This post continues on from the one about the resurrected garden, but also has a bonus. A pair of Sunbirds are building another nest in the house.
As I said, I buy from Eden Seeds and Select Organic online. They are based down towards the Gold Coast in South East Queensland and have been around since 1986. Eden Seeds have a comprehensive catalogue of quality heirloom, open pollinated, and in the case of Select Organics, certified (ACO 10457) Organic seed. The small company’s home page says:
Our aim is to distribute old traditional open pollinated varieties of vegetable seed, preferably old Australian varieties and organically or bio-dynamically grown where possible.
We believe they are more nutritious and better tasting, hardy and easier to grow for the home gardener. Old varieties produce over an extended period. Home gardeners obtain relaxation, enjoyment and quality from a most rewarding hobby.
Our seeds are the old traditional open pollinated non-hybrid varieties and have no chemical treatment, and no genetic engineering.
The company has values that match my preferred way of growing food. Open pollinated and heirloom seeds will allow me to save seed for future use for myself and maybe even pass some on to friends or back to Eden Seeds if I decide to dedicate myself to growing a particular plant that is in short supply.
Online ordering is simple. Plant categories are listed on the left side of the page. Each category links to a list of varieties of that type with further details linked to each plant. On each of the detail pages, you can click a button to add to your shopping cart. The cart can be viewed and edited at any time. The ordering system on their website is simple and secure, with a number of options, including non-Internet options. Seeds arrive here in my remote Far North Queensland postal agency within 2 weeks. The only reason it takes that long is we only get a mail run into the village 3 times a week. If I was to order before 10am Monday, I would most likely have my seeds by Saturday. Not bad. The prices are good considering the quality of seed and the service provided:
Eden Seeds use seed packets made from 100% recycled paper and are moving to fully recycled shipping bags soon. This is my first order for this season.
The Select Organic range are also packaged in 100% recycled paper.
The soil in this new/old garden is dark and rich, with a lot of organic matter. It’s pretty healthy but will benefit from a bit of a boost to encourage more microbial activity.
The grasses that were in there would have drained nutrients from the top 10cm of soil, so I am using some certified soil foods/conditioners to help it along. Our small store doesn’t have a huge range of organic fertilisers, but what they stock is pretty good in my humble opinion. The first one I have is a slow release type Organic fertiliser, ‘B-Green’. It is pelletised and looks like the soil actually. There wasn’t much in the small tub I bought, so I dug that through as many of the beds that I could. The other soil conditioner is Seasol, a seaweed extract based liquid. This stuff makes your soil almost pump! It is really, really good to get your soil alive with lots of microbes and good worms attracted to its power. I either use the venturi spray on the ready to spray container, or drain some and mix it will water and spread it over the soil and water it in some more.
My next buy will be Dynamic Lifter pellets if they are certified. If not, I’ll get more Seasol. When I cleared the garden plot, the hay grass had luckily left me with a lot of dead strands, dry and already prime for digging into the soil. Over the weeks, as the seedlings start to really power on, the organic matter mixed in the soil will be breaking down and adding more nutrients to the soil. The Seasol and B-Green will help buffer any Nitrogen loss caused by the bacteria breaking down the plant matter and it should all work together to produce some good food. Also, our water comes from underground. It is filtered through the mountains and tastes better than anything you’ll get in a bottle or from a town tap. I reckon it may even have restorative powers ;).
Oh, just in case you were wondering. No, I have not been paid by Eden Seeds to write this, nor has anyone paid me to write this. Thought I’d clear that up just in case.
Now, the Sunbirds. They’re constructing a new nest just above and behind my head where I sit for my morning coffee. The pair have decided that the wire that supports my outside temperature sensor is a great spot to raise some chicks. It is also very close to a large freeform mobile that I suspect will help scare off larger predator birds. They do like to nest around humans sometimes, due to our skill in removing threatening snakes or keeping other potential chick killers away.
This isn’t the best photo, but it gives you an idea of how close they are nesting to us
Here are a few snaps of the hard working female making the anchor section over the wire. The nests are constructed from ant and spider silk, paper bark strips, small branches, feathers and other carefully chosen materials. I’ll add another post when she is nearly finished her masterpiece. Should only take a few more days.