I was walking around the garden a few weeks ago and thought the veg garden has probably not looked this good in a while. Is that due to planting with the moon or just good luck? The morning light was soft and lovely, so thought I’d take a few pics and fill you guys in on something I never get sick of talking about. The garden is always different. Every year, every month, every day. There is always something different to excite me. I had decided to stick to the moon gardening guide but it is damn annoying and I have to be firm on myself, on the other hand, plants are doing well and relatively pest or disease free, so maybe its the way to go.
Compost is easy, free and incredible, and the mainstay of a healthy garden. Damen made me these compost frames when he started university. I’m guessing that was about 1998 so they are now about twenty years old. Gilbert set up the jig after I described what I wanted, and they have been one of the best things in my garden. While I can make compost anywhere with these, I have only ever had them here. I put them here so accessed between the main front garden, the hen house, orchard and the veg garden. Perfect.
COMPOST BIN-Interlocking boards mean I can make compost anywhere
THE WORMERY- Set up in an old bath it has been running for about twenty years
This is the wormery and was set up in an old bath about twenty years ago too. Gilbert has popped it up on legs at the front to fit into the slope of the land so it will drain into a bucket below. I layered in scoria on the bottom, so the plug hole wouldn’t block. Then a layer of peat, so as to replicate the warm base worms would be used to. We tip in food scraps along the length and re cover. They eat almost anything, but we are careful to not put in too much citrus, onion and garlic outer leaves, because I think that’s hard for them to process.
I also don’t put in cooked food, bread or meat scraps of any sort, as that will attract dogs and rats. I use card board also as a top to exclude light but still lets rainfall soak through. They eat this also, then an old piece of carpet on top. Once a year in spring I gather up as many worms as I can, after feeding them at one end only for a week and then empty the nutrient dense vermicast onto the garden beds. Then placing the worms back in, they are ready for another year. The worm tea drains out of the plug hole into a bowl and about once a month I use a 10% to water ratio to fertilise. Real simple.
GLASS HOUSE & CORIANDER BED
SEEDLINGS and plants waiting for the right time to plant dammit!
The little glass house came from Mum, via Lindy. Gilbert cut me perspex sheets as the glass was broken and glass is ridiculously expensive to get cut to size. Inside the glasshouse you will see new edible flowers that I’m getting ready to plant and some new seedlings. My biggest struggle is to co-ordinate seed raising with the moon planting and having a constant supply. It would be a lot easier to just buy seedlings regularly but I’m trying to seed raise my own now to save money. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE BIRDBATH
This is the view from the left of the birdbath. Strawberries are on the right in a stainless steel tub that came from work and they are covered with old bread baskets I rescued from the back of a supermarket years ago when we used to deliver milk. These work perfectly and I wish I could find more. They have big enough mesh so that the plants have heaps of light and rain, but small enough to not let the birds in. You’ll see an old bath been turned into a seat under the crab apple tree and two more old baths at the back that are also filled with strawberries. That’s 60 plants divided between 9 people and its about perfect with almost a punnet a day coming in. Excellent value and the bath is the perfect height for the children grazing.
The other day I heard a dainty little sing song voice and stood up to see Kahu breakfasting on strawberries and peas. She didn’t know I was watching and it was so beautiful to just stop and enjoy her humming as she dined. She must have sensed me watching and turned. I smiled and she turned back unperturbed after laughing at my comment I thought she didn’t ‘do’ breakfast.
On the left hand side of the pic is a bed of garlic, red onion and at either end sweet 100 tomatoes. Once the garlic and onions are up I can let the sweet 100’s trail along that space, and plant beetroot in the middle.
RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE BIRDBATH
Behind you see broad beans finishing from winter. Never been my favourite bean but so easy to grow at a time when not much else is happening and I love the flowers in salads. This year we discovered a dip by processing the beans, garlic, olive oil and feta cheese. While the beans are a bit of a job to shell, boil and then remove from the skins, the dip is delicious. Climbing that same mesh is a cucumber and some sweet 100s self seeded in there from last year.
The right hand bed has silverbeet. It was constantly annihilated and I couldn’t figure out what was eating everything with no sign of caterpillars. I covered it with mesh and everything recovered, so pretty sure its birds. Damn devils. Left hand bed has Bok choi and sugar snap peas. Sugar snap are the best value ever. The children love to eat raw straight from the vine and although I love them in a stir fry or raw in a salad, I rarely get them inside. Next bed back is Kale and broccoli.
Behind that is Zuchinni, cucumber going u the mesh and lettuces hidden by the borage in there. Borage has a faint cucumber taste if you eat the flowers and it attracts hundreds of bumble bees. Alysumm is there too. You can eat the flowers but I read to plant them amongst your greens and the white butterfly, which is territorial, will think the patch is already taken. I’ve watched them hover over and fly on, so like to think its working.