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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Getting an Early Start

We always tell ourselves that October is the time to start planting stuff. Accordingly, we put off doing anything about the garden until Labour weekend, by which time life is getting busy again, and so we put it off further.

In other words, we procrastinate, and nothing gets done. We've managed to keep a few pumpkins and potatoes going in the past, and our little crops of tomatoes on the doorstep have been OK, and the herbs - which are just glorified weeds, let's not forget - seem to thrive despite being neglected for weeks at a time.

But in terms of really having a proper vege garden that will yield a significant harvest, in the past we simply haven't done the work to make it happen.

Last weekend, that all changed.
We took a drive to the hardware store and the garden centre, then came home and cleared out one overgrown corner of our little front yard to put our planter down.
After getting it relatively level, we spread a layer of ash, in what may have been a misguided attempt to keep the weeds down.
Then we put down some plastic sheeting, punctured to permit some drainage, and assembled the 4'x4' planter box over top of it.

Now, I'm not saying that you should follow our lead here. We may have done ourselves all sorts of damage, like not permitting the soil to breathe and wotnot, but our main concern was for the weeds. The weeds up the back are the bane of my potato patch, and I don't want them invading this plot too.
Next, we got in some awfully cheap labour to do the grunt work.
Potting mix, about 8 bags, including a bag of strawberry mix, turn this from a wooden square into a miniature garden.
Then we got to planting: Strawberries, Lettuces, Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, Silverbeet, Cauliflower and Broccoli, several of each.
Into the potting mix, with a nice dousing of water and plenty of sunshine.
Finally, a bit of mesh to keep the local wildlife out - particularly our cat (I'd post a picture of said feline but I'm sorry, this just isn't that kind of blog). The mesh is attached to pieces of wire which are stapled into the timber, allowing access to the garden to weed and prune and harvest.

Since it's still winter and there may yet be frost, we also rigged a sheet of clear plastic which will double as a frost cover overnight and as a mini glasshouse of sorts on cooler days.

So there it is, August and we have our vege garden planted out. And the best thing is that a week later, the seedlings are not only alive but actually getting bigger. I hold out great hopes.
So after a big day's work like that (I could be honest and say that it was spread over 2 days, but that would completely dissolve the mystique surrounding our achievements), the hard workers deserve a cold, relaxing brew.
And sausages. There must be lovely lamb sausages.
Which are then made into burgers. What a perfect way to end the day.

(In case you're curious, Sausage Burgers contain sausage, lettuce, beetroot, cheese, sour cream, and sauce. Just like your mum used to make them. )


Mark Newnham said...

Nice garden Dan. You might find some pea straw or similar mulch over the bare soil will help with soil dampness and help prevent frost. I have turned my whole top garden over to grow food and loving the challenge. I dont think the weeds will come up through that much soil as they need direct light to grow . Mark

Dan said...

Thanks Mark.

I keep hearing about this pea-straw stuff; we'll have to try some out.

Good luck with your own patch.

I'm just finishing off this year's crop of pumpkins. :)

Laura Eno said...

What a divine site! I write all the time and seem to live on mac & cheese lately. I can come here and be inspired now. Yay!

Iona said...

That wire looks like the solution to my problems with the neighbour's cat with digestion issues. Thanks for the idea!

lbs said...

I don't think my mum ever made burgers like that. Did yours, Dan????

Dan said...

Laura - Glad to be inspiring!

Iona - It's working well for us.

LBS - I'm not sure that anyone's mum made burgers like that, but I love the turn of phrase... ;)