Tuesday, 8 April 2014

April 2014.

Its April and we have just had a nice spell of gentle soaking rain.  My rainwater tanks are full and everythings good in the world again.

This is my third 2.7m Ecobed.  The only changes from Ecobed 2 are that I have returned to a built in worm farm, and the water tank at 200mm is not quite as deep.  

The worm farm is much more compact than previous ones, but it will fulfil its role very well as a feeding refuge for the bed's worms rather than as a semi-permanent home.  

I haven't fitted the pest exclusion frame yet, but we are in mid Autumn here in Melbourne and there will be no need for it until early spring.  To make space for this bed, I replaced my original prototype Ecobed and the triple inground Ecobed I had in this location.  

In the top left hand corner of this picture is a space I have left to build a patio style Ecobed to grow my Dwarf Lemon and Dwarf Orange trees.  These trees will be relocated from a small Ecobed and an Ecobin in early spring.  

Ecobed 4 will be built early next year in a bed growing Vetch at the moment as a green manure in preparation for a crop of potatoes to be sown in August. 

I will be glad when this is all finished, I'm starting to feel my age (71) at the moment, shifting 35 barrow loads of soil and Scoria (some of the soil was taken away and then returned to fill the bed) is getting a bit challenging.

My longer term planning has remained flexible until now, but I have reached the stage where I can confidently say that by February next year I will have four 2.7m Ecobeds built to similar specs, one 2.5m x 1m lightweight above ground Ecobed, and one Ecobin.  All my other lightweight Ecobeds and Ecobins will have become redundant.
My apples go from strength to strength, and this example is a whopper.  My espaliered Granny Smith tree has given me just 20 apples, but they are much bigger than supermarket size, and vindicate my decision to thin them and summer prune them.

Last spring the soil around the tree was sprayed with aerated compost extract and lots of home made compost was added as a top dressing.  This was covered with a thick mulch of sugar cane straw, and the trees foliage was sprayed every month with aerated compost tea.  This feeds the plant through its leaves and colonises them with beneficial bacteria to help keep pests at bay.