Brian and I are having a wager on the outcome of these cherries. The tree has been in the ground for two years and is loaded with fruit this year.
BUT, three weeks ago our state experienced a serious hail storm, causing widespread damage to fruit trees across parts of South Australia. The big growers are counting their losses, and the availability of cherries, apples and stone fruits looks like being low for the coming season.
While I was away on holidays, and taking to Brian on the phone, he explained the storm and prepared me for the damage [to our trees] that I'd find when returning home. Listening to the news on the car radio, I felt so sorry for the orchardists who rely on the fruit harvest for their income. Our small crops here have value only for us, so if we suffer a hit every few years, that's not the end of the world, and we need to accept it and move on towards the next season, but the large growers will be suffering. They still have costs and wages to pay, but will receive little income this year.
Brian sent me this photo of hail lying on the ground while he was at the Post Office in our local town of Angaston.
The shade cloth covering the vegetable gardens was weighed down heavily with hail stones, but our fruit trees weren't protected.
I'm waiting for my pumpkins to germinate in these black plastic rounds that we use to deter the earwigs from nibbling the new growth.
Plenty of unscathed fruit on the old Jonathon apple tree.
A lovely friend occasionally treats us with her home grown strawberries that she grows in containers, so when I spotted these old water feeders in a rubbish pile, I thought of strawberries.
Now we have larger predators of the two legged, feathered variety, so the cages are to keep out the chickens who get to run in this part of the garden as part of their yard rotation.
Oregano grows like a weed with the drips of water from the tap. Self sustaining and useful, so it's allowed to stay.
A still and cloudy evening is the best time for spraying out atmospheric fertilizers.
Nettle ferment tea is our favorite; helping the plant's sap to flow, and build stronger resistance to pests, mildew, diseases and hot weather. This is a weekly event from the middle of spring until the end of summer, using our home made liquid manures and fertilisers.
A weed is simply any plant growing in the wrong place. For that matter, a beautiful rose could be a weed if it's growing in the wrong spot.
This humble Cape-weed (sometimes referred to as dandelion) would be a weed if it was growing in the lucerne crop, or if it was taking over the asparagus patch, but here in one of the garden paths it's doing no harm. It's keeping the soil together as everything starts to dry out and the bees are finding pollen from the flowers. In turn, the bees that it attracts are pollinating the vegetable flowers.
Every plant has a use in the system of things, so think twice about removing "weeds"unless it really is a weed.
Caltrop or Bindii and nasty prickly weeds are another matter, but before you pick up the "Roundup" think about the damage that toxic chemical is doing around the world.
I'm off to the side paddock now, with my hand trowel and plastic bag, to dig up any tiny Caltrop plants before they set seeds and multiply. Thankfully this is the only area on our property that Caltrop is growing, and over the years, through slow and steady digging and placing the weeds in a plastic bag in the sun to kill the seeds, we're getting on top of it.
Good and happy gardening to you my friends.