One of the things I am most excited about in having our own house is having my own garden. All those years of renting and planting in pots are gone- we can now start putting things in the ground! There are grand plans for the garden- there are several trees which cast a lot of shade, and a hammock is slung between two of them. This area under the trees is going to be filled with sub-tropical plants such as bromeliads, gingers, heliconia, anthurium, ferns, cordyline and impatiens.
Then there is the vegie patch along the westen fence. Inspired by Don Burke’s book Organic we started the plot last weekend. There are going to be two plots, each 2.4m x 1.2m and they will have a sleeper border that will get built in the coming weeks, the two beds are going to be separated by a 1m gap that will be bridged by an arbour for growing peas, beans and other climbers.
One of the three guava trees is going to have to be removed to let in more light, and if all goes well on these two plots, I will put in a couple more.
Last weekend was a scorcher and Mark and I dug the plots down to about half a metre, we started by using a hoe, digging like peasants in the heat. About halfway through the first plot out neighbour loaned us a large crowbar that made digging the compacted soil much easier, although both hands were badly blistered. Once the soil was loosened I turned through several bags of cow manure, chicken manure, mushroom compost and organic soil lifter and sugarcane mulch. The soil is slightly clayey, which will help with moisture retention. There is some organic matter, but it needs some work.
At the bottom of the garden on the eastern fence I am going to build two large wooden compost heaps and a chicken coop. The idea is that while one heap is ‘cooking’ we can fill the other and rotate them. Having the compost heaps near the coop will be great as and chook manure will be great in the compost. All scraps from the kitchen should be dealt with by the compost heaps, cooks, worm farm, and Mischa.
I also planted a lot of seeds
- Mexican marigolds (great for pest prevention)
- flat-leaf parsley
- sweet basil
- Graf Zeppelin tomatoes
- Oxheart tomatoes
- tiny tom tomatoes
While the seedlings are developing I will continue to nurture the soil. I have covered the beds with lucern hay and planted sweetpeas. When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted i will turn the sweetpeas and hay through the soil with a layer of worm-farm casings, by then the soil should be ready for my precious seedlings.
I am really keen on having a garden that is organic, and reducing the amount of vegies we buy from the supermarket- which I find so bland in flavour. I am also looking forward to growing heritage heirloom varieties (such as those from the Diggers Club) and keeping and re-using the seeds year after year. If there are any other organic gardeners out there in Brisbane get in touch, I’d love to swap seeds and ideas.
There is a lot to do still- I need to install a watering system (there is only one tap in the garden at the other side of the house), the chicken coop needs to be acquired, and I need to build the compost heaps.