It is a heck of a thing to receive a month’s rainfall in just one week. Over the past week 90mm (3.5 inches) of rain fell over the mountain range. Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. It appears that a cyclone formed over the Southern Ocean and dumped even more rain and wild winds in that state than here. I wasn’t previously aware that cyclones could form over the cold Southern Ocean, but apparently it was one of the worst storms in 50 years. The storm was pretty wild and it managed to plunge that entire state of South Australia into a black out.
South Australia is the state to the west and slightly to the north of Victoria (which is the state that I live in). The two states share electricity via a huge electricity cable cleverly called the Interconnector (a truly original name for a massive set of cables, if ever I have heard of one!). And the interconnector broke during the wild storm. It appears that because of this break, the entire state of South Australia was plunged into darkness. I had no idea that huge steel electricity transmission towers could actually buckle and fall over, which is what they appear to have done earlier this week. The photos are pretty amazing. And I wouldn’t have wanted to have been anywhere near either the wild storm, or one of those transmission towers when they failed…
Down here at the farm, the week's weather was just wet and it fortunately lacked the extreme winds. However, the sky did put on a good show at times! And sometimes the clouds were so thick, they almost looked purple.
|The clouds were so thick and threatening at times that they almost looked purple|
With a month’s worth of rain falling over the mountain range this week, it is hardly surprising that the valley below the mountain range flooded yet again. Fortunately, all of the animals in the various paddocks had been moved to higher ground in the days leading up to the storm.
|The valley below the mountain range flooded yet again this week|
The normally very placid and sluggish, Macedon River (also known as Riddells Creek) was quite the raging torrent of water this morning.
|The normally very placid and sluggish Macedon River (also known as Riddells Creek) was quite the raging torrent of water this morning|
Even the creek that begins near the bottom and eastern edge of my property was flowing with vigour this morning. That creek eventually flows into the river in the above photos.
|Even the creek that begins near the bottom and eastern edge of my property was flowing with vigour this morning|
Earlier in the week, the sun shone strongly and the weather was sweet and gentle. I knew about the approaching storm and so decided to continue with the excavations for the new garden terrace before the rain arrived. The area that had to be excavated wasn’t really that large an area so I didn’t believe that the work would take long.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple and in the process of excavating, I discovered five very old tree stumps, one of which was quite substantial. They all had to be removed, which is a huge amount of work. Fortunately, Toothy was there to assist me with the excavations.
|Toothy assists me with excavating and removing five old tree stumps on the new garden terrace|
Toothy largely assisted me by lazing around and enjoying the spring sunshine and generally reminding me from time to time, that only foolish humans would be silly enough to waste such glorious spring sunshine by digging! Yes, maybe Toothy is right!
Once the tree stumps were exposed, I was then able to cut them out with the chainsaw. It is important to mention that dirt and chainsaws do not mix very well and even the slightest contact between the cutting chain and any soil will blunt it very quickly. Needless to say, the various tree stumps were covered with lots of soil, and so that provided me with plenty of practice at hand sharpening the chainsaw chain.
Then I could relax as it rained for a few days, and all excavation work ceased. Eventually the rain slowed a bit, and a further day of excavations completed the new garden terrace. This was exciting because I was then able to place the third potato steel raised garden bed. Did I mention before that nothing is ever simple? Oh yes, I believe I did! The largest of the old tree stumps had a very large tap root protruding out of the ground at the exact spot where I wanted to place the new potato bed. Well done!
About a year ago, I purchased a cheapie tree stump grinder. Previously, I had been using an axe to remove any tree stumps. I’m no slouch, but I found that axing a tree stump for several hours – which I’d been doing for several years now – was starting to damage my shoulder joints. And thus, I invested in a cheapie stump grinder. Using that machine is like trying to constrain a wild bronco, with only your arms to control the savage beast as it kicks and bucks, but even that is much easier on my body than using an axe. And best of all, the machine does the job required of it.
|The author using a cheapie stump grinder to remove the very old tree stump which was located at the exact location where the final potato raised garden bed was to be placed|
Once the tree stump was removed, the potato bed could be properly located and dug into the new garden terrace. Observant readers will note that in the photo below, the very top concrete step of the new staircase perfectly reaches the new terrace. Also, a sloping ramp (closer to the camera) has now been constructed. We had even managed to incorporate several of the local Musk Daisy-bush shrubs (Olearia Argophylla) into the gently sloping downwards ramp. I reckon it looks pretty cool.
|The excavations for the new garden terrace are now complete and the third and final potato bed had been established|
Each of the three steel raised garden beds contain about twenty five potato tubers, so all up there are now about seventy five tubers planted. I don't believe that we have ever been this organised with the potatoes before! As the plants grow, we will pick off some of the lower leaves and then add additional soil and manure into the raised garden beds. It will be very interesting to note just how productive this method of potato growing is?
|About twenty five seed potatoes have been planted in each of the three steel raised potato garden beds|
Once the seed potatoes were added to the bottom of the raised garden beds, additional soil and manure were added on top. Now you see them, now you don't!
|Once the seed potatoes were added to the bottom of the raised garden beds, additional soil and manure were added on top|
We were aware that yet another massive storm was about to dump even more rainfall over the mountain range on Sunday night, and so we applied a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch onto the exposed soil on the new garden terrace. The composted woody mulch slows the movement of any water and instead causes that water to infiltrate into the ground. This is a good thing because water running over bare ground will cause erosion. It was very fortunate that we placed all of that composted woody mulch onto the new garden terrace, because last night that massive storm dumped another inch of rain over the farm.
|A cubic metre of composted woody mulch was placed over the exposed soil on the new garden terrace in order to combat any erosion from the very recent very heavy rainfall|
Not many people may realise it, but the heavy and persistent rain is a really great opportunity to move plants! The rains are providing far more water than I ever could by watering, and transplanted plants require a lot of water to become well established. So this week, we moved the remaining berries into the new berry enclosure. One quarter of that berry enclosure contains marion berries, another quarter is raspberries, whilst the remaining half is devoted to thornless blackberries.
|The marion berries were relocated this week into the new berry enclosure this week|
Certainly, one activity leads into another here! The marion berries were happily growing in the tomato enclosure and those berries had to move, because the tomato, capsicum (pepper), and eggplant seedlings will be planted out in that tomato enclosure over the next few weeks.
And it never stops here because I haven’t even mentioned that the strawberries are still happily growing where we intend to plant out the pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchinis, and melons… So there is another garden terrace to be constructed shortly, and another concrete staircase will need to be constructed leading up to that new garden terrace… Plus, I need to get a water system up to both of the new garden terraces before summer… The editor even mentioned something the other day about setting aside an area for globe artichokes, and those are definitely worthwhile vegetables… And not to mention… Hehe! Just kidding, well, maybe not…
Despite the rain and cool weather, the orchard is still slowly breaking its dormancy, and this week I observed that the first of the pear trees in the shady orchard had produced some blossoms and a few tentative leaves. It is a snow pear and is usually both the first pear tree to produce leaves in that orchard and also the last to lose its leaves when the season finally comes to close.
|A snow pear produced its first blossoms this week along with a few tentative leaves|
The herb garden has also started to produce some early spring growth this week and the colours and shapes are really quite pleasing on the eye!
|The herb garden has started to produce some early spring growth this week|