Earlier in the year I wrote about our project to clear the slope down to the lower dam behind the house, and I have to say, that even though we slid backwards a bit on this over the colder winter months, the project is back on track and Matt is doing an amazing job.
In the long term, we are hoping to encourage some pasture or lawn grass to grow there instead of the long, tussocky poa grass, and then the challenge will be to entice the ‘roos to come and graze and keep it nice and short. We don’t think this will be too much of a challenge, however, as our ‘lawn’ (as we euphemistically call the grass surrounding the house) is maintained quite nicely by them. For now, though, we will just be happy to have extended our buffer zone around the house block.
I, of course, should be helping, but I managed to twist my knee earlier in the school break, and am finding balancing on the rocky, uneven slope a bit awkward. Excuses aside, there is plenty to keep me occupied, anyway.
I’ve been working on getting our veggie patch up and running again. After our fiasco with the possum who ate all our veggies last year (except for one, small head of broccoli that I’m not even sure he hadn’t nibbled on), as well as our roses, I’ve been working hard to find a cheap and easy way to possum-proof the beds. They also need to be swamp-wallaby-proof. And feral-goat-proof. As I discovered one day last week when we had all been out and came back to find a small herd of goats absolutely feasting on anything they could get their teeth into!
Enter the chicken wire. Which is surrounding the beds as we get them planted up. Not nice taut, chicken wire, stretched between pretty posts, but slightly floppy – because, apparently, possums don’t like climbing it when it is – and tall enough to dissuade wallabies and goats. We hope. Although, I suppose that will depend on their determination and just how tempting our crop will be.
At the moment we are re-using some rolls of ex-fencing wire that we have found left lying around the property, but we’re being a bit careful. Matt saw a brown snake running (sliding) for cover under one such roll, late last summer.
So far, I have weeded one-and-a-half beds and transplanted our asparagus and some tomatoes and celery into one of them. The toms are under glass as we are still having some frosts, and the asparagus is pretty much hidden under the mulch of poa grass we are experimenting with.
The next bed along is our strawberry patch, which I was going to thin out until I saw all the tiny flowers. I didn’t take much persuading to move on to the next bed and leave the strawberries in peace.
I’m half way through getting this one free of weeds. I’ve pulled out about three different kinds of oxalis, various grasses, and something that is possibly santolina. Another experiment has been to chop up and turn over the clover as a sort of ‘green manure’. I’ll be interested to see whether it just grows back or not. I’ve got quite a lot of things planned for this bed, so hopefully by planting heavily I’ll keep it weed free.
Two more beds to go after that, including one that will be challenging to possum-proof, and then a herb bed to tidy up.
Just one or two things to keep me going for a while.