Summer Surprise

baby copperhead snake

baby copperhead snake

Lifted up a pot in the garden on Sunday and what did I find? Looks like we have a replacement for the copperhead snake that died mid-year. This one is only tiny and it is tempting to relocate it out into the bush but it may decide to move on by itself.

The polypipe is 13mm to give the snake a bit of size comparison.

Composting tips

Slowly I am gaining control over the weeds in the vegetable garden and quickly filling up the compost heaps. My system is simple and is just layers of weeds and lawn clippings. The weeds usually include dry leaves and some twigs and I think this counts as a “brown” in my compost making technique.

Composting involves having layers of green material and then brown. There is rarely a shortage of material in my garden and I include shredded paper and manure and straw/sawdust from the chook house when it is available. Compost makes such a difference to the soil and makes vegetable growing so much easier.

No fancy compost heaps here, the bins are made of recycled tin and about one cubic metre in capacity. If there is one bin that is empty and not needed for turning the compost then it get used for tomatoes or zucchini. I only turn the heaps if i have spare time or energy. They usually break down over late summer to spring and are ready to use in spring.

Water for wildlife

A deep water bowl

A deep water bowl

When providing habitat for local birds and fauna including water is essential unless you have a large body of water nearby. Placing birdbaths close to the house allows you to watch the activity from inside the house.

Once you put water into the garden containers need to be kept clean and filled regularly with fresh water. Birds are not interested in what the birdbath looks like from an aesthetic point of view but they are interest in function.

Provide containers with a range of depths and make sure the surface is not too slippery. Some birds such as wattle birds like to have a fair depth of water to dive into such as an old bath. Others like wrens and new holland honeyeaters manage with shallow terracotta saucers.

Place water where it is shaded during the heat of the day and has good visibility so predators can’t sneak up unobserved.  Many birds seem to prefer to have shrubs nearby so they can fly to a branch and preen a bit before going into the water again. The lip of the container needs to be something the birds can grip onto while drinking.

Treading on eggshells

dried egg shells

dried egg shells

Over the winter period, we have been drying eggshells in the wood stove prior to making them into shell grit. As the weather warms and the stove lit less often, they dry in the glasshouse. I am trialing the crushed shells around new seedlings, as it is supposed to stop snails.

This is already doubtful as a technique as my snails are more adventurous, the leaves on some of my zucchini already have holes after only a few days. Crushed eggshells are fed to the chooks, put into compost or added to the soil to replace calcium.

The wire guard is to stop the dog walking on the plant and to prevent the rabbit having a meal. The plastic pipe is to aid watering in the summer and get the water onto the root zone. This system worked well last year especially for the pumpkin as it grows  and you forget exactly where it started.

Zucchini

Zucchini