RAIN! Its still raining. Yahoo!

17th May 2016

Well, its still raining. A bit at least. The windy wildness hasn't been very much fun (it blew all the mulch off my garlic beds, grrrr) but the wet stuff has been very well appreciated. Our farm dam didn't start to fill until we'd had a week of good rain. Now its pretty close to spilling. Yay!

I was emailing back and forth with my friend Cindy today, trying to find a time for a catch up that we can both get to. We finally found a date in the first week of July. "Winter" said Cindy. "Sheesh" said I. Actually I said something a bit stronger than that, but this probably isn't the place to print it. Where did Autumn go??

Still, I can't complain. The wood heater is humming along warmly, with a pot of soup in the making on top. The kitchen bench is laden with pumpkins, medlars, walnuts, garlic, a few last tomatoes, quinces and even a big old zucchini. Things are still growing out in the garden. There's still active life in the soil. The chickens aren't laying much, but they're still a delight to hang out with. They were absurdly enthusiastic about the warm mash I made them this morning. All is well.

Accidental bonus understorey with a kick

Our friends Gemma and Terry at IJALSE farm in Gardners Bay had a surprise a month or two ago. They had planted some radish seeds as a quick 'in and out' filler crop between seedlings of brussel sprouts. The idea being that the radishes would be grown and pulled for eating within about 6 weeks, leaving room for the brussel babies to keep developing. They've done similar with radishes under peas (below):
Trouble was, the radish seeds were mislabelled, and instead of being cute little red cherry belle's, they were the altogether more imposing daikon (see right). Like all radishes, daikon tend to push themselves up out of the soil a bit as they grow. Unlike most of the salad radishes we are used to, daikon radish get REALLY BIG! They are often used as a vegetable cultivator of compacted soil, pushing down and out with their big strong taproot to loosen things up.
Most of Gemma and Terry's garden is growing food for the family, and they were unlikely to want to eat kilos and kilos of daikon. Its a versatile vegie, with a peppery crunch, good cooked or raw . . . but still, there's a limit to how much they would use.
Fortunately, we know plenty of people in the food game who love and value fresh organically grown daikon, and so we were confident we could find buyers for the crop. A few phone calls and emails later, and we decided to harvest the lot. We washed and graded the roots, and cut their lovely leaves off to stop them becoming dehydrated. Then weighed and bundled the haul into batches. A fantastic 14kg of daikon, sold comfortably to a few happy customers for around $8/kg. You can do the maths . . . not a bad return on a mistaken understorey sowing. The excercise also forged some relationships which will be productive.
So, the moral of the story is: don't despair when things don't turn out how you planned. There might be a silver lining, or a new opportunity hiding amongst it all.

The rewards of patience

This beautiful white borage is now flowering and growing happily in my garden in a few different spots. The plants are descended from those grown from a few seeds collected at a friend's place about a year ago. See the story in our newsletter HERE
 about the generosity of gardeners. I'm looking forward to when I can photograph both blue and white borage flowering in the same shot. But for the moment, the chooks and rabbits are getting most of the borage that I'm pretty sure is blue!

Cheap and GOOD Potting mix recipe

I've been potting up strawberry runners and aloe vera pups in the last month or so. There was a story about aloe vera in the newsletter from last year referenced above.  Here's the link if you didn't follow it for the borage story. I've also been taking more tassieberry cuttings (from the young plants grown from last year's cuttings), and potting up baby blackwood trees grown from seed from the trees along our rivulet.
I've been having great results, better than I used to get. I think its because I'm now using a fantastic potting mix recipe that Wendy-the-extraordinary-gardener-from-Sandy-Bay gave me. Here's the recipe for a 50 litre batch:
40 litres composted potting bark
10 litres potting sand
150g lime (dolomite or ag)
150 g osmocote
30g ferrous sulphate
15g micro nutrients

Mix it together by pouring between two buckets - I do a half batch at a time or its too heavy.
I then keep this mix in lidded 20 litre buckets, as well as the spare potting sand and bark in separate buckets. We've used it very successfully for starting seeds of peas, broad beans, beetroot, lettuce and silverbeet with kids at Clarence Plains whom we're working with. Its a nice light mix, and best of all, its weed free. I'll get a few more tubs of fine composted pine bark and sand next time I go past Males Sand, ready for the winter cuttings of figs, mulberry, pomegranate, feijoa, gooseberry, currants and other goodies that I'll opportunistically glean over the coming months.

Last chance for garlic seed (again)

We had a fast and furious response to our garlic seed offer in the last newsletter. We're sold out now. But never fear: the good young farmers from Hobart City Farm have got garlic seed of three different varieties available for you. Their online shop is open till 12 noon Wednesday. Get to it! Buy other stuff while you're there!

Web page newsletter work

The lovely Nica, our Romanian friend and top notch culinary genius, has been doing some great work on the FIMBY website lately. She's gone through all our past newsletters and put some titles and key words next to the link to each newsletter on our web page. So now, if you're procrastinating about something and want to be distracted for a happy half hour or whatever, you can browse our newsletter listings, and get a hint of what might be inside! Thank you Nica for your excellent work!

Biochar workshop at Wielangta Farm

Here's an advance notice of a workshop we're planning to hold at the farm.

Have your biochar and eat it too

Sunday 3rd July, 10.30am - 2.30pm
We'll make some biochar in a pit kiln, and cook lunch while we're at it.
$20 per person, includes lunch and a FIMBY calendar to take home.

Come for the learning about biochar,
or for the fireside scene,
or for the lunch (a winter feast it will be),
or for a sticky beak at what we've been doing at the farm,
or for the social occasion (hanging out and chatting with avid gardeners!).

Booking information and further details to come next time.
Feel free to express your interest now by email!
If you like our newsletter and know others who might enjoy it, please forward it on. If you'd like to get it to your inbox, please subscribe.

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