Moon Planting Experiment

O.K. World,Ready or Not,Here I Come.Having a Degree in Applied Science, you can understand

that I am quite interested in experimenting with different ideas and seeing what results they yield.

After reading What to plant in September on Aussie Organic Gardening I’ve decided to experiment with Moon Gardening.

Hypothesis: To test if Dwarf Beans planted in the Last Quarter phase perform any differently to those planted in the New Moon phase.

Moon Planting sounds a little like mumbo jumbo, but I’m willing to start to work by it for a while to see if I get any better results. If anything, the cyclic nature of it will keep me on my toes and planting new things regularly.

For some further info, check out Traditional Moon Planting.

Growing Mother Of Herbs – Five Spice

DSCF2234I’ve just bought a Mother of Herbs plant, Coleus Amboinicus.

It was just sitting in the nursery, looking different (almost like a Pelargonium) and smelling so sweet.

Mother of Herbs, Coleus Amboinicus is a prolific spreading plant with large soft fleshy aromatic leaves. Used to flavour soups, salads, casseroles and many other dishes. It smells slightly like oragano.

It is said that when made into a tea (chop up a leaf and put in boiling water) it can be used to releave the symptoms of bronchitis, asthma, coughs, viral conditions, to relieve indigestion and stomach cramps, convulsions, and as a liver tonic.

It is also said that the tea will help you sleep and is a cure for insomnia.

This plant has many names: Queen of Herbs, Five in One Herb, Five Seasons Herb, Allherb, Country Borage, Indian Borage, Five Spice Herb, Chinese Three in One, Broad Leafed Thyme, Spanish Thyme, Spanish Sage, Puerto Rican Oregano.

The Five Spice herb is relatively hardy and will grow in most conditions. It does not like frost or cooler climates, but can be potted and grown in sheltered areas or indoors in the cooler parts of the year.

The directions on the tag say to plant in full sun or semi shade, water well, prune often and it’s an ideal hanging basket plant.

Propegation is by cuttings or root division. It sprawls, so prune regularly.

Recycle old socks and Soft drink bottles

Instructables.com would have to be one of my favorite websites, as it encourages people to get out and create things from stuff that is laying around. I would love to be a teenager again having plenty of spare time and all of my fathers tools to get stuck into a couple of projects each week.

A simple search for Gardening revealed hundreds of different projects for you to build. Here are three that jumped out at me today:

Scrooge Bottle – A great water saving device built to plant beside water loving plants. It is simple to make and cheap to construct, and is a great way to recycle old socks and soft drink bottles.

Pipe tools – creating a great planting trowel / shovel out of some steel water pipe is the best and cheapest way I’ve seen to create gardening tools.

Easy Garden labels – a thrifty student has used plastic spoons to make sturdy and long lasting plant labels.

So how about we all get out there and start creating things from old materials to make our lives in the garden easier.

DIY water saving drip irrigation system

Water and lack thereof is a huge talking point in this day and age of “Climate Change”. By changing your watering technique you can improve your watering effectiveness, save you time and save some money in water bills.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been adding to our new large garden bed. We’ve put in plants such as Passionfruit, a lemon tree, Moses in the cradle, honeysuckles, ponytail tree, marigolds, vinca, lavender etc. All of these plants have different water requirements, but to help preserve what goes on, it has all been mulched with hay, and some parts have been covered with horse manure to help the hay break down into a nice rich topsoil / compost / mulch.

I’ve been using my standard watering sprinkler which puts out a whopping 990 liters per hour over a large area. It takes 4 moves of the sprinkler to get the whole area covered, and it is easy to forget to move it, and some areas get neglected from time to time.

Working with small scale irrigation systems is quite easy, even for the first timer who has no experience. Your basic setup requires a few key materials and a little common sense.

For our setup I bought fifty meters of 13mm hose, two T pieces, a hose adapter, a filter (to stop the drippers blocking) with pressure reducer (keeps it at 100 bar), and some drippers.

Overall it only took 30 minutes to install. The first step was to lay the hose out in the desired pattern, cut and fit joiners where required. Next attach the hose and fill with water, take the hole making tool and start installing the drippers.

Click to enlarge photo Each of my drippers run at 4 litres per hour, I used these on the larger plants such as the lemon tree, passionfruit vine and other larger dedicated plants.

To make placement easier, I used some smaller 4mm flexible hose to attch to the main 13mm hose. This allows me to move them around the base of the tree as required.

Click to enlarge photoOver my anuals (which will be replaced with perennials when the current perennials grow to be a bit bigger) I used a small rotating sprinkler head. Using upright raisers to get them above the mulch, they spin around distributing water over a larger area. The exact water usage from these is unknown at the moment, but should they begin putting out too much water, I can easily add taps to their raisers and they can be turned off.

The best part of creating your own drip irrigation system is that it can be modified at any time for little cost, once the initial financial outlay has been done.

By completing this job, my household water consumption should drop significantly thus reducing my water bill. Along with the installation of the low water toilet bowl and dual flush cistern in the bathroom, I’m taking the first step top making my house even greener.

For more information on DIY Watering systems you can visit:

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Mushroom Compost

Yesterday I had my first experience with mushroom compost. At the moment, I hope it will be my last.

I purchased a 25 litre bag from a store that shall remain nameless. The pallet must have been sitting in the rain at some stage, an the water had got through the air holes in the bag. The result was a stinking anerobic decomposition which looked like grey slime.

I will grant that that was only half the bag doing that, but the smell was rancid. I scooped about 4 handfulls out of the good part to mix into the soon to be Zuchini bed and the rest got mixed into the pile of grass. Hopefully it will do some good in there to get the composting going.

Give it a couple of months, to let me lick my wounds and clear out my nostrils and I may have another go.

Youngest Garden Blog Author

How’s this for cool, there is a 6 year old named Megan who has her own garden blog.
She has been posting recently about strawberries and peas. She doesn’t use a spell checker, but if you read it phonetically you will get the gist of it.
If you’ve got 5 minutes, make sure you drop in and give her some support!
http://megansgarden.com/

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Lettuce experiment

I planted out a tray of Green Mignonette lettuce about 2 weeks ago, I tried to do the right thing and separate them all out and plant them in rows. Having run out of room to spread them out, with the left over plants I simply slid them out of their tray into a spot in the garden.
Since then they have both been given the same water and nutrients, yet the separated ones have grown far slower.

I think *and hope* that when it comes to picking time, the separated lettuces have performed better than their sardine like cousins who are squished in together.

DSCF2225 DSCF2226

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Veggie Garden Update

I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about my veggie patch before? If not, then here is a quick rundown for you all.
It’s about 3m x 10m and is fenced off from the rest of the yard by a 4ft fence. When we moved in it was overgrown with weeds (thistles in particular), so after a lot of pulling and cleaning I found that the soil there was less than average and very sandy.

Having all good intentions of making loads of compost, I started dumping the lawn clippings into a heap at one end. This has now turned into a huge pile of grass clippings (not compost). Today I spread it all out and have began watering it and will add some horse manure to it and stir it up a little to kill the little weed seeds that are living in there.

So now it’s onto the contents. I’ve got 6 cabbages that have began to head up nicely. There are three tomato’s, some very small spring onions, some Pak Choy, lettuces, a couple of Chinese broccoli and one pumpkin.

DSCF2228 by you.

Over the summer time there will be a shade house erected to protect them all from the 40+ degree (Celsius) days.

Underneath the straw (kinda hard to see) is about 15 dwarf snap beans, more spring onions, spinach, coriander, lettuce and some baby carrots.

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