Spring is in the Air

Peach blossoms

I haven’t written in a while and I have really missed it. The emails I get are like getting a gift in the mail. I just love the way people share their own stories with me, so thank you.

I feel like I am coming out of hibernation after a long, hard winter, but even though I am in Pozieres, just outside of Stanthorpe, the coldest place in QLD, it was not the cold that was troubling me, but the lack of rain. We are in some serious trouble in many parts of Australia, so we all need to be water-wise in everything we do. It is a part of living a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle to watch our resource consumption and water is one of our most precious.

With spring arriving, I move back into the garden which has for the most part been dormant through the winter. Garden beds need to be improved, old mulch raked bask, weeding done and then compost needs to be dug in. I give everything a good water and then MULCH again. Mulching is vital. It keeps the soil cool in the hot summers months and it reduces water loss from the soil allowing you to use less of this on your garden.

Orange Blossoms

I have been working on my orchard for the past few weeks. I have 14 trees including peach, orange, lemon, olive, plum, nectarine, mulberry, pear, and fig. I also have Kikuyu grass which is the base of my existence. If you have the same problem in your yard, don’t let it beat you. Pull back the mulch, dig the grass out and then mulch again. I do this every year and each year it gets a little easier. Fruit trees do not like competition for water and nutrients so make sure you get the grass out all the way to the tree’s drip line.

This year I have also planted some English Goosberrys. They were just two sticks in the ground a week ago, but the leaves are already starting to shoot. I want to expand the jams I can make for my family and I love gooseberry jam. They are also wonderful as a pastry in a turnover. I think that they will make a wonderful addition to my garden.

Having fruit trees, canes or bushes in your garden is something you really should look at doing. The fruit you grow yourself will be extra sweet because you grew it. Eat the fruits fresh, cook with them or make preserves. Its a great step in the right direction to live a more sustainable, self-sufficient life and it saves you money at the same time.

I can see myself this summer already; a gooseberry tart in my hand, laying in my hammock in the garden, listening to the bees buzz around the rosemary. Life is looking good.

Valerie

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