I worked it out ( after least squares curve fitting the partitions' bottom edges at 0.5m interval gave me a good r value and I was able integrate analytically to get very good estimates for the areas of Y-Z partitions , when you know the function unless it's tricky it's very easy to calculate a definite integral analytically, hyperbolics are easy to integrate , in my case I found

z = (-1) x tanh(y) gave the best fit ) , integrates to area = ln| cosh(y) |
<< year 11 (3 Unit , now called Extension1) Maths if I remember correctly so pretty simple stuff , but I simply pulled out my Chemical Engineers' Handbook and read off the integral for my function rather than calculate the integral analytically .>>

calc-volume-of-a-solid.png


I could have dispensed with the numerical least squares curve fitting and taken my survey data directly and applied a numerical integration method ( easiest being the midpoint rule )
ie
midpoint-rule-numerical-integration-of-an-unknown-function.png

here you don't need to know the function , just the heights at even intervals and a good estimate can be had for the area under the curve , the smaller the partitions the better the estimate ( lower the systematic area ).

I did some after the event error calculations based on the partition intervals I modelled my curves on and discovered the systematic error was in the order of 20% in the volume of soil and fill predicted I needed , all up I used 19 cu-m in total ( 12 cu-m loose excavator rock and clay rich fill + 6 bulkabags of premium garden soil ( 6 cu-m ) + 1 cu-m to top up due to soil settling in the bed. 20% would work out 4 cu-m in error ( that translates to $ when converted to extra bulkabags of premium garden soil + delivery costs , I had an engineer's gut feel the error for fully numerical volume calc would be significant and so opted to reduce this by curve fitting to reduce the systematic error to under 1% , ie close enough to the real volume to be called right on the mark assuming the soil was delivered loose in bulkabags and dry , so of known and predictable bulk density and void fraction).
Can't take the engineer or physicist out of an engineer or physicist. :)

This is very basic calculus.

All done in Excel , easypeazy.

Then I started talking to Bunnings Trade Desk to get my materials ordered and delivered
( have a mate who works at Bunnings who made sure I got nice straight timbers , so never needed to go there ,was all done by email and paid for over the phone) . Worth every penny of $65 to load up a crane truck and deliver to my green strip and saved me a lot of time and expense .

First up = Started work on the under fence retaining wall soon as my new concrete driveway extension was good to drive on , while I was waiting for shed builder to come and build my very non-standard owner designed and engineered ( I did all the engineering calcs for it and simply had them draw it up , and build it ) carport .

Then I started building the 6x3m bed and the 14 cum of fill on my back path - which I pushed up my driveway in a wheel barrow - wont ever do something like again , near killed me << steep driveway !! >> ( that sorted the stabilization of the fence and dealt with the front yard) .

When the manager showed up to do some checks he was very impressed with my retaining wall and my big bed , and his only suggestion for a design change was a shallower pitch on the roof of the carport ( concerns the rainwater would come off with too much velocity and get under the old roof overlaps and into the shed ) , so a quick change to the design and I gave the go ahead).

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What I was left to deal with
P7120368.jpg

looking down the extended driveway as I started the under fence retaining wall, and before my standalone carport as built.

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the cliff left in front of my garage and enlarged widened driveway form the start of my driveway extension
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looking uphill at the cliff
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profile of the cliff

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My nice green back lawn been buried :( , view looking uphill towards the house.
And downhill to back fence
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Important lesson , never trust a guy who owns and uses an excavator to do anything properly, be there and watch the bastard like a hawk .

I hoped the concreter would manage him , but I was wrong , and he created a lot of work repairing / relandscaping my backyard ( fortunately I wanted to put in raised beds anyway as my attempt at veg and herb and fruit and berry growing entirely in big plastic selfwatering pots was a good idea at the time but flopped ).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
IMG-0265.jpg

Amazing the difference a couple weeks of rain followed by several weeks of sunny warm weather made.
Converted a boggy muddy back yard to a green one , saved me a bit of coin too, as I was able cancel my orders for
new turf @ $65/ sqm
+ about $1000 worth of concrete pavers ( over 160 x 40cm and 90 x 30cm )
+ paving sand base + delivery
+ another hire of a tilt tray 4x4 ute
+ a compactor hire for a weekend , was talking serious $.

My next door neighbor was a very naughty boy, I've heard his carport & shed conversion to a "granny flat" never had a DA and he's learnt a very expensive lesson . I thought he was dodgey , now the cops are after him and he's pissed off and left his wife and fitting out the interior came to sudden stop back in November when he disappeared.

He definitely must have known better , as he was a council employed concreter.
( Told me he was upset that I didn't hire him to do my driveway and slab extension - not that I cared what he thought , and he would likely have done a dodgey job and ripped me off for the privilege).

I had samples of my concrete taken ( in sample molds) and sent off to the UoN civil engineering lab , I have ex-colleges working there , told me my concrete is very good quality .

The concreter thought I was a wanker when I told him to fill sample molds , one per pour.

I had to explain I'm a retired engineer and I wanted to make sure my concrete was good and I don't want have pull break up and remove the new concrete if it failed 3 or 4 yrs later - good luck getting a concreter to fix a dodgey pour at his cost or even accept he cocked up ( look at that residential tower in Sydney for example ) - and have redo the whole process ( at my cost !! ) so to make sure the concrete lay is up ASA standards ( because I have these on hand ).
He does this for commercial projects , why not a home owner ?

Might not pave between the 9x9 slab and garden beds now unless I find it's still boggy there when it rains.
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Yes I've checked my beds will get enough sun in both winter and summer ( they are along my north bdy fence . ( Neighbor was talking about a new fence before he ran away to avoid being fined by the council for an illegal development )
My calcs
basic...ent-for-100-percent-sun-at-any-given-time.png

and a little bit of astrophysics thrown in to check effect of different fence heights
Solar...3-deg-S-latitude-showing-when-get-100-sun.png


The neighbour's carport (err flat) is far enough off set from my fence to only shade the northern most 1m of my 6x1.5m bed at noon in winter.
I checked this with my solar illumination model.

Told me he had quotes for a colorbond fence 1.8m tall raked and my contribution was going to be $3k (CASH ONLY) , but never showed me ( despite my telling him to show me before I agree to anything ) so I told him I'd get quotes of my own .

I told the neighbour no higher than 1.6m , was OK with 1.8 from my sewer line to the front edge of my house , got quotes ( and discovered he was trying to rip me off by at least $1.5k , confirming how dodgey I thought he was , I was not impressed and had words and told him I'll sort it but I wanted to see the color of his money first ( upfront ), but he pissed off in November ( leaving his wife and teenage son in the lurch ) , so I wont bother rebuilding that fence ( she's got higher priorities now ).

It only needs a few self drilling roofing screws to make it good as new and to keep those sheets from flapping in the breeze.

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Been chatting with some friends who are summer in now , and others in the far north ( Darwin , Hedland , Newman ) . They warn to watch soil temperatures for seedlings and some varieties of veg.

So did a little ferreting about in the scientific literature and here are my findings.

suggestions regarding cooling the soil .

1) lay loose hay mulch over the soil ( will shade it and keep it cool and keep it moister , and will eventually break down and can improve the soil carbon and nitrogen contents and it's structure ) . Sugar cane straw mulch will work great too ( is very cheap ).

2) or modify the emissivity of bed top surface so it's more reflective in the IR range.
This is a recent study
Soil emissivity and reflectance spectra measurements
José A. Sobrino, Cristian Mattar, Pablo Pardo,Juan C. Jiménez-Muñoz, Simon J. Hook, Alice Baldridge, and Rafael Ibanez
APPLIED OPTICS / Vol. 48, No. 19 / July 2009
https://www.uv.es/ucg/articulos/2009/Publications_2009_5.pdf

and this

Estimating the broadband longwave emissivity of global bare soil from the MODIS shortwave albedo product
Jie Cheng, Shunlin Liang
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres JAN 2014
VOL119, p614–634
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/2013JD020689
winter-soil-surface-emissivity.png

Northern Hemisphere in winter soil emissivities

summer-soil-emissivity.png

Northern hemisphee in summer soil emissivities

Can instantly modify the surface emissivity by applying a shallow layer of exfoliated vermiculite ( like many reptile breeders use to incubate their eggs ).
Has a low emissivity value e = 0.60 ==> it is very reflective in the IR region. [ r = 1- e ]
https://www.vermiculite.uz/index.php?l=en&s=teploprovodnost_vermikulita
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Using the offcuts of 100x100 posts and 200x75 sleepers to make useful furniture.

How I used most of my 100x100 F4 post offcuts and 200x75 sienna sleeper offcuts to make
> a 1x1m x 0.2m convertable to 0.4m mobile planter ( will end up eventually on my big deck when Covid19 is sorted and I get the builder to make it ( steel frame + hardiedecking )
> a 2x1m seat height garden workbench ( topped with sleeper offcuts ) which weighs heaps and mega overdesigned
You can see the mobile planter and the garden bench here
IMG-0265.jpg

IMG-4750-my-rustic-super-heavy-duty-sleeper-topped-garden-seat-bench-completed-and-vanish-stained.jpg

> a 2x1m workbench ( at a nice height ) for my shed ( topped with two layers of 24mm thick floor ply ) again weighs heaps and mega overdesigned and super strong.
IMG-4751-my-heavy-duty-2m-x-1m-42mm-floorply-topped-garage-work-bench-covered-with-sanding-dust-this.jpg

Short end of my mobile garage bench (covered in dust from another project that I was working on).

Very little of the 100x100 and 75x200 offcuts went to waste.
I have ideas for using the offcuts from 75mm steel retaining wall posts too.

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My next garden projects :
a home made multibay composting bin ( designed it a while ago but not yet built )
composting-bins-part1-26jul2019v2.png

composting-bins-part2-26jul2019.png


And a garden shed to store tools and spare pots and my wheel barrow and Gorilla 4 wheel tipper barrow trolley in and the spare plastic and timber pallets ( so I can some of this stuff out of my garage ).

Thinking a 3m x 4m all colorbond and steel framed garden shed kit ( to assemble under the back NE corner of my house (less the roof , will not need a roof and will make good use this area that is tall enough for me walk under without having to duck ) , considered building one from timber and hardieflex but more bother than it's worth and I don't want to invite termites into the house floors and framing .
 
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nuttylizardguy

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Less than ONE week on from sowing some new greens and vegs seeds :
IMG-0384-rocket-and-rosemasry-2-on-31may2020.jpg

That lonely rosemary seedling is pushing through , and the rocket is going crazily well.

IMG-0395-spring-onion-cuttings-going-great-31may2020.jpg

Spring onion cuttings are coming on nicely, and roots are growing nicely too.

IMG-0386-nasturtiums-ready-to-go-into-a-big-pot-or-a-bed-31may2020.jpg

Nasturtiums are just about ready to go into a big pot or a raised bed , next weekend maybe :) , is pouring down here right now.

The older seedlings today
IMG-0387-prgress-on-older-greens-and-veg-31may2020.jpg

IMG-0388-prgress-on-more-greens-31may2020.jpg

Very old coriander and mustard greens seeds are looking more encouraging now ( took ages to show any green leaflings ).

Buk Choy cuttings are doing nicely.
IMG-0392-prgress-on-bchoy-cuttings-31may2020.jpg


Black mulberry seedling is still hanging in there despite being battered in a week of gales .
IMG-0393-mulberry-seedling-still-not-dormnant-yet-but-looks-battered-after-a-week-of-gales-31may2020.jpg


Still no slips showing on the sweet potatoes.
IMG-0390.jpg


Never grown them before so have no idea how long they take to produce , how hard can it be ?

This is what I'm hoping to see going on in my sweet potato slip cultivation tray in a few months
what-I-m-hoping-to-see-in-a-few-months-in-my-tray.png

Stole the idea from this guy ( who is a professional market gardener who grows sweet potatoes in commercial volumes so should know what he's talking about )

This gardener says can take 3 to 4 months in water to get slips so since I'm only 1 months in , I just need to be patient with them and keep replacing the water every few days and keep an eye out for signs of them rotting

This guy gives a warm season ( USA style ) time line ( even he showed he has duds sometimes that refuse to produce slips despite being "organic".
https://youtu.be/705Cx-X_T-A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705Cx-X_T-A&t=4s
<< I don't if my sweet spuds are organic , or why that's important , but will be researching it >>

This young lady's video on how do is extremely popular
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueb-Fcuzc4U
Does and donts for growing sweet potatoes (all sorts)

This guy shows how easy it is with all sorts of shop bought veg and herbs to get seedlings from them

This lovely young lady has some great tips too
[doublepost=1591114567,1590906583][/doublepost]So for the gardeners and green thumbs - how much space should I allow for
> raspberry shrubs ( maybe 10 grown from seeds ) ?
> blackberry plants ( maybe 10 confined in trough grown from seeds ) ?
> blueberry plants ( maybe 10 grown from seeds ) ?
> eggpant , 3 or 4 ( grown from seeds ) ?
[doublepost=1591114842][/doublepost]No one else growing their own greens, herbs, veggies, berries on this board ?

Anyone here been successful growing sweet potatoes from slips ?
Anyone here been successful growing potatoes from shop bought spuds ( either planted straight from grocery bag or waiting for the spuds to grow sprouts ) ?
 

hamishh34

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I dont grow veggies etc. Although I did have growing some sort of salad leaf that tasted like wasabi (the fake) and had that spicy horseradish kick. That was interesting.

Im trying to collect unusual fruit trees to get a bit of variety. I like in Rockhampton so gives me a chance at more tropical fruit.

So far its a small group but I have the following
  • mulberry - not unusual but grew up eating these so had to bring it back. Will be getting the uncommon types in future like white shahoot etc.
  • Finger lime - byron sunrise
  • Ice-cream bean tree
  • Jaboticaba (yellow fruit)
  • White sapote
  • Madrono
  • Hog Plum
  • Mexican cream guava
  • Miracle berry
  • canistel - keen on this one. Cooked egg yolk texture with a honey/caramel taste.
  • Variegated Kumquat
Looking for grafted Abiu, Sapodilla, Carambola and Rollinia next. I have enough seed grown plants that could take up to 5 years to fruit so I will be cheating and getting grafted to cut half the time off fruiting.
 

hamishh34

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Rare Qld tree pumpkins
They fall on peoples heads
View attachment 329318

I would do it like that. Would save so much space without them covering the whole yard! have any issues with the pumpkins falling off early due to lack of support? Or do you find some branches for them all to rest on like the above photo?

Ive seen smaller vined fruit like butternuts and zucchini grown on trellis to conserve space. Seems to work pretty well!
 

Yellowtail

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This happened by accident and there are 3 pumpkins hanging without support 2-3m off the ground, they usually grow out of the veg garden and wander everywhere, we never get pumpkins as the wild life get to them first. These have survived the predators and seem to be growing happily.
 

nuttylizardguy

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Rare Qld tree pumpkins
They fall on peoples heads
View attachment 329318

Not a bad idea at all :)

. I guess if there's no tree handy you can also set up an off ground ( walk under ) trellis using concrete reinforcing mesh and a four 100x100 F4 posts to support it all .

I reckon you should share that idea with the bearded hippy guy on ABC ( Gardening Australia ) or with the Better Homes & Gardens show that's on Friday nights .
 
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hamishh34

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That's handy to know. Might look into doing something similar with them in the future. Cheers mate. Hopefully you get some for yourself this time.
 

nuttylizardguy

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I dont grow veggies etc. Although I did have growing some sort of salad leaf that tasted like wasabi (the fake) and had that spicy horseradish kick. That was interesting.

Im trying to collect unusual fruit trees to get a bit of variety. I like in Rockhampton so gives me a chance at more tropical fruit.

So far its a small group but I have the following
  • mulberry - not unusual but grew up eating these so had to bring it back. Will be getting the uncommon types in future like white shahoot etc.
  • Finger lime - byron sunrise
  • Ice-cream bean tree
  • Jaboticaba (yellow fruit)
  • White sapote
  • Madrono
  • Hog Plum
  • Mexican cream guava
  • Miracle berry
  • canistel - keen on this one. Cooked egg yolk texture with a honey/caramel taste.
  • Variegated Kumquat
Looking for grafted Abiu, Sapodilla, Carambola and Rollinia next. I have enough seed grown plants that could take up to 5 years to fruit so I will be cheating and getting grafted to cut half the time off fruiting.
I loved the huge range of exotic / tropical fruits available in NW WA and NT and far N of QLD and decided when I retired to start growing my own.

I had a bunch of these as seedlings about 6 years ago , were growing great in 40cm selfwatering pots and everyone one them disappeared one night a few weeks before Xmas . Took me the better part of 10 months to find them all online ( GumTree, Ebay , local garden centers didn't have them ).

This is an extract from my gardening log from the time
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Thieving bastard/s came into my yard and took the lot plants complete with soil and the bloody pots and even nicked my brand-new selfwatering seedraising kit ( that my wife had bought for me for an early Xmas present & all my seedlings.

Must have had truck or a big trailor handy to take all these as I had nearly 60 berry and fruit plant saplings , had given them all good drink the night they were stolen , so wont have been light moving all those 40cm pots full of 30L of wet soil .

The look I got from the cops when they came and I explained "some has stolen all my pot plants" was priceless , I got a you are kidding me glance from the pair of them . Then I told them what plants I had and showed them photos of them , and mentioned how the 8 watch dogs the next door neighhour keeps in is yard never made a sound "great bloody watch dogs" and I suspected my next door neighbor was the one with sticky fingers but I was unable to say for sure if he was the thief so couldn't make the accusation publically , though the cops both agreed the dogs must have known the thief/s.
The neighbor was extremely quick to point finger at the teenager I was employing to do lawn mowing and edging , too quick IMO .

Took me 6 months to find and reaccumulate most the plants again , and that was after the insurance dragged their feet on settling , treated me like I was the criminal , had to provide phone and email records even to them, came away with very nasty taste from that and dumped the GIO afterwards.

I ended up installing a hidden mini HD IR camera under my house aimed at where the pots were for next time and made it known next person who comes to take my stuff will be recorded and in the IR and I wont hesitate to get the cops to charge them and don't care who they are .

No not the piece of junk advertised on TV, I made my own using an Arduino PIR Motion-Sensor IR-vis Camera kit .
Mine was based on this https://maker.pro/arduino/projects/build-arduino-pir-motion-activated-camera-system and a Arducam Spy Camera Module 1/4 Inch 5 Mega pixel Sensor with flex cable for Raspberry Pi 4/3B+/3. I put to use some of my uni computer engineering and electronics skills and programming skills , could have built entirely from PLCs and basic components but why go to so much effort when there a off the shelf components ready to plug in to a Arduino board or a breadboard ? ( bit rusty , but it's like a riding a bike , you never really forget the skills , just need a quick refresh ).
Took a bit of circuit work and programming but worked a treat , I didn't want the security camera stolen.
I found it pretty sensitive, kept picking up possums and cats , and the local visiting frogmouths , kookaburras, magpies, cockatoos, rosellas , doves, gallahs, and the resident bluetongue too , I got to see how often the water dragon visited.

I've since upgraded to commercial dome style under the eve IR cameras under the front eaves viewing my front door and front windows and patio, and two under the back eaves (to cover the entire back yard) , that save 1 week of continuous looping FHD video accessible to me via Bluetooth and have face tracking built in ( I can simply downed the video to my computer and the zoom in electronically take a screen shot and email or SMS that to the cops if need be) .
Already caught one prowler who I recognized and had prosecuted for attempted break and enter to my shed .
I've since upgrade the locks to deadlocks on my roller doors since another thief unlocked my south roller door ( standard keyed locks are no deterrent, a similar key will unlock them after a bit of a jiggle ) and took all my boat rods and reels and my bag full of squid jigs and artificial lures ).
Only people standard roller door locks keep out are honest people.

A long drought killed all my saplings a couple years later ( we were on L2 and L3 water restrictions here for a while so my plants had to go without watering very much ), see all the fallow pots in one of images above ( that was the result of my loosing heart in the back yard microfarming concept for a while ).

At least the wild skinks and geckos made use the fallow selfwatering pots, the drain holes become great hides and the voids their homes and the water inside was used by them.
Had several species of skink and G.Dubias and Velvets , and some little brown frogs too, all living in them.
Had frogs, skinks and geckos coming out and going in all directions when we were lifting the pots into the wheelbarrow to use the old soil as fill in the new beds.

I'll be back into the exotic fruits again soon, only his time , they will be in garden beds ( my 6m x 1.5m and maybe the hockey stick shaped bed - the deep end ).
[doublepost=1591260788,1591155965][/doublepost]Green thumbs questions

How big should the seedlings be when ready to transfer from the seedraising pots to the raised bed ?
They still look very delicate to me and I don't want to transplant them too soon.

Are my puk chois big enough yet ?

Are my cabbages big enough yet ?

Are my lettuces big enough yet ?

Are my chives big enough yet ?

Are my perpetual spinages big enough yet ?

Are my Spanish onions big enough yet ?

Or am I better off giving these another two or three weeks to get bigger and stronger ?
 
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hamishh34

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Ah that would have been devastating to lose all of that. Some of those arent the easiest to get either. Blackberry jam fruit and pepino is also a target fruit of mine. Wish you still had these as would have been good to talk to someone with an established range of fruits. Although I imagine you still would be handy with help. Plus your spreadsheet has provided some good places to source them from!

Do you have many established fruit trees currently?

In regards to transplanting them, are they accustomed to the sun? They need to be eased into their new conditions so they don't burn etc as easily. Made that mistake with my miracle berry, got burnt first day. Now a few months on is fine. Another problem to consider is insects. I have found with veggies they decimate them quite quickly so I like to get them a little bigger to give me more time to react before the plant is destroyed. Other than that its just trail and error really. Some plants do well in some areas and others dont. Also like animals some individuals do better than others. Remove ones doing poorly and keep the plants doing well.
 

nuttylizardguy

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Ah that would have been devastating to lose all of that. Some of those arent the easiest to get either. Blackberry jam fruit and pepino is also a target fruit of mine. Wish you still had these as would have been good to talk to someone with an established range of fruits. Although I imagine you still would be handy with help. Plus your spreadsheet has provided some good places to source them from!

Do you have many established fruit trees currently?

In regards to transplanting them, are they accustomed to the sun? They need to be eased into their new conditions so they don't burn etc as easily. Made that mistake with my miracle berry, got burnt first day. Now a few months on is fine. Another problem to consider is insects. I have found with veggies they decimate them quite quickly so I like to get them a little bigger to give me more time to react before the plant is destroyed. Other than that its just trail and error really. Some plants do well in some areas and others dont. Also like animals some individuals do better than others. Remove ones doing poorly and keep the plants doing well.

Yes I was very upset about this , for a few minutes, then I got bloody angry ( I saw RED !!! ).

The short term plan is to get the herbs , greens and veggies established ( in my new beds ) , then I'll move onto re-sourcing some fruit plants ( likely towards the end of the year ) and get some growing in that 6x1.5m very deep bed come retaining wall along my back fence , might even plant some smaller (lower growing ones in my 6m x 3m front mega-bed) , but they have to have pretty flowers ( to keep my boss-woman happy ) and not be something most people know is edible (else I'll never get to eat my own fruit !!)

I can also likely grow some fruit plants in the gap behind my new carport ( is 1m wide x 3.5m long and is pretty much wasted space ATM ) , might put a raised bed in that space , maybe 2m x 1m x 0.6m to make use of it and still allow access to behind the shed . ( It can then utilize the rain water off my carport roof and the southern side of my garage roof , I'm thinking in that shady microclimate , rainforest type fruit and berry plants will be very happy there .)

I might steal some of King Louis' (the gardener King of France ) ideas , and pictures I've seen of moveable trees in very old euro gardens at grand estates and castles and villas is a great idea ,
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but big enough terracotta pots and barrels are bloody hard to find , and are pricey !!!

If I make more 1m x 1m x 0.4m planters like my experimental one ( see above ) , full of soil it's 640 kg ! should move about OK on the 3" super HD casters on the concrete.

My convertible 1m x 1m bed is instantly upsizeable from 20cm deep to 40cm deep , simply drop a predrilled sleeper frame ontop and drop the threadbars into the 4 corner holes and tighten 4 nuts under the base. ( a few minutes and it's twice as deep !! ).
20cm deep it's still pretty heavy (holds 320kg soil) , but should be OK on a steel TrueCore framed deck when I get it built ( in November ??? ).

I have it in mind to make a few more large moveable timber planters ( maybe 0.5m x 0.5m x 0.4m on super heavy duty casters ) to put citrus and tropical ( hard to come by ) fruit shrubs and fruiting trees in so the utility of my remaining yard is maintained and so I can simply wheel them to more convenient spots ( by pushing them or pulling them manually manually ) if I need to use my widened slab and driveway .
A 0.5m x 0.5m x 0.4m planter full of soil is pretty heavy , about 160kg , I can lift that but I'd rather not , hence the casters under it.

I defy a thief to take these "mega pots" without needing a forklift or truck with a crane on it.

Seedling greens and herbs , yes they get the afternoon sun from about 2pm in winter.
I think I'll be cautious and give them maybe another few weeks to get bigger and stronger JIC.
I might move the trays off my patio to either ontop my garden bench or simply place them onto the designated garden beds without transplanting them for "acclimatisation" for a few weeks to a more exposed and sunny spot .

I am well on the way to getting some berries started see extract from my logbook (spreadsheet) below
chilling-seeds-prior-to-sowing-2020.png

I can probably get these out of my egg keeper shelf and sow them anytime now they've had a while in an artificial winter , will start off these same way as the herbs ( mini coir biodegradeable pots that can just need the bottom cut off and then are planted as is in the bed or a bigger pot ).
[doublepost=1591507488,1591345809][/doublepost]Today's two new experiments = store bought "fresh" herbs in water.
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Lemon Thyme , smells great !! , but lots of cuttings in packet are very short , so picked through for longer bits, not many are woody , snipped off bottom 5-10mm to get rid of bruised end and stripped most the leafs off .


Yes I saved these leaves , will use them in a crumb mix to make some crumbed veal schnitzels for diner tonight , will simply use instead of the usual dried herb , or on some those nice barra fillets we still have in the freezer from our last trip north.

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Thai Basil , also smells great , longer bits to work with , noted these were either just flowered or due to flower when harvested, pinched off the flowering bit, took all but 2 - 3 leafs off and cut bottom 5-10mm off to get rid of bruised end.
Cuttings into a tall empty herb bottle in cooled boiled water ( I guess an empty oyster bottle would be OK too if we still had some , but been a long time since we had oysters ).

Yes saved the leaves and flowers, will go into a slow cooked casserole this week .

Cuttings into an empty finger lime caviar bottle in some cooled boiled water.

Hoping to see some roots forming from where the leaves were along the stems in a week or two.
[doublepost=1591707625][/doublepost]The newer seeds are coming on amazingly . :) :)

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Thyme , new mustard grns , and English spinage are coming on great.
Brunswich red onions, Italian parsley, Baby carrots are starting show some green shoots.
Nothing yet from sage, triple curl parsley, rosemary , white & red shallots, or sweet basil , but I can see little green specks ==> seeds are starting to germinate.

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Rocket is going like a rocket !!!
Sweet basil , and two different types of rosemary are slow off the mark.

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The two spring onions cuttings are growing great , especially one , it's growing so fast I can literally see it growing .
The thai basil cuttings are purking up nicely , can't see much of anything happening with the lemon thyme still looks alive ( not dropped the leaves ).

And the first batch of seeds and cuttings are coming on OK
The first batch of seeds (20Apr) now
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Old mustard grns and dandelions ( wild gathered seeds ) finally sprouting ….Yah!!! :)

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leeks cuttings x 3 , one looks really good.

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Buk Choy cuttings are looking great.

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Black mulberry sapling finally starting to shed leaves , heading into winter dormancy.

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Wishful thinking maybe , but I think I can see a couple for tiny slips starting to bud . It's about time !

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Gave the bigger bendy pomegranate a wee tug and it resisted , I think I have roots !!
 

nuttylizardguy

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Seedlings today

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Some of them are growing like mad !

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Leek cuttings
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black mulberry sapling
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nasturtium seedlings
12jun20buk-choy.jpg

buk choy cuttings
[doublepost=1592029575,1591962648][/doublepost]Update on my shop bought fresh herbs cuttings , in water on kitchen window sill.

Spring Onion , has gone crazy , really likes it there ,almost big enough to take greens off to cook !
Root mass is pushing out of the little short bottle and really sucking up the water , so moved into taller bottle .
13jun2020-spring-onion-cuttings-progress-transferred-to-taller-bottle-as-lots-of-roots-now-and-very.jpg


Lemon Thyme , I think there are roots starting to form.
13june2020-lemon-thyme-progress.jpg


Thai Basil , growing new leafs , can see any roots yet.
13june2020-thai-basil-progress.jpg


Oregano , new packet bought on Thursday .
13jun2020-origano-cuttings.jpg
 
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