Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My New Goals-Towards Self-Sustainability

I'm taking part in Yates Spring Veggie Competition. Growing these vegetables for the competition has really got me thinking about sustainable living again. I frequent a self-sustainability forum, where I have been learning a great deal about gardening and other things including soap making and aquaponics.

I have decided to get my act together and get cracking on a decent sized veggie garden to hopefully get us on our feet to being self-sustainable in the fruit and veg department. It’s going to be an interesting learning experience.

Over the last year I’ve been putting it off, wanting to wait until we have our own place, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. I asked myself what was stopping me, and apart from being lazy, there really isn’t anything else.

I have unofficially taken over a section of the yard [the house belongs to my partner’s parents] to build my new beds, as my other veggie bed doesn’t get much sun, and there is only TWO outdoor taps on the whole 1/4 acre, and neither are near the existing bed. So naturally I forget to water it. I’m going to turn it into a place to dump clippings, weeds, scraps, manure, etc to break down to a usable state on the new beds, once my new beds are in. Plus I’ll continue growing my potatoes there, as they seem to be happy there.

This is the space I’ve taken over, it’s between the main house [on the left] and the room where me and my partner live [right].

Currently my plan is to have a bed that runs along the path next to the main house and do a right turn and run along the fence [I’ve already started that part of the bed and planted peas and beans] and then have an ‘H’ shaped bed taking up the rest of the room [the storm water pipe sticking up in the centre will end up in the cross bar of the ‘H’ shape]


The apricot tree finally carked it this year, hence the tree stump in the photo, which my OH had great delight in knocking over with our 4wd [boys and their toys!]. Stupid people who put it there didn’t take it out the pot, so it ended up mainly root bound with a few roots that managed to escape the pot. Not that the fruit were any good last year anyway. Gives me an excuse to get more fruit trees now!

Friday, September 24, 2010

No Dig Beds, Surprises and Helping Paws

Today was sunny. I love sunny days. Finally, Spring feels like it is actually here-ironically the day after the Spring Equinox, which produced a beautiful full Harvest Moon last night.

I was relatively productive in the garden today. I tackled the weeds in the main veggie bed which I have been procrastinating long enough for all the weeds I had pulled out to be replaced. I also dug some more of the clay out of the bed and broke it up, so more of the patch has a decent depth. I am considering doing a few layers like in no-dig garden beds, on top just to give it a little more depth for plants like carrots.

In amongst the weeds, I have two stacks of two tyres which I grow potatoes in. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few handfuls of small spuds in one. I didn't realise any had grown this year, as I hadn't planted any. They must have grown from a potato I missed last year. I will replant some of the ones I dug up today, as they are too small to eat.

Once that was done, my dogs thought it was time to help. By incubating my potato stacks!!

I made a quick no dig bed on the other side of the fence where I have my smaller patch. It isn't a typical no dig bed, as I didn't have any straw or newspaper. It consisted of a rotting towel I found in the garden to help stop weeds coming through, half dead grass weeds that were pulled out a few days ago, some newly weeded grass and soil from my main veggie patch. Still need to get some straw to mulch the top.

Within this I planted Snake Beans and Telephone climbing peas, both sides of the fence. Following basic companion planting guides, corn and pumpkin will also go in once the seedlings are grown. The corn will go left of [behind] the fence and the pumpkin will go right of [front] the fence. This will allow the pumpkins to spread forward across unused ground.

My zucchini seedlings have also been getting too big for their container in the green house, so I transplanted them into a hardening off pot made from an old aquarium, lined with skoria for drainage and soil from the garden.

The bark on top was just to shield them from the sun earlier in the day, as they were drooping like mad after I moved them. But they have almost all completely perked up again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Have Got So Far...

Well since I have already started growing things for this year, I have plenty of seedlings in my greenhouse already. I planted a whole heap last week, and some more today.
So Far I have planted:
Tomato: Oxheart, Roma, Cherry, Tigerella, Grosse Lisse, Assorted Diggers Seeds
Corn: Honeysweet, Bicolour
Zucchini: Blackjack
Pumpkin: Butternut, QLD Blue, Unknown
Capsicum: Colour mix
Peas: Telephone
Beans: Dwarf Climbing, Snake
Baby Spinach, Purple Carrots, Watermelon, Rockmelon, Broccoli, Sunflower, Brown Onion, Cucumber, Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Shallots

I have a friend of mine who is going to teach me how to preserve and make sauces, along with many other goodies! So that is why I am growing so many types of tomatoes. I am hoping between us we will have enough room to grow them all!

Once I get around to it, I will be making proper trays for the green house, which I will use to grow seeds in and the baby spinach in for the entirety of its life, instead of planting it out in the garden. Snails always seem to eat my spinach before I get to it!

I also hope I have luck growing the dwarf beans this year. Last year they half rotted away before sprouting and the other half rotted just after sprouting. I was very disappointed with that. It's not looking so good at the moment as the Snake beans have already come up, and none of the dwarf beans have. But here's hoping they are just late bloomers!

A New Start

Well, it seems I have neglected this blog for a long while. I will try to remember to update more often, but honestly over the last year, I haven't really done any gardening. And the garden is really showing it! There are weeds everywhere!! My veggie patch has been consumed by weeds, to the point you cannot see it!

Recently I was sent a link to a competition run by Yates. It is a spring veggie growing challenge, and I am taking part in it. If you are interested, here's the link to my competition blog: . Feel free to vote on the posts and leave comments. Most of the stuff on there, will also be posted here, probably with more pictures.

Doing the competition is kick starting me back into gear, and hopefully this year I'll have the chance to get a fully functioning veggie garden up and running.