Pruning, chipping, composting

3 of the BIG jobs in the garden, pruning, chipping, composting and I am trying to do them as a batch, mentally make it a few smaller jobs, divide it into areas to make it seem less of a BIG job.

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I have started with my kitchen garden and pruned a couple of  other perennials to collect this batch of green waste to go through my mulcher. This is the first mulcher I have owned, it’s 2nd hand from gumtree, an Ozito electric  mulcher.  It’s not really very good, as you can see  in the photo it churns and crushes the branches rather than chip the material.  My father-in-law teases me about his massive mulcher that he has to move around with his quad bike! While I dream about my dream mulcher the Greenfield Piece-maker, don’t all gardeners dream about a tool/machine that will make life so much easier?

I was on a roll, pruned, mulched and composted all in the same morning.  I have been making compost for many years and after lots of reading have come up with the below recipe:

Compost Recipe

Base ingredients:  I bucket of vegie scraps or 1 bucket  of green material add to this:

1 item from the  below Nitrogen column

  • 1 bucket manure
  • 2 cups of of pelleted manure
  • 1 cup of blood and bone
  • 1 bucket of lucerne

And any 2 items from the below Carbon column

  • 1 bucket of straw
  • 1 bucket of paper
  • 1 bucket of leaves
  • 1 bucket of sawdust
  • 1 bucket sugarcane  mulch

Add the carbon and nitrogen in layers with your green wasted, keep it moist and turn it to keep it oxygenated.  I have a closed compost system an Aerobin which I have been very happy with, together we have produced tons of good compost.

Do you mulch and compost your garden waste?

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Weekend in the orchard

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I love saying I have a backyard orchard, I grew up with fruit trees in the backyard and always wanted some myself.  When we moved to this house it was one of first things I organized. I have 2 nectarines Maygrand & Goldmine, 2 peaches Daisy & Fairtime,1 apricot Moorpark & 1 lemon with dreams of more.  Before I started this post I thought “how many trees do you need to have to call it an orchard?”  Checked the trusty Oxford which says:

Orchard – piece of enclosed land with fruit-trees

Fruit-trees plural, well I’m covered!  The area space of my orchard is 15m x 2m for those 6 trees.  On the ground is grass/weeds, I have a mixture of buffalo, Kikuyu and assorted weeds depending on the season.  I have been looking for alternatives for ground covers, getting rid of the grass and sheeting with cardboard then mulching was the best idea I found but the feedback was the weeds still grow through.  I have decided to keep the grass and will keep it well mowed and I have mulched under 1 nectarine as it’s hard to mow under there.

I have been happy with the shape of my trees, vase like, I don’t think I have pruned hard enough in the past and this year my fruiting wood stock was going to be out of my reach.  This was the weekend to do the big prune and sacrifice lots of fruit for hopefully more available fruit I can reach.

It took 2 days to tidy up the orchard, I did the prune and have a HUGE amount of wood to mulch/chip. I did a spray with Eco-oil as I could see scale on some branches and will do 2 sprays of Kocide – a copper spray,1 before bud burst and another  just after to help protect from fungal diseases including black spot, leaf curl, blight and bacterial rot.

My weekend was a success, I got everything finished outside that I wanted to and will leave inside chores to later!  Hope you got a few things done outside this weekend as well.