Sunday, 19 May 2013

Whinny Poo comes around for tea

There are two properties around the corner from here that are home to horses.  Occasionally we see them ambling along the roadside and through the park.  It's a refreshing sight that contrasts with the trucks and traffic that pass by our house in ever increasing volume.  While we've appreciated their equine aesthetics for a while, it was finally time they contributed in a somewhat more substantial way to the garden.  We finally stopped on the roadside and dropped our honesty in the letterbox in return for two bags full of digested end products of what they once contained.  Thankfully its presence in the boot didn't pervade the rest of the car during the short drive home.

An old lace curtain was covering the compost pile in the yard for want of a better purpose; so now having one, it was used to wrap some lumps of horse poo.  You could similarly use an old sheet or pillow case to hold and filter the faeculent fragments.

Next step is to soak the poo parcel in a bucket of water for a week.  Then remove as much liquid as you need and dilute in water to the strength of weak tea.  I would suggest to avoid using it on root crops as it is fairly high in nitrogen and will make the tops grow at the expense of the tasty tap roots.  Finally, top up the water again and again until there is hardly any poo left in the bag.  Then top up the poo and start from square one.  I'm surprised how little poo is needed to make a fairly strong concoction.  A brew like this could be made with manure from any animal - sheep, goat, alpaca, cow even camel.  Plant material like comfrey or weeds that can't be composted can also be used.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Subtropical autumn

Traditionally we think of autumn as a time of senescence and bask in the glorious oranges and yellows that replace the sunshine as days get shorter.  Not so in sunny Brisbane.  Instead the skies shake off their stormy summer shroud and beam a brilliant blue; an entirely new set of plants flourish in the milder dry weather after muggy heat of summer.  It's one of the main growing seasons for the nostalgic British vegetables that we can't bring ourselves to banish from our plates in favour of their subtropical counterparts.

It's a gorgeous time of year to spend time in the garden so I thought I'd share some photos of a few new endeavours and old favourites in the garden.

The tea survived the summer and its blossoms have finally burst open for the first time.
Camellia sinensis
Asparagus berries (poisonous).  The spears grew over 6ft tall this year and are just starting to die back.
To me they look like baubels on a Christmas tree.

Tiny inconspicuous choko flower - I only discovered them this week.  It's the first time I've grown chokos and have to say they're not the rampant ramblers I'd been led to believe they were. Unless that's still to come of course.

Baby choko starting to develop in the leaf axil.

The Colliwats are back with a vengeance.  There are at the very least 10 pumpkins on this vigorous vine that has smothered the chook fence.

Cosmos.  Simple and white just the way I like my flowers.

Peas - snow, sugarsnap and telephone.  You can't beat peas fresh from the garden.  I'll never buy shop peas again.