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Farm Update - December 2011

We have had NO rain until the last week of November, and even then its only been 10 mL, so everything was getting very dry and we've started talking again about getting a bore put down.  The garden was still watered with grey water, so it is green and with the warmer weather its amazing to see how much its grown.

zucchinis, squash and corn - as recommended in companion planting advice,
but need to start the corn first as it is now getting swamped by the zuchs.
my useful lettuce and silverbeet (with marigolds)
- has been trimmed by the naughty sneeky chickens though

Tomatoes!  Lots of cherry toms are ready, no big ones yet

herbs - note new tansy and soapwort and chilli on the top centre - right

eggplants - frustratingly slow growing

I have a late night visitor (possum or rat??) that only likes to eat HALF a tomato,
doesn't matter if its green or red though

Have been waiting for months for these broccoli seeds and now find ladybirds
are eating them, not for long though, squashed them all, hahahaha (evil laugh)

First time silverbeet has even gone to seed, this is a new variety,
suppose I should save the seeds, but not impressed that it doesn't last long

Unlike the Fordhook Giant that has never bolted for me

I planted all the pumpkin seeds in the seed cupboard because
I was sick of having so many seed packets lying around,
oops, now I need a home for 16 pumpkin plants....
I thought I was so "permacultural" having the chickens just next to the garden so I could
through scraps over the fence for them, its ok until Bella finds them and scoffs them.
She is doing a good job of mowing, but an electric fence now prevents
her from getting to the garden as she has started trimming my beans,
even though I told her not to.

The last of the broccoli, a few beans, mini capsicums, tomatoes and silverbeet :)

If anyone wants some spring onion seeds, I have far too many and they don't last,
so please email me your postal address to
eight.acres.liz at gmail dot com
and I will happily post a handful anywhere in Australia.
We hatched one more chick from 24 eggs.  Yep, need to work on the incubation skills!  Starting to wonder about just encouraging a clucky hen... in the meantime we have the incubator going again, with more careful temperature control and it looks like 8 eggs have chicks growing in them.  We also culled some of the older hens and poor old Randy rooster (rooster in the freezer, just took the breast meat of the hens for mince, they were pretty skinny old girls, buried all the carcasses with Bruce's guts, will be the new pumpkin patch).  Now we just have 3 white leghorn hens with Ivan and 6 Rhode Is Red hens with Wilbur.  Hoping to breed some more if we can sort out this incubator, but this is a good number for regular eggs over summer.

The first two chicks of the season now live outside

Wilbur with some of his hens

poor lonely Nugget (named by Cheryl, who licked her lips
 and thought the chick looked like a tasty chicken nugget)

Ivan and his girls
We finally ate some of the cheese that we made when Bella first joined us.  One of the cheddars was quite nice on crackers, but another was just too sharp, so I grated that and put it in the freezer to sprinkle in cooking.  The brie hasn't ripened, don't know why, it tastes like brie, but just not gooey inside at all.  It will get eaten though, don't worry!  We have a couple of other hard cheese left in the cheese fridge and when we've finished them we'll turn off the cheese fridge until the next calf arrives.  We have ordered some semen, and the vet is booked for artificial insemination next week, so fingers crossed we can get Bella in calf, this is a new experience for us, but not for Bella!

This is the baricade around the tangelo tree to keep Bella out,
she is just pushing it over to annoy me, but I think I win.
I finally finally got some diatomeceous earth, and only because Megan from our Permaculture group saw it at a market and bought it for me.  Thank goodness, as I was starting to get quite desperate.  But now I'm thinking that this is just one of those lessons that if you can't source something locally its probably not going to fit into your organic/permaculture plans.  Anyway, that's 20 kg to get us started, I'm only using it in the chicken nesting boxes for lice and fed half a cup to each moo moo on the full moon for internal parasites (at the advice of Bel from Homegrown, who happens to conveniently live near a DE mine in north QLD).  We haven't had any flies on the moo moos so far this summer, but with that rain I'm sure they will be coming soon....

Hot dogs

Chime sleeping

Chez waiting for me to throw her ball

Chime sneaking up for a pat

Cheryl in her cave under the house

taking some time to stare up at the summer sky (wish those were rain clouds though!)


  1. I know what you mean about eggplant being so slow! I planted mine at the same time as my tomato plants, now over a foot tall, and the eggplant has only just put out its first true set of leaves.

  2. It's all so... wonderful! I love reading about your farm and adventures.

  3. It's raining here right now and so nice.
    I wish my rainbow chard would go to seed it is over 3yrs old and I don't want to have to buy seed, but the perpetual spinach has gone to seed.

  4. Are you sure that it was the lady birds eating your broc seeds? i woudl have thought mayeb aphids? Ladybirds ae beneficial insects and eat aphids..... so U shldnt squash them! Farm them! tehy are the good insects :) maybe they are more beastly in Oz?..... ;)

  5. Everything looks awesome! How is your chicken tractor framed? Maybe it's just the picture, but it looks too thin to be wood.

  6. Awesome update, thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks Bexy, very good point, most ladybirds are lovely aphid and mould eating friends of the organic gardener, however, the 28 spotted potato ladybird ( does indeed eat potato leaves and anything else it finds itself on, I have found them on potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and even sage. This is one to squash, but all the rest are great helpers. See also a good photo on My Vege Garden

  8. I love seeing all the pics of your garden/farm. All your vegies look so healthy.
    Did you construct the chicken tractor yourselves?


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