Funny fungi.

An amazing pillow of fungus. I don’t know what it is.

It looked so delicate growing from the straw mulch that I had to touch it. The last pic shows some on my finger. It is slimy when touched and squishes easily.

I was tempted to taste it. A tiny dab on my tongue let me know it had no taste and I’m still alive after an hour.

So much amazing life is coming from this bag of chopped pea straw. I shall have to buy more!

Naranjilla for our garden.

A slightly overpriced, but ever so tasty, naranjilla. They go by the much more marketable name of ‘the golden fruit of the Andes’ now.

This fruit is easy to grow, yeilds plenty, shades a good area and has little thorns on the leaves.

A multipurpose plant indeed!

Free mushrooms!

Volunteer mushrooms popping up in the straw mulch during an unseasonably wet spell.

I’m not sure what they are, but it shows that mychorrizae are growing, and that just may be the most important thing in the world.

Open the door and eat.

Vegetable beds by the front door! Who ever heard of such a thing?

These are 3 1m x 1m raised beds, 300mm deep, that I built by our front door. I was in a hurry to get vegetables in before the hot weather started, so I bought some DIY plastic beds, potting mix, compost and chopped pea straw from the hardware store.

I know we have good river soil hereabouts, but there are some tough and tenacious weeds here too. We are plagued with two kinds of caltrops, kikuyu and storksbill.

My solution was to remove the top 5cm of soil and spread it around the garden further out. This broke the mat of weeds and I covered the soil with 2 layers of weed mat.

In the beds we have several different types of tomato, corn, zucchini and assorted herbs.

Why plant so close to the front door? Several reasons.

First, pest control. People come and go all day, this scares off the blackbirds and thrushes that love to scatter my mulch.

Second, ease of watering.

Third, they block the sun and glare that bounces off of the dry ground in summer. Associated with this is the fact that corn is such a tall, summer plant. This should block the afternoon sun from our windows. The corn will be gone by winter.

Lastly, they block a direct access from the road to our door, improving feng shui and security.

An afternoon’s work with lots of benefits.

Planting time is family time.

The family planting trees. 4 deciduous fruit trees that should provide us. In addition to fruit, they will shade the front of the house from the western sun that blasts it in summer.

I used tree guards around their bases. These keep water where it is needed and allow it to move down to the roots.

I’ve tried pipes over the years but have seen the local councils use these plastic guards to great success.