Step 2: Blindly Opportunistic Enthusiasm

Since the inaugural busy bee things have been a little bit quiet on the farm, largely because the holiday season took over. We hosted Christmas and New Year at the farm and so we had to focus on doing the ‘little things’ like making a Christmas version of the Earlwood Farm logo, decorating Craig’s Wollemi Pine, painting wrapping paper or making chutney. The celebrations were lovely, but we have had precious little time to focus on the farm itself. However, we have had mini busy bees between parties. Instead of planning, we are operating on blindly opportunistic enthusiasm. So, even with no planning and little time, we have made some headway. For example, we purchased a Cardamom plant and put it in the bathroom.

Cardamom in Bathroom

Cardamom in Bathroom

We’ve also started propagating a range of plants from cuttings: Mulberry, Grevillia, Rosemary, Frangipani, Pig Face and we’re on our 2nd attempt to get a Curry Tree going. The Rosemary and Mulberry are from Alexandria Community Garden, the Grevillia and Pig Face are from local verge gardens and the Frangipani we found dumped on the side of Illawarra road. We got the latest Curry Tree cutting from Alfalfa House.

Then, one Sunday morning at Addison Road Community Markets, we stumbled upon four giant apple boxes, 20 roof tiles and some old chicken wire for sale at Reverse Garbage. $80 later we were the proud owners of said items and they were delivered to our front door. Two of the apple boxes have since been ‘cleft in twain’ with a circular saw, making four decent sized planter boxes for the front yard. In the planter boxes we have a range of delights from the edible (Coriander and Tomato) to the flowering (Cosmos and Marigold).

Apple Crate Planter Boxes

Apple Crate Planter Boxes

Craig and I also paid a visit to Randwick Community Nursery, which is a council run operation, trading mainly in native plants. We picked up a Bracteantha Bracteata (!) or a Paper Daisy, a Rosemary and a Hibbertia Scandens (!!) or Guinea flower. On another occasion Sophie had loaned us her car and we took the opportunity to visit a run-o-the-mill commercial suburban nursery in Kingsgrove. There we purchased a Lilly Pilly tree and a Passionfruit vine for the front yard, and a Gardenia for near the front door. My lovely mum also gave us a Lavender bush, a hanging pot of Chilli and decorative Curry plant as gifts for Christmas. Also, we are eating heaps of Fruit and Veges and composting like crazy. Sophie came with a compost bin and the results of our combined efforts belong in a text book.

Exemplary Compost

Exemplary Compost

But, as you can see, at the moment it is a complete fruit salad of a backyard garden-farm. At least there is nothing monocultural about the place! We are overwhelmed by variety and slowly learning the needs of each little wantonly individual plant. For example, the pumpkins (donated by Dr Kearnes) are bolting, at the expense, it seems, of the first crop of tomatoes and beans. And, we’ve discovered that if we drape the pumpkin’s main runner over Aaron’s cute little tricycle, the sadness we feel about the dying tomatoes is somewhat alleviated.

Trike with Pumpkin Runner (N.B. Roof Tile Bed Edge C/O Aaron)

Trike with Pumpkin Runner (N.B. Roof Tile Bed Edge C/O Aaron)

Although we’ve had some success and made some progress, an actual plan for what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve remains forthcoming. Craig and I are going to Milkwood Permaculture in Mudgee to do their Organic Market Garden course in early February, in the hope that, because they are Permaculture nerds, we will be taught how to plan. Stay tuned…

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