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News from the Moble Garden – Growing Vegetables & Other Pursuits

March 27, 2020
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How wonderful to wake up this morning (indeed) to the sound of the overshot running. The creek running over the overshot dam, a bullfrog chorus, a trumpet of brolgas and the scent of gidyea will forever be the leitmotif of Moble for me. We had 18mm rain here, perfect follow up for this country. Everything smells wonderful and the air is so clear I feel like I could touch the sky. A landscape bathed in that cut crystal light after rain, springing forth with promise. ┬áIt reminds me of those stirring words written by Rev. Watts: Were I so tall to reach the pole, Or grasp the ocean with my span, I must be measured by my soul; The mind’s the standard of the man.

And so, with all this soul measuring one must automatically think of vegetables, and in this case vegetable gardens. Thus far, the seeds sown over the last couple of weeks are springing forth with promise and let no peacock or guinea fowl or damn wabbit put them asunder! News from the hardware this week was no vegetable seedlings this season, so it will be more seeds and a return to the seed boxes of old. I think it was only a few weeks ago I mentioned how we always grew our seedlings; the punnet had not ventured across the Bulloo River when my vegetable career kicked off. I have broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower coming on the next mail, I once would have planted Brussel Sprouts as well. I still love them however our winters are no longer cold enough for Mr. Sprout, Mrs. Cauli struggles as well with the shortened season. Hereto I shall miss my dear father-in-law, as we always grew our seedlings in tandem to stagger the plantings. As carefully as we planned though, we often still had too many at once, all the more for sharing around though.

My seed box is made from an old wooden battery box and another a converted bee box; however, you could use an upcycled foam esky with some holes punch through the bottom for drainage. You can buy ready made seed-raising mixture or else use a lighter, free-draining soil mix. Some sand and peat moss will suffice as a topping, the peat moss helps retain moisture; whilst you want your mixture to drain readily you still need to keep the seed layer moist. The fine sifted sand allows for the new shoots to break through the surface, remember these are vegetables and not oak trees!

Read the back of the seed packet carefully to gauge how deep to sow your seeds. A good rule of thumb is the finer the seed, the closer to the surface. Some seeds are best sown in-situ whilst others are readily transplanted when they are a more manageable size. Morning sun and careful watering with a fine spray will do the trick, pop a piece of netting over the top to keep the birds and rabbits away.

Hah. In breaking news to hand, vegetable seedlings are now available. Too late for me as my seeds arrived on the mail this morning and are now duly planted in the seed boxes, so we shall see how they go. It will be the Yates vs Pohlman competition to see who wins the garden to plate race.

Last year’s vegetable bounty. Photograph by Andrew Hughes

I have been mulling over another little project here in the Old Garden and given our somewhat changed circumstances in the year ahead, I think I shall dig deep and have a go. We have chatted about the lily pond resurrection over Christmas and I am not sure if I mentioned another pond long forgotten?

Whilst wandering past with a shovel in hand last week, I idly scraped away around the old stone capping to see what may be revealed. Not too far below the soil line was a curved edging, giving onto another ledge and then the straight sides of an old pond. The shovel then plunged quite readily into the soil, which always makes me want to plant something. However, in this instance I think I will resist the urge and dig it out instead. This pond is capped with stone edging, about knee high above ground level. It is rectangular in shape, about five metres by two metres. Who know how deep it is, or if it will still hold water? Watch this space.

 

The Lilly Pond in it’s glory, which is currently hidden under layers of dirt and silt which will require some muscle to remove. This photo was taken in the 40s or 50s.

Now I have committed to do this, it will go on my Winter 2020 list. I somewhat irrationally mentioned out loud recently that I was going to ride side-saddle and learn to play the bagpipes before I turned sixty; both of which seemed an excellent idea when I turned fifty but now the timeline seems to loom large. As the horse I have chosen for the side-saddle foray is also approaching sixty, I feel we shall have to act soon, when the weather cools. If you hear no more from me or the horse, do remember he showed no interest in this pursuit, the idea was mine alone. When you hear her pipe a- piping you will know the deed is done.

In the meantime, get digging and planting, there is nothing like sore muscles to focus the mind,

The Moble Gardener

When you hear her pipe a-piping you will know the deed is done.

For the old horse showed great courage as she turned him on the run.

The saddle felt unbalanced, his bones a weary stride

His mad old mistress determined to clear the jump and ride

For the gully filled with water, surely too wide for his leap.

Yet he faced it and he jumped it, and she landed in a heap.

With one lonely stirrup flapping, he madly raced for home

While she limped along behind him, feeling shaken to the bone.

Slowly she unsaddled him, lacking all her good fun banter

Then she headed for the gin bottle and on to find her Chanter.

 

Our efforts over the Christmas holiday have been rewarded with beautiful Lillies in the circular pond

Revelling after our first successful excavation

Looking along the front of the old Moble house down onto TU Creek

Moble tennis court with the sheds (most are still standing) in the background