Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Daily routine

My daily routine at Maculata Grove is to check out what is happening in the garden. Eventually this routine will be a bit more involved as we plan to have chooks and other tasty creatures, but for now its all about the fruit and veg.

First thing in the morning is always the best time to visit the garden. There are many reasons for this. During the summer in South East Queensland, it can get very hot during the day. So you don't want to be doing too much stuff outside during the heat of the day. But sticky humidity aside, plants in the Cucurbit family (e.g. watermelons, pumpkins, zucchini, spaghetti squash, etc.) are only available for pollination in the morning. Now in a perfect world the insects would pollinate all of the female flowers for you. However I have found that this is rarely the case. Leaving up to the insects can result in very disappointing results. There are enough challenges around here as it is without having produce which does not mature.

Another thing which I generally do in the morning is harvest produce which is ready for eating. In particular peas, beans, tomatoes, and zucchini are some of my main targets. I find that if I do not do this, then I can leave some of the produce too long and it will spoil or be past its prime. However I do leave all the produce that I can on the plants, as nothing is better for you and tastier than freshly picked produce.

The other main morning task is to water the garden if there has been no recent rain. At this time, I do not have an irrigation system set up for the veggies. Thus it is all hand watering with my hose. The only exceptions are the banana pit which receives grey water from the laundry and the citrus orchard which receives treated effluent from my aqua nova waste treatment plant.

All in all this routine is quite relaxing and a great way to start the day. It allows me to keep a close eye on the garden, thus giving me the chance to take action as problems arise. Then I usually move onto the next part of my day, a blended smoothie. :)

Monday, 16 February 2009

History of the Grove

For my first post, I thought that I would provide some background about the property known to us as Maculata Grove. It is situated the lovely Pine Rivers Hinterland, roughly between Samford and Dayboro. We discovered this property after doing an extensive search of Brisbane suburbs which had larger blocks of land. At the tail end of our search we concentrated on the Samford area since the area is absolutely stunning and had heaps of green space.

We were very lucky to have found the property as we had stuck with one real estate agent during our Samford area search and the property was a private sale. The day after we discovered the property, we able to get a shown around. As it was pretty much exactly what we were looking for, we agreed to a purchase price later that day with the owners.

Maculata Grove is a north facing property with lovely views almost right around. To the east are rolling hills, to the north is Ocean View and Mount Mee, to the west is the D'Aguilar range. There is a lovely spring fed creek which runs through the property. Even during long dry periods, there is some water running. All in all there are five acres of ex-dairy land which will slowly be transformed into various food gardens.

We did not purchase a bare block of land. Rather, a large two storey shed had been built which had a makeshift kitchen, along with a bathroom including a shower. The shed has two 20000 L rainwater tanks which harvest the water from the roof. They are a good sized capacity (40000 L all up) for the roof catchment, although I do have plans to put in another tank. Our aqua nova waste treatment system handles all of our household "waste" water. The treated effluent is pumped to underground irrigation pipes away from the creek.

Some of the land was changed around the shed area to create a relatively flat area for the concrete slab. As a result numerous places around the shed have exposed clay and sub soil (which on this property is decomposed granite, aka deco).

Attached are two pictures from Google Maps and Google Earth which show the property from above. The property is in the centre of the pictures and bounds the two streets. Both of these pictures were taken before we moved in. The second picture on the right shows the shed.