A work in progress

So here it is, my tell all images of the gardens post winter. Oh the shame…

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Weedy and sadly neglected.

However I’m slowly working my way through the gardens. Pulling old and spent plants. Feeding the chooks handfuls of chick weed and enjoying (most of all) the rows upon rows of carrots.
This winter, carrots have been the one vegetable I haven’t brought.

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This weekends plan involves a lot of manure, compost and digging. Quite frankly I’m looking forward to this, this time to connect with the earth. Do you have any garden plans for this weekend?

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An Autumn Garden

In earlier years its always a relief to turn the calendar over to March.  March means autumn, a relief from the heat and a little less time watering the garden.  This year has been different.  Summer was wet and surprisingly cool.  The garden has produced such a bounty this year, much more than I expected.  Endless carrots, beans and just enough tomatoes to freeze a small supply of sauce for the next few months of the ‘between season famine’.  Oh and see the basil there at the front?  Most of it has gone to seed now but a few plants I will chop back to below the seeds.  Then in a few weeks there will be another batch of basil to harvest and turn into pesto.  Not that I haven’t already got a freezer full of green goodness.

With the tomatoes looking tired and full of fruit fly, it was time to pull them out.  Compost went in and chicken-poo-infused mulch on top.  The big gap in the garden will be filled later today with the first of this winters brocoli plants.  I brought a punnet and will share half of them with the neighbour so 4 plants will go in.  I figure that buying in the stock will put me 4 -6 weeks ahead than if I sowed my own.  Meanwhile I still have 3 trays in the propagation box germinating (hopefully) as I type.  Which will be ready for planting out in about 1 month.  This will be a follow-up crop.

Also in the propagation box I have cauliflowers, onions, parsnips (they’ll  be directly sown but their space is now occupied so I will try transplanting them…)  mini cabbage and Calendula.  The Calendula are for some winter colour and I’m busting to make some Calendula cream.  (I found a recipe at Rhondas ‘Down to Earth’)

I’m enjoying my current gardening style, when something goes out, something must go in.  Be it a few lettuce seedlings from the nursery (ready to eat in just a few weeks)  to climbing peas that replaced the carrots.  I am trying to space out plantings, to avoid that glut as I’ve had in earlier years.  Only putting in 1 tomato plant and when it starts flowering the next went in and so on.  I do the same with dwarf beans.  To date this has worked amazingly.  A steady supply of food is flowing into my kitchen and our bellies!

In My Garden

Slowly the season is changing and the soil warming.  With that comes such a flurry of garden work  – sowing, watering and weeding – oh the weeds.  Do you want a quick peek of what’s happening?

 

WELCOME to my garden.  Excuse the fence, it will be repaired once I repair the last garden bed and paint the posts – I am thinking purple or maybe red? 

Ok lets start with the garden on the left.  BED 1 

:: Garlic – saved cloves from last years harvest.  I kept the biggest for planting, fingers crossed for a bumper crop

:: Carrots – planted somewhere in the midst of winter, they have gone from tiny tiny things to (finally) a decent sized

:: Beetroot – taken an hour before being ripped out to make way for more (more!) carrots.  I am yet to work out the secret to growing bumper beets, these were again small

Next up BED 2

 

:: Purple Cabbage – a hanger-on from winter I am rather proud of my cabbages this year, they have good firm hearts! 

:: Garlic – more you ask?  Someone just had to plant out all the cloves that sprouted.  Hence there is 3 garlic crops this year

:: Lettuce – a quick filler until I transplant the bush beans and climbing beans.  Should I mention here the lack of success I have had with bean seeds this year?  No lets save it for another day

BED 3, a quiet garden

::  Basil- they maybe tiny now but I am hoping (with fingers crossed) that these 4 leaved seedings will soon become the source of a year of pesto.  And yes there is more seeds propagating, to date and 1 square m planted out.

:: Tomatoes – still sluggish seeds or tiny seedlings they’re slowly-slowly coming, until then this gardens waits

Bed 4

:: Pak Choi  – a bit sporadic with germinating, thanks to the ants.  Must remember to mix the seeds with tea leaves – Jackie French – ants will then leave the seeds alone

:: Zucchini – really what is summer without one?  Further along is a squash.  The cucumber’s yet to germinate

BED 5

Yes this is a vegetable garden full of Kikuya grass.  Have I been avoiding it?  Yes again.  I don’t even know where to start.  Spray the grass or dig it out?  or maybe just simply ignore it….

Thanks for having a look around with me, I hope you too are having a great spring flurry of activity!

A gate of seperation

With a hint of spring in the air over the weekend, we headed outdoors to catch up on yard chores.  Top of the list, fencing the vegetable gardens.  A key part of this new fence included a gate.  Due to time constraints with Hubby’s work, we purchased one.  (roughly $70 at bunnings)  Over the coming weeks, the remaining two beds will be rebuilt and the fence will go around them too.  Until then my mini clean up crew is working hard and the veggies will be safe from beaks and claws.

 

Sowing Seeds

Bed One has erupted into life with beetroot, carrots and slightly to thickly planted spring onions.  I’m thrilled with the germination rate in this bed.  The beetroot I soaked the seeds overnight.   See my fancy-held-together with pegs bed covers.  Daggy, but kitty and chook proof!

For years I always assumed carrots seeds had to be mixed with sand to make sure they’re spread out.  I had an ah-ha moment recently when I thought why sand?  Why not dirt or compost?  So this time I deposited a handful of seeds into a handful of rich black compost*.  Into drills it went.  (I covered the seeds with a old cardboard beer carton)  And 2 weeks later this is what it looks like!

I will let them get just a bit bigger before I start thinning.  I think I too will need my hand held for this…….  (see this blog)

A little farm shopping list

  • Dingo Digger
  • Post hole attachment
  • Kopper logs (8 length?)
  • 30m roll of chicken netting
  • ag pipe 15m
  • 10 pvc elbows
  • 5m pvc pipe
  • sand or gravel – ?
  • 15 bales of lucerne mulch
  • 10 bags of mushroom compost
  • 20m of 200 um plastic
  • 20kg bag of blood and bone
  • 20kg bag of dynamic lifter
  • 40m of 10mm black pipe (for garden edging)
  • large bag of cable ties
  • a gate
  • hinges – in shed

Many plans, phone calls, pricing, notes and more notes, changing of plans and again pricing… 

Yep it looks as though the raised beds are getting a make over!

Raised Vegetable Beds – Front Garden

I can now finally reveal our latest project here at Little Farm.  New gardens.

Recent events have shown me how fragile our food supplies could be and with the cost of everything skyrocketing to crazy prices.  Food security has become something I am thinking more and more about. 

We are extremely lucky to be on a large block of land within city limits. Our block is divided into two by our house, with the front yard being considerably smaller than the back.  It is this front area that has a lot of ‘dead space.’   During the last 8 years many projects have been attempted in this area – some successfull, most of it not….

       

 Lets hope I have finally come up with a design that is not only functional but also appealing to the eye…..

In these beds I am planning on growing silverbeet, spinach, lettuce and all those other plants that I have trouble growing in the backyard.  Trouble = Chickens.

One of the new gardens, with struggling silverbeet. They were being eaten by tiny , but now dead, grubs!

We purchased these beds, unlike the others that were built from scratch.  These new beds are Birdies, which can be purchased from Bunnings for $99 for the 90 x 90 cm or online at ‘Birdies’  They really are super simple to put together, each one took roughly 20 minutes to build.

Each bed is lined with 200um plastic.  This has been used in all of the raised beds and it has worked so well.  In earlier years we have had trouble with kikuya and tree roots invading and killing the gardens – no more with the plastic.  Please if you do this remember to pop a few hole in the bed about 10 to 15cm high or when it rains the beds will burst….  yep it happened here

  

To hold the plastic and the brilliant rubber edging, holes were drilled all around the beds and zip ties used to hold it all in place.  In the back gardens the plastic is slipping away into the soil as there is no edging to hold it up.

:: Currently we are throwing around the idea of replacing the plastic in the back gardens as the kikuya has finally made its way through and some of the plastic is starting to breakdown.  If we do this the area will be dug out (with a dingo digger) retained, gravelled and paved.  It will be a big job….  I will keep you posted ::