Arcadia farm update May 2013

Soil building and general production is developing well at the new growing space in Arcadia. The weather has been insanely unpredictable with dry and then random heavy rain periods – however the general climate is such a radical change from the growing spaces that I have in the Blue Mountains and it’s comparatively so warm…

Water is not a problem so far with the deep dam never dropping below about 50cms from normal water level even during the record temps and dry period in Jan this year.

I am using a small petrol water pump which has been very reliable so far. It’s a Mitsubishi motor with a Koshin pump from and has a height pump head of about 15m which is just enough to get the small head sprinklers running for about 30minutes on one 500ml tank of petrol.

Primarily atm I am still just building soils and developing test crops to see what will grow and when to plant and harvest etc. and how to combat wildlife intrusions. There is a healthy population of bandicoots and wallabies in the area… and not a few rabbits. Birdlife has good balance and there are lots of small insect eating and nectar feeding birds along with some fairly aggressive predators such as Kookaburras and Owls. I have seen kookas fly past with snakes about a metre long.

In the main image you may see a small group of tiny green frogs on the irrigation pipes. They are in an area growing Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida), orange cosmos (Cosmos_sulphureus) and Tomatillos verde (Physalis philadelphica).

I’m using orange cosmos as a pollinator attractor – although there is a large honey bee farm next door with lots of hives that keeps the numbers very high.


You can see another frog here resting on a black Futsu pumpkin.


And here you can see what the Bandicoots do to the pumpkins if they get a chance – which is why next season every single pumpkin and squash will be raised at least 30cm off the ground. They leave them alone if they are raised up on a trellis, stake or fence.



I am exploring expanding significantly the range of winter and summer squash that I will be growing as they seem to thrive in this environment. Two examples of regulars that have been very productive this year are the Japanese Chirimen and the NZ Maori KamoKamo.




In this location I have found using solely buckwheat as a quick soil building legume to be very effective (along with the lucerne straw). I am using it everywhere to fill gaps and oversow. An example being in between the broadbeans and around the garlic. I have also been using it as a green manure to prep beds and it really seems to return a good amount of nitrogen into this soil. It is good to find the right legume for the right place. 🙂

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