Orchids Online


Note to myself…

I have registered on the site http://www.orchidsonline.com.au/ to find some certain orchids to grow at the backyard.

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Make your own Mossy Rock


I found this on the internet a while back. Note to myself…

 

Question: Is there a trick for growing moss on rocks to achieve a weathering effect?

Answer: When rock is brought in from outside the property to construct a rock garden from scratch, it can look out of place. Its "newness" can stick out like a sore thumb, especially if there are no signs of weathering. Growing moss would solve this weathering problem, and, believe it or not, there’s a trick for weathering rocks artificially with rock moss. It’s a job that involves strange bedfellows: namely, moss and your kitchen blender! Bring in some moss that you find growing somewhere — this will be one of the ingredients of the "recipe." Besides moss, the other ingredients will be about 2 cups of yogurt, and about 4 ounces of potter’s clay to make the moss mixture stick better to the rocks. Puree the moss, yogurt and clay until you achieve a creamy consistency. Pour the moss mixture on your rocks. As the rock moss takes hold in your rock garden, mist it to keep it moist. And voila: you have instant weathering. Nothing gives rocks that "I’ve been here an eternity" look quite like rock moss. So make growing moss a priority in your rock garden start-up activities.

The Lawn Story


As we moved into a new house which is build on to a land of clay, there wasn’t even any weed growing on the ground. Occasional clovers were not much as well. So first thing first, our growing family needed a lawn. As there is nothing on the ground, this will be an easy to setup thing.

The land was a bit sloppy and I carried 30 wheelbarrows full of clay soil from the next door construction. They didn’t move their dirt which is piled up at the front of their construction, I carried some of it into our backyard and levelled the land and my son Uzay was helping me.

Before we do any work Uzay is helping me

After this tiring task, we headed to local Magnet Mart and bought some slippers for edging. These slippers are treated and does not rot easily. They are easy to work with and creating the edges is dead easy. MM also gives you the trailer for hire free of charge.

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After the edging is done, you can almost imagine the lawn there. Of course all this took several weeks of planning and decision making.

The next step was getting the subsoil drip irrigation installed. I didn’t know any idea about how to do the drip irrigation and what do I need. There are heaps of things at Bunnings or MM but a complete information is no where to be found. One of my friend suggested to go to www.duralirrigation.com.au to get my drip irrigation designed for free and they sent me all the pipes and connectors. They sent the things a bit much and the left overs were enough to use in my veggie garden which we will get to it later. Also Dural Irrigation gave me a good discount. Another good friends of mine living in Sydney picked them up and brought to Canberra. Once I have the plan, all the necessary pipes, connectors, controller and so on; it is easy to set the thing up. In the mean time I ordered the lawn soil from Whole Sale Slippers Company in Quenbeyan. I have done the drip irrigation on a Saturday morning.

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Drippers are laid and tested

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Air Release valve at the highest point of the drip system

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Galcon Controller with a mesh filter and backflow preventer

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Flush Valve at the lowest point of the drip system

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Full Tap Connection

When I was ordering the soil, I have also ordered 1 cubic meter cow manure. We first spreaded this manure on top of drippers as a first layer. When the grass roots reached here (about 20 cm down) cow manure will already be broken down and will be a good fertilizer for the lawn. I have called friends to help me move the lawn soil for a pizza and beer. It is a good work out to.

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Once we finish topping the soil, it looked like something might grow here. The seed selection was also confusing, there are so many varieties and companies. After some research I have selected Sir Walter’s Buffalo but there was no seed available for this, only turf. Than I found Munns Arid Smart Grass. I bought a pack of 2.5 kg and another pack of 1 kg. I have about 60 square meter and 2.5 kg is enough for 62 square meter. As I have never sprinkled lawn seeds before, my hand wasn’t even. I am still keeping the 1 kg box unopened. I also bought Munns lawn starter fertilizer and mixed the seeds with it to sprinkle.

After 9 days it looked like this. we didn’t turn on the drip irrigation yet as it would be a pointless exercise. We only watered it on top for the germination and establishment period.

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It looked patchy in the beginning.

After 29 days it looked like something. I even mowed it last week.

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Yes there are patches but I will fix those soon. I now have a lawn. I would like thank to my boss Simon and Bülent for shifting the soil, Dural Irrigation for planning and providing the necessary things, Mohan for bringing my order from Sydney to Canberra and Munns for the Arid seeds.

 

Seedlings are growing


First batch of seeds that I bought from Magnet Mart and sow on 2nd of September are growing. These are Dwarf Beans, Gourmet Delight Beans, Beetroot, Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

 

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And these are the lyches that I ate at the office and buried in a pot. I am really surprised when they come out. I transferred them to a nicer pot (Aldi Corn Cases) with lots of soil and fertilizer.

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I also have Ox Heart Tomatoes, some strawberries, thyme, oregano and mint in those styrofoam cases. Thymes are germinated and I can see two little leafs on each plant.

 

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Where to get seeds?


Of course the first source should be your fellow gardeners. I didn’t have any friends who has a vegetable garden and also didn’t have any seeds at my disposal to exchange them.
I bought my seeds from online suppliers and Magnet Mart. These are:

Diggers, www.diggers.com.au

  1. Capsicum mini sweet mix – code: s065
  2. Eggplant heirloom mixed – code: s116
  3. Onion red – code:s156
  4. Pea greenfeast – code: s165
  5. Pumpkin, turk’s turban – code: s181
  6. Spring onion red – code: s158
  7. Silverbeet five colour mix – code: s209
  8. Tomato ten colour heirloom mix – code: s246


Green Harvest, www.greenharvest.com.au

  1. Basil Genovese organic
  2. Basil lime organic
  3. Basil nufar F1 organic
  4. Coriander Slow bolt organic
  5. Dill organic
  6. Parsley giant italy organic
  7. Rocket organic
  8. Tomato ox heart organic
  9. Water cress aqua


Local Magnet Mart

  1. Organic Cucumber
  2. Organic Tomato (Mortgage Lifter)
  3. Dwarf Beans
  4. Gourmet Delight Beans
  5. Organic Beetroot
  6. Medicinal Camomile
  7. Mint

Diggers is so slow in delivery. They are still processing 15th August orders. Green Harvest is good, they deliver in 5 working days. I have got mine in 3 days. Magnet Mart seeds are growing at the moment. One of my Indian friend at work also gave me Lofha, Bitter Melon, Long Melon seeds, and another gave me 3 onions. I think I am missing garlic in the list but that is easy.

I have collected styrofoam vegatable cases from Aldi, and they are superb to grow mint, basil kind of things. You don’t want mint spreading all over the garden and take it over. I will also use them as seperators in the garden between the plots. I raised Magnet Mart seeds in seedlings at my study room and fed them with SeaSol (sea weed liquid fertilizer) and also the juice from my worm farm.

I will also check Eden Seeds at the Griffith shops though I don’t need much seed at the moment.

Compost Bin


There is a lot of information about this subject on the net. I will not reiterate those but tell you what I did. As we are consuming food, there is a lot of waste produced which can be utilised in the garden with some processing. Compost Bin is working different than a Worm Farm to break down the living materials. It works on the micro-organism level and may be earth worms.

I build mine out of 3 brick pallets and filled with 7 bags of leaves which I have collected from a friends garden. 3 bags of it sits as a guard at the front and the rest is inside. I have also collected used coffee grinds from local coffee shops and added them too. Now most of my kitchen scrap goes into this except meet products. I have also saved egg cartoons. I will use the egg cartoons to create layers and to increase air intake.

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I don’t care about the openings on the sides as it needs air. It requires turning with a garden fork every weekend. I also need to cut an old carpet to use as a covering on top. The chicken wire on top is scaring birds away.

Compost bin will invite worms and other small insects to the pile area which will speed up the process. Every end of season dead plants will end up here and eventually increase the soil structure when they compost.

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Clay soil rehabilitation


As my soil is hopeless clay, I should do something about it to grow vegetables on it. You can find a lot of helpful advices on the Internet. In one of the free weekend training that I have attended, I have been introduced GroundBreaker from MultiCrop. This is a liquid clay breaker which you need to dilute 1 lid of it with 9 litres of water and sprinkle on the clay. I used this all over the garden. I am told, it is also good when planning for big fruit trees; first dig the hole for the tree, fill it with water and GroundBreaker and leave it for about a week or till the water soaks up completely. This will help clay to break down and let the water go deeper rather than rotting the roots of your tree. Also roots will go deeper as the tension of clay broken.

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I also incorporated in 50kg of gypsum to the area. I think Gypsum is working faster on the outer crust. Today was rainy even some hailstorms and the “garden to be” place is still sticky. Of course it will take time, I am not waiting for a miracle. This area was flooding in a rainy day before but now drainage is significantly increased. I think I am getting there.

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When I add the top soil next week, it will be awesome. While I am growing my veggies, micro-organisms and worms will work underneath to rehabilitate the soil. My 5000L rain water tanks on the left are also full.

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