G'day from Redland Bay (QLD)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by RobinsSea, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hello... been following me mate Mark (trying to sound Aussie, but I'm actually still a Yank) for the past better part of a couple of years. Living in a similar climate to him - he's north of the river whilst we're south, still all SE QLD - his advice on how to grow and what to grow has been incredibly helpful in our little gardening efforts. I still have heaps to learn, of course and as I near retirement, I'd like this little experiment of mine turn into not only a decent food source, but also address nutrition issues we're encountering with some of those long-storage-shelf-life store-bought veges. I'd like to get into some of the lesser-seen-in-stores veges, too, like perennial spinach and Egyptian spinach and Aristotle basil but also nut out why our capsicum went to custard just as it was looking like it was going to do well.
    Lots to learn, having a great time doing it, though. Trying everything just a little, with mild success, like hydroponics and worm-farming and raised garden beds / hugelkultur... my main focus is soil-building, as we have really shocking dirt (not soil) which I'm slowly converting into something much more conducive to growing things. We're composting, of course, but even that is a bit iffy at times.
    Lots and lots to learn! What better place than here at SelfSufficientCulture!
     
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  2. GKW

    GKW Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    G'day and welcome.

    Bit of a similar story for me. Started thinking of some backyard veg and fruit and came across Mark's videos which were and are extremely helpful for the newbie wanting to do a bit more in the yard apart from mow and trim the shrubs.

    Then came across this forum and discovered like minded people with a wealth of experience and knowledge. Having watched some / many of Mark's vid's and read through a lot of posts here, whilst I won't make mistakes I think I've avoided for a few pot holes so far.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    Greg
     
  3. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks, Greg... looking forward to this. Seems a bit silly, actually, to be re-inventing the wheel when I could be learning from the experiences of gardeners who have been over this road already.

    Thanks again and all the best in the New Year!
     
  4. Wedgetail

    Wedgetail Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi RobinsSea welcome to the forum plenty of interesting post on here with lots of good info just shows you are never to old to learn best of luck with you garden adenture. Dave
     
  5. DTK

    DTK Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi RobinSea and welcome. I recall my now aging mother teaching me to always leave three leaves on the spinach (actually now I know it as silverbeet) when I pick it. I was just a kid and I liked vege gardening back them. Fast forward a few decades to retirement and still every day is a school day. I used to have good success with tomatoes - now I am fighting virus and I think virus is still a head-length in front. One of the things about vegetable gardening is that it challenges me everyday. This forum (and Mark's other journeys) is of immense help and yours, just for the seeking! Enjoy!

    Dan
     
  6. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thank you, Dan and Dave. There's no question this forum is a goldmine of information. Back when I have this lingering eternity of a very productive tomato plant, the leaves were getting decimated by these green caterpillars. A lot of other sites were recommending some pesticide or another, but Mark reckoned if you just pick them off and smoosh them one by one, problem solved. And he was right: I eventually got rid of the lot just by being persistent. All without poisons.

    Viruses: hmmm that sounds daunting.

    Gave away some worm wee today to one of my workmates who said her pot plants were doing a bit poorly. Not sure what plants she was going to treat, but we had this indoor lily plant (Peace lily, I think) that went from scrawny and sad to very lovely green and healthy with just a few treatments. She said she's going to do before-and-after piccies: keeping my fingers crossed. :)
     
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  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah, soil is such an important element in growing food - it's true you can grow in practically anything free-draining if you're pumping the right nutrients through it but a good soil rich in nutrients, fungi and animals really makes for a happy garden.

    Thanks for joining us! :)
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there RobinsSea, welcome.
    Those green caterpillars make excellent chook food.
    When I had chooks and it was caterpillar season, I only had to head towards the tomato bushes and chooks would come running in anticipation of a good feed.
    The chooks rarely saw the grubs themselves but they knew I could spot them!
     
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  9. Patty

    Patty Active Member Premium Member

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    Welcome! Have fun growing your soil and your food! Loads of knowledge and experience in this group.
     
  10. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wow, g'day, Mark, and thank you for having me... and hello, Cliss and Patty :) thank you for the cordial welcome!

    First, a huge disclaimer that I failed to make when I first introduced myself... my wife and I were amazing adept at killing plants (mostly through neglect but also ignorance). We still very much consider our experiences: experiments. "Let's have a go and see if this works." And as the old indian chief said in Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman) "Sometimes, the magic works, sometimes it doesn't."

    Had a pretty big day today finishing my latest grow bed:

    NewGardenBed.jpg
    What got this approach to grow beds started is visible at the base of the other grow beds: the timber was part of a rather manky-looking deck which I re-purposed and ... well, at 16 bucks a pop, those timber pieces were sort-of affordable at the local Bunnings and the beds just sort-of grew, organically, as it were. :blush:

    Would you believe those timber pieces (2.4 metres) fit into my little i20? :crazy:

    The height of the beds is really nice, as I'm edging towards retirement in a couple of years and the old back isn't what it used to be. Our neighbour took the tree in his front yard out, so part of that is at the bottom of the nearest bed and the one next to it. Actually, all of the others have large chunks of wood in their bases, too.

    Recently, we've taken to chucking a couple of bags of horse poo in right before we put in the soil, which is dirt that has been brought back to life with heaps of organic material from the tumblers: kitchen scraps mixed with shredded paper from work and old bills and stuff. The bed with the plastic (hydroponic experiment) trays in it is going to lie fallow for a few months as the soil isn't fully mature and besides, water is really scarce these days. :(

    We've got the neighbours all involved bringing us their kitchen scraps to help build up the soil. They're all quite excited to see this thing sort-of come to life: it's very much a community thing, where they will be able to come and help themselves to whatever they need - at the moment, what we have most of is shallots.
    Yum! :eat:

    All comments, suggestions and anything else are warmly welcomed: we're very much on the steep slope of the learning curve - I like the idea of feeding caterpillars to chooks, Cliss! - and, well, using fitted sheets (yes, those ARE fitted sheets you see over those other beds!) to keep the plants from getting heat-stressed may not be the ultimate great new idea...
    :idea:
    Cheers,
    ~r
     
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  11. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yeah, we have basically clay, Mark... I planted this sad little avo down the back - took a mattock to dig a hole, and despite filling it will good soil, the poor thing fails to thrive.

    And then, I saw your video on the problem with fruit trees and poor draining soil, and, well, had my answer. :quiver:
     
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  12. GKW

    GKW Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Great looking beds ya got there. Love the benches / work space on the end too. Good idea.

    I've been using all the old cut up tree stumps, branches and green foliage to fill out the bottom of my beds before putting the compost and manure in too.....hugelkultur by accident I guess but it made sense to do so.

    Best wishes

    Greg
     
  13. DTK

    DTK Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Great work - seems to me that for a novice you are doing really well. :)
     
  14. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thank you, DTK and Greg. I must give all credit to Mark on whatever little success I've had: his sound biology principles and easy (TOO easy!! :thumbsup: ) to follow suggestions in a setting of similar challenges to overcome is going to lead to good outcomes, surely.

    Just listened to his podcast on water: we're going to invest in a 5000 litre tank to capture all that roof runoff which is currently creating dramas on the side of the house: too much water for the ground to soak up, and so it's doing damage. And our lovely neighbours down the road are GIVING us :cheer:a 1000 litre tank they're not using, so that is going to be going on the other side of the house. As Mark said, if you have poor soil, you can always build it up, but without water... o_O
     
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  15. DTK

    DTK Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    My wife now cheekily refers to our little acreage as "tank city". ;)
     
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  16. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Very neat and lovely raised beds 4 x sleepers high would make them around 80 cms which is a really good height!

    Great pics :twothumbsup:
     
  17. RobinsSea

    RobinsSea Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thank you, Mark. :)

    We're actually planning 3x sleepers-high beds for the neighbourhood kids! We're in process of purchasing a 5000 litre water tank - no water, no plants - which will allow us to do this. And all those kitchen scraps (and shredded paper, and cardboard) turned into compost and subsequently, soil is hopefully going to give our neighbourhood something to inspire them to do similarly.

    If I can do this - who used to kill plants regularly - anyone can.:twothumbsup:

    Loved your under-planting video from a few days ago... we've had to face the fact that we should have had a look at what grows well in this heat, and perhaps used the under-planting approach to allow us to grow things somewhat out of season. Oh well, when we fail - as we do, at times - we just say: "Well, it IS an experiment, after all." Might have saved us a bit of grief reading posts on this forum, of course. :facepalm:
     
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