I have been working very hard in my garden this last month but have very little to show for it! The majority of the work has been in soil improvement. Over the years I have put lots of compost , manures ,mulch and gypsum into the soil of the garden beds to ‘build them up’, improve the PH of the soil and to break up the clay. The soil in the veggie garden beds had become rich, held moisture and the soil was no longer lumpy with clay. But then we had rain...well lots of rain actually and the garden beds became water-logged/saturated for weeks on end.
|The natives like this grevillia are still thriving in the compacted, rock-hard, dry soil|
Before we went away in early March, I dug over the vegetable garden beds, spread compost and then mulched and left the beds fallow for the time we were away. When I started gardening again in earnest recently, as the weather started to warm up, my established beds were full of weeds despite the thick mulch, and the ground was like concrete...so disappointing after years of building up the soil. So I’ve done lots of weeding, lots of digging with the mattock and fork and breaking up mud/clay clods. Then lots of gypsum to help break up the clay and lots of cow manure and compost. I’m hoping that the crops do a little better this season as most things died of ‘wet feet’, (root rot) or mildew or the bees stayed away so pollination didn’t take place as effectively as usual.
I haven’t planted much yet...2 lots of potatoes (one in a large pot), lettuces, capsicum, rocket, eggplant, telegraph peas, basil and Italian parsley. Still to be planted are cucumber, zucchini, carrots, silverbeet and comfrey, a grafted eggplant and the little Tommy Toe cherry tomatoes, as well as some lima bean seeds I bought on Ebay. Oh and another lot of potatoes. I’ve given up growing the larger tomatoes in the warmer months as the fruit flies get them before we do. Talking of pests, I must also plant a few marigolds in and around the veggie plot to discourage the said pests.
|One lot of potatoes|
|Some planting in bed #1 . the teepee is for the telegraph peas|
|#2 planting of potatoes; these are in a big plastic pot|
|last year's Tommy toe tomato plant is again bearing fruit|
|Some of the garden helpers that I buy|
|Another view of the potato bed|
As well as the veggie garden, I’ve also been tidying up other beds with the shrubs and smaller flowering plants. I think I will need to put some Saturaid granules in the front garden because the soil is so dry. Again I’ll need lots of compost, manure and mulch to get those beds viable again. Last year in early spring I potted up lots of petunias because in early November we were hosting a 30th birthday BBQ for a DD’s (DH’s DD2) partner. Even though the yard was muddy for that night the pots overflowing with red/mauve/purple/white/pink petunias looked pretty good. Well those annuals died off at the end of summer and the pots just sat around (shocking eh?) but last week I emptied all those pots with their worn out potting mixture into the wheelbarrow. At first I planned to heap up this dirt and plant out bromeliads around the base of some of the mature trees. Change of plan this weekend; the mixture went into the base of the new raised garden bed. We’ll put the ‘good stuff’ on top.
|The raised garden bed I bought with my birthday vouchers|
|Old, spent potting mix from last summer's potted colour|
You might have noticed that I haven't mulched yet. Because I have used a lot of our own homemade compost, I'm waiting to see what 'volunteer' plants come up. Already I've got some rockmelons and tomatoes coming up and they are usually quite strong little seedling. As the weather warms up next month, I'll start adding mulch.