Hello Darlings

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Tynan, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    Good morning all,

    My name is Tynan and I am quite 'green' when it comes to gardening, after reading Cicero's How to Grow Old, I've been an avid viewer of Mark and many other Homesteaders on the web. Seeing as I am finally moving into a 5 acre plot of land on the South side of Brisbane ( Camira ), I'm looking to get the ball rolling.

    With this block, I have inherited a substantial pumpkin vine which appears to be tormenting the four chickens we were left, an orange tree and finally, a cactus with what appears to be red fruit. Again, I am completely new and would love some advice on the following if you don't mind.

    Firstly, let's have a gander at the size of this pumpkin vine; from left to right, front to back, inside and above the coup. Sweet jesus, these poor chooks have no room ( they seem quite happy though ) In addition to the massive growth above and below, 4 large and long runners have shot out and begun fruiting; many flowers on this vine.

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    Now let's have a look at a fruit that I needed to harvest today, due to being a little rough whilst moving the vine.

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    This is an odd portion of the vine that has turned black, from what I could find, the only section to of done so.

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    These are some of the leaves I have trimmed due to needing access to the coup and just for a bit of a tidy up. I'm looking to remove the vine completely once all the pumpkins are harvested. I want to get this coup in perfect order and add some more chooks, and some khaki campbells when I can.

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    This is another vine growing over the coup that I'd like to strip out, it has berries that turn red when ripe.

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    Overall, the property appears to be very fertile and from what the owners have told me, anything they plant just seems to take off like a scolded ****. I'll add some photos of the orange tree and the cactus that I mentioned earlier.

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    Alright here we go, I have some questions, any advice would be greatly appreciated and sure to be taken on board and implemented where possible. I imagine I'm going to be told to go hard on the pruning, good for me, I bought my very first pair of shears today ( I went old school and bought the old sheep shear style ).

    In regards to photo 2, the pumpkin: The white area of this pumpkin was where it had been left on the grass, is this still fine to eat? In addition to this, I've picked the pumpkin before it was ready and was wondering if it should be left to ripen on the kitchen bench, or in full sun?

    The black vine in photo 3 was a bit of a shock, to me it appears to be diseased. Should I be looking to cull this portion of the vine, or is this completely normal?

    Photo 4 is an example of what I pruned this morning, anything that was yellow and appeared to be diseased, mauled by insects, loose and hanging towards the ground and finally, anything that was dead. Is this good practice and are the yellow and insect damaged leaves fine to throw into my compost, or could this spread disease around the garden?

    Photo 5 is an example of the other climber that seems to be holding the chooks at ransom, are the berries edible for myself or the chickens at all? Or are they poisonous and should be removed from the chickens asap?

    Photos 6, 7, 8 and 9 are of the orange tree which is fruiting like mad. I've shown some images of the leaves, what appears to be blight and insect damage, should I go to the effort and cull these from the tree? Could they be used in compost, and are there any tips for the oranges at all? I'm looking to net the entire tree to ensure a nice clean, full harvest.

    Finally with photo 10, this is the cactus that I mentioned; I got my hopes up thinking it may of been an odd species of dragon fruit, but I'm just not sure and could not find anything earlier this afternoon with help from Google.

    Thank you in advance everyone, please don't go to a lot of effort in assisting me, a single answer to the above will be greatly appreciated. Let me know who you are and what your big interests are, mine seem to be honeybees at the moment ( very keen to build a couple of top bar beehives ). As things progress and I make some strides with the garden, I'll dump some more photos and give you all an update.

    Thanks again,

    Tynan
     
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  2. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I would be leaving that amazing pumpkin to do its thing, people world wide would be jealous of that. Food, free shade & habitat for bugs for the chickens to eat.

    The orange tree looks ok, a bit of insect damage, but there seems to be plenty of new leaf growth, so it shouldn't worry it too much. Maybe prune some of the lower branches up off the ground once it finishes fruiting.

    I haven't had any issues with birds eating my oranges personally, they seemed to stick to the peaches, all of the peaches, 4 trees worth of beautiful giant peaches. After losing all those peaches, I put nets over the trees, but they were awkward to get on & even worse to get off, they get tangled in branches very easily.

    The bags you can get to put over just the fruit are much better if you find you are having problems with things eating them. Oranges are pretty thick skinned though, so it takes a pretty persistent bug to chew its may inside.

    Bees are a great interest to have. The more people that take up bee keeping the better!
     
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  3. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Welcome to the forum.
    Absolutely jealous of your pumpkin vine, as it has been a bad year for pumpkins. As AndrewB has said, leave it alone until it has finished fruiting, then cut it all out, roots and all, and throw it in your compost heap or in your chook run; they will love it. The pumpkin in your photo will be fine to eat.
    The orange tree looks ok, maybe give it an organic liquid fertilizer for a boost. As well as the lower branches, I would trim some of the foliage in the middle for air flow as well.
    I'm thinking about bees as well; those new flow hives look interesting.
    With your peaches, the nets over the tree are probably better; a windchime that sounds like a cat's bell works too.
     
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  4. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    Good morning Andrew & Darren,

    Thank you both kindly for the sound and consistent advice you've provided. I will indeed leave the pumpkin until the end of it's fruiting life.

    It's a real shame about your peaches Andrew, such a wonderful fruit, and the birds appear to think so too. Well, for the coming week, it seems that some fertiliser and a bit of light pruning is on the agenda.

    I like the cat's bell, should I end up with birds being an issue, this is definitely something I intend to use. However, at the moment, kangaroos appear to be the only threat ( about ten of them on the property along with 2 wallabies, they like it a lot here ), I'm hoping they don't take a fancy to the raised beds I intend to knock up.

    Darren, the flow hives do indeed look interesting, I just don't know how the bees feel about it.

    Cheers gents,

    Tynan
     
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  5. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Oh, you're cat bell suggestion made me remember another thing, Hang some old cds from the branches on strings, the light that reflects off them scares any birds that get too close.

    For kangaroos, I'd say you may need to put something up to keep them away. It looks like they would be well fed from all that grass, but they do like to dig around for tasty treats.
     
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  6. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    If I put an old bullbar near the garden beds, do you think that would scare them off?
     
  7. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    I'll have to look into dealing with the roos lol, I like having them there as they're pleasing to watch of an afternoon. I wonder what deterrents are available; the cd's sounds good for birds too.
     
  8. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I forgot to mention the CD's. I have a collection in the shed of CD's and DVD's that I use on our apricot tree. Our other trees aren't big enough to fruit yet. Strong fencing is probably needed to keep the kangaroos and wallabies out of your veggies and fruit.
    Apart from the birds getting our apricots, the only real pest I've had to deal with is a resident bearded dragon that delights in eating the seedlings in one non-raised bed. Oh, and the rabbits when they escaped their pen last week; they ate some of my broccoli seedlings.
     
  9. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    Now I can see why people shoot the critters... I'll look at extending a fence out past the chicken coop and stable then, should save me a wall at least. I was going to build raised beds, do you think that the added height would fail to deter them still?
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there Tynan & welcome.

    Those new fences you intend to build had better be VERY strong & tall!
    Roos hate to be told they cant go where they usually go & will batter themselves against whatever is preventing their passage.
    Or they will jump over & get tangled or end up somewhere they are not supposed to be.
    I have wallabies here that will knock down the normal dog type mesh fence no problems.
    If they can make a small hole they will force themselves through it at all costs.
    Never had CD's or bells work on birds that like fruit but give it a try.
    Best way to net fruit trees is to make a poly pipe hoop frame over the top & put the net over that.

    Decide how many hoops your tree needs & drive in 2 steel posts around the drip line for each hoop to form a star pattern.
    Slip the 2" poly pipe over the posts. It will hold its shape for a few yrs but you can pull it all apart & store out of the sun to extend its life & for ease of mowing after fruiting is over & to facilitate pruning.

    That cactus with the red fruit looks a bit like some form of dragon fruit that's been neglected & run small. Can you give us a close-up of the fruit please?

    Great pumpkin vine fertilized by the chooks no doubt. That one you had to pick is a bit young as the stem is still green. When ripe they are green & yellow on the outside (Kents or Japs). You might find the flesh rather sappy but still ok to eat. It will just make your hands very sticky if you try to skin the pieces you cut. Also, being so immature, it wont keep well so use it all up once you cut it.

    A good recipe to use young pumpkin is to grate the whole piece straight into the hot pan & make pumpkin fritters. The sap will help the grated flesh stick together as it cooks until crisp. yum

    I have shears that I use to trim grass from around sensitive plants & tight spots. I used to cut horse grass with them & still do give the cut grass to the horses although now I pay a huge mortgage so they have unlimited grass rather than go out to places & cut free grass!

    However I wouldn't use them for pruning plants, fruit trees etc. Secateurs are what you need having a much stronger blade. Even cheap $6 secateurs will do a far better job (until they get blunt) than shears will ever do. But a nice $29-$49 pair from Bunnings should last you the rest of your life if cared for.
    Regarding the orange trees. That is leaf miner damage & unless you are a stickler for a perfect tree, I would leave them be since your trees look quite healthy anyway.

    Its time to fertilize fruit trees again anyway (change of season) so give them some potassium rich fertilizer to help the fruit get big & juicy. That should be enough for those trees. If you don't bother about being organic then just buy Citrus Fertilizer which is ideal. Don't be tempted to apply high nitrogen fert at this time of year as it will cause dry fruit & too many leaves which the tree wont be able to sustain through the dry season.
     
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  11. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Welcome Tynan, agree with everything everyone one has said. You are lucky to have such fertile soil. I think you have done the right thing pruning off any yellow, moldy leaves of the pumpkin vine. Like everyone has said I’d let it keep fruiting and any watering be done at the base of the plant as they don’t like their leaves wet.

    Sounds like you have a great property and are off to a great start.
     
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  12. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    @ClissAT, I was told that the windchimes were only effective if they sounded like a cat's bell. So far, it has been reasonably effective. It's only one the still days that the buggers come and eat the fruit.
     
  13. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    It certainly appears to be the case, thanks for the warm welcome. The only issue I have, is finding the base of the plant haha, it's running rampant inside the pen.

    Well I certainly hope they'll be content with the ample supply of long grass they've been presented. I think culling them is out of the question and most certainly not something I personally wish to have carried out.

    This does seem like the perfect solution for me to be honest, my orange tree is nice and short, fruiting hard and I'll keep the size down hopefully with some good pruning. Thank you for the great tip.

    I'll be sure to grab a close up when I go to the property tomorrow.

    A perfect answer that was definitely needed, you just saved two pumpkins from spoiling. I intended to leave them on the kitchen bench for a fortnight. The recipe is most welcome and will also be put into good use, I shall flick you a message with the results.

    Something I learned today, the leverage given with secateurs make all the difference, shows how green I am haha.

    Thank you for this, I'll give the oranges a nice drink this weekend; you ever try the banana peel tea? Anyone's input on this would be greatly appreciated. So it's my understanding that nitrogen is for leaf production (cabbages and lettuce would be ideal candidates for a fertiliser rich in nitrogen?), Potassium is great for anything that fruits (oranges, apples, tomatoes and cucumbers for example?) and finally, phosphorus I would assume is ideal for root vegetables? I honestly haven't a clue. Something for me to look into soon enough.

    Thank you again for the warm welcome and the sound advice people, much appreciated.

    <3
     
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  14. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for the tip on banana peel tea, Tynan. I hadn't heard or thought of it before. I'm always looking for natural ways to add potassium to the fruit and veg when it's producing.
     
  15. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    Not a problem Darren, just something I found on Youtube a while back; I believe they said to use 2-3 peels in about 5 litres of water, let it sit for a couple of days and go for gold.
     
  16. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I must try that also.
    The scientists tell us there is lots of potassium in bananas but in the 50's when all these calculations were done, they often froze & whizzed up the whole fruit or veg, skin & all.
    So in many cases the fleshy bit we eat is rather devoid of nutrition with the majority being in the skin.
    I often wonder about bananas, just where the K is. I am lacking this mineral & suffer healthwise due to that, but eating a banana doesn't seem to help when 'they' say it should.

    Now I would have to say I was right to wonder, if a tea provides a good source of K to growing plants.
     
  17. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    A good video here on banana peels in the garden.

    He does a whole series on common garden assumptions, & goes really in depth on some of them, to the point of getting them tested in the lab for NPK levels.
     
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  18. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    We're all lacking in most things it seems, I desperately want to stop lining the pockets of Woolworths and Coles. Paying for food void of nutrition and full of chemicals, I thought the Government was there to ensure such things didn't happen at our expense.
    Thanks Andrew, this guy is great. Just subbed.
     
  19. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    @ClissAT I almost forgot, as requested earlier, I got some close ups of the suspected dragon fruit. All in all there appears to be about a dozen rooted plants, the one big cluster as shown previously, and then 5 or 6 smaller groups further up the driveway. I'll show the plant and the root base as well in case it assists you all further.

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    And I may be a very lucky boy indeed, as I have a sneaky suspicion the following tree should be fruiting some nice little bananas. Is there any chance someone could Identify if this bad boy is a banana tree or not? If it is, should I be doing my best to clear out everything at the base of the tree? The previous owner has been there for five years, mentioned everything but a banana tree, so either it's not, or it needs a desperate feed.

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    Moving house has me sleeping and rising at the strangest times lately, sorry in advance if anyone gets an irritating beep or buzz every time I throw up a reply.

    Much love,

    Tynan
     
  20. Tynan

    Tynan Member Premium Member

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    Well, I'd say they are indeed some form of dragon fruit, the flowers are very close to a video that Mark uploaded a while back, albeit much, much smaller than his.The photo appears to show a large flower, but it's no larger than a clenched fist. Quite pretty though, half a dozen of them in total and many of which buzzing with bees.



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    And for further updates on the property, this is what we'll be calling home as of Sunday evening. Chicken coup is shown up the back and the house is out of frame to the right.

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    And this bougainvillea has shot up with flowers over the past week; should be quite nice to see coming into the property throughout the year.

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    The rose bush out the front, not something I've ever seen this large before. A few weeks back, the whole top was covered in flowers and was quite nice to look at. As for now, one final flower, one last hurrah before it's slumber.

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    Now I'm led to believe that this enormous vine that spans the entire roof is wisteria; if this is true, I sure hope it flowers and will be looking to give it good boost soon enough.

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    And finally, another climber which I'm told flowers like you would not believe. I am falling in love with this place more and more each day. Stay tuned and watch me somehow kill everything that grows here....
     

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