vegetable garden

Travel Theme : Close-up

IT RAINED LAST WEEK

“So what” I can hear all my Northern hemisphere friends saying.

Well that is the best rain that has fallen in this area for about 2 years. There have been light showers during that 2 years, but on a sandy soil that has not helped the parched and struggling vegetation. Last week after 3 days of light showers the storm clouds gathered and it poured down. Approximately 50-70mm. The farmers were ecstatic, perfect timing for sowing the spring cereal crops.

It made me happy too as I had just planted more vegetable seedlings the day before the rain came. I’m sure it made the plants turn their faces to the heavens with a huge, happy sigh.

Raindrops are falling on my head

Raindrops are falling on my head

Then I looked around and look what I saw…

Dragon fruit flower

Dragon fruit flower

These beauties flower overnight and only stay open for 1 day. It then takes 3-4 months for them to produce the edible fruit. Fortunately there are some that flowered a while back and are now ready for picking and eating.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

After a day in the fridge it is ready to cut open, scoop out the inside and savour the delicious but indescribable taste.

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Have you ever tried a dragon fruit? Have you ever seen one but not known what to do with it? Next time you see one in the green grocer’s buy it and try it, I’m sure you will go back for seconds…

Footnote… The farmers are now praying for more follow up rain and the forecast is for another storm on Sunday…

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To closely follow more blogs in close-up go to Ailsa’s challenge on her blog “Where’s my backpack?”

 

 

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Categories: Australia, close-up, garden, Geraldton, photos, travel theme, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Gardening in the Round.

I have mentioned that I love gardening and one of the pleasures I get from house sitting is to see and learn from other peoples gardens. Every one is different, every one is a joy to look after.

Now this garden is probably one of the most challenging. Being so close to the ocean the soil is pure sand. I’ve mentioned the strong winds (see my previous post here about the leaning trees) Great for wind surfers and sky divers, but plants hate the strong, sand ladened winds. To top it off it is a very dry climate. I don’t know when they last had a decent rain here, but of the 3 large rain water storage tanks only one has a small amount of water left in it.

Naomi also loves gardening, she likes to grow her own organic vegetables and being a very resourceful person she has installed old corrugated water tanks and created raised beds.

Come for a look round

, Come for a look round

Gardening in the round

Gardening in the round

This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and at the moment not many veggies have survived, with the exception of chilli bushes, lots of them, lemon grass and a few other herbs. Before Naomi left she scattered seeds around. The weather should be getting cooler and normally some rain arrives during the winter months. But so far it has just been clear blue skies, sun and relentless wind. I water the raised garden beds each evening and amazingly seeds are popping up every where. At this point I can’t identify them so treat them all with loving care.

Can you see the beans?

Can you see the beans? look carefully and you will see the Indian Ocean…

A couple of the beds are still empty so on Sunday at the markets when we came across a delightful bloke called “Freddie Fresh” who specialises in seedlings of all sorts we bought some lettuce, basil and 2 tomato plants. That evening, when the heat had gone out of the day we carefully planted them. First digging a large hole, incorporating compost and soaking the area before tenderly bedding them in.

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Have you ever tried Dragon fruit? They are delicious and this plant is laden with them. I hope they ripen soon.

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

They are all going to need more help if they are to survive the 30c+ temperature of the sun. These beds are in the full sun. So to give them a helping hand until they have settled in we searched around and found some shade cloth that Jack put up.

 

Maybe doesn't look very attractive, but it should do the job

Maybe doesn’t look very attractive, but it should do the job

Follow me around the side of the house.

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web?

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web? Lets take a closer look…

 As I said before this house is built on sand and the back of the garden is a large sand-hill. Naomi has come up with a clever solution. Using old tractor tyres that she has sourced from a tyre firm in town, collecting them in a trailer, pulled by Troopy, then, one by one, rolling them into place. (Go here to read about Naomi’s hard labour in creating this monument.)

This is finally taking shape, “the great wall of Drummond’s”

First roll the tyres into place

First roll the tyres into place

Rendering comes next

Rendering comes next

Still a lot more to do...

Still a lot more to do. The hole in the sand is going to be a pond with a waterfall cascading into it.

I feel tired just thinking about all the work.

So let’s go back up to the deck to watch the sun set.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi's interests.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi’s interests.

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

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The inspiration for this post has come from Sue of “A word in your ear” this week her challenge has been the word “ROUND” that has popped up from her dictionary.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me around the garden.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, round, sunsets, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Garden Makeover

The rain settled in for almost 24 hours on Saturday. A fine soft mist that soaked into the soil and washed all the dust off the trees and plants and came at just the right time to prepare the area previously shaded by the palms. (go here to see the palms being cut down) 48mm fell that also filled the rain water tank.

The area had been a shade garden and now bathed in sunlight it needed a make over.

On a visit to Bunnings, the large, local hardware and nursery store, I found some gems. Hidden away on shelves at the back of the nursery section they stacked the unloved plants, pot-bound and drooping waiting for some one to rescue them and give them some TLC. Instead of being $10 to $15 each they were $2 to $4. Just what I needed. Daisies, Petunias and Pentas all sun-loving and cheerful colours.

After an overnight soak in water and Seasol and all the dead heads cut off they bounced back to exuberant life.

This is now a sunny spot

This is now a sunny spot

In a few weeks I hope this will be a blaze of colour

In a few weeks I hope this will be a blaze of colour

2 palms round the back did not get cut right down, now they have young stag horns on them

2 palms round the back did not get cut right down, now they have young stag horns on them

 

I am missing all the beautiful vegetables we had at Malanda. Our garden does not have a suitable spot or the room to put a full size veggie garden so I have compromised with some lettuce, rocket and basil in a Styrofoam box I brought home from the fruit market. Remember the Black Russian tomatoes? (go here to see them) I took some of the laterals and potted them up. They are growing well so they are now in larger pots and I hope they will produce some of the delicious tomatoes like we had at Malanda

Now they have to be nursed through our hot humid summer and I will post photos of them in a few weeks to, hopefully, show them filling that corner with lots of colour.

Categories: Australia, garden, Goldcoast, photos, tomatoes, vegetable garden | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

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