Fire and ash

It’s finally winter and we can once again safely light a fire.

I keep fires to a minimum but some stuff will almost never break down. So I’ve been sorting and resorting the huge piles of earth and sticks and stumps. These all came from the clearance of the weed trees, the management of windfall trees, the building of the dam wall. Etc etc

My plan is to try to have a fire almost every Friday through the winter. Me being me I am double or treble dipping! First; we clean and tidy. Second; we make the site safer if we do get a fire through. Third; we make ash which will fed to the trees and plants. Fourth; We cook Friday’s dinner in the fire. Fifth; this can be nicely social at the end of the day and on our first fire of the winter we had a wee party with 6 adults and six kids. 

Worked great. Probably another 10 fires over the winter. We are only allowed to burn on Friday or Saturday by the council. And we have to call the fire authorities and register the burn too. Nothing is simple.

  

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Melody Nelson RIP

It’s been a very bad week for all persons named Nelson. Prince Rogers Nelson dies in a lift at Paisley Park in what sounds like a mix between the deaths of Elvis and Michael Jackson.

Worse; Melody Nelson was eaten by a Fox.

Dammit!

  

Melody “Melodini” Nelson kept getting out of the enclosure. We knew we had foxes around. I kept trying to see how she got out because I didn’t want to hold her down and clip her flight feathers because I’m a bit of a softie.

Now by being “nice” I may have in part caused her death. There is a lesson in all this.

West end Peas.

Sugar snaps to the east. 32BCD
Snow peas to the west. 32 DEF

It’s not actually a metre wide plot so you could say 33.5 BCD. It’s inly a narrow plot right in the southern end of the planting area in El Campo de Camp Hill!

West end peas. 20.4.16 

 

 

Units of Area.

We’re hoping to build/source almost all of our non-perishables from discarded and recycled materials.

The basic unit of area for the individual plots is a metre across with a variable length.

Our chicken tractor is approx 1 metre bc 2 metres. We will make small stackable bird netting covers in 1 metre x 2 metre sections. The recycles dam lines will be cut into small easily handled sections of about 1 x 2 metres. 

And so on.

Support for climbers.

Shade tunnels. 

  

 

A Simple Plan

The Ample Sufficiency Paddock is a rectangle approximately 32 metres by 6 metres.

So we’ve drawn a simple grid that we will use to illustrate out plot.

It’s not quite lined up with north. We live in the Southern Hemisphere so our sun comes from the north.

Our cold winter winds come from the south to south west.

Our damaging hot summer winds come from the north to northwest. These are the winds that bring a fire risk.

Each metre square can be identified on the grid. Each colour represents either plants or perhaps substrates.

This grid example shows the first planting done.

The A line is a 32 x 1 metre perennial border. The orange spots are the perennial plants. The orange spots within a black ring around them are already planted.

The green lines represent green mulch planted from seed.

The purple lines represent garlic planted from cloves.

Hopefully this will help a little with planning and illustration of the works done.

So for example E-16 has been planted with Garlic in March 2016.

Substrate #2; Mushroom Compost.

In order to add nutrient to our soil we also sourced some spent mushroom compost.

This was locally sourced, in fact it was sourced from the nearest possible supplier. I like to support local people and businesses and also to waste less resources on cartage. However I have a doubt about this “organic” mushroom compost, I am suspicious about whether or not there is residual pesticide Etc

In general Mushroom compost is a good  source of most nutrients but low on nitrogen. It also has a tendency to be alkaline which can be a bother for certain plants. Our supplier didn’t really seem to know what pH was. We haven’t tested it. We’re going with it for now.

Our plan will be to focus on our own compost production, chickens and green mulch etc.

For now this humus rich black stuff arrived with a heavy smell and a lot of steam. Mmmmmm. Activity. 

 

Green Mulch.

So we’ve turned the soil in all the beds. We don’t plan to plant it all straight away so we’ve commuted 3 fifths to a green cover crop. 

Lupin. Oats. Peas. Beans.

These were just scattered over the soil. No extra compost. No extra anything. And light sprinkle of Lucerne.

This bed is at the north end of the 32×6 metre plot.

We had a lot of bird action here and must have lost a fair fraction. We had no scare crow of any other passive bird repellant. That might be worth looking at later. You can see in the photo another very green patch which we will write about a little later. (Much more growth in that section.)

The plan is to run our little troop of chicken up and down these plots in a “chicken tractor”. They will completely clear each 1×2 metre area and we will plant after each chicken tractor move.