24 January 2017

When we look back at what the Bloch looked like two and a half years ago we recognise how much we have achieved – starting with the blackberry annihilation. The northern boundary is now clear of blackberries, though this Spring and Summer they have persisted in raising their ugly shoots seeking life above the earth.  Where we can’t reach them with the lawn mower along the steep banks near the road they are growing more freely and quickly.  It is a constant battle at present to keep them under control and as it is such a large area we can only do section by section with the hedge clippers.

Our first attempt to create a civilised patch in all this mess, is up around the five trees at the top west corner. Below is a photo of our new flower garden with violas, salvias, euphorbias and an echium. It is a part shady site under the big cedar.img_0845

We laid newspaper on the ground, hopefully suppressing any blackberry activity, and covered it with loads of compost that had matured nicely in the pallet bins on the other side of the Bloch. More bags of bought compost were thrown over as well as some soil from the nearby fire sites. The covering is a little shallow, but enough to pop in our plants and water in well. Just a couple of meters away are some huge logs from the cedar we have arranged for seating.

Two joined hoses will extend from the tap so we can water this patch, but another is required if we need to fill the water bags surrounding the silver birches on the boundary. The water bags are a great success, after some initial frustration. The protective wire around the trees was not large enough to accommodate the water bags, so smaller trees requiring the wire will go without the water bags as they are too vulnerable to animal chomping.  I have laid some bags around the silver birches only for now, needing to create level ground and laying some mulch to protect against sharp objects.  There is happily some evidence of regrowth on these struggling trees. No animals (apparently wallabies are to blame) to date have disturbed the water bag operating properly. Refilling the water bags is a bit time consuming as I have to lug hoses to the top of the block, connect them together and pull the length of them over to the boundaries where the trees are.  It will be worth it in the long term though.img_0821

Some more tree remediation has been completed on two in the middle of the long grass – yet to be mown. The hazelnut and a maple have now been saved by some simple weeding, composting and mulching and a bit of water to get them back on track.

The veggie patch on the other hand, is finally taking off after a cool Spring. Everything does seem a little later to develop this year, however, I have only last year to compare with which was unusual as it experienced early warmth. We have already harvested the beetroot and our first huge quantity of zucchinis, some absolutely enormous!

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We have no ripe tomatoes yet.  There are huge quantities of leaves, a few flowers, and some small fruit, but we seem ages away from any real harvest.  Even at home, I have only now picked the first ripening tomatoes. We can only hope we don’t have too many green tomatoes left over at the end of the season.

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