Friday, September 19, 2008

The garden is slowly starting to get under way as I reemerge with the warmer weather. I know winter is prep time but I detest the cold! At any rate I'd got a whole bunch of heritage varity seeds from Eden seeds to go with seeds from varities we'd saved from last year that had done very well for us. I put a few I'd started earlier in the bed when a few days back we got gusting winds up to 100kph and two nice bouts of hail - which ruined them and upset several trays of small seedlings on the back deck. Luckily we escaped the more major damage others around us recieved except that the day before the winds ripped the door off the chooks shed and for a THIRD TIME lift the large shed door (3m wide steel frame/colourbond door!) clear off it's hinges.

I figured since Lucy mentioned she tried to strike some cuttings once outside her mums hospital, I'd mention what learned/did with mine. (I'm sure you'll agree though Lucy, far better that your mum got well and you didn't need the cuttings.) Take cuttings in the morning during the cooler months, keep out of the sun and prepare as quick as possible. Use the twigs no thicker than a writing pencil but not the soft green tip bits either and look for a bit about 5-6" long with a node at the top and a node at the bottom, the top one preferably having a few leaves. On the 'bottom' snip 3/4 cm below the node and on the top node 3/4cm above it at 45degree angles. Remove any leaf growth except for 2-3 at the top and if big, cut them in half to reduce water loss. I used a styrofoam box also about 5-6" high with holes in the bottom and a premixed striking mix or mix your own but you can use any container that allows free drainage really. Once snipped, paint a thin layer of purple rooting hormone gel all over the twigs bottom upwards to about 2" making sure to get the 'wound' and eye. With the end of the paintbrush poke a hole for the cutting and put it in about 2" deep, firming the soil to get rid of airpockets... there seems to be a lot of variation in how deep people think you should stick it - some say no more than 1", some say half the cutting length! I went with 2" on the basis it was deep enough for the top to remain stable if knocked and gave it a good area to develop roots from instead of just the very bottom. When they're all in, pop the whole lot into one of the little 'greenhouse' from Bunnings, cost is $20.00? Mist everything well and put it in an area with indirect but bright light. Keep humidity high and the soil moist but not soggy until they put out growth, at which point they're ready to be potted in smallish pots. From this point I'm supposed to gradually get them used to more full sun and then plant in the garden and keep them watered and well tended for the first year which is when they're most vunerable to stresses.

On a cheerier note the girls are their usual silly selves, I got to cuddle with an adorable litter of 5 week old Aussies last Sunday and Laurent and I went to the opening day of the Melbourne Royal shows the other day to attend the poultry and dog shows. Smaller entries both for numbers in birds and Aussies but a good day out catching up with everyone despite La being grumpy as I had to wake him up at the crack of dawn for the 2 hour train ride. (Turns out Aussies weren't on until much later though... doh!) He had fun on a few rides, visiting the animal nursery which chiefly involved him latching onto the chook pen and even capturing them for other children who were a bit more timid... because you know it's not like he can see chickens any day of the week at home! At the entry he'd spotted the discovery trail fellow with a chook stamp and asked for one. The guy stamps his paper and gives it to La, "Here you go, a chicken!" La looks at it, looks at him and the little smartie pants goes, "No, 's a ROOSTER!" LOL

Rather sad to get back to hear two bits of distressing news though - first that an exhibitor in Australian Shepherds who also has Golden Retrievers had come down to Vic for the show, was staying with another local breeder who lives just down the road from me and someone stole her 6 year old girl, a grand/new zealand/australian champion and obviously much loved. Federal police are investigating but I can't imagine either the mindset of someone who'd do such a despicable thing or how horrifying it'd be to find your furbaby missing and hope to gods she is able to be returned safe and secure. On the tail of that, a poultry breeder who has brought so much to everyone he's met has decided to sell everything because he is sick of being harrassed for 5 years by a council on a power trip inventing excuses to come 'inspect' him constantly. BB has been at every sale and show I've been to pretty much and always is interested in helping newcomers, very involved in various clubs and a major supporter and promoter of waterfowl, guineas and turkeys. Anyone visiting the Royal Melbourne can see many of his birds, most of whom placed quite well, this week. Anyone who has seen him with them can see his whole life is about them. I honestly can't imagine it without him to chat with. :-(

1 comment:

Lucy C said...

LOL at the Animal Nursery.
Growling about the dog theft.
And crying over BB.