Typhoon Malcolm



It looks like a typhoon has been through our yard. Branches and broken growth are everywhere. Even Athena doesn’t know where to poo!

It’s actually not that bad. Yes the place is in a mess. I started with a light pre-Winter tidy up, then discovered that the Madder had spread absolutely everywhere under the cover of the Summer growth of other plants.

I found roots a foot deep and up to 3 metres from where we planted it. It is no respecter of weed mat and I’m sure it would punch through brick given time.

While I was at it, I pulled up all the irrigation in that area to redo when we put in out tuber garden. That meant moving all the trellises that shade the wicking bed in Summer.

While I was at it, I took a look at the dead nectarine tree. Curl grubs were found to be the cause of its mysterious death just when it was laden with ripening nectarines.

The 4 metre tall Amaranth came out too (I’ve lots of seeds for that variety now) leaving a big hole in the greenery.

The Kalamansi tree wasn’t doing too well with all the competition from the Sicilian Nectarine and the Elder tree, so that was moved while the ground is still warm enough for it to establish itself in its new position.

To get to the Kalamansi tree, I had to remove the Boxthorn before it started to reshoot. That was a mess with its inch long spines and someone had wrapped chicken wire around it to keep the branches from covering the wicking beds. Needless to say that was one hell of a prickly tangle.

The dead Choko vine is coming out too, to be replaced with something similar for next Summer.

The Lemon Guava that suffered this year in the heay had a good trim. Its 17 years old and has, travelled with us to 3 different houses and it has never been as heatstruck as this year. While I was at it, I cut the Cape Gooseberry right back as it was getting a little leggy.

Last of all, the Pepino was cut right back to almost bare vines. This is a very tough plant and loves this sort of rough treatment. It’s so tough and so easily takes root from a cutting that I’m letting it dry out thoroughly before mulching it. Just in case!

With so much mulch, we can barely move at the moment. I like the chop and drop method of returning nutrients to the soil. We will cut the pieces of everything into small segments and spread it all around the garden. Then we will import a tonne or two of compost to go over the top of that.

The larger size of the pieces ensures a slower release of nutrients back into the garden and, along with the usual fertilization regime is our secret to such a productive garden.

When I trim a plant, I like to cut the trimmings and spread them around the base of that plant. They are of that plant and are of the same composition, just in excess. To me, thats a great way to return just what a plant needs to the soil where it will be available again.

As you may have worked out we’ve decided to change the layout of the garden a little. This is in response to climate change. We’ve had less rain this year than most folks can remember and that heat…

So, native plants that can take the heat and survive with no extra water are being planted in the parts furthest from the front door. Some plants died as soon as the heat hit, so I need to think some more about including them again.

The plan all along has been to have only perennials or prolific, self-seeding annuals in the front yard and the plants that need more care in the aquaponics. That goal will be achieved with this planting cycle as the aquaponics is shortly going to be improved and extended. A post on that soon!

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