I have had a busy winter so have not posted very much at all and the garden was left largely to its own during that time. This can only go on for so long and last Friday I managed to get out into it once again and start planning for Spring.
Space is becoming a real premium and this year I plan to push the garden a lot more than previous years as there are many seeds I wish to plant out in order to either:
- see what they actually are, as they have no records
- produce fresh new seed for future years
- build up more seed from a small existing stock
I have also been inundated with a lot more kitchen scraps since we started to eat a lot more raw fruit and veges. This has meant that the compost bins are filling extra fast and I usually stand these in the garden to keep the worm traffic happening. Wanting to use every bit of garden this year that I can I have decided to use the tubs that I have access to which you can see in the picture above. These are washed of their detergent contents, the tip cut off and if possible left in the sun for a time. I then have begun to fill them with green matter from the garden prunings and weeding, cardboard and newspaper and the kitchen scraps. Sometimes shredded paper from the guinea pig cages is added along with old straw and a good half bucket of vermicompost which is wriggling with worms from the patch down the back.
These tubs will sit under the house as worm farms until they are either mature enough to use to plant herbs into or I have enough to tip the eventual compost and worms into the back garden bed for the next lot of vegetables.
In the picture above I have raised the mesh from the winter spinach garden that didn't have any success growing peas up it (bad or old batch I suspect) in anticipation of another successful harvest of cucumbers like last years crop. I did have plans to make this a bigger support but have opted to erect more teepees for growing beans as I really wish to focus on getting some good tomato and bean crops this year.
The picture below shows the teepees which are either waiting for seedling to be planted or have seeds directly sown at the base already. Other black tubs have been harvested and topped with dirt from the back bed and sown out with lettuce seedlings.
I've had quite a reasonable crop of carrots this year which still came out well despite actually getting transplanted into the tubs.
I have planted some kale seedlings that came up through winter into the ground beds and will plant out parsley seedlings that have come up in the white tubs during winter into the ground also as their long, tapered roots penetrate quite a way into the ground where they can tap the nutrients and in turn convey it to us and the guinea pigs!
After the recent cat attacks on the guinea pigs I have been thinking of what to do next with our new little generation of pigs. Given that the last remaining female that was free-range did well under the cover of the corner jungle I think I will look at making an enclosure there for them all where they can still roam in a large area and not interfere with the rest of the garden whilst still having shelter from any cats that do come in. There is still plenty of room there and it is closer to their liking than the cage we kept them in over winter while they had their young.
The young ones are all dark eyed which is what we are looking for now after having a few pink eyed guinea pigs. We feel the dark-eyed, short haired pigs will do better in the garden environment through all seasons and will endeavor to breed this form from time to time.
The chooks are coming back on the lay now and I straightened the tamarillo the other day after it gradually went on a lean during winter. It already has some small flowers on it but I think it is in it's last year. It's had a very productive and rough road.
Some projects in the garden have not worked out recently. A couple of seedlings have either not come up or have been picked off by either caterpillars or snails/slugs. Disappointing, but better management will be required.
The deck has been cleared of it's clutter of planting projects also and given a new coat of water-based sealer which has come up much nicer and friendlier on the nostrils than the oil-based sealer I have used previously. This year the deck will be kept clear as our little son begins to crawl and move about. I am moving the choko vine so that it does not get hammered by the summer easterlies and this will give the wandering grapevine a bit more room to move as I train it further along the deck.
I am expecting a big year for the garden. The same late summer jungle as last year, but a little more formal and manageable, simply because with my new time constraints, I have to be.