Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Shed

I had hoped to be blogging about the new shed by now but it still hasn't arrived, already three weeks overdue I got a call from the agent to say I will not be getting it until the end of the month. So there will be no shed blog for a week or two. Still that has allowed me to ease back into work around the place as I'm still feeling a bit doughy after the surgery.

The cooler weather and a little bit of rain have been a great pick me up for the garden and everything is starting to fire up again. I've turned a bit of ground for the winter veg and planted swedes, turnip and parsnip seed. I've also started some cauliflower and cabbage in pots that I will plant out as seedlings when they are ready. I've also been making a bit more biochar.

I started playing around with this stuff about five years ago after watching a documentary on Amazonian black earth ("Terra Preta de Indio") and doing a bit of internet research on the work of Johannes Lehmann. While I did start out being all scientific and working with little test plots I soon got sick of that and now just use it everywhere as I make it. Whether it makes that much difference it's hard to tell, although my veg always do a bit better than my neighbours and the ground does seem to hold the moisture better where I have used it.

I make this char out of all the fruit tree prunings that are too big to compost. I just let them dry for a while and burn them in a big wood gas burner I made out of some old paint cans. The residue is charcoal that is broken up and spread on the garden. While doing the burn I can do a stir-fry, cook up a bit of rice or even a BBQ, saves wasting the heat that is generated with this stove.

There is a fair bit of research going on into the sequestration and land improvement benefits of biochar at the moment and also a bit of amateur interest as well. Who knows, it may have a lot of benefits in the future but in the meantime it's a way of getting rid of my prunings and seems to help my veg grow a bit better.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Back in harness

I'm back! Blue-eyed and bushy tailed. The last few weeks have been full-on for sure. First off, I spent a couple of weeks digging footings and prepping the slab for my workshop, finishing up with a twelve cubic meter concrete pour. Turns out that that was just a bit to much for an old bloke who's way over weight. I blew a gasket and ended up with a 3 hour ambulance ride and a week checking out the hospitals and the ICU unit in Albury and Wodonga.

Anyway things are looking up again and I'm back in harness, but on light duties for a few weeks. Still we have a sewing room floor and the shed should be on site and under way in the next few weeks.

While I have been out of circulation the garden has managed wonderfully well by itself and is producing an abundance of fresh veg. The second lot of corn produced well and we got a few meals off that. We have beans by the truck load, capsicum and pumpkin on the vine. The rain that held things up on the shed worked wonders for the garden.

Broad-beans are leaping out of the ground and the mixed seeds I threw out on a bare patch have fired up. I have now got a heap of curly leaf spinach and beetroot seedlings ready to go. The spring onions are ready for thinning and lettuce will need the same in a week or so. Right now things are getting back to normal and it's all good out here in the long paddock.

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