Ready, Set, Grow!
If someone had of told me that within four short weeks I’d be feeding my family, and others from my little garden, I would never have believed them.
We built our four garden boxes over one very wet labour weekend, and within three short weeks were plucking lettuce and other green leaves!
I always have the best intentions to do everything right the first time round, which can be a bit of a hand brake to getting started. So after we’d built the boxes, it was a week or two before I was confident to start planting.
I spent a bit of time pouring over gardening books looking at everything from gardening by the moon, to rotational crops, to companion planting to make sure I got it right. There is so much information out there; I had to stop to stop myself from getting confused! I picked a couple of reputable publications and have stuck with them.
Armed with a list of plants to purchase, I was seduced by all the lovely seedling in the Palmers vege section, and left with an over supply which I’ll have to thin out eventually but looks fabulous for now.
I have however tried my best to plant things that like and compliment each other. We have a full strawberry bed with a (companion) cucumber growing at height in the middle. A zucchini bed with four different varieties spilling over the sides.
A ‘hot’ bed with tomatoes, capsicums, beetroot, basil, lettuce and eggplant; and a green bed with peas, beans, kale, silver beet, lettuce and chard.
I’ve popped corn down the side perimeter with spare beans climbing them as a stake, and on the fruit trees, mandarins and lemons are beginning to form before our eyes. So exciting!
Our watering system is working fabulously, as we now have weed mat over the piping so all that rain that we’ve had has filled the irrigation up nicely.
I know I’ve started this garden at the optimum time of season, but I just cannot believe my eyes.
One of the best decisions we made was the placement of the boxes; it’s somewhere I pass multiple times a day, making for a quick daily look at things. The height of the boxes mean I don’t even have to stoop, saving my back too!
The kids check the letterbox and the strawberry bed on an almost hourly basis. I’m trying to teach Jude not to pull the whole plant out when he plucks his favourite kale. And Tilly is destroying the basil as she nibbles away at every sign of new growth.
The tomatoes are flowering and the eggplants are starting to form. The beetroot are leaf heavy, but the globe variety I’ve planted are (within just 4 weeks) fastly becoming bigger than I’ve ever had.
We haven’t had a huge success with the strawberries as yet, I wonder if we left the planting a little late? They are sending out runners with the odd flower on the main plants. We have 10+ plants in the bed and are only getting about one strawberry every couple of days which does cause a wee bit of friction as to who’s turn it is to taste!
We have some serious netting over them so I know the birds (and kids) aren’t getting to them first. They’re covered in pea straw and watered well. I was very much hoping to not have to buy any pre Christmas, there’s still a week or two to go so we’ll see!
After an early panic the zucchinis had gotten powdery mildew already (quick remedy was lessening the amount of above watering by a certain 3 year old!) I’m now picking a handful of them every day! They’re amazing. I am quite keen to figure out how to eat the flower too as I know I’ve seen them on restaurant plates and also deep-fried.
The curly kale is being massacred by green caterpillars and white butterflies, so I’m considering pulling it out entirely and just using the other greens for smoothies and salads. A friend advised that once it gets hotter, they attract these pests so I think I can live without to save the rest of the garden.
Otherwise we seem to be fairly pest free. The kids have planted a swan plant each that are steadily growing, despite the nationwide warnings of wasps wiping them out, and the corn looks healthy and strong. No sign of aphids as yet!
My challenge for the next month or two is to get some seedling up and running, and I’d love to add some colour with flowers; edible, companion and aesthetic to the mix.
I’d also love to hear your feedback and tips and tricks as you follow this family gardening journey of ours!
This blog was made possible thanks to Palmers Planet