Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Week 15 - New Garden Bed Part 2

After a trip to the garden centre, I have edged the garden using treated pine half round edging. I used five of these to give me a garden 3m x 1m against the fence.

Two bags of garden soil, two bags of cow manure and 1 bag of chicken manure we have a garden ready to be planted out with some new seedlings.

I have some spring onion and bok choy to grow in the new bed. I will be getting some iceberg lettuce in the next week.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 15 - New Garden Bed

The new garden bed has been started. Today was the first fine day we have had since Christmas Day and I decided that while the ground was nice and soft from all the rain, I would start clearing the area where the new garden was going to be. This area has basically been somewhere I have been throwing grass clippings and leaves for around 5 years.

Much of this waste material has decomposed and only the top 15cms was still grass clippings and leaves. I moved this pile further down the slope and started to attack the ground with the mattock.

A mesh of fine roots was all the way through the ground and these needs to be broken up and the soil loosened. The roots were thrown into the green garden waste bin. Three quarters of a bin later most of the roots. twigs and grass had been removed from the   garden bed.

The next step in preparing the garden is to determine what I will use for a border around the bed. I will be off to the local garden centre to get some supplies.

The following images show the existing garden.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Week 15 - Post Christmas Update

Well it has been 15 weeks since I started my vegetable garden and the family is starting to enjoy the fruits of my labour. This seems to be a good time to reflect on some of the things I have learnt over the last 15 weeks.

I started this garden using the knowledge I had gained from both studying agriculture at school and watching my mother tend to our garden on the farm at Lisarow. My mother grew almost all of the vegetables we ate as children and had a vegetable garden that occupied around 70 square metres.

My garden is only around 6 square metres and obviously we do not derive all our produce from it but we use it to supplement what we buy. For this reason I selected vegetables that we use regularly but do not store well.

The vegetables we now have in the garden are:

  • Tomatos
  • Lettuce
  • Capsicum
  • Squash (Mixed Varieties)
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet Corn
  • Strawberries
  • Mint
Now for the lessons learnt.

  1. Squash and Cucumber plants require a great deal of space. They should also be spaced out at least 70cm to allow space for the plants to grow. Next year I plan on creating a new garden bed on the other side of the backyard to grow these type of plants. This will allow me to grow more vegetables in the existing bed. 
  2. Tomato plants can grow to up to 1 metre in height. When I first planted out the garden I planted a row of sweet corn behind the other plants. In most cases this was OK, but the three sweet corn plants that were planted behind the tomato plants were completely overshadowed within 6 weeks of planting and have only grown half as high as the other corn plants. 
  3. Sweet Corn plants should be planted in a block (3 by 3 plants) to aid in the pollination of the plants. It also will ensure that the plants are not overshadowed by other plants.

I am sure there are more lessons learnt I will expand on these over the next couple of posts. I will also document the creation of the next garden bed on the northern side of the backyard.

Keep on gardening!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 12 - Harvest Photo

Midway through Week 12, I have harvested a number of the squash that were on the vine.

The squash here are: Yellow Squash, Yellow Button Squash and Autumn Cup Squash.

All were as a result of hand pollination. When left to the bees and insects I have not had much success and most of the squash fruit withers on the vine.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Week 12 - Harvesting and Growing Continues

The harvesting of produce continues, the various lettuce varieties have been a great addition to lunchtime wraps and sandwiches.

The squash fruits have been slowly getting larger and the hand pollination appears to have been reasonably successful as the plants are producing quite a few new fruits.

The tomato plant continues to produce flowers and hopefully this signifies a good crop. It will need to be re-staked again next week as it has outgrown the stakes I put in a couple of weeks ago.

The capsicum plants look like they are beginning to flower. I will be watching these over the next couple of weeks as I have not grown these previously and am interested to see the flowering and fruiting process.