Thursday, 28 May 2015

Frost Shelter, Signs and Pathways

Bamboo strung together with strips of bicycle tyre inner tube 
Avo shelter, back and front (above).
It's that inbetween time, the Autumn/Winter changeover.  We had some beautiful red persimmon leaves - after the last heavy winds, no more to be seen!  And this morning we woke to a very cold and frosty whiteout in the garden.  My poor lettuces are no more!  But I felt a lightness in my step, as I gloated over the fact that we had spent a good deal of yesterday preparing our avo area, with a great self-constructed Nomad Tent for our 3yr old avocado tree!  I have lost 2 avo trees to frost by not being vigilant enough before, so it was imperative that we build the structure - now I am so glad we did!  It looks like a Bedouin tent flapping gently in the breeze.  Should the wind velocity increase, I am certain it will become airborne but the lightness of it's construction materials should cause no major damage to anyone else!  We get heavy frosts here in Katikati, several in Winter and in Spring, so sub-tropicals don't stand a chance without protection.

Garden bed rotation signs
My old veg bed signs were looking a little drab, so to brighten up for the coming grey winter, I painted some signs with some old test-pot acrylic paint - took all of 5 minutes, for each one.  The wood is off-cut cedar bits which Mike collects from a factory before they throw them away, and we also use them for kindling.  I pick out bits I want to use to make things with and they are perfect for garden use.  I work a 4 bed crop rotation in the garden - green leafy crops (silver beet, salad crops, kale etc.), root crops (carrots, garlic, onions etc.), leguminous crops (peas, beans, lupins) and fruit crops (tomatoes, eggplant etc.).  I had some old wooden decorative shapes lying around from a previous project, so they were glued in place to zhoosh them up a little.

Easy-peasy signs - 1,2,3 and they're done! 

My leaf bed was looking quite good, s'cepting for the frost this morning which all but obliterated the Tom Thumb lettuces!!  Bugger!

Leguminous crop - my pea seedlings awaiting transplanting.....
Old mulch scraped away from path.
And finally, last week I scraped up all of the old pathway mulch in this area, re-laid it under the fruit trees (great rich food source for trees), laid down cardboard and then scattered fresh mulch over to suppress weeds for the next 9 months or so.  12, if I'm lucky!  Most all the pathways need this treatment but I do a few at a time, sourcing the tree mulch from a local tree feller/fella!  I usually wait 5 weeks before using it, allowing it to stand and break down a little so that it does not rob too much nitrogen from the soil.

Cardboard to line the path will eventually break down - it is made from trees, and goes back to feed the trees!

Fresh new tree mulch laid on top of the cardboard makes a great weed suppressant.
So it's onwards and upwards as I continue to prepare the garden for The Big Sleep (a.k.a Winter).

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