21 September 2015 4:41pm – Vegie Patch Update: Chilli Patch Prep, Potatoes, Ex-Fork

What did you all get up to over the weekend? This time of year is always busy-busy outside, clearing out the last of the winter veg and nasturtiums (I leave them in as bee forage over winter), preparing beds and planting the first lot of spring/summer veg. The highlights for us this weekend were soil improvement in the future Chilli Patch on Saturday, and harvesting the last of the potatoes and one cassava on Sunday. Here’s a quick summary:

The Chilli Patch

As mentioned over on the Soil page, our soil here leaves a lot to be desired. So as soon as BushCare was finished Saturday morning, we headed to Bunnings to collect more manure (didn’t have any success finding any cow or sheep manureon Gumtree) and wetting agent, then to a local landscaping place for another trailer load of mushroom compost2 to try to improve the soil in The Chilli Patch as much as we can before planting this coming weekend.

Before:

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Four small barrows-worth of mushroom compost, one bag of cow manure, one bag of sheep poo (all dug in as deeply as possible), 3 cans of wetting agent and a thick layer of sugarcane mulch later and, OMG, the water actually went in!! Yay!

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Potatoes in south-east Queensland

Sunday saw us harvesting the remainder of the potato bags, with Little’s assistance:

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Some bags did better than others, but overall it was a fairly good haul:

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The kipflers:

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The desirees:

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The dutch creams:

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And the sebagos:

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The Garden Fork That Was

After this, we *tried* to dig up the largest of our cassava – its been in the ground since we moved in and is well overdue for harvesting …

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but it won:

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With the help of the spade and mattock, and a fluffy black Chicken Little, we did eventually manage to get it out, finding also two massive curl grubs, a scrabble piece and more of the black plastic that I’d completely forgotten about.

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Yes, she’s sitting in the hole we were trying to dig; she was standing on the stump at one point too:

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Biggest curl grubs I think I’ve ever seen:

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Pity I only get 1 point for an E:

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And the dreaded black plastic:

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So that was our weekend. What did you get up to?

 

1 Cow and sheep manure can be used straight away, unlike horse and chicken, which needs to be composted for a while to allow the high ammonia content to dissipate and not harm your plants or soil life. Horse manure that has been collected from the paddock is generally ok as a mulch, but manure that has been collect from the stables is usually mixed in with shavings/straw and urine, and its the urine that may cause problems. If in doubt, compost it for a few months first; it won’t do any harm.

2 Mushroom compost doesn’t have a lot of nutrients left in it after being used for mushroom growing, but it does help to add organic matter and structure to the soil and help retain water and any other nutrients that you then add. So I have found it invaluable over the years.

 

 

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