Hello from SW Brisbane

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by CjFrancis, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. CjFrancis

    CjFrancis Member Premium Member

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    Gday everyone.

    Young family here, recently discharged ADF to finish studies in Myotherapy/Osteopathy.

    Picked up some landscape labouring while also working security to get my hands dirty again and a friend from uni (South African) who moved to Stanthorpe owns a beautiful farm and inspired me to make some good use of our suburban home, learn some skills and hopefully start a family tradition.

    So far growing the usual herbs, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives etc, some spinach, a bunch of tomato varieties, sweet potato and sweet corn, apple cucumber and some butter beans and a couple of chilli plants.

    Starting from scratch and have no idea what im doing but happy to be learning and hopefully over time we plan to be as self sufficient as we can be.

    Cheers!
     

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  2. CjFrancis

    CjFrancis Member Premium Member

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    Just a quick one. First time this morning making breakfast where everything on the plate (except the toast) came from our garden.. oh and the neighbours chooks.

    Its not much but its our first little taste of self sufficiency.

    Absolutely Hooked.
     

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  3. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Welcome, it's definitely an addictive lifestyle!

    Do you have much space to grow things, or are you restricted to pots?
     
  4. CjFrancis

    CjFrancis Member Premium Member

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    Hi Andrew.

    Right now mostyle container planting for green leafy and herb.

    However I have 2 1.2x1.2 sleeper beds im composting and am planning a 4 bed rotation and likely going to condition straw bales as we dont have very good soil so was hoping it will help 'kick start' some more nutrient rich soil.

    And people seem to have good success with straw bale gardens when starting from scratch.

    Essentially the house is on 2 surburban blocks of land but its far to expensove and not worth it to sublet the land. So Im going to put it to use.
     

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  5. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That's a great size yard, you could do a lot with it.

    I've found that a mulching mower on a high cut is great for improving soil. I was brought up thinking that using a catcher & sending the grass to the tip was the way to go. Al those nutrients wasted!

    Adding organic matter creates good soil & the grass is right there waiting, couldn't be easier :)
     
  6. CjFrancis

    CjFrancis Member Premium Member

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    Thanks, I thought so too!

    We would like to keep some poultry etc aswell but might approach the neighbours first.

    In the mean time just studying up as much as I can and keeping it simple.

    Oh and with birthday and christmas coming up the ideas for presents has changed dramatically from things for my landcruiser to fruit trees haha
     
  7. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi and welcome, be careful with straw bale gardening, I read recently that if it has been sprayed the poison in the straw can kill the plants you decide to grow.

    There maybe a way around this, someone will know. You might consider no dig gardens as may be better as you are planting into the compost on top. Lots of info out there.
     
  8. CjFrancis

    CjFrancis Member Premium Member

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    Hi Kasalia

    Thank you I will keep it in mind.

    I will be sure to query the farmer I get the straw from and see if its been sprayed.

    I looked at no dig method however I have started only a few weeks ago so still developing good compost and will be for awhile yet so thought straw bale method might help 1. Keep costs of soil down, and 2. Help speed up the process abit getting nutrient rich soil/compost.

    Will definitely keep researching thank you!
     
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  9. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there CJ, & welcome.
    In this drought time you might find it very hard to find barley or lucerne hay which is the best to use. And also very expensive. To be honest this year it is best to leave that sort of hay for the farmers who need it most this year for stock feed. Grass hay is a waste of time, money and effort.

    Sugar cane is second best but as Kasalia said, it can be full of chemical and weed seed but easy to procure especially in bulk lots of large squares by the truck load.
    Large squares are bigger, cheaper and easier than rounds and will come apart in huge compressed square 'biscuits' that you can lay straight on the ground 2-3 biscuits thick and plant right into using a little compost or potting mix in little holes.

    It will compost down to nearly nothing during the first season, then by adding other nutritious ingredients like mushroom compost and cow manure for the second season, it gradually improves the soil under it. It creates a beautiful micro climate under for the earth worms to do their job in cool darkness.

    Covering the ground with lots of layers of newspapers or a few layers of cardboard first helps to prevent grass coming up through the straw. If you have a small trailer and are prepared to do a bit of hard yakka, you might be able to get fresh manure from a dairy farm or horse property. The cow will be sloppy but when applied in a thin layer across your empty partly composted bed, it brings worms from miles away and as long as it doesn't get hot, you can plant straight into it. Be careful of the horse poo as if vacuumed from the paddocks it will include lots of weed seeds. Stable manure is best. Take the stuff from the bottom of the piles as it is older and therefore more composted. It might be rather acidic and gassing off from the urine in it but a bit of lime plus blood and bone (with 10% potash) will fix that. It gets pretty hot so you need to wait a few weeks or turn it often to complete the composting process quicker. If you look in freebies on gumtree you will find horse manure for free or ask at a stables.

    Some people have had great success using loads of bark fines just left in the pile. They plant in rows across the slope of the pile with things like sweet potatoes near the bottom. Over time it breaks down to grow better and better produce.

    It all depends on what your soil is like mostly. Acidic soils need organic materials, a bit of lime and mushroom compost, while alkaline soils benefit from the bark fines or leaf mold.

    Or ignore your soil completely and make sure your piles of whatever you buy in, are high enough so the roots don't find the soil. That's what I chose to do. It's just the thing I walk on to get to my f&v!

    Your friend at Stanthorpe will be lucky and have calcium rich soil that will grow almost anything with little effort. Just need to wait for the threat of late frost to pass.
     
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  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Hi @CjFrancis welcome to SSC and thanks for joining us!

    We have several ex ADF members here (including myself) so you're "in good company" lol (book by Gary McKay) I was his driver in the 80's.

    Anyway, you have a nice blank canvas of land to play with so all the best :)
     
  11. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi and welcome to the forum from me too :) It’s great you have made a wonderful start to growing your own veggies. It’s certainly very rewarding and so lovely to have a meal and say I grew that, and that and that :)
     
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