News from the ‘Mews’ – December 2015

This month sees a transition from the end of winter crops and the establishment of the summer season crops. I used the greenhouse to get seedlings started early, so they were well established before the really hot weather arrives. You can check out the greenhouse on our property here and here.

Greenhouse Gardening at Home

You don’t need to buy a greenhouse to benefit from greenhouse gardening at home. If you don’t have a dedicated greenhouse you can easily raise seedlings in a ‘mini greenhouse’, made from a few clear plastic meat trays.

  • Use one as a base – puncture some drainage holes and fill with seed raising mix.
  • Plant your seeds in the tray and mist well with water.
  • A second tray can be used as a lid, to sit on the lower tray and keep the moisture levels high.

This very simple ‘mini greenhouse’ is a cost effective, easy option that re-purposes what would otherwise end up as waste. I’ve actually started using them as seedling trays too. They work quite well – have a look at the picture below.

Greenhouse-Gardening-Seed-trays

Greenhouse Seedling Trays

Preparing for the New Growing Season

For the coming growing season we have planted:

  • Two varieties of bush beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Jap pumpkin
  • Sweet corn
  • Capsicums,
  • Japanese spinach
  • Butter lettuce, and
  • Zucchinis
Permaculture-Corn

Home Grown Corn (with the cheeky chooks peeking through!)

 

Greenhouse-Gardening-Beans

Home Grown Beans

Seasonal Fruit Trees

Our fruit trees are growing quite well and this season we have already enjoyed fresh cherries (these are an early season fruit!).

Our apricot tree is also setting a good crop too which should ripen in January.

We got a small crop of blueberries from our three bushes, but expect a lot more next year as they grow in size.

The raspberries are also setting fruit and I am ready with the netting to keep the birds away.

Fruit-Trees-Cherry

Home Grown Cherry Tree

 

Home-Produce-Fresh-Cherries

Fresh Cherries!

Aquaponics Update: 

We have begun harvesting our first lot of Rainbow trout from our Aquaponics system, and they are delicious! We will need to harvest all the remaining fish (about 20) before the temperatures get steadily above 30 degrees here in Melbourne, as the trout don’t cope well with warm water.

And, a little bee Update: 

Our bees are doing well too. The hives seem quite strong and the bees are busy foraging and bringing back nectar and pollen. I’ll be harvesting honey within the next 4-5 weeks and looking forward to the sweet, golden treasure they produce. Since we have had the bees, we have noticed that the fruit trees in particular have set a lot more fruit than last year. Put it down to the pollination efforts of the ‘girls.’ (Thanks!)

So there’s my last ‘News from the Mews’ wrap up for 2015. It’s been great sharing our sustainable living tips with you all and reflecting back on how much we’ve achieved in our first year living at our new property.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families all the best for the festive season and 2016! I look forward to sharing more information with you next year.

Cheers,

Pete

 

Perhaps you can try your hand at DIY greenhouse gardening over the summer break? A ‘green’ holiday project could be great for the family to enjoy together.