Martin Bishop

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since Sep 08, 2013
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Recent posts by Martin Bishop

located in subtropical Australia. Have friends in Chang Mai

See photos Garden Design in progress
6 years ago
Once complete, plant comfrey in a circle just Outside the dripline. It will keep grass from encroaching again. You can then plant Inside the dripline any herbs or other companion plants etc.

6 years ago
banana circles would be a good start. If you actually make banana "horseshoes" with the open of the horseshoe uphill it will catch and store your water during the rainy season and then overflow when full. Fill the pits with lots of mulch for the dry season. You can do the same with papaya circles.
As ground cover, you can do sweat potato, yams etc. I use strawberries at the base.

Also try other high value fruits such as Pitaya. This method of cutting the top off an old coconut and placing wood crisscross over the top is great. 3-4 plants on each tree trunk

I would also focus on hot chilis as you can process them yourself and make hot sauce. The more processing you do on site the more value.

Swales and ponds would be a great start. You can fill the swales with mulch, and it will help keep the moisture during the dry season
6 years ago
I think we are going to start with an owl decoy on top of the chicken coop. I am sure the chickens are going to freak out, but hopefully they will get used to it. Maybe move it around a bit to see what works best. For the crows you can play crow chasing music. Crow Be Gone But I was just teasing about the music on the CDs. The cd are hung from the chicken coop to reflect the light. The moving and reflecting theory is to chase away birds. I have not had much luck, but the cd has one side that is pink since it is an old dora the explorer CD. The other one was a blank CD that was scratched up and is slightly reflective on the label side. The crows pretty much ignore the CDs, however I hear some people have good luck with them.

Also there is a spinning reflective thing called something like a crow tornado that I have seen before. Have not tried it but it looks cool

Sheri, I will try the hot pepper this weekend. I have some dried chilis I have been saving up just for that purpose as we also have cabbage white butterfly but just have not gotten there yet. Will work on that one
6 years ago
Thanks Daniel,

The crows and the cockatoos pretty much ignore the hanging CDs. I think I may have to change the music genre to something else as it has not done like others have suggested. Not sure dog is the best as we have chickens, ducks (Muscovy and Indian Runners) and geese in the same area. I am sure the dog would have a blast, but the birds

I had thought of the scarecrow kite

but again, the ducks, and chickens would freak out. There is even a mylar windsock that I have seen that reflects sunlight as it flutters in the wind. Possibly I will try one of these as maybe the chickens would get used to it after a while. Or maybe I put it out of sight to the chickens and hopefully the cocktoos see if from far away
6 years ago
I have been thinking about a scarecrow and should put more effort into it. Thanks for the tip about being half hidden. that sounds good.

The cockatoos also knocked the tops off the smaller sunflowers as well. I just really like the giant russian ones as they are really cool. We have three varieties growing right now.
6 years ago

We are on the edge of a rain forest, so every once in a while we are invaded by Cockatoos

The cockatoos love to eat passion fruit, and make a general mess of any fruiting plant, but just the other day they came in and landed on the Giant Russian Sunflowers that were towering 8 feet tall, knocked them to the ground and completely bit the sunflower heads right off. There were no seeds yet so they just destroyed them. Even the smaller sunflowers they knocked the tops off! We also lost some corn, and some other fruiting plants.

The sunflowers are just to attract bees as we have 7 beehives, plus we would like to give the seed heads to the chickens when they where finished seeding.

There is a fence around the entire garden, it is just attack from above!

originally my design was to have full bird/bug netting, but it is a bit of a financial commitment, and we were not ready for that just yet.
The earthworks alone have been a little costly. Just today we finished a new small dam, raised the dam wall on the top dam and changed the spillway to run from the big dam to the new smaller dam.

On the papaya circles, I honestly have zero experience in that department! I have had success with papayas growing, but never in a papaya circle. With the bananas/papayas we are doing horseshoe shaped circles to catch water from the garden and water coming from downhill. As large as the papaya canopies get here we just figured no more than 3 per circle, so they were not as large as the banana circles. Honestly it is a hunch, and not from experience that they were to be smaller. Even if they were for bananas they would only hold 3.

We already planted 30 banana plants so the new ones we dug were smaller.

6 years ago

We have the excavator on site again today to dig another small pond at the bottom of the garden, and more banana circles. Given this layout I would love to hear if anyone has suggestions on what else to consider. Some of our banana circles are going to be papaya circles and are not dug as deep as the banana circles. Love to hear any ideas tossed out there

Also anyone have suggestions on keeping large flocks of white sulphur crested cockatoos from biting the tops off of large sunflowers??

6 years ago
We are actually already talking to the earthworks guys about putting in another spillway on the other side. We captured so much water so quickly that we have concerns if we get that much water again but the dam is full! When it dries out we will have a 15 ton excavator and bull dozer back in to make a secondary spillway on the other side (South Side) of garden. Will keep you posted when they come by as we are already talking about a second lower dam (much smaller) being built from the spillway runnoff swale Near our banana circles.

Since we are in an area that gets a significant amount of water (edge of rainforest) all of the water is redirected AWAY from the garden except the water which we dictate to be used for the flooded furrows. The dam is directly in front of the garden and protects it from floodwaters.
6 years ago
The flooding was at the bottom of the property where no work has been done. At the top where the garden is located all of the water was caught by the dam, and any excess was directed around the garden by design. Both sides of the dam have a water redirection away from the garden, however with all of the water we had to go out there with shovels to fix small issues and correctly redirect the water the way it was intended.

The furrows performed exactly as they should. Excess water stayed in the furrows, saturated the landscape and excess escaped out of the bottom of the garden.

What you see in the yellowing is a bit of root rot on zucchinis due to the water, and it was very dry before the flood and had not recovered yet. Also on the left row or the right garden is a patch of cucumbers that were starting to die back a little bit. We have also had a little trouble with cabbage white butterfly. Those images where immediately after the flood. Within a few hours once we were finished digging some channels! In the left of the photo the furrows have not been dug out yet as we are still working around the chook clock. However we did some planting without doing raised beds, just tilled the soil and put down seeds and covered in mulch. Those beds are for chicken forage and you can see from the images that because we did not have the furrows properly made on the left of the photo, there was some flooding, and standing water where we did not want it. On the right, everything was perfect and the furrows worked to design. I was very excited to see how well it held up in the flood.

No furrow irrigation

With Furrow irrigation Immediately after flood

Bottom of property about 2 hours before other photos

6 years ago