This weekend was another opportunity to get stuck in and continue the transformation of our garden from ugly, glangly shrubs and weeds to a fertile bed of vegetable heaven. If you remember from an older post we (when I say we, it was mostly me last time) had already pulled out all the weed, raked up the old bark chip mulch, taken a load to the tip and collected the building materials for some raised boxes. Unfortunately it was not nearly as much as we had wanted to get done, but weather and lack of appropriate transport got in our way. This weekend we had no such issues so it was go, go, go.
We had taken the girls to the footy last night so it was a late one for them and they both slept quite late, leaving my husband and I a chance to get some work done without having to entertain a two year old or care for a baby. We started with shifting the last two remaining plants from the back to the front yard. The front garden is not something that I’m particularly proud of, and perhaps one day I’ll do some major work out there as well, but for now I’m just trying to fill it with plants (without spending too much money) and try to keep the weeds down. As I was doing this my husband set to work building the two boxes I had requested – he had cut the timber already so it was just drilling and screwing them together. Once finished I placed them in the garden, filled them with soil, compost and topped with some sheep manure.
We had bought a square metre of compost which was sitting in the trailer – for the record this is a LOT of compost – which we then went about shifting out to the back yard and spreading over the whole garden area. This sounds like a simple enough process, but one thing makes this kind of exercise more difficult than it should be – access. There is only one small access door to our back yard through the garage, and this door is not wide enough to fit a wheelbarrow. We do have a sort of large garden bucket on wheels we bought specifically because it fits through the space, but it’s not as large or as easy to manoeuver as a proper wheelbarrow. However, between the two of us we got it shifted fairly quickly.
Next job was to dig the compost into the garden starting with the areas where the fruit trees were to be planted. We have some areas of fairly heavy clay soil so the compost was really needed to help break this up a bit. The garden bed is quite large and in the end we didn’t get all the compost dug through so I guess that’s a job for me during the week. As my husband returned the trailer we had borrowed I set about planting the three fruit trees we picked up last week. I dug the holes, large enough so that none of roots were curved as per the advice I received from Andrea. I then put the trees in (Santa Rosa Plum, Jonathan Apple and Granny Smith Apple) and back filled with the soil and compost. They were fed some blood and bone and sheep poo then watered and mulched with sugar cane. The final step was to prune about a third of each tree as suggested by a few people. In the coming week I will get some lime sulfur spray and more seaweed solution to continue their care as my fellow and more experienced bloggers recommended. Look out, I might actually kill these beauties with kindness.
So other than digging in the last of the compost the whole area is ready to be planted out whenever I am, how exciting! I have plans for some of the areas, tomatoes and basil for the wooden boxes (fenced off to keep the dog out) and a few more dwarf fruit trees for along the fence when I find the right ones. In the rest of the area I don’t have a plan and think I will experiment a bit with, so any ideas will be welcome as always.
At the end of the day both my husband and I were physically spent, aching and exhausted. So it was a reheated dinner out the freezer, and nice hot shower and then relaxing on the couch. I love the feeling of having just finished a really hard days work and to be able to actually see the fruits (pun intended) of your labour. Now lets hope all that work is rewarded by lots of fresh produce int he coming months and years.