The Gardens of Chiconia 15


Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.41.04 PM
 It’s not too late in the year, and I’m almost ready to go!

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.40.42 PMThree raised beds of a square metre each… Let’s see: tomatoes, capsicums, bush beans, rocket, spinach, bok choy, silverbeet, zucchini. Outside the beds: a bale of hay with a hole dug in the top, filled with compost and planted with pumpkin, a potato tower made of chicken wire, another for sweet potato and a large tub with rhubarb. I already have a huge basil bush, lemon balm, oregano, sage, rosemary and curry bush. I don’t have space for brassicas, onions, leeks, beetroot or carrots, all of which take a while to grow and more space than I can afford right now.  Maybe in the future.

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.41.33 PMI’ve had to review my fish tank plan.  I was considering raising tilapia, which require little space and water which is only moderately moving.  However, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has decided that tilapia are noxious animals and may not be kept privately or farmed in Australia. So I shall do my homework more carefully, and maybe keep something a bit more native – perhaps golden perch. And it’s not going to happen very soon, I suspect.

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.42.30 PMIn the meantime, I could get some water vegetables going in there, like water chestnuts, kang kong, etc. Or maybe a pretty or two: lotus, water lily, papyrus, yellow flag. Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.42.03 PM

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.42.44 PMInitially the idea was to attract frogs and dragonflies to keep the insects down, and I may yet revert to that. And I could, of course, have a few koi or goldfish to keep the mosquito larvae down – we have dengue fever here, which is mosquito-borne and it’s important to remove their sources of breeding water.

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.43.13 PMWe’ve shifted half our load of rock. Half to go – and I’m strongly tempted to just tip it off the trailer and deal with it later. We need the trailer for the rest of the planting supplies.

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.43.03 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.43.25 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.43.51 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.44.10 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.44.22 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.46.26 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.44.35 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.45.56 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.45.25 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.45.41 PM Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 12.46.12 PMMeanwhile, in the rest of the garden, things are growing like mad, taking advantage of the cooler weather, moderate rain and gentler winds.  Take a look at some of those colours!


18 thoughts on “The Gardens of Chiconia 15

  1. tialys says:

    Lovely photos – some of those I’ve only ever seen as houseplants! It all sounds like far too much hard work to me. I’ll continue leaving it all to Mr. T and just reap the benefits. Well, I do have to do the watering when he’s away working so I’m not completely idle. Anyway, even if I wanted to do more work in the garden, he would be watching me like a hawk and trying to boss me around so it’s probably best I stay at a distance.

  2. Shame about the Tilapia… I know a couple of folks who use carp, but I don’t know what they are like to eat.

    • katechiconi says:

      They’re a noxious beastie here too. Silver perch if I want to eat them, or koi or goldfish if I just want them for pretty and mozzie larvae control.

  3. Barbara says:

    Dear Kate,

    Do you also get butterflies? And beetles? I’ld love to see, but I know about your grasshoppers and don’t need to have pictures of those.

    Love the pictures of your garden!

    Barbara XXX.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. dayphoto says:

    You are a beautiful yard. And you get to garden year round…something I would love to do!


  5. narf77 says:

    As a horticulturalist, your garden photos have me twitching with delight! OH the beautiful stuff you can grow! Welcome to our Tassie world “no imports of walnuts, capsicums, chillis, tomatoes, ANYTHING with soil on the roots, honey…blah…blah…add…infinitum…” sigh, it feels like we are living in Nazi Germany here sometimes! I can live vicariously through other people’s delicious tropical gardens though. Apparently they are allowed to have tilapia in Western Australia?! I guess it just evens out the cane toads and sparrows and starlings and bumble bees and blackbirds that they don’t have? Have you thought of baramundi? Twould be perfect for your conditions (methinks). Anyhoo…cheers for the lovely fix of real gardening without possums, wallabies, chooks and anything else that wants to take a nibble or a potshot at our garden. I gain a degree of stability every time I peruse other people’s gardens. I just have to STOP looking out at my own and learn to squeeze under the bed (with Earl the wonder dog) and live in the gardening world of my imagination more while it goes to heck in a handbasket out there 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I think I’ll just content myself with pretty fish that eat the dengue mozzie larvae… The main pests in my garden are grasshoppers the length of my palm, citrus leaf miners, big black hairy caterpillars, aphids and all sorts of moulds. But they don’t make pretty blogs, so I tend to leave them out. Console yourself also with the thought that I can’t grow peas, broad beans, apples, pears, cherries, nectarines, peaches, apricots, daffodils, crocus, tulips, bluebells or any of those other beautiful spring delights that tell us winter is over and summer’s on the way. We just don’t chill enough up here. But I’m coping somehow, as I gaze fondly at my banana, avocado, mango and lychee trees… No fruit yet, but they’re still babies.

      • narf77 says:

        I can’t grow any of those things either because our native animals are particularly partial to most of them 😦 We had to build a fully enclosed veggie garden just to get ANY veggies this year and the possums still managed to invade Poland…it is somewhat heartbreaking to see the damage that a hungry possum can do 😦 Kudos on the tropical fruit trees. I have a few avocados and am going to plant them out. I didn’t think that they would fruit in Tassie but there is one that fruits every year in the city (Launceston) in MUCH colder conditions than we get out here so why not give it a go? I also have a banana in my glasshouse…more wishful thinking than anything else but it has survived 3 winters on Serendipity Farm and so it is officially part of our life here 🙂

  6. EllaDee says:

    Lovely post that feeds the soul of vicarious gardeners like me 🙂 Your raised garden beds look very interesting, and I’m filing the hay bale – pumpkin info away for future use as our gardening area at Taylors Arm is confined within an average houseblock also containing sheds etc. We can grow some tropicals but we get frosts in winter, so I’m hoping for a green-glass house too. And I love the idea of a pond.

    • katechiconi says:

      You can use the hay bales for more than pumpkins, melons, zucchini, etc. Cover the top with strawberries, for example… And it brings gardening up to a level where you still retain the use of your back at the end of the day. Let me recommend One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein, which demonstrates how easy it is to feed yourself well in very little space. I have a lot less than an average house block, but I intend to have beauty and utility out there!

  7. Kirsten says:

    You sure have your hands full out there! I love seeing it all, even if it does make me a little jealous. We tried to grow cabbage and cauliflower last year but the butterflies and subsequent caterpillars ate them all and we didn’t get a look in. A bit like a couple of years ago when the local bambi ate all my raspberries and blueberries!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve had the same problem wherever I tried, be it the UK or temperate and tropical Australia. Unless you have a huge garden with lots of choice, growing a small amount of brassicas is going to be a cabbage moth butterfly magnet. My new beds are going to have rigid frames over them, with a tightly-fitting mosquito net over the lot to keep out the major bugs, birds, geckos, possums and neighbour’s cat. However, if you want to persist with the cabbages and cauli, you’ll need to grow white flowering broad beans among them. The white butterflies see the white flowers, think they’re competition and move on elsewhere. It does help quite a bit…

      • Kirsten says:

        Thanks for the tip about broad beans. We did put netting over the top but sadly the holes weren’t small enough to stop them getting in. And as sod’s law would have it, they could get in okay, but seemed to struggle to get back out. My dad started pointing the water pistol at them so they got a little short, sharp shower. It deterred them for all of 30 seconds. Unless he stayed out there all day, standing guard.

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