Garden happenings Aug '10

Running a little behind schedule this month, I finally got organised and moved the chook dome over the weekend. Since I have been moving it every six weeks, it was due to be repositioned on August 1. I figure in the grand scheme of things, a few extra days either side won't matter at all.

The garden employees, now on bed four.
After the previous bed had been exposed, I couldn't resist examining my soil. The chooks have been travelling over these beds for two years now, and I can say without a doubt, it's the best thing we could've done. The soil is rich, moist, chock full of organic matter and spongy. Is it possible to fall in love with soil?

It must be because I think I am falling hard....

Beautiful soil for growing vegetables in
Taking a bit of a risk, I decided to plant those potatoes that have been chitting away for weeks. Only a few were soft..verging on squishy, which were discarded. The rest were planted in bed 3 and I have my fingers crossed they'll shoot up.

Saved chitted potatoes from summer's harvest: Nicola and Pontiacs
If they fail to emerge, I won't be devastated. I have grown potatoes bought from the fruit shop successfully in the past. This will be my plan B if plan A fails.

Planting this early in my area, I don't need to worry about the frosts until they start to poke their green leafy shoots out of the soil. Then it is just a simple matter of placing a sheet over them on frosty nights until they subside, usually around late October.

Colourful garden visitors
And when nothing seems to be growing much due to the cold, it's always nice to be greeted by some colourful visitors dropping by to say hello.


  1. I think it is possible to fall in love with soil, just as its possible to fall in love with pectin oozing out of soaked seeds...ahh, natures miracles! I hear you :-)

  2. Lovely post, Christine! Our chooks are only getting two weeks on each bed, and they're due to move again this weekend. I'm a bit nervy after the Great Escape moment of the last move! Our birds roost in the dome up high (that was a production - in the end we had to build them a swing, which they love. It helps them get up to the roost!) so they poop all over the place at night.

    We've ordered seed potatoes - they should be here any day. Is it ok to plant the ones in your photo that have gone green? Or do they all do that as they chit?

  3. Nature's miracles are indeed wonderful things, B. :)

    Celia, I started keeping the chooks on each bed for longer as I found that they were back to circle one before that bed was ready to harvest. It's just what works for me. It must be wonderful to have them roost IN the dome....I have to walk mine there in the morning, and then back to their house again at night. Just think...all of that extra poop being delivered direct to your garden beds - no shovelling required!

    As far as I know with the seed potatoes, they can be planted when green. It's only when it comes to eating them that the green ones must be avoided. The seed potato will produce multiple potatoes that are perfectly edible and beautifully white inside. They didn't all turn green, just the odd couple. The potatoes were stored in dark paper sacks over winter in a cold room, and then pulled out to chit in the light, as apparently, this stops their shoots from becoming too long (unfortunately I missed this window, but still have my fingers crossed for them).

    Good luck with your chook moving on the w/end - remember, long stick!! :)

  4. Sheesh, Christine, if we had to move the chooks every day, it would be like The Great Escape over and over again... :)

    Our seed potatoes have just arrived from Tassie - very excited! I was told we had to buy new seed potatoes each year to ensure they're blight-free - do you have any problems with using ones you've saved from a previous harvest? Thanks..

  5. Haha, Celia, they soon learn where to go - sometimes they actually run there - with wings flapping! Yours will get the hang of it soon enough... :)

    I do love a plant arrival in the post! What varieties did you get? (and where from?). It IS wise to purchase new spuds each year, just to be sure. Although, I always seem to have rogue potatoes popping up from ones that were not found when harvesting...they have all been fine. If we had a nasty blight infestation, then I would definitely purchase seed potatoes the following year. One advantage of purchasing seed potatoes is the amount of varieties available. I like to live life on the edge, hence my re-use of the mangy old potatoes. ;)

  6. Thanks Christine (btw, do you mind Chris, or do you prefer Christine?), it's good information for us for next year. This year is our first year, so we don't have any old stock to use. We bought spuntas, red norlands, bintjes and king edwards from Tasmanian Gourmet Potatoes. The plan is to plant sequentially over 6 plantings, so the first two batches are out chitting now, and the rest are in a lightproof box.

    On another note - the perennial leeks are doing really well int he garden - thanks again for the headsup!

  7. Aah, Celia, how exciting for you to be growing your first spuds. The taste and texture is SO much nicer when homegrown. Your varieties sound great!

    I'm really pleased to hear your leeks are doing well...they can sit in the ground forever and are so generous when it comes to multiplying - I want to hear when they have their first 'baby' ok?!.
    PS. I LOVE it when people shorten my name, so Chris is absolutely fine! :)

  8. We'll name our first baby leek after you, Chris. :)

  9. Excellent!! I look forward to that ;)


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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