Thursday, August 18, 2011

Patch update

Well, it's been a hard slog, but the evolution of The Patch from paddock to productive garden is almost complete.
  • Infrastructure has been built: a four-bay compost system and a timber shed.
  • Beds have been dug: four vegie beds @ 4 x 5 metres, giving 80m2 of growing space; two 20-metre-long strip beds for comfrey and lucerne, which will hopefully provide mulch and plant food for years to come.
  • Living windbreaks have been planted: 12 Flinders Ranges wattles on the northern boundary, 24 grevilleas on the eastern boundary.
With some trepidation I sent away a soil sample to AMAL Analytical soil lab, and was relieved to learn that there were no detectable traces of pesticides in the soil. DDT and Dieldrin have left their toxic legacy on the Bellarine Peninsula, but thankfully not in this backyard.

This weekend I'm planning to get sowing: the strawbale-lined, heavily-mulched potato bed will get its seed potatoes at last; the other three vegie beds will be sown with a green manure mix of oats and vetch; the lucerne bed will get its lucerne.

There are a couple more projects to deal with before I go off to Europe in mid-September: get a water tank and plumb it in; dig a small bed for insect attracting annual flowers and find a space for some lavender seedlings which have popped up in our other garden. The bathtub worm farm will have to wait until I get back in early November.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will the kikuyu overrun the grevilleas while I'm away? Will the rabbits devour the comfrey? Will the potatoes wilt? Will the pigeons dine out on the oat and vetch seeds? I'm sure of only one thing: the unexpected will occur. Watch this space.
    Those shed panels were heavy. Just as well Mike was there to lend a hand.
    Constructing the shed was a day's work.

    Preparing the potato bed. Newspaper topped with straw and sheep poo should keep the weeds down. Strawbales form an organic fence and will be used as mulch next year.

    Digging the beds was a hard slog, but I like a challenge.

    Flinders Ranges wattles will grow to 2 x 2m, provide mulch, shelter from hot northerly winds and bird-attracting flowers.

    Grevilleas will grow to the top of the fence, if the kikuyu doesn't smother them.