After a bit of a chat with Pumpkingirl, I have realsied there are so many more growing opportunities in the garden if you mix things up, like growing a fruiting vine up a tree or hedge etc. I'd like to have another go at growing passionfruit. The last couple didn't survive but that's because I put it where I wanted it, not where it would grow best, DOH!
I'd like to try growing a vine on the pittosporum hedge somewhere and I'd also like a fig tree. I don't mind if the goats get the odd leaf that's grown too close to the fence but if either of these plants is toxic to goats I won't plant it within reach of a fence line or at all if needs be.
All I can say is that our goat and various sheep have had their fill of Passionfruit and Fig leaves over the years (sometimes unintentionally) and it has never done any harm to any of them. The large green leaves are like a magnet to pretty much any livestock, and will be singled out whilst nearby lush green grass is ignored!
I came from Christchurch to Auckland in 1998. Up until that time, snails were pests you found in the garden eating your plants. Up here, they are also a pest to any paper you may have. Any little flyer left forgotten in the back of the post box would be reduced to tiny pellets, even letters not picked up the day before can show signs of having snails working at it. It's almost like the paper has been wet and then rubbed in the same place... a bit like using one of those old biro erasers that would wear a hole in the paper. It gives you an idea of how a snail eats....
I've heard so many ideas about keeping snails from the garden, including bark chips which they just sail over, uncomfortable for the snail?, maybe, but it doesn't stop them, neither do coffee grounds.
The leopard slugs are just as bad. We never got these brutes down south either. If you've ever picked one up, you know how thick the slim is and it is really hard to wash off without soap and water, so I can't see how anything would stop them sliding their way to your future harvest. Salt stops them but does it also kill the garden? I'd have thought so. Beer makes them drunk and they die if they fall into the brew. We vary rarely drink, well I don't at all and Kim still has several bottles of a Stella 6 pack in the cupboard from two Christmas' ago.... I don't know if buying a bottle of cheap beer to keep the slugs away is going to work.....
The chooks will eat snails but no one seems interested in the giant slugs, can't blame them really.
Anyway, I want to plant a passion fruit vine and a fig tree and just wanted to know that if anything started hanging close to the fence line and the goats got it, they wouldn't get sick. Good!
I don't know of any books or information out there that actually mentions stock hazards from plants.... they have the usual enemies but obviously not all plants can be listed. I don't want anything growing near a fence line that could pose a threat to my babies.
I'm a bit unsure about walnut trees and goats. The one we have is in the bottom of the back paddock and I fence it off before the goats go into that bit (strip grazing). My figuring, when I planted it was, it will grow big and stock can sit under it in the shade... hmmmmmmm..... one day maybe.... but not any time soon.
Honestly, you move into a place full of enthusiasm, rip shit and bust and make the most horrendous mistakes sometimes... not life threatening to the stock but just some major misplanting antics that make life that little bit harder when you have to make sure busy teeth don't get stuck into an apple tree or reach through a fence and ring bark a tree or shrub that looked well far enough away from the fence. HA! Measure the length of a goats neck, then the length of its head, plus it's tongue and lips when they are stretched out as far as they can, then add a bit more to the over all length for thrust from the back legs and a little bit more length for sheer determination and you have quite a distance needed to keep plants safe on the other side of the fence. A hot wire can help but then there are the determined wee nellies who can limbo themselves under the wire or over the wire and in my case, through the chicken netting. Mr Tumnus worked a small hole in the netting fence and kept pushing and pushing until he could fit his head and neck through 'Poof' a ring barked pittosporum then Abrakadabra TWO ring barked pittosporums. It doesn't take long for it to happen and a really big pittosporum tree suddenly goes brown and dies before you realise what's been going on behind the chook shed! Maybe ring barking trees is akin to smoking behind the bike sheds? He was sure sneaky about it!
When I think of how much effort I put into getting a vegetable garden in and planted and the mess I made of it, being of the 'get stuck into it NOW' frame of mind at the time. I thought I'd thought about it long and hard Ha ha ha. yeah...... so long and so hard, it never occurred to me that the only tap within hose distance was too far away to use and it just wasn't a very good place for a garden at all. I only ever planted a lemon tree which was replanted a few months later when my folly was realised.
I dug two rather big areas over in what is now known as 'the vegetable garden'. A fenced off area, that was clothesline and lawn. I dug up the lawn in true 'Good Life' fashion. Not all of it but two big squares...... bit off far more than I could chew basically. I am now starting again. 7 years we've been here, hopefully this time I'll get it right and my motivation won't be smothered by major earthworks and plans for the never never.
I have already spotted a couple of mistakes but because it's not a mistake that has been spread over the entire garden area but confined to one small raised garden.. I think I can remedy it with a bit of organising.
It's all very well and good to sit with a book or watch some inspiring gardening on TV but one has to keep in mind, the physical capabilities of the gardener involved. Gardening isn't a montage of photo shots where you have a grassed area, then a partially dug area, then a nicely screened area of soil with healthy green leaves and root vegetables growing well in it. No no no, many many cups of tea, sore muscles, sweat and an undying motivation get it to this stage and it doesn't happen in the hour it takes for the TV programme to finish.....
It would be more honest if they showed the team of gardeners employed between when the director yells 'Cut' and 'Rolling'.
I have a self sown passionfruit that has grown on a North facing bank and crawled all over the very mature flax bushes. All well and good except that I can't get into the thick of it to pick the darn things so only a few gathered from the sides. Sooo tasty too. OK - yet another job that probably will not happen - cutting back the dead bottoms of the flax bushes. I am tooooooooo old! Jobs like that hurt for days!