Monday, 14 January 2008

Pineapples and an Update

And so it rains! Wow. Part of the greenhouse is under shadecloth, so that limits the rain which falls, but it's still soggy! And part is under plastic, which I need to water by hand. Very strange to do when it's pouring outside! It is great though as I can plant mildew-prone plants in the dry zone, and thirstier plants in the shade zone.

On the weekend I pruned and trimmed and pulled out a heap of herbs, weeds and spent plants in the garden. I used them right under the thick mulch in one of the garden beds, recycled on the spot! It is so tidy in there. I'll take another photo when it stops raining!

I planted at least a dozen types of seeds - leafy greens, beans, lettuce, sunflowers in the corners and more. I'm planting direct because rodents (or something) are still stealing from the seedling punnets. Direct-sown beans had much better results last week.

I also planted a pineapple patch. We dug the area, applied mulch and then lay chicken wire flat over the area. I cut holes in the chicken wire and planted the pineapple tops in the holes to grow. It's at the front of an area where I'll grow some native shrubs. The chicken wire is to keep the hens from scratching up the mulch and plants. I will probably add a little mulch on top of the wire when it settles, to make it more attractive only. It takes between one and two years for the pineapple plant to bear fruit. It will fruit again, with a smaller fruit the next year. Pineapple plants are simply the tops cut from pineapples. Peel back any skin or flesh which remains and the lowest couple of rows of leaves and plant in the ground. These pineapple tops had been laying in the garden for up to a few months. They just seem to lay there, waiting to be planted. I think they even grow more successfully when they've dried out a little.

The current harvest includes: cherry tomatoes, various lettuce, sweet potatoes, potatoes, herbs, cucumbers, button squash, eggplant, gooseberries, rosellas (for jam), capsicum (various types), passionfruit, macadamias, a few mulberries and plenty of eggs!

In the forest, we still have raspberries to enjoy, and we found another fruit called Woolly Pear (Misohocarpus lachnocarpus) which is another one our local tree kangaroos apparently enjoy. We also identified what we think is an Atherton Nut (Athertonia diversifolia) in the front yard, but will need to wait until it bears fruit to tell.

Overall, I'm having much more success in the garden up here than we did on the coast, where it was a constant battle through summer with the pests, rampant growth of weeds, fruit rotting, floods and more pests! I'm looking forward to having bigger and better harvests as we build up the gardens and learn about growing things in this climate.

How does your garden grow?

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