The Gardens of Chiconia part 2

A mixed bag of gardening, worm farming and quilting today…  

Waved the Husband off the work, put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, and climbed into my gardening clothes.  I’ve been out there for two and a half hours, and it’s only 9.30am.  It’s getting hot, and the sun is swinging round into the area I was working in, so it’s time to retreat indoors.

The Tropical Garden is beginning to take shape after a hiatus. Today I turned over a few square metres of soil which has had compost on it for a week or so.  There was an earthworm in every forkful, a massive change from before, when the little wrigglers had all moved out due to compaction, waterlogging and nutrient leaching. The strategy is working!  I spread another 75kg of compost on a new area, putting in stepping stone so I wouldn’t compact it when I had to get to the vegie tubs. I planted a fairly advanced variegated shell ginger for quick impact, the brugmansia, a monstera deliciosa, a gardenia, a gorgeous black velvet-leaved alocasia, a peace lily, three more ginger rhizomes to come through over time, and another small murraya in a tub by the front door, to keep the lemon geranium, curry plant, stevia, sage and oregano company. (Notice the recurring theme of the front door pots?  All smell and/or taste good.)  They all have dark blue glazed pots and look very pretty.  I like the contrast in leaf colour from very dark green through acid green to silver.  Round the corner, the Desert Garden is looking lovely: the portulaca is growing like crazy and has lots of bright vermilion flowers.

The portulaca is flower for all it's worth, and just doesn't stop. The flowers close up at night.

The portulaca is flowering for all it’s worth, and just doesn’t stop. The flowers close up at night. The aloe has just started throwing out pups.

I have taken 2L of worm tea from the bottom of my worm farm. Considering this is used diluted 1:10, I’ve got plenty of fertilising material for the next couple of months!  It’s the first time I’ve stripped the liquid out, and I’m impressed with the work my little red wrigglers are doing in the short time they’ve been with us. They get all the kitchen and table scraps apart from onion and citrus.  We put the soft stuff through a blender with a dash of water, for a quick munch, and then cut up the harder scraps for longer term snacking. There’s rarely anything left. They like the contents of the vacuum cleaner and my hairbrush, the dust kittens that gather in the corners, old egg boxes and dead leaves, and are basically a wonder of nature. Every few weeks I have to renew their damp newspaper ‘roof’ because they’ve eaten most of the old one. They live in a high rise polystyrene foam box condominium with a lid. They’re old broccoli boxes, but don’t tell the worms. The bottom one collects the ‘tea’. The next one up has holes in the bottom to let the tea escape, and contains the worms, their living quarters, the latest meal, and the newspaper roof. Then there’s a lid on top of that, with airholes punched in. It lives in the garage in the cool and the dark, doesn’t smell and is clearly labelled so people take care around it. The Husband loves the wormies, and takes on the job of blitzing their food, cutting the hard stuff up and feeding them.

I’m going to retreat to my workroom and get stuck into my Morning Tea quilt again.  Today, it’s sewing down the fairy cakes fused onto the cake stand, the last job on the quilt top.  (For those of you on your first visit, take a look at Morning Tea at the the Quilting Bee from 27 September).  I now have the batting, binding and backing fabric for it, and the sandwiching process can begin.  This will consist of laying out the backing, wrong side up, on the floor.  On top of this will go the batting (wadding), which is needled cotton, so I can quilt fairly far apart if I want to.  On top of that goes the quilt top, right side up. Then you grovel around on hands and knees, pushing curved safety pins through all three layers at hand’s width intervals to hold everything securely together for quilting. Then you stop, let your back unkink, reward yourself with a large drink, and put off further action till another day.  Or that’s how it goes with me, anyway…


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