Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's all been happening

Just figured out the main and grain crop terrace below the tennis court is 189 square metres of growing space. At 9 potatoes per square metre that's over 1500 potatoes planted! Scary! We have a rectangular chicken tractor (bottomless movable chook pen) coming that measures 1.8 metres across so will organise the paths on the terrace to let us use the tractor back and forward to remove weed and fertilise the ground before we plant it out. Bring on the mighty power of chicken.

We had our first frost on June 14th - the ground was white and crisp.

Also, after a little rain, a new spring started bubbling up out of the ground a ways up the hill in the north-eastern corner. May be scope for little annual pond we reckon.

I picked up another 550 plants on the landcare order (only 950 left to go!) and a bunch of different allocasuarinas (media x 50, paludosa x 40, littoralis x 10). The plants as part of the order were: 50 Acacia dealbata, 50 Acacia melynoxylon, 50 Acacia verticulata, 100 Lemondra longifolia, 50 Poa, 100 Ghania, 50 tea tree, 50 Dionella and 50 Native Elderberry.

Ian also gave me three Acacia Boormanii or Snowy River Wattle. Gave one to Rick and put one in the top main swale and one in the top orchard swale.

Dafe Griffiths from Geometree came all the way down from the Castlemaine area to look over the property and advice on our tree planting strategy on Thursday June 21, Wonderful guy and great value with many years of tree system planning and planting experience.

On Monday June 25 we deep ripped, thanks to Di who pushed it through in the nick of time (with the rain, three days later would have been too late). A downright lovely local contractor named Jacko came by with a yeomans plough. For the technically minded, we went about 25 cm deep with five tines using a 120 horsepower John Deer tractor and a Yeoman's plough with coulters but no rollers. We stayed pretty close to contour but in some places went slightly off contour from valleys to ridges ah la Yeoman's keyline design system. In some places even after about 50mm of rain over the last month or so the soil was bone dry even 10cm down but generally the moisture was reasonably good.

Tuesday June 26 I planted an Acacia cognata or river wattle next to our three main ponds (goose pond, Cam's pond and the pond feeding the dam). The last week or so we've also filled in a few gaps in the Casuarina-based windbreak plantings on the Southern and Western boundary in the house corner. I also got a bunch more native legume shrubs for the mounds (pultanea and something else) and one or two of about 5 different kinds of wattles to chuck in the top mound and see how they go. A lovely bloke named Trev also swung by with two huge bales of rye straw. He noticed the tagasaste and was really interested, saying he grew it for cow and sheep fodder and thought it was fantastic.

Jacko going to it.

What a plough. About $10,000 worth apparently.

Here's a close up of water collecting in one of the rips two days after they went in.

Here's a section of the middle main swale this morning after maybe 7 hours of steady medium rain.

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