Doesn’t look like much at the moment except the compost bins which I’m quite proud of but in front of those bins is a field of magic beans. Well not really it’s fava beans and I’m trying to get them growing to cover an area I have marked for more garden beds but also to see if the things will grow. I really didn’t do anything so if it fails I wouldn’t be that surprised. The area though is where the chickens used to be so you never know….
My vegetable beds are still coming along as I’ve filled them with various humus materials and soil so I just need to transplant the seedlings into the raised beds at the moment. I’m thinking that I will only use the two long ones as my long term plans are to actually setup all my raised beds to be the same dimensions. I’ll be getting the wood this week or next and then I’ll build up the other beds and fill them in.
Seedlings are really coming along nicely. Using a mix of 2 parts compost, 1 part soil and 1 part potting soil. I’ll see how well this does. Maybe I should do separate mixes on the same seeds and then see which give the best results. That would be getting too scientific though but I may just try it out once I have stuff in the ground growing.
The autumn beds have been made after moving them to a sunnier location. I have been trying different mixes within the beds so see what will actually work the best of if its much of a muchness and just need to get some organic matter into the soil. I’ve got horse manure and straw with compost, grass and soil. I’ve started my own compost bins now so in the future this is what I’ll be using. Need to find a really good source for green part of the heap but this might come from my own alfalfa beds once I get them in.
My garden was really looking worse for wear after the hot summer and the disappointment of the chicken’s not making it. Cleaned up their coop and removed the wire, thinking of turning it into a greenhouse as I have the plans and the wood ready. Just need some time. Also started removing the Bird of Paradise that is slap bang in the middle of the garden. The shed also needs moving but first I want to get the greenhouse setup.
The Bird of Paradise went straight into the compost heap along with the remaining carbon rich material that I had. Might need to turn it in two weeks and add some grass in layers to really get it going as it seems to have lost heat already. The other experiment is gathering leaves for making a leaf mould/mulch. This will take a year or so whereas if I turn the compost regularly I might have compost ready by January.
Getting back into the swing of things after my visit to South Africa. Was a really long visit and August turned into a solid heat wave meaning I got back to a tired looking garden. Planted some seeds and the cucumbers and cabbage have already come up. Trying the square foot technique now so each bed is going to be chock a block full and more variety.
The strawberries have really surprised me at how prolific they are and how easy it is to plant them. I’m thinking that this year I’ll use the 30 or so plants that have come up as seed for next years strawberry towers. That will mean that if I can get 2-3 plants out of each of these I;ll have enough to start the strawberry towers from this stock and just keep them going. Also give me enough time to start making the towers.
The first large bed has also finally gotten off the ground. I layed down a layer of compost and then some sawdust as ground cover to finish off what was already there. I bought some chives and a whole lot of herbs to plant around the beds. The sprayers fall outside the beds so thought this way I could also get some herbs out of the deal. I directly seeded radish and beets so we’ll see how those come up.
My last project was getting the compost heap sorted. It had dried out completely so I made a Frankenstein drip irrigation system to water the heap during summer when I water the garden. I will turn it weekly too just to see if I can kick start it again. There is also a compost bin that I have built for the house scraps and this I’ll also turn weekly until I see some action getting going. Need to go up to the dining room on the kibbutz and see if I can get them to save a bucket of off cut greens for me.
Moving into the height of summer now. I really felt the brunt of it on Friday when I was moving the raised beds from the shade to the top garden where there’s more sun. I also looked at the sun and it looks like that during summer this area is going to get some seriously long hours of sunshine. The new raised beds are arranged along the square garden approach. I want to try and get the most out of the small space I have so this beds will be planted accordingly. The other thing I did was use sprinklers for irrigation. I was using drip irrigation but because of the concentrated effect it was not helping to keep a large area moist so using the square garden approach I will need to have a more dynamic approach to watering.
August is not really a time for doing anything in the garden so not really sure what I’ll achieve. The other thing is that I won’t be here for three weeks so the garden will be in maintenance mode so can’t see anything new being grown. I have some seeds and while I’m away I’m hoping that Mirit might be able to plant a few seeds for me so that there will be something to put in the garden come end of August when the days are shorter and less savage.
You can pretty much see how I’ve gone about creating the beds with the layers. The bottom layer is mixture of straw and horse manure. One top of this as I mow the lawn each week I’ll add that to the bed on top of the straw mixture and then add a layer of sawdust. I did this in the front and the soil there is beautiful is a really short time. The theory is that with this quick turn around on top of the slower grass manure layer the plants might have something to grow into and also the water will be held onto by something. Then before planting I’ll put a layer of compost on top of the bed just to give a bit of a shot in the arm for the vegetables.
I’ve been shooting from the hip for the first part of the year or at least since we moved into the house. I’ve really been enthusiastic and like most beginners jumped in head first before looking at how deep the pool really was. I read about permaculture, aquaculture, aquaponics, hydroponics, no-till, raised beds, and on and on. It was all new and I lapped it up without thinking, jumping at idea’s but never really having a clear plan. This below is the result, A pretty much hotchpotch of dirt and wood and very little green.
Don’t get me wrong or think I’m just being negative. I have made mistakes and had a few mishap’s along the way but this year has been about learning how this piece of earth works and how I can try and get the best out of it. My idea of having the garden at the bottom was OK in the beginning but after summer came and leaves appeared on all the leaves that was pretty much the death nail for those beds.
Now I’ve got a plan. I want to see what I need to grow and when I need to plant it, probably most importantly how much I need to plant. I’ll be converting the upper terrace that gets light most of the day into the main garden area using raised square gardens. I have the beds on the lower terrace and those will be broken up and re-made into the square beds. So no wastage and the material I had in the beds will just become a big compost pile. I’m thinking that that will be the best thing for this area in the shade.
The idea of this post is that I will have a reference for a year or so down the line and see how much progress I’ve made. I’m hoping that with a bit more planning and thinking about what I need to put into the beds I’ll actually get something out of the garden. I really enjoy being out there and working and seeing the beginnings of something has given me some encouragement.
Been a while since I’ve managed to get my site up and running. Seems this year has been alot of learning from failures. Moving to the new house I knew starting the garden would mean that I’d be making changes next year. So far I’ve learnt a few things:
Don’t plant under a tree, even if it has no leaves
Transplanting those vegetables mid-season probably won’t work.
Raised beds work but you need to have sun.
Aphids really can be removed with some homemade spray
Gardening is a ton of work that sometimes doesn’t pay off.
Best thing for me to use in raised beds is a combo of grass and sawdust
So I planted I variety of vegetables when we moved into the new house. I had some under a bare pecan tree. Once the leaves came out that was the end of their growth and basically they went no where from there. I also had pumpkins and watermelon planted on the neighbors property. They said they didn’t mind but somewhere along the line they changed their minds and started moving and ripping the plants out. Well lesson learnt, keep within the borders of the house.
Today I started my second half of the year push. In sport you have a negative split. Basically it means finishing the year stronger. This is hopefully what will pan out but sure there may be a few more lessons in there. I planted broccoli today according to the Gardenate suggestions for my zone.
The other garden method I learnt about was raised beds. It wasn’t long before I came across square foot gardening. I’ll take the raised beds I have and cut them down to make a few more square gardens in the top of the garden where there is full day sun.
Well my website went down and I had little or no way of recovering it. So starting again and hopefully this time I’ll remember to make a few backups and enable the ability to restore the site if something like that happens again.