A veggie garden thread

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Patrick started the topic in Wednesday, 8 Apr 2020 at 8:26pm

Is there a gardening thread? I haven't seen one but I've seen lots of posts about people's veggie growing tips. How about we help each other out?

Planted first garden in about ten years today.
Lettuce, broccoli, swedes, kale, thyme, parsley. Raised bed under straw. Peas and carrots go in tonorrow.

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saltyone Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 5:33pm

That’s nifty . Such a simple yet effective idea. Great permaculture principles. Love gardening Australia! Cheers Patrick

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Patrick Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 9:34am

Cool, no worries Salty.

How are winter crops coming along?
I've got kale, swedes, beans and carrots going well... broccoli heads are starting to show. Lettuces are small, haven't really taken off. Something in the garden has discovered the broccoli and lettuce leaves are the tastiest. The rest haven't really been touched.

Got a lemon and orange tree arriving today.

I've discovered my patches location isn't getting the morning sun as early as I thought it would. I'll start a new one in a better possy.

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GreenJam Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 2:17pm

Hey Patrick,
good to hear the patch is going well. I suspect I'm a bit further north, or maybe I just got things in earlier, but most of my winter crops are nearing their end. Still heaps of carrots, beetroot, various greens etc., but cabbages and broccoli just about done. Although I have a winner with a broccoli variety 'Sprouting Callabrese', doesnt really produce a main head, takes a while but then starts pumping out the broccolinis, cranking right now, got to pick them every couple of days or you miss it and they go to flower. Picked about a kilo the other day, really good just thrown into the frying pan with some meat or whatever.
Anyway, Spring is very close up here -expecting 28 tomorrow, but still plenty of cool mornings (5 the last two mornings). Plenty of fruit trees and other natives flowering, including the maccas and finger limes. Magpies starting to nest, expect the frogmouths wont be far behind.

all the best with it!

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Patrick Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 2:44pm

Yeah I'm in Tassie and started late. I like the sound of the callabrese, I might look out for that next ssason.

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GreenJam Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020 at 3:05pm

nice Patrick - I love Tassie, lived and worked there in the late 90s, just too damn cold for me! Was based in the north-east, out of Lilydale, in the forestry industry, so got to see so much of the state and many remote parts most dont get to. Scored some great waves up in that NE corner too - one spot in particular down a remote track just south of a lighthoused headland, and has featured on a wave of the day here some years back, was gold. Hope you are getting some of that

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DudeSweetDudeSweet Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 10:52am

Tomorrow brings the spring equinox which sees the sun move into the Southern Hemisphere of the celestial equator. The transition to warm weather is approaching completion. The effects on the land are profound and glorious.

New season of food is in abundance following the Nth NSW regular rainfalls. Mulberries are on fire and will only get better , loquats hanging in as are kaffir limes - the leaves are rich green and highly fragrant, peaches , coffee and blueberries fruiting , olives forming nicely.

Lots of native bird younglings getting around. Wallabies getting romantic. Brush turkey mounds being maintained at their regulated temperatures . Frogs finding their voices with regularity and I heard my first cicada a few days ago.

Mornings are cool and clear with mist and dew most mornings.

All photos last 24 hours . Sunrise photo showing the sun at its midpoint rotation south and will broach over the hill furthest to the right at the Summer solstice.








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tiger Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 10:47am

Looking good there mate! Though a bit more rain would be nice. Just smashed a bit of mulberry crumble cake for smoko.

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stunet Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 11:11am

Nice one. The big deciduous trees in my yard, a red cedar and Japanese maple, have all got their leaves again and now I'm just waiting for a sign the weather's warmed up enough - maybe the first sustained spell of nor'easterlies - before getting everything in the soil.

Took a few weeks off recently and made another bed. It's located over a natural spring, many years ago it was a well, so there'll be no need to water it. In fact I had to raise the bed a bit so the roots won't be sodden.

Not sure what mix of fruit/veg I'll grow this year. Decisions...

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freeride76 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 11:28am

Thats it for me.
Spring equinox announces the dry here and the proliferation of bugs that love chewing on plant material.
Too much hard work watering over spring/summer and fighting insects to keep veggies going.

I'll keep the herb beds going but everything else can go to flower and seed (most already has) and when the bees are done, I'll rip it out, feed it to the goats and mulch the beds until next autumn.

Soil temp is hardly a factor here in this climate, it's the soil moisture profile that matters most and when the profile dries up and plants get stressed it's time to go flathead fishing.

been a great season.

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mowgli Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 1:40pm

DudeSweetDudeSweet - our mulberry tree and stonefruits (peaches and nectarines) are going gangbusters. Just put out the fruit fly traps yesterday. So many. Plum tree started flowering about a fortnight ago. Mangro trees are in full bloom. Bit of rain up here on SC so perhaps fungus might be an issue for those.

Our veggie patch has been a mixed bag/patch. English Spinach and cabbage and cauliflowers and garlic and peas are all doing well, pak choi was smashed by grubs, and broccoli skipped town. We're prepping about 100sqm in paddock over to plant sweet potatoes, melons, corn, and the usual suspects.

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tiger Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 1:46pm

If you've got fruit trees, it the start of a bountiful time. Only thing I miss about the sunny coast is the mature fruit trees we had on our last property. Started from scratch here, so have a lot of young plants in the fruit orchard, just about to feed them up and get them cranking in the growing season. Check out my compost bay!

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velocityjohnno Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 1:50pm

Mulberry was the one tree we didn't get to put in before it all stopped, but spring in a fruit/food garden is awesome. Cherries are budding out new growth and flowers, blueberries have formed heavy flowers that look suspiciously like the delicious fruit, blood oranges and imperial mandarin are waking up, beetroot and gooseberries are looking very healthy, the fig is sprouting nicely and the usual beans have cranked and taken over quite a bit of the bed and grass. Lemons have been aplenty over winter. It's great to go out every day and see so much more growth.

My attempts at growing brocci/cauli/cabbage weren't too flash. They grew upward and not into the rounded veggies (though we enjoyed a couple of small cauli) and then strangely the broccoli decided mid July was the time to flower. So I let it go to seed. An iceberg lettuce even survived the winter under the sourgrass. The lemons went into fruit over winter, which was weird but tasty. Lemon butter mmmm

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freeride76 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 1:55pm

I've got a peach tree but getting a ripe peach away from the fruit fly or flying foxes is a like winning the lottery.
Same with the guava and any other soft skinned fruit. Flying foxes absolutely adore them.

strawbs are doing OK but getting smashed by snails and currawongs also love them. nice fruit but very low yield per plant.

good citrus crop this year but lots of bronze orange bug (stink bug) to deal with in spring after they flower and fruit set. Cunts of things. Easiest thing is to make a pyrethrum spray and go and spray them after the bees have gone to bed.
I used to have a bearded dragon in the garden who I discovered loved eating stink bugs but I haven't seen him in the orchard for ages.

Ducks are laying shit loads of eggs so its easier to barter for fruit.

Spring is hard work here.

Hot, windy and dry with tons of insect pests to deal with.

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garyg1412 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 2:02pm

You got some good stuff going on there DSDS. How is the frangrance of those Kaffir Limes. Mine got toppled by some rare snow we had here a couple of months back but managed to stake it back up and it seems to be surviving thankfully.

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GreenJam Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 2:28pm

I hear you Freeride - you're describing pretty much all the same challenges I face.

I too largely give the beds a rest over our late spring and summer period. Mainly just grow cucumbers, and have plenty of turmeric in other beds so not a lot to do for that, just the occasional water, but largely just depend on rain.

I was pretty devastated over the weekend to discover that it looks like I may lose my whole macca crop (60 young trees). They flowered brilliantly, pollination activity was great, saw plenty of young nuts setting, but now looks like a grub has got into the flowers/tiny nut sets. I was prepared for the nut borer grub (with a biological control - parasitic wasp) but that comes a bit later as the nuts develop. Now this bastard grub has got into it. I'm going to need to work out an organic/biological control for this grub. I knew organic maccas would be a challenge...

anyone got any tips for this flower grub on maccas?

and good luck with the sweet potatoes Mowgli - I'd be going for them too, but my crops were smashed by the dreaded sweet potato weevil. I am hoping to try again next year, after a 2 year break that I hope means the weevil may have gone...

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freeride76 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 3:04pm

what kind of grub GreenJam?

It always seems a double edged sword here for spring/summer.

the typical dry means heat and moisture stress but if we do get a wet summer, the powdery mildew goes mental on the curcubits.

Actually I am growing something. I'm fencing off areas and growing grass and clover for the ducks to eat, as a rotated grazing system.

Never knew how much grass ducks got through. they are big grazers.

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Distracted Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 3:26pm

SDSD, the inbound Koel Cuckoos fresh from migration will be making a beeline for those mulberries of yours. Lot of people find their noise annoying but for me it’s the sound of summer.

The other sign of spring is the reptiles on the move, lots of poor old Blue Tongues squashed on the roads and a few Tree Snakes getting around.

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GreenJam Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 3:30pm

FR, I've just ID'd it as the macadamia flower caterpillar. Looks like Dipel may be an option, same as used for the brassicas. I guess I'll try a bit, but long-term as the trees get bigger I'm doubtful I'll reach most flowers. May have to consider some type of big mister, and buy that stuff in bulk as its not cheap in the standard small packets.

Yeah, the wet - which hopefully we do get this year. Wont take much to trigger anthracnose in the mangos.

just had my second nectarine off the tree - still pretty firm, but sure enough fruit fly in it. Had the tree thoroughly netted too. I'll be lucky to get a few more - there are probably a couple of hundred fruit on a 2.5 year old tree

I'm keen on getting ducks. Got no grazers at present, think they would be a good addition to the orchard area/overall system.

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freeride76 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 3:47pm

Really nice animals. we've got Muscovies, voracious bug/snail eaters and not destructive in the garden.
lay lots of big eggs.

they pip, not quack.

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zenagain Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 7:03pm

This is a wonderful thread.

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freeride76 Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 7:11pm

My favourite spring time is the pre-spring Spring we get here, which starts, by my calculations about a month after the winter solistice.
the peach tree starts budding, citrus blossoms start to form.

A shrubby plant which grows everywhere around here, could be a native, not sure, fills the air with a super sweet perfume from sprays of showy orange flowers and in the cool of the evenings this honey-suckle scented air slides down the hillsides and fills up the valleys. It's really quite overwhelming sometimes.

The dawn chorus gets loud and racuous as birds try and pair up.

Eastern Rosellas, which mate for life and are normally seen as breeding pairs, are seen in large flocks, often spiralling into the air in noisy, colourful spires. Juveniles trying to find a mate.

By Mid-August this pre-spring spring transforms into the real spring and we get a lovely couple of weeks before the fucking northerlies blow your eyelids back. Snakes show up, geckos start chirruping in the house.

ah, if only one could mulch oneself into a hibernation and wake up again in February. Ready to do it all over again.

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Westofthelake Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 7:13pm

Plus one @zen.

Sweet pics Dudey.

Thanks for sharing everyone.

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mowgli Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 1:04pm

VJ - that's our experience. the broccoli thinks it's a tree and the cauliflower is about to get the nickname of Tyrion Lannister.

Freeride - we bought 3 10x10 anti-bird/possum nets last week. and +1 for them late winter/pre-spring feels. The blooming stone fruit trees are spectacular (and the local SSTs are finally crisp enough to deter the part timers!).

Distracted...funny, just as a read your koel bit I heard them outside my window!!! The main mulberry thieves here are the olive-backed oriole, figbird, and cuckoo-shrike: https://www.scec.org.au/birds

Bastards the lot of em!!!

We lost our entire ruby grapefruit tree's worth of fruit beginning of the year to the hell-spawn that is the fruit-piercing moth! An entire wheelie bin's worth of fruit...gone... Turns out we weren't the only ones this year: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-21/fruit-piercing-moth-blamed-for-ra...

2020 eh....

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GreenJam Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 2:22pm

Yeah Mowgli - that thing decimated the whole region. Hopefully it was a rare occurrence - I heard old timers in the Mary Valley saying in 60 years of farming, they'd only seen it once before.

this thread could easily be 'the challenges to veggie gardening'. Its great to celebrate our successes, but bloody hell, the battles are relentless. When you actually try to produce lots of fruit and veg organically and often fail or have much reduced yields, you realise how much standard commercial farmers must be using pesticides to get commercial crops

at least once the finger limes set fruit, nothing seems to bother them, and I've got a great little crop coming on right now, at least that will compensate for the maccas loss

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mowgli Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 5:59pm

The first mulberry haul a fortnight ago (pawpaw tub there just for scale). Probably 80+% of this was just off the ground around the tree.

That's a frisbee they're sitting in.

DudeSweetDudeSweet's picture
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DudeSweetDudeSweet Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 6:17pm

Delicious Mowgli !

Distracted- Those Koels are mulberry Hoover’s alright. Clumsy buggers.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 6:28pm

best source of resveratrol.

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Cp Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:22pm

Great read fellas. I’m on the train heading south of Sydney after three weeks walking the Larapinta trail with my woman. A great experience.

I am now looking forward to seeing how our fruit and veges have progressed after a productive winter. I’m also looking forward to waking up to the sounds of the koel, dollar bird and channel bill cukoo that all should have arrived by now.
Looking forward to the ocean even more though.

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GuySmiley Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:33pm

Cp, Larapinta trail, is that the full western McDonald’s trail? Beautiful country

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Cp Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 9:08am

Hi Guy. Yep, that’s the one. Spent 21 days walking 230km through West Macs. An awesome experience and magnificent landscape. Highly recommended if you are called to do it.

On the vege garden front. Southern end of Illawarra is looking good. Cauliflower and cabbage ready to pick, plenty of leafy greens, snow peas, broadbeans almost ready and a couple of our tomatos are going strong four weeks after planting. The first couple of cherry guavas have ripened, which are are good pest free fruit tree in our area.

I will reintroduce myself to the ocean in the next couple of hours. Looking good for a swim today.

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AndyM Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 12:04pm

"Spent 21 days walking 230km through West Macs"

Wow, that would be epic!
Nice leisurely pace too, heaps of time to take it all in.

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GuySmiley Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 12:09pm

Cp, good one, it’s a aim to walk it someday. What about posting some photos on the relevant forum topic, you must have some brilliant ones low sun red earth, cheers

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AndyM Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 12:11pm

+1

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Cp Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:59pm

Yes epic. Will post something over next couple of days

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indo-dreaming Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 8:05pm

I hate mowing grass so got rid of all my lawn over winter and turned it into garden, have a few courtyard style areas, one area i am going to put in some quality fake grass

Anyway havent planted any veggies for a year or two, but decided to put in some stuff that kind of works in with the general garden.

So this weekend planted some blueberry shrubs, whole heap of strawberries, some rhubarb, few different types of chilli's and few varieties of small tomatoes.

Soil all well dug over and added a heap of dynamic lifter and seamungus seaweed, humus pellets, will also mulch it all this week.

If you don't use organic fertiliser and mulch with your veggie garden, try it, you will be surprised with the results.

Here's a carrot grown from seed from our garden from a few years back.

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goofyfoot Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 9:03pm

Little tip Indo for your blueberries. Living where you do I’m assuming your soil will be on the alkaline side of the ph level.
Blueberries need an acidic soil, so a lower ph level, to fruit to their full potential so do a soil Ph test (simple kit from Bunnings) and fertilise them with acidic fertilisers if you want to maximise your fruiting.
Ps. That carrot is a beast

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indo-dreaming Monday, 5 Oct 2020 at 8:43am

Cheers GF yeah i was reading similar things the other day about the soil PH

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stunet Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 1:06pm

Latest shots of the vege beds:

Left it way too late to plant this bed. Few tomatoes coming through.

Passionfruit vine, some zucchinis, manzano chili left in from last year and already fruiting, plus a new Carolina Reaper rearing its angry little head, and some basil that's taking ages to get established for some reason.

Young avocado tree, spinach leftover from winter, tomatoes, and cucumbers from which I'm already getting a couple each day.

More tomoatoes, more cucumbers, and there's some okra in there too.

Some beans, plus a few zucchinis absolutely booming up the end. Not sure what it is in the soil, but of all the veges, year in and year out, zucchinis take hold fastest, grow quickest, and grow large too.

Size check on the zucchinis.

Batch of Habaneros, but they're struggling to take hold as there's a natural spring right below them and it's hard to get anything aside from ginger to grow there. That's a fake cardomon plant growing to the left.

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Blowin Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 1:39pm

Very nice.

Here’s a sad reflection on the modern world : I threw some mandarin and papaya seeds in from fruit bought at the supermarket and I was surprised when they germinated and started powering. Perhaps it says more about me and my relentless cynicism but there’s no way I thought they’d take.

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udo Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 2:27pm

Any idea of the age of your [CCA ? ] treated retaining wall Stu ?

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GreenJam Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 2:56pm

looking good Stu.

Do you still eat the zucchinis at that size?

Things are a bit slower here, but coming along nicely with the good recent storm rains. And probably a bit more of that later today/tonight. The cucumbers are coming along, the turmeric is starting to poke its head up after the rains, still hanging in there with lots of lettuce varieties (its all about strategic positioning at this time of year, basically ensuring they only get a half day max of early sun), and I've put in lots of heirloom pumpkin and watermelon to go beserk throughout the orchard areas.

And trying something new this season - a cucamelon. They are still very small and slow, but anticipate they'll kick on soon, not too dissimilar to how cucumbers here can be a slow starter.

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stunet Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 3:20pm

@Udo,

Reckon you'd be a better OH&S officer than my father-in-law. Got plastic liner between the back retaining walls and the soil. The dividing ones are coming out soon anyway.

@Green Jam,

Yep, we eat them that size all the time. Mainly spiralized (seeds removed), flesh put through the spiralizer for 'courgetti' with avocado as the 'bolognese sauce'. Really quick meal and healthy too.

Occasionally I'll slice one up thick, give them an equally thick coating of panko and shallow fry the lot. That one probably won't get a healthy star rating.

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Pops Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 3:42pm

Those zucchini's look like eggplants, and big ones at that.
What're you feeding them?

On the topic of eggplants... couple of them charred then chucked in a sambal with your ochra would be bloody delicious... zucchini's might also work for that?

Oh, and mrs pops swears by planting nasturtiums next to the tomatoes... grow some mint as well and you've got instant salad.

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stunet Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 4:21pm

Once they get that big, the flesh of the zucchinis is very close in consistency to eggplants. Much firmer than the small zucchinis you see in the supermarket and great for spiralling.

Not sure why they grow so big and fast. Doesn't matter where I plant them, every year is the same.

I've had problems with tomoatos recently. Should take your wife's advice.

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GreenJam Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 5:53pm

cool Stu, sounds good.

I've never been successful with zucchinis, had blossom end rot every time. I understand it is a calcium issue, thought my soils were pretty good, but I'll have to keep working at it.

carrots cranking though - I havent bought a carrot in over a year. Not a huge saving I know, but great to just pull a few baby carrots everyday for the daily ration

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freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 7:14pm

I've been grass gardening.
I never knew it was so challenging.

the chooks scratched it up to bare earth, the rain came and it was like the trenches of the somme down the side of the house.
Something needed to be done.

so I fenced off the area and planted seed. There are many species of grass. some grow in cool, some in summer.
everything took off, then a bunch of ducklings were able to squeeze through the fence.
I never knew ducklings ate so much grass. they ate it back to the roots.

it was holding then the dry weather came and it all died off when we went to Coffs for 2 weeks.

now I am back at seeding grass.
watering three times a day to try and get good germination and keep ducklings out.

23 wandered out of the bush yesterday.

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Blowin Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 7:20pm

[email protected]#king ducklings !

Is there a more malicious, spiteful creature in existence ? Don’t start me on ducklings.....

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zenagain Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 7:22pm

Did you say malicious or delicious?

Look at that evil little bugger above. Sends chills down my spine.

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Blowin Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 7:34pm

Sounds like he’s up against it with those little bastards. No one would bat an eyelid if he’s out there tomorrow with the 12 gauge raining hot lead on those downy feathered demons .

You’re amongst friends here Freeride. Let us know if you need backup. We’ve got you mate.

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freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 7:45pm

sore point at the moment.

I had to put one of it's misery the other night........it was slowly dying in agony from a paralysis tick and the missus, said, you got to do something now.

I've got ducklings haunting me in my dreams right now.

lost 3 to ticks in the last few months.