News from the ‘Mews’ – April 2015

April has proved to be a transition month – some crops are coming to an end while I’ve been preparing for the winter crops. Today I’m sharing our second round of sustainable living tips (you can check out the first instalment here.)

We had above average rainfall to the end of April and all our water tanks are full, which is great. Daylight hours are significantly shorter and the sun is sitting much lower in the sky. I am not a huge fan of the dark skies and cold winds of winter, but the seasons need to change and we must learn to work with what we have. When it comes to the garden we can embrace different crop varieties that we can plant over the colder months. It is always better for us to eat what is available seasonally (despite the fact that the supermarkets can still provide us with tomatoes in winter… if we really want them!)

So, this was April 2015

Δ Summer crops (like tomatoes, beans and capsicums) are coming to an end.

Δ I have been prepping the veggie beds and planting seeds to stock up for our coming winter crops. This will include:

+ Peas

+ Lettuce

+ Cabbages

+ Broccoli

+ Leeks

+ Onions

+ Beetroot

+ And of course, heaps of silver beet and kale!

Δ In the greenhouse I’m growing these guys:

+ Coriander

+ Basil

+ Parsley

+ And believe it or not, we are still getting a few strawberries ripening in there too (bonus!)

Δ We were fortunate over the summer season to have had very few pests in the garden. But… there was a culprit – the White Cabbage Butterfly. These butterflies usually attack plants in the ‘Brassica family’ – think: cabbages, broccoli, kale etc. I even found a few eggs on the underside of seedlings that I was growing inside the greenhouse! The eggs were readily removed, but a few hatched into tiny grubs and I saw evidence of them dining on our kale and cabbage seedlings (cheeky things!). Check out my blog post on ‘Environmentally Friendly Pest Control‘ if you need an earth friendly approach to reducing pests in your own garden!

garden pests, white cabbage butterfly, pests

On the project side of things:

Δ We built a new wire fence (15 metres long) to keep our chooks out of the eastern side of the garden. They used to love getting in there, but were causing too much havoc with their scratching about and disrupting some immature plants. Sorry girls, access denied!

fencing, hand built fence, wire fence

Δ I also built some timber shelving inside the greenhouse to better utilise the available space.

greenhouse shelving, greenhouse gardening

Δ My aquaponics system is in the final stages of ‘cycling up’ (I’m still getting the nitrogen fixing bacteria established.) I’m hoping to stock it with Rainbow trout in the next couple of weeks.

Apart from the routine tasks such as checking the worm farm weekly (blog post on this coming soon!), turning over the compost heap (read about composting here), feeding the chooks, collecting eggs etc. it is really a time for the new crops to get established so we can enjoy the harvest of fresh veggies in the coming months. Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the sustainable living tips we’re putting into practice this month and getting a little earth inspiration!

Til next time!

Cheers, Pete

 

As the cooler months greet us, how are you connecting with the earth around you? Are you starting to cook hearty meals with fresh seasonal produce? It can be harder to embrace the great outdoors when it starts to cool down, so we’d love to hear your thoughts!