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Feijoa growth progress

October 22, 2020 — BarryK

Fascinating to watch. On the 5th October, I posted a picture of the Feijoa just starting to grow:

Took another photo yesterday, 16 days later:


It is Spring here in the Southern Hemisphere, the plants are enjoying the sun and warm weather!  

Tags: general

Yummy Blueberries

October 18, 2020 — BarryK

I buy Blueberries from supermarkets, and they are expensive, due to the high cost of manual labour to pick them. So when I saw Blueberry plants in my local plant nursery about 4 weeks ago, I thought, give them a go, so bought two.

The variety is "Sunshine Blue" and although being very small already had lots of unripe fruit when purchased. Here is a photo, taken today:


The stems covered in fruit are as I bought it, the stems without fruit are new growth.

Now, the most interesting thing, that prompted me to post this report: the fruit doesn't all ripen at once. They ripen progressively. Each day I have been going into the garden and picking a few that have turned blue. Today picked five.

This is really great, as I will have a snack every day, apparently over about 3-4 months. Sunshine Blue is a dwarf variety, "only" growing to about 1.2 metres, but I am amazed to think about the abundance of fruit on a plant that size.

Here is some information about Sunshine Blue:

One of the key factors with this variety is that it will tolerate less-acidic soil than most varieties of Blueberry. That's good, because I didn't have a clue when planted them. Only afterward, read about the acidity requirement, so scattered some potash of sulphur around them, and some pine needles. They are growing, so must be reasonably happy with the soil condition.

They are shallow-rooted, and I have drip irrigation, and have planted them near the drippers. This will be another plant to report back on, in say, another year. 

Tags: general

The Feijoa has started budding

October 05, 2020 — BarryK

Yesterday I posted some "before photos", and there was a comment about the Feijoa not growing:

However, this morning I spotted budding!

The guy I bought the Feijoa from, had grown it from a cutting, and had encouraged it to grow as a single stem. I told him that I wanted it to be bushy rather than a tree, and he advised me to cut off the tip and strip off all the leaves.

Well, I did cut off the top of the Fejijoa, but left the leaves - just cut them in half. Here is a photo taken this morning:


...almost every leaf has new buds. Fantastic.

Perth is located on a coastal sandplain, so the soil is not rich. Well-drained though. Here is the photo that I posted yesterday:


...there is some mulch scattered around. The mulch is various kinds of tree bark I think.

Prior to planting I dug in some chicken and cow manure, and there is also some slow-release granules scattered around.

This morning I added about an inch of "premium mulch" from a local soil and garden supplies place, described as:


Keeping a small gap around the stem of each plant. However, what worries me is whether I have over-fertilised. Will soon find out I guess.

In the above photo, bottom-right, you can see some small plants. These are Gazania Pink Kiss (Gazania splendens) seedlings:

There are many varieties of Gazania, Gazania splendens, alternative name Gazania rigens, are native to South Africa. Gazania splendens/rigens thrive in sand and drought conditions. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the enriched top dressing. 

Tags: general

Garden before-photos

October 03, 2020 — BarryK

I posted about planting an Umbrella tree (Schefflera Amate) and an Irish Strawberry tree (Arbutus Undeo):

They were planted around the 11th of September, so have been in for about 3 weeks. I think it would be nice to take some "before" photos, then take photos again 12 months later. So, here they are...

This photo shows the two Umbrella trees:


For the first 3 weeks, they just sat there doing nothing, but today I noticed new growth just starting. So, got inspired to take the "before" photos. It will be very interesting to see what these plants look like 6, 12 months later.

Another one that I put in about the same time, was the Irish Strawberry tree. It sat there doing nothing for about 2 weeks, then started sprouting, quite vigorously. Photo:


...the new growth is lighter-green.

On the otherhand, a Feijoa tree, that I put in about the same time, is doing nothing, it has lost some leaves (right side of photo). I am wondering if the Feijoa will suddenly decide to "come good".

The Feijoa is also known as Pineapple Guava, though it is not a guava. According to here, it is fast growing to 4 metres:

However, I have grown this before, and found it to be fairly slow growing and only attained a low bush after several years. 

Tags: general

Schefflera Amate for shaded spot in garden

September 10, 2020 — BarryK

I posted recently about searching for a screening plant suitable for a spot in the garden that does not get direct sunlight for most of the year:

I received some suggestions from David (Sage in the forums) and from dogle. Dogle suggested the Irish Strawberry Tree, which was a case of synchronicity, as I had just purchased one the day before. However, it does seem that it wants more sunlight, so I planted it in a different location in the garden.

I just stumbled across the Irish Strawberry Tree the day before yesterday, while browsing through the plants section in Bunnings, and recalled having read about it many years ago. It is fast growing, hardy, can be pruned to a hedge, or grow into a small tree, and has edible fruit.

The fruit is stated to be insipid by some online writers, however, as dogle pointed out, it is necessary to wait until it is fully ripe and then it has a nice taste. Information:

Anyway, onto that fully-shaded spot. Today I found Schefflera Amate in Bunnings, in the "Shade Plants" section, a small pot for AU$9.99. Info:


Will put it in tomorrow. What I need to do is take photos of this in a year, then two years! Very interested to see how it turns out as a screening plant in that spot. 

Tags: general

Correct pressure for dripper irrigation

September 09, 2020 — BarryK

I thought that I will post about this, in case someone is googling for information about installing a small dripper irrigation system in their garden. They might find my experience useful.

It is just a small area, with ten Veri-Flow drippers and 13mm pipe. There is an automatic timer and pressure-reducer and filter:


Except that when first connected up, there was no pressure-reducer. Result: those drippers sent jets of water up into the air higher than me!

This surprised me, as I have put in dripper irrigation before, and haven't used a pressure-reducer. However, they were in rural locations, where the water pressure from the tap was quite low. At my current premises, it is very high.

The Water Corporation in Western Australia states that they supply pressure anywhere between 15mH (147kPa) and 100mH (980kPa). But I can't find a figure for where I live.

The automatic timer is specified to work between 100kPa and 800kPa. This is it:

So I bought a combined pressure-reducer and filter, which is what you see in the above photo. Here it is:

Put it in, started the timer, ah, now the drippers have jets of water "only" about 2-3 feet high! Very interesting. The Pope Veri-Flow drippers are rated to be adjustable between 0-60 litres/hour -- well, that "0" is wrong, they can't be screwed down enough to cut off the jet of water.

So I examined the specifications of the pressure-reducer. It has 180kPa output. Very interesting, it means that the water from the tap must be well above that, maybe in the order of twice.

Bunnings have a pressure-reducer rated at 100kPa output, that is a direct screw replacement for the one I already have. So, off to Bunnings again:


That did the trick! So, the lesson learned here is that for a very small dripper irrigation system, what we want is 100kPa. Perhaps with a bigger system, with many more drippers or sprinklers, the flow through the pipes would naturally reduce the pressure to something acceptable, or perhaps a higher-rated pressure-reducer would be OK.

Or, if I was using sprinklers, and actually wanted large sprays of water, then a pressure-reducer could have been dispensed with.

It was a fascinating little exercise. 

Tags: general

Screening plant for fully-shaded Mediterranean climate

September 06, 2020 — BarryK

I have been having fun putting in some plants in the garden. Standing at my front door and look to the side, I can see my neighbour's front porch. What I would like is a screening plant, fairly dense, about 1.8 metres (6ft) or thereabouts high. Problem is, that spot in the garden is on the south side of the house, in the Southern hemisphere, fully in shade for most of the year. In mid-summer, it will get some sun, for part of the day.

I live on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia, about 3km from the coast, and the climate is mild, usually described as Mediterranean, or similar to California, for example:

Today I put in drip irrigation, so can take care of keeping some moisture in the soil over the upcoming summer. Interesting, the climate in the South West of Australia has been changing, with more rain in the summer: is alarming that this has occurred over a small time-frame, just 16 years.

Anyway, I need to find a suitable screening plant, that will tolerate having only indirect sunlight for most of the year. I want to be able to prune it so as not to grow as high as the eaves of the house, and to keep it dense. So far, I have settled on two possibilities, Sweet Box (Sarcococca Confusa) and Dwarf Umbrella (Schefflera Arboricola).

Sweet Box


Dwarf Umbrella

There are two completely different plants going by the common name of Umbrella Tree. The one that interests me is Schefflera Arboricola, native of Taiwan, which doesn't grow as tall.


...hmm, that specimen is above the roof-line. I would have to prune it to keep it at 6ft, and I wonder if that will turn out to be a struggle, to keep it under control.

Haven't decided yet. Whatever is chosen, it will have to be available locally.

EDIT 2020-09-13:
I chose Schefflera Amate, see post:   

Tags: general

Xmas and New Year best wishes

December 25, 2018 — BarryK

Here is Santa trying to deliver in Australia:


Another year gone by!

I will be taking a break at the start of 2019, for a couple of weeks. Will probably still do a little bit of EasyOS development, 'coz I am addicted. But very light, and won't be getting onto the Internet much.

After the break, the plan is to bring out EasyOS version 1.0. It is positioned as an "experimental distribution", so I have an "out", it doesn't have to be as polished as the mainstream Linux distributions.

I would like to thank you guys who have helped with testing during 2018. The feedback has been extremely helpful and has resulted in many improvements and bug fixes. 

Tags: general