Last Friday was a big day for me at Tending. It had lots of parts to it. The Boss was still down in Bundanon surrounded by all the nettles he could brew up into his special soup, so I was left to my own devices at the urban college cloister garden.
But what good fortune to be visited by such great folks!
Here above is Vanessa, who arrived with her special book “Old Wives Lore for Gardeners”. She was particularly impressed with one particular piece of advice:
We haven’t gotten nude yet at Tending – but it is warming up! – to the point where I spent all day on Friday in bare feet. The ancient tough scratchy grass feels wonderful on the foot-skin, and even some of the squishy bits in the compost didn’t bother me, it was all so balmy and comfortable.
Speaking of compost, when we were turning it this week, we discovered some wondrous little fungus growing towards the bottom of the heap:
Back to Vanessa: she brought a plant to add to the “rockery” plot – a wormwood! She said, “I thought the art students could do some research and work out how to make it into Absinthe!”
Here she is, having just installed the newest member of our herbal family:
Friday also involved a visit from guest-gardener Mikey, one of the world’s foremost artichoke enthusiasts. He keeps this blog on the subject.
I’ve been hoping that Mikey would visit for some time, to establish a dedicated artichoke patch at Tending. Artichokes take a few years to bear fruit, but we must think long term!
As it turns out, artichoke seeds are a bit hard to find in Sydney – but Mikey had smuggled some back from Italy. He had them wrapped up in this bandage and sticky tape package:
In the end, Mikey decided to take his seeds away and plant them at his father’s house. One of the problems we’ve been having with Tending of late is that our seedlings suffer from a lack of daily attention (as we are only on-site once a week). Once Mikey’s seedlings establish themselves, we can bring them back and put some into our garden.
We also had a visit from Alana and Ingrid – who had already set themselves up for luncheon on the grass when Mikey and I arrived. Ingrid is just finishing her Masters here at SCA, and Alana finished studying here a few years ago.
I love the idea that the garden begins to attract lunchers and loungers – but in order to faciliate this, we need to sort out a better access system – at the moment to get into the garden depends on summoning the (friendly) security staff – something of a barrier to participation…
So we joined the ladies on the lawn – at the right is Mikey, and behind him, hiding from the lens, is Heather:
…and we ourselves lunched on bread and cheese, and from the garden: freshly picked lettuce and wasabi greens!
Lisa brought more sugarcane from her own patch at home. Our existing cane, courtesy of Betty, has been struggling somewhat – we’re not sure why… We’re just watching it, watering it, hoping it comes good…
And Lisa also brought some more arcane knowledge: seed dowsing. Here she is, practising this dark art:
Apparently, when you hold the shell on the thread over the seed, it rotates in a particular direction depending on whether the seed has ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ energy – which helps identify its potential for germination.
I’m hoping Lisa might chime in here to remind me exactly which direction is “good”…
The final news in this week’s episode is that the potatoes (all three systems) are growing at an alarmingly rapid rate. It’s all we can do to keep up with them, heaping more mulch and soil on top to suppress the leaves and encourage the tubers:
Here are the taties in the chickenwire-mulch system.
Here they are, thriving in the (possibly filled with poisonous heavy-metals) car-tyre system…
And – a bit slower than the rest, because planted later – here are the gourmet small potatoes which we put directly into the rather poor SCA soil…