In the Garden

Apricot BranchAugust 17: I don't do much with chemicals, but today I sprayed lime sulphur on the stone fruit and grapes, and  zinc manganese on the citrus.

Lime Sulphur is an evil smelling liquid—stale curried egg sandwiches—is close, but stops leaf curl and fungi.  It should go on before the buds burst, so I am late with the early apricot tree. Assume you will wash your clothes afterwards, and wear gloves. The smell on the hands survives washing rather more successfully than one would imagine!

I needed to cut some old damaged wood out of the late apricot, and gave it an extra soaking to help protect from pathogen entry.

Zinc Manganese comes as dry powder and overcomes the problem of zinc and manganese lockup in the soil.  It fixes the yellowing that is common in citrus leaves.  The best time to spray is when the citrus has the new shoot starting to burst. You can see this in the photo of our Valencia – Navel orange. This will go on the grapes as they flower. 

Small Washington Navel


 We also have a Meyer Lemon which gives us fruit for almost the whole year. You can see flowers, a newish pale lemon and an older yellow one in the background. They are a "sweet lemon"; someone in this house used to eat them off the tree. The thought makes my fillings rattle!

Meyer Lemon

August 17 2013 Archive


Dog  All's well.

A Brick PathAs a farm kid I grew up knowing crows ate dead stuff, and would pick on weak animals that were still alive. When I used to go running at Ernabella, fifty or so crows would fly twenty feet over head just waiting for me to drop dead in the desert. They did nothing to disabuse me of my preconceptions!

Last night I rescued some meat scraps from the compost and took them out to Clarrie and Claudette. They were gratefully received! Claudette landed on a dropper next to me today, during morning prayer. Did I have more meat?

I didn't, so after we chatted a while she went off to get breakfast, and brought back two large ripe olives from next door and flopped down and ate them next to me. She then tested the Pelargonium flowers, nibbled something off the Rosemary hedge and began investigating the brick path. So many little creatures drop in the holes in the bricks overnight!

CrowI think crows might be more omnivorous than dogs! I notice that as well as the strawberries, slugs, and beer, one of my sweet potato tubers has been pulled up and mostly eaten—  not that I'm looking at any black duck in particular.

Twice this morning Claudette took off from her dropper and deliberately flew very close over my head, and then landed nearby. I feel the need for a hat! We settled on me standing on the house path so she could stand on the roof and look down at me. I think I was being more closely inspected by the crow than I have been observing her! She was doing the inspecting today—  no standing still for the camera!



Sweet Potato VineThe sweet potato was a solitary plant on the "left-over" shelf at Bunnings. I brought it home to see how it would do, and planted it in one of my Permaculture plots.

As usual, Claudette companionably sat alongside and made suggestions for improving my gardening technique.

We only had a couple of light frosts this winter, so the vine happily chugged along until yesterday when we finally decided to see what it had produced.... Read on >>>>





I went out to the garden at dawn and found a healthy crop of slugs pickled in beer. When I returned at lunch time both were diminished. Later, when I was digging out sweet potato Claudette came to visit and sat down about three feet away. She took a long look at the strawberries and did not touch them. Sadly, this is not out of respect for me, but only because there are no ripe ones left.

She then went to the snail trap and had a slug of beer. If crows could smack their lips, that's what she was doing! Clearly, beer marinated slug goes down well!



Australian Crow on a Star DropperMy suspicions were confirmed this afternoon when one of our companionable backyard crows was chatting with me while I watered the garden. He forgot himself and picked a strawberry right in front of me.

I noticed that despite him ignoring the water everywhere else, he immediately made for the slug trap when I splashed some water in it. I've been thinking we had the biggest drinking slugs in the country, because they have been draining the trays and getting away. I now hypothesis the crows eat the slugs and then finish the beer.

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