My NBN satellite bandwidth has once again been throttled because we used our 20 Gigabyte data allowance. So these images are quite lo-res. Back in the day on this block that we live on, the owners kept horses, grew Heliconias and had a few vegetable patches. There are three that I know of within 100 metres of the house. They’re all roughly 5×5 metres. The first is up behind the house, about 70 metres away. The only good reason for it being up a steep hill where it is would be because it is North facing I guess. I don’t think I’d want to walk up there every day checking on my veg crop. The plot is also contained by Black plastic to about 50cm above ground level and has a few lengths of fencing wire surrounding it. I assume they once had it fenced off from the horses and other animals. The second one is down beyond the laundry block. It is similar to the one up the hill. The one I have resurrected is up to the West of the house, about maybe 40 or 50 metres away. This one isn’t raised, but has wire around the border, a few star pickets banged in about the place and some quite rich soil. I am more of a keep your garden close to the kitchen sort of bloke, but I’ve grown a jungle down there already, and this old/new plot is in a good position, generally North facing with sun most of the day, especially in the afternoon.
The grass and other plants that had taken over were relatively easy to remove with the shovel. The soil wasn’t overly compacted, nor was it too dry, but the amount of stuff in there that I had to remove was more than I first thought. I just kept working a section at a time and after about 6 hours or so, I had it all out, roots and all. Any dead grass that was underneath was left to dig through, while the rest was tossed in a few piles outside the fence line. I didn’t come across any snakes or big bitey things. Oh, except for the 2 Centipedes that were about 8 inches long on the old scale (15cm). I’ve been wearing thongs for safety though :).
I re-fenced the area with a roll of goat wire I found under the trees and pegged it down to keep the dogs and other creatures out. I have found another roll of lighter chicken mesh just over the way from the garden and will use that above the current fence. The tomatoes, beans and snow peas will need more room to grow than what this low one provides at the moment.
Not much to show for the first afternoon
The above pic was taken on Friday. I got into it today and managed to get it all done. I cleared as much of the grass away as I could, digging the root-balls out and shaking off the dirt before throwing them over the fence. I also made a priority of finishing off the fence because my Snow Peas have already sprouted. The fence will also keep the dogs out. Bella the horse footed dog loves dirt and wet stuff, so the vegies wouldn’t stand a chance without protection. Jack though (in the pic above) knows to stay out of gardens.
Below is what it looked like on Tuesday, late afternoon. You can see the piles of grass that were pulled out on the right and down behind the other end of the vegetable patch.
This view looking Eastward, shows the distance from the house. As I said, I’d prefer a closer walk, not because I’m lazy (I am), but because it is more efficient to have your vegetables and herbs growing close to your kitchen. This shot was taken late afternoon.
As of Tuesday afternoon (5th May), I have planted ‘Australian Red’ Tomatoes, Snow Peas, Lebanese Cucumber, Silverbeet, Bok Choy, Carrots, ‘Hale’s Best’ sweet Rockmelons and Sugarloaf Cabbages. Here’s a basic guide to the next lot of seeds I have coming: Snake Bean – Red Dragon variety. I bought these to try something different and to save some seed. They are long enough that you can make a meal out just a few. Capsicum – Californian Wonder. That’s the big ones that you see in shops usually. But these will taste much better. Lemon Balm, so I can make tea and poultices. Nasturtium is also a must have, because the flowers are edible (and the nectar in the tubes), as are the leaves and the seeds (green or dried), and they help enrich the soil. Plus, Nasturtiums also repel borers and Aphids and are great companions for the cucurbits and tomatoes. Parsley is also on my order, because it is a companion for tomatoes, tastes good and has good Potassium content. Radish because they grow fast and taste bloody good with a beer to chase them down with. I also decided to get a different looking Rockmelon, besides the Hale’s Best that I have already grown and replanted from saved seed. ‘Hearts Of Gold‘ is a very sweet, flavoursome Rockmelon with a Greyish, heavily netted skin when ripe. Finally, I bought some Watermelon seeds. The variety is Warpaint, but I wanted to get ‘Moon and Stars‘ because the skin looks awesome. They’d be great at gatherings. I decided against it because I already have a heap of melon type plants now. I’ll wait for another time. Maybe you might like to grow them for fun? You can buy the seed from Eden Seeds here. They are looking for reliable seed suppliers, so if you have the room and climate, why not grow some? I borrowed the image below from the Eden Seeds online catalogue so you can see what the skin looks like.
When my bandwidth comes back, I’ll post images and links and details related to the seeds and soil conditioners I use and how I use them (hint: organic). In the meantime, have a look at the Eden Seeds website and you’ll get an idea why I buy from them. I know there are other good heirloom and organic seed traders around, but I like these folk.
Footnote: If you read all of this, thank you. It has taken 5 hours to get the images to upload and the post out due to that bandwidth thing I was talking about. I would have posted more, but seriously, I’m fatigued. Been up since 6:00am Tuesday and it’s now 1:20am Wednesday :). The symptoms of Insomnia are sometimes advantageous for us lazy bloggers.