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Usefull Websites

Seed Companies

  • Royston-Petrie Seeds P.O. Box 1152 Ph: (61) 2 6372 7800
  • Cornucopia Seed Cornucopia Seeds and Plants Ph (03) 5457 1230
  • Select Organic M.S 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 Organic Seeds
  • GreenHarvest 52 Crystal Waters, M.S. 16, MALENY 4552 Ph: (07) 5494 4676
  • Greenpatch PO Box 1285, TAREE, NSW 2430 (02) 6551 4240
  • The Italian Gardener Allsun Farm, PO Box 8050, Gundaroo, New South Wales, 2620 (02) 6236 8173 Italian vegetable seeds
  • Kings Seeds PO Box 2785, Bundaberg, QLD 4670, Australia Tel: 07 4159 4882
  • Phoenix Seeds PO Box 207 , Snug, TAS, Australia 03) 6267 9663 Only postal Very unusual seeds
  • Diggers Fantastic company become a member and help them in their work, they have two sites, St Erith (nr Daylesford) and Heronswood (Mornington Peninsula) and when you become a member you get sent out a free magazine / newsletter
  • Eden Seed M.S. 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 (07) 5533 1107 Lots of information botanical and taste
  • The Lost Seed The Lost Seed PO Box 321 SHEFFIELD TAS 7306 ph: 03 6491 1000 Has a selection of very rare vegetables, and a great free download of sow what when chart

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken Coop Renovations

I have had some time off studying and less work with the holidays and decided to renovate the chicken house.
The old one was too shady in the winter and didn’t provide enough cover when it rained it was basically an old shade house, and it meant the chickens had to be allowed to wander the garden for a few hours a day. This means they ‘poop’ by the back door, eat all the strawberries and destroy the garden. However they do eat all the slugs and snails.

After much thought, I decided to leave the frame of the old shade house, it is solid steel and all welded together, and its in a good location near the London Plane which provides shade and cooling in the summer, but being deciduous lets more sun in the winter.
Nesting box

The roof is built out of corrugated iron that was left over from the last garden, all fixed using screws, then it can be used again, I found a large piece at the tip shop, and only had to buy one piece new. I canabalised the shade house for their ‘run’ and plan to plant two fruit trees in there. The girls like to hide under shrubs and eat the leaves and generally play underneath trees. Also they will eat the dropped fruit and prevent pests and diseases.

A friend gave me some old fencing wire which I plan to grow Chinese jasmine up, beautiful scent and will cope with the shade. There will be a garden bed around the house, and the water from the bathroom, will run into an agi pipe under the bed. I found an enormous roll at the tip shop.
Brown leghorns and Old english game birds, getting into the camera

The chickens like a bit of privacy and it is easy to access the eggs from outside the coop, this old cupboard is perfect. The boxes are lined with newspaper easier for cleaning and bedding is sugar cane mulch , holes are drilled in the bottom for ventilation.

The chickens are three different breeds, old english game birds, very feisty they were bred as fighting birds and can be quite noisy, they ahve survived two dog attacks though. A good old isa brown, she is getting on a bit, but is wise old thing. Three brown leghorns, these are great one is a survivor of the dog attack and the other two were recompense from the dog owner. Why cant people control their dogs, ugh, they bark all night and then attack my animals. They now have    new security.

A friend of mine wanted to keep bees but had nowhere to keep them as his wife objected to Bees. I was more than happy. Apparently they produce up to 90kgs a new. I think the end of sugar in my house

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blueberry Facts

Fruit Fact Sheets


Vaccinium sp

They have the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit and high in vitamin C. They are expensive in the shops, but are relatively easy to grow in the home garden. They are a relative of the rhododendron and produce delicate bell like pink to white flowers. In autumn the leaves turn red, orange and copper, as well as edible they are highly ornamental. They require a good winter chilling, and although self fertile, will produce larger berries when planted with other varieties.

When to Plant

Best planted during the cooler seasons, preferably during winter. Plant deeply that is above the soil line of the pot, (long stem planting), this ensures good root development and protects the root ball from drying out. Add plenty of organic material to the soil before planting.


The plant originates in North America so won’t cope well with strong Australian sun, so best planted in dappled shade.

Soil Preparation

They require a soil pH of 4.5-5.5, that is an acid soil, although the hybrids are more forgiving of an alkaline soil. If they are mulched with pine needles that will reduce the pH of an alkaline soil.


Blueberries have a fibrous root system, so it is very important that the roots are not allowed to dry out. Mulch well with acidifying mulches, such as oak leaves or pine needles.

Do not allow them to produce fruit for the first two years, so that the plants energy is put into the roots and stems. After 3-4 years the stems become unproductive and should be pruned at ground level or cut to a vigorous side shoot. Keep the centre of the bush open and cut out any week, weeping or dead wood.


They yield 3.5 kg per bush, between December and March.

Common Problems

The blueberry suffers from very few pests or diseases. Birds will eat the fruit, so bushes are best netted to protect the harvest.

Bluerose-tall and extremely prolific, harvest Dec-Feb 2.4m H x 2m W
Reveille-A smaller bush, delicious and sweet, harvest Dec-Jan 1.8m H x 1.5m W

Brigitta- Has masses of large, sweet, pale blue berries ripening around the same time. Yield can be 6-9 kg when mature. Harvest Jan to Feb. 2m H x1.5m W

Northland'-has a very dark flesh with a wild-berry flavour becoming sweeter the longer they hang on the bush. Very hardy to extremes of heat and cold.

Nellie Kelly- is a delightful, evergreen bush producing pink flowers during the winter and delectable fruit in late spring and summer. The bush is frost tolerant and needs to be planted in areas where overnight temperatures drop below 5C degrees during winter as this helps to promote the flowers. 1m H x 1m W


Clive Blazey and Jane Varkulevicius The Australian Fruit and Vegetable Garden

Chicken Coop

I have had some time to breathe recently, well it is the holidays from uni, so the girls have a new house. Mostly built from recycled materials, (except for the posts)and basically I cannibalised the old shade house. The run now provides them with more shelter in winter and more sun. Plan to plant two fruit trees in the run the provide more shade and interest for the girls, well then they can pick their own. Also plan to plant a wormwood in the run, a cutting from the plant out the front.

Radio Show

In the pursuit of ever more exposure, and being a total media slut. I now am involved in a local radio show Dig It, on Pulse Radio 94.7FM Saturdays 10-11 AM. Listen in for all things horticultural, and myself talking on fruit and veggies. Only available to those in the Geelong region, although has a wider range depending on the weather!!!