Our Garden Turns 1!
Our Garden Turns 1!
Starting our brand new vegetable garden over Labour Weekend 2015 was I’ve now come to realise, a stroke of genius.
Seriously. I have such a terrible memory, made even worse now there’s another baby Flynn on the way.
But remembering the start of our garden project and what’s worked over the seasons is now quite simple.
Not only is labour weekend a fabulous time for new planting and replenishing soil, I’ll now remember and toast it every year as the one where our Great Garden Adventure began.
Labour weekend is also our wedding anniversary, and this years’ 10 year celebration was marked, fittingly, in the garden. Trimming hedges, planting potatoes and tomatoes, and mulching the mandarins. It’s quickly become a real happy place for our wee family.
The patch is every bit I dreamed of prior to October 2015. Four sturdy beds that have supplied our family and many others with an ongoing supply of chemical free garden goodies and herbs.
My plan to have it in the part of the house near the letterbox rather than buried out the back, has also worked well, in that we can’t help but keep it tidy and weed free as we’re plucking it every time we walk past.
I never imagined it would be tele-worthy. But you may have seen the 10 marvellous videos we filmed in the garden on the Palmers website, with some useful tips and tricks which I try desperately to remember. It’s great though, because as much as I listened at the time, I still refer back to them (and encourage others to do so too!) whenever I have a problem.
I have to say there have been a few flops this past year. My brassicas being one of them. the Bok and Pak Choy tend to go to seed faster than we can sauté it, and the bugs get to the broccoli, which often has a less than tight looking head from the start.
Some of the raving successes I’m hoping to repeat going into the next 12 month cycle include the strawberry bed (year 2 and looking fabulous!) – top tip here to pluck the first flowers you see like you would a broccoli head, so they grow more fruit; my corn was phenomenal but I’ve run out of space this year for planting it as the passionfruit is performing so well in the same spot. I’ve planted it just to the side, but fear we won’t get a repeat performance.
We’ve had a never-ending supply of silverbeet and kale, but I can’t seem to get my spinach right – it always gets too big or too spindly so a bit to work on there.
The celery has been great for snacking and kids lunchboxes throughout winter, I’m looking forward to a bumper crop of capsicums, which I think last summer I killed with kindness.
Our worm garden is going brilliantly – I can’t believe the lovely black gold we retrieve from there to dig into the garden, and the worm tea seems to keep things rather healthy.
The end of the long wet winter was a great opportunity to pull some of the flops out, and I got a bit brutal, and decided it was time to do some serious crop rotation. Until then I’d found it hard to do this while there was still so much goodness growing, and I didn’t want to end up with the wrong companions planted together.
I’ve transplanted the capsicum which should be good for another year or two, but everything else was either harvested or put in the worm bin. We’ve switched the leafy greens bed and the brassica bed, which has never performed well, will now host the tomatoes, beans and basil.
I’ve mulched everything, particularly the strawberries to keep them off the soil, and two out of three of my citrus are performing well.
Frustratingly, my mandarin went from having 1000+ flower buds on it one day, to virtually a stick the next. It had dropped all it’s flowers and turned brown. I’m yet to get to the bottom of that one but am spending a bit of time researching (and watching our citrus tips video!) to hopefully get it up and running again.
Excitingly we have two buckets of potatoes flowering so I’m hopeful we’ll have fresh spuds for Christmas, and as for plans for 2017? More fruit and flowers I reckon! I’d like to try my hand at asparagus and get on top of keeping potted colour alive which can look so pretty around the house... if only I remember to water them!
Wishing you all a fabulous new year of planting too!