Hello from mid north South Australia

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by DarrenP, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi,
    Thought I'd better introduce myself. I found this great looking site when looking for help with a chicken incubator.
    My wife and I mad the tree change last year after I was made redundant from my job. For health and lifestyle reasons, as well as the aim of being mortgage free, we bought a little stone cottage on just over a third of an acre in a mid north town 200 km's north of Adelaide. Not quite mortgage free, we are enjoying a much more relaxed life than in the city. We grow as many vegetables as we can, and have planted 9 fruit trees and a passionfruit vine (there was only one apricot when we moved in). Chickens are next on the list.
    We keep a variety of birds and reptiles, and breed mice and rabbits to feed the reptiles; the occasional rabbit might make our plates too, lol. The rabbits and parrots get a lot of home grown vegetables.
    Being self sufficient is something we will never achieve totally, but we are always looking at ways to do things for ourselves. My wife does a lot of baking, and has started making butter and yoghurt as well. She has also made reusable cloth bags for when we do buy fruit and veg; single use plastic free is another aim of ours.
    Anyway, thanks for having me. Looking forward to learning new skills and tips.

    Cheers.
     
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  2. Robyn67

    Robyn67 Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Darren
    Your story is very similar to mine. We also did a tree change for health reasons, simplified our life, went down to one income, make so much of our own food, trying to reduce plastics and chemicals. We have failed in the grow our own veg but this site is inspiring me to try again. Luckily our fruit trees were already established.

    Yes you must get into chickens, not only for eggs but just the sheer pleasure of watching their antics, very good for the soul. And the custard and ice cream your wife (guessing from your post she will make it) will make using your own fresh eggs is just so unbelievably better than anything store bought. Your tastebuds will thank you.
     
  3. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Robyn,
    I'm looking forward to getting eggs from the coop, and straight into the kitchen for brekkie. I am actually in the middle of making apricot jam at the moment. First time for me. Since moving here we've also made chargrilled zucchini in oil, and pickled roasted beetroot.
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Welcome Darren. You'll find plenty of recipes here & Marks videos are always good to watch being full of great info & a few bloopers from time to time. Always good entertainment.

    On 1/3 acre there isn't room for a cow or even goat so I'm guessing you have a supply of milk from another source?

    I love old stone cottages. As a nation we must do more to save those remaining. And no harm in using stone as a building material too if it can be sourced ethically & sustainably.

    SA is not the most docile of climates but you obviously have great soil. I look forward to seeing many photos of your growing produce. ;)
     
  5. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks, ClissAT.
    Milk comes from the local supermarket, lol. Being a small town, if you time your run, there are often markdown milk close to their date, so at least it's cheaper. I'm not sure what larger animals we are allowed to keep in the town. Chickens are fine as long as you aren't running a commercial venture, and no roosters (officially, as there is at least 3 that I am aware of).
    Our little cottage was in bad need of TLC, as the previous owner had not done any maintenance for some time, that's why we are not mortgage free. It's one of the oldest in town I believe, built around 1873. It has a double brick extension done back in the 1980's. It's great for heating and cooling I have to say.
    The local soil is not the best, but previous owners have laid some better soil at some point. Even so, I am growing virtually all of our veggies in raised beds. Tomatoes and capsicums I am growing behind the shed along the fence, so they get enough sunlight without getting burnt or blossom end rot which I had last summer.
    Climate wise, we can get down near zero in the winter (surprisingly few frosts though), and into the 40's in summer.
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    It surprises me that your tomatoes are prone to blossom end rot since so much of that SA country is on lime stone. Perhaps the imported soil was a bit acidic.
    Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency. Use gypsum to make Ca available if your pH is already above 6 & certainly if around 7.
    But if your soil pH is low then just use garden lime.
    To kick things off initially, a little hydrated lime then watered well, adding blood & bone + 10% K (potassium). Don't plant into that treated soil for a few weeks to give the hydrated lime a chance to mellow or it'll burn the roots.
     
  7. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Luckily I haven't had any this year. It was pointed out to me that it can also occur if the soil dries out too much between watering. That's why I planted behind the shed this year. Not as much sunlight, plenty of mulch, and well dosed with blood and bone and Epsom salts. Plants are healthy with plenty of fruit developing.
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I'm envious! :D
     
  9. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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    Welcome....glad you are enjoying your life in the country. Sounds to me like you are getting pretty self sufficient to me. Glad yo are enjoying the country life. You will so enjoy this forum!
    Sjerry
     
  10. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for the welcome.
    I'm still coming to grips with the timing of planting; we have bursts of abundance, and like now, nothing. A work in progress.
     
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Same here Darren!

    Like I always say, "you don't have to be self-sufficient in everything just be self-sufficient in something" :)

    We moved here on our small acreage to "slow life down" a little - I guess in some respects life is still very busy for us but it's still not as nuts as it was when Nina and I were both working in the Army full-time whilst trying to raise two boys.

    We save a little here and there every day by using our own resources and eating our own homegrown food instead of buying. Plus it's a healthier lifestyle...

    Thanks for joining us mate and welcome to SSC. :)
     
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  12. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for the warm welcome. It was your review and YouTube clip for the incubator that led me here, but this seems like a place for like-minded people looking to do for themselves, and strip back the unnecessary parts of our modern lives.
     
  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    And not just strip back or slow life down but also as insurance against the possibility of economic collapse or simply out of control prices of everyday items. Avocadoes are now $3.50 here for a good sized fresh one and we have 12 growing on our small tree - that's $42 right there!

    Once upon a time, you'd only pay top dollar for things that are out of season and needed to travel miles to get to the shops, however, these days we pay outrageous prices for fruit and veg in season!!! There are literally creates of mangoes rotting on the supermarket shelf ATM in SEQ and then they halve the price in desperation hoping an idiot will buy them all mushy and past the use-by - it's not good...
     
  14. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Too true, Mark. Mangoes and avocadoes are ridiculously expensive here in SA. Even bananas are price gouged by the big supermarkets. One of the big 2 sources all of their tomatoes for the SA stores from one supplier, yet put the prices up with a sign saying the weather was to blame. The supplier grows the tomatoes in solar powered greenhouses!

    And the taste of home grown produce beats any store bought items that have been stored in cold rooms for months. I grew turnips this last winter, and they were the sweetest, tastiest turnips I've ever eaten.
     
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  15. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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  16. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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    I toatally agree! Last fall-winter I grew an assortment of salad greens. I picked as we ate and the flavors and quality were so much better than what could be bought in the stores. I really grieved when the season was over! Besides I know it’s organic and healthy and so fresh!
     
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  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yep, even salad tastes different and better from the garden - true!
     
  18. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Agreed. Our leafy greens actually have flavour, unlike the limp shop stuff. We're growing lettuce, mustard greens, amaranth, and rocket, as well using baby beetroot leaves and radish leaves in the salads.
     
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