Still hot, still dry. Recent storms have delivered 45mm, but this rain has simply greened the grass and temporarily added humidity to the weather mix. This moisture will quickly drop down the soil profile, as there is no sub-soil moisture to hold it up. The monsoon finally established over northern Australia about 2 weeks ago, so prospects of continuing moisture events have improved in the short term. It has been a long, hot summer and we, and nature, are exhausted by the relentless demands of the sun.
Daytime temperatures are in the mid thirties. Night temperatures are in the high teens to low twenties.
In the Shade House
Despite what has been said about the ambient climate, these hot and dry conditions are ideal for growing plants, provided there is sufficient water available. Usually at this time of year we implement practices to ameliorate the overwhelming humidity. It is much easier to add water to the nursery than to offset the effects of wet soil and air heavy with moisture.
Species enjoying this summer include Meadowsweet, Acerola Cherry, Aloe Candelabra, Damiana, Costmary, Rangoon Creeper and Samphire.
Recently returning to stock are Kava, Allspice, Ayahuasca, Chacruna, Pandan, Thai Coriander, Drumstick Tree, Tamarind, Chocolate Tree and Toothache Plant.
Cinnamon; plants are slow and will not be ready for this season – will carry stock over to next spring.
Looking particularly good at present are Ginger, Turmeric, Galangal, Coffee, Vanilla, Chicory, Yerba Mate and Kenchur.
In The Seed Room
Seed sowing is underway. Species selected will not dampen off in the warm seasonal conditions. Species sown include; Agrimony, Andrographis, Dandelion, Japanese Indigo, Epazote, Sweet Annie, Pyrethrum, Golden Rod, Thai Coriander and Woad.
As the night temperatures cool, we will sow Dong Quai, Herb Robert, Valerian, Cardoon, Queen Annes Lace, Borage and Chickweed.
Collected seed from Ashwaganda, this week. Seed will be roughly cleaned and sown in community trays. This Ashwaganda is the Vedic form.
Reminder: Saffron corms need to be planted by the end of March
Seed species returning to stock include Golden Rod, Bloodroot (bulk seed now available), Siberian Motherwort, Japanese Indigo, Caraway, Cowslip and Burning Bush.
Plants propagated during the last few weeks include; Calea, St Johns Wort, Patchouli, Sambung, Vetiver and Bergamot.
Non-Toxic Herbicide Update
The action of this herbicide is not systemic but contact, burning off the plant foliage rather than killing the root. This desiccation process is supposed to also kill the weed root, but will need to wait a couple more weeks to confirm. A uniform spray coverage of the foliage is required and results are very quick. The product is inert, except when in contact with the leaf surface. This makes it the ideal herbicide for paths and courtyards.
Batches of finch fledging learning to fly and staying close to hedgerows – always makes me smile. Sydney Waxbills and Double Bars. Some Zebra Finches in the shade house the other day. Have not seen these on the farm for about 10 years.
Wrens made a brief appearance, for a week, at the beginning of February.
Wonga Pigeons are nesting in the Leopard Tree. Wompoo Pigeons have changed nesting tree from the Rubber Tree on the driveway to the Liquidamber beside the house. Turtleneck Doves patrol the driveway and car park in increasing numbers. Emerald Wing Pigeons have taken residence on an open section of the access road.
● Kava plant, now in stock
● Bloodroot seed, freshly harvested seed, bulk available
● Drumstick Tree plant, again available, good size plants
● Golden Rod seed, sow early autumn
● Tamarind plant, handsome plants ready for transplant
● Chickweed seed, autumn sowing in all areas
● Ayahuasca plant, recently returned to stock, hardy
● Caraway seed, suitable to sow in cooler areas
● Toothache Plant , strong and vigorous plants
● Herb Robert seed, sow now in temperate areas
● Chocolate Tree, plants returning to stock, good size, limited numbers
● Japanese Indigo seed, again in stock, sow in warmer areas
● Rangoon Creeper plant, hardy perennial
● Valerian seed, suitable to sow in warm conditions
● Pandan plant, Lovely compact plants
● Borage seed, reliable germination when autumn sown
● Acerola Cherry plant, suitable for dry areas
● Saffron corms, sow before end of March .