31 July 2013

July 2013

Its the end of July and there are early signs of spring in the air.
Melbourne's winters are fairly mild with only one or two light frosts.  This year it has been rather wet, and although slow most of my vegies are growing well.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought I would have a go experimenting with my Dwarf Orange tree, despite it doing well last year and producing a handsome crop of good sized, very sweet Hamlin Oranges.

I have always had problems maintaining a good mineral and pH balance in my Ecobins and I usually change the soil every year to overcome them.  However, I prefer not to disturb my mature dwarf fruit trees too often, so I have been looking for alternatives.  
I made a small Ecobed for my Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree, and it is doing very well, but I thought I might try a cheaper more portable option for my Dwarf Orange tree.
I seeded the existing bin with a few composting worms and earthworms, and began to add a small handful of worm food to the surface of the soil each time I fed my wicking bed worm farms.   I keep the soil covered with straw and a piece of shadecloth for protection and It seems to be working fine.  The worms are still there and the food is being broken down rapidly.

Meanwhile, my Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree is busy making lemons on a continuous basis.  The 3 stages of blossom, small green lemons and mature lemon are pictured above.  Meyer Lemons are a Lemon/Orange hybrid, and they produce a wonderful blend of sweet and sour juice.

The Peas and Broad Beans have been growing steadily in the triple in-ground Ecobed.  They are about to start flowering, and the Peas are already out of control.  The windy weather we've been having doesn't help, but they will taste the same untidy or not.

This bed is resting after being generously fed with sheep and cow manure.   Organic fertiliser was applied as follows.
  • 100g/square metre of blood and bone fertiliser.
  • 100g/square metre of chicken manure pellets.
  • 100g/square metre of rock dust.
The blackbirds have been having a great time digging for worms, and for once I don't care.  There are no crops to ruin.   
At the end of next month, I will be planting Potatoes here, and I have a nice pile of compost maturing ready to put into the Potato trenches.

This is my heavy feeder bed showing crops at various stages in their cycle.  Some have already been harvested and it looks like we will be living off broccoli for the next few weeks.  
I have Red Silverbeet, Kale, Mini Cabage and Cauliflower, Red Iceberg Lettuce, Pac Choi and Turnip in this bed, and I have just sown new seeds under glass to replace them after they have been harvested.
Rhubarb and apple pie is a favourite in our household, and even though the Rhubarb grows well right through winter, we always have a few preserving jars of the pie filling ready for use.