Friday, July 10, 2009

Winter at Tenderbreak

We cleared vegetation off our dam wall and resolved to keep it free of trees. Roots from large trees can penetrate the wall in search of water and this could lead to an empty dam. At times we have made attempts to get the job done, but it was just too big.

However this year the fires did half of it for us. The photo shows a small section. All we had to do was grub out the burnt trunks of perhaps 200 saplings. It still took two full days but at least it’s done and all we have to do is to regularly cutback growth to prevent trees getting established. Time will tell if we can keep up our resolve to keep regrowth down.

Whilst doing this job we took the opportunity to create a meandering path which leads to the gate valve (previously we had to battle through dense vegetation to get there). It also leads to the gully below the dam providing a pleasant bushwalk.

Another job we have been intending to do for many years was to build a hot house. We have now collected a pile of second-hand material for this purpose and started excavating the site. Hopefully this project should be completed in the next few weeks.

We’ve harvested around 70kg spuds and 80 pumpkins (Butternuts, Jarrahdales, Queensland Blues and a handful of unknown heritage). We continue to pick lettuce, celery, carrots, beetroots, turnips, silverbeet, wong bok, chicory, parsnips, daikon and many herbs. The brassicas are all doing well. We are enjoying the taste of freshly picked brussel sprouts and will soon be able to tuck into caulies, cabbages and brocccoli. Our focus in winter is on garlic, onions, (both planted in May) and broadbeans (for food as well as a green manure crop).

Our passionfruit gave us a pleasant surprise. This was the first year it provided a crop and we have been patiently waiting for them to turn purple. In the end we gave up, tried one and found it to be ripe and sweet. Apparently we have a yellow fruiting variety and are now enjoying them “passionately”.

In the orchard we have started pruning fruit trees, divided and transplanted some rhubarb plants and have prepared spots for a few more fruit trees. We’ve also cut down a few older acacias, cut back others and used our mulcher to turn the prunings into a big pile of mulch.


Geoff said...

You're certainly getting through all the work there! Have you thought about confining some goats on the dam wall to keep regrowth down? The ones on our place keep all the young saplings of the eucalypts etc under control, though this is a problem if one is hoping to get some new trees growing! Good luck putting the hothouse together, looking forward to that one.

Andrew and Heather said...

Thanks for the idea Geoff. Actually we have had some thoughts about getting a couple of goats, but hadn't thought of using them to keep regrowth down on the dam wall. At the moment of course there's not much for grazing animals to munch on-after the fires. But when things get back to normal and we get a few more fences up it will be on the cards. Of course there's half a dozen major projects to get out of the way first.

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