This is my vegie garden. It’s come a long way since the day we installed the water tank. Paula built these gorgeous wooden fences from wood in our far-too-big wood pile. They keep the chooks out of my vegie patch. The tank is now covered with lattice, and I’ve planted peas down the bottom. Hopefully in another couple of months it will be beautiful and green with food.
The bed closest to the front in this picture is my main autumn vegie bed. It’s packed with lettuce, rocket, beetroot, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach. I planted the seeds in February and planted out the bed in March. Now according to the times on the seed packets I should have been eating this stuff from early May, but apart from the first lettuce, which we picked this week, nothing’s been ready. Possible reasons for it being slow: the seed packets lie, the bed doesn’t get enough sun (a gum tree shades it for a good portion of the afternoon), the soil wasn’t good. Despite the fact that I actually bought a mix of organic compost and topsoil to fill this bed a few months ago, my ph meter says it’s very acidic, and my soil test shows it needed gypsum, nitrogen and molybdenum to bring it into balance. I’ve applied the gypsum, and it’s been getting some diluted urine and blood & bone for the nitrogen, but I’m still working on getting the molybdenum. Maybe it’s my imagination but it does seem to have perked up in the last few weeks since I gave it gypsum and nitrogen. Since my summer vegies mostly finished at the end of March, next year I’ll plant out this bed a month earlier and hope we don’t have a gap.
The next bed back has cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, leek and celery. It’s a hodgepodge of stuff that I put in at various times. I’ve been trying to plant this out since December, but have had so many failures that most things just didn’t make it. I blame dodgy seed, and possibly soil problems again. Anyway, it’s finally making some headway and growing me some food.
The bright green bed against the fence has potatoes that I planted in February. Really I’ve only heard of growing potatoes in summer in Melbourne, but since our summer is so hot and my potatoes just can’t make it through the hot days, I thought I’d try it in the cool of the year. They are doing well so far. Fingers crossed we make it to a harvest.
The bed next to that, which looks empty, was a very prolific zucchini and cucumber bed until recently. I double dug the entire bed, fed it with plenty of compost, put on the recommended amount of gypsum (thank you soil test), and have started planting it out. It’s got two long rows of garlic, two long rows of red onion, and when I’ve finished this email I think I’ll pop out and transplant the brown onion seedlings I’ve been raising. I’ve got more onions and leeks cued up for this bed, and I’m interplanting the rows with carrot, with the theory that I harvest the carrot, and then the onions fatten up to take their space. We’ll see if it really works. If it really grows like it should, I’m hoping it will be a very major contribution to our onion and garlic needs for the next year.
Beyond that, in the bed with the stakes in it, you can see my eggplants. I think they are about to die, but they have been nicely prolific and I’m very happy with them. The eggplants are delicious. This bed was my main summer bed and it fed us well last summer. When the eggplants come out I’ll green manure it to say thank you.
You can barely see it in this photo but in front of the tank there’s another bed, which I’ve filled with a later planting of brassicas, beets, carrots and peas.
And in front of that bed you can see two worm farms. One of them is an actual worm farm, in which we are raising a family named Cleo, Cleopatra, Leo and Elizabeth (according to Jesse). The population isn’t yet as big as I’d like, but every now and then I scoop out some worms with their castings and put them in a garden bed that desperately needs some. They won’t survive more than a few months in the garden, as they need a constant supply of food and moisture for that, but while they do, they’ll fill it with good soil bacteria, which will work like an army of servants for my plants, delivering nutrients as needed.
The other worm farm has been converted to a seedling raising tray, and I’ll raise next spring’s seedlings in there. It’s nice and deep, a good size, drains well, and I can even capture and reuse the drained water. Perfect.
And then you can see the silver shed – the potting shed. It’s hideously ugly but I’ve got plans for that. Stay tuned… But it’s wonderful to have a shed right there by my vegies, with all the tools I need so close and handy. I keep a bucket of homebrewed fertiliser next to it and every now and then I feed my plants.