January 9, 2016

DIY Seed Raising Mix

I make my own seed raising mix to ensure that my seed trays have every chance of success whilst germinating. As our summers get very hot, moisture seems to be the problem with seedlings. By adding coconut fibre (coir peat) bigger healthier roots grow and require less water, as the product has a higher water holding capacity. The addition of vermiculite also enhances moisture retention. This recipe makes up to 15 litres depending on what coir product you use.

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Coir Brick

You will need
A bag of potting mix (ensure it has the Australian standard set of ticks)
Vermiculite (can be purchased at the hardware store in the gardening supplies section)
Coir Power Seed Raising Block or Coir Peat Brick (can be purchased at the hardware store in the gardening supplies section)
Water
Container (I use a mini garbage bin)
Shovel or Trowel
Gloves
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January 5, 2016

Leaf Art for Kids

Stuck for things to do with the kids in the school holidays? Not long ago I was minding my beautiful niece Olivia, at a dressage competition. We were literally stuck at a horse truck in the bush for the day. Thanks to pinterest we came up with this idea. I am not a primary school teacher and hence not very crafty. I take my hat off to primary school teachers. Just collecting the leaves is a fun activity and creates all kinds of conversations about nature.

You will need
Craft Glue
A3 or A4 Paper
Leaves
Small Paint Brush
Texta (optional)

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Instructions
1. Collect leaves from under trees, a mix of shapes and colours. The drier the better.
2. Plan your animals out on a flat surface
3. Brush glue on the back of each leaf
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December 31, 2015

Goals for the Gardener to Consider

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  1. Plant a new garden. Try and plant something you don’t usually grow. For example plant a succulent garden if you only grow vegetables.
  2. Plant more edible trees on your lawn. Does it matter if you reduce your lawn area and there is less mowing?
  3. Plant at least 10 bee friendly plants this year and go Organic. Chemicals contribute to the loss of many bee colonies.
  4. Add some native plants which will attract birds to your garden.
  5. Install a worm farm and get to know these amazing creatures.
  6. Build a native bee hotel.
  7. Read a book or attend a workshop on a specialised gardening theme.
  8. Leave a few plants to go to seed after each harvest and save seeds for next year.
  9. Take photos of your garden and the small creatures who live in it. Post some to social media and who knows what conversations may be started.
  10. Challenge yourself to identify a new pest or disease or beneficial insect each month to grow your knowledge.

Wishing you a very happy new year!

December 29, 2015

Looking after your Poultry in the Heat

Summer has hit and it is important that we remember our feathered friends. All is good if we are in the air conditioning inside and they are in the elements outside. Animals feel the heat just as much as us and get stressed. Here are some strategies to help the feathered ones in your household overcome the extreme temperatures this summer.

  • Keep water full and in the shade.
  • Give chicken ice blocks to poultry (recipe below my chickens absolutely loved these treats)
  • Put sprinklers on the roof of coop/shed
  • Add ice to waters
  • If possible check on your poultry a few times during the day and spray with a mist of water if necessary

Chicken Ice Blocks (Can be used for all poultry)

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December 14, 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Garden/Animal Lover

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As the crazy time of year has begun, are you stuck for ideas of meaningful presents to get friends and family?

Here is a list of gift ideas.

For the crazy chook person

  • A chicken health kit – Include De-louse Powder, Shellgrit, Probiotics for Chickens and Chicken Wormer. Place in a small wooden box or basket and tie a hessian bow and gift tag on the box. If you buy small amounts this should be under $50
  • An antiquarian chicken book from a second hand book shop. Often to a chook person these are collectors items and a very interesting read

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