The start of something good

This weekend was the warmest (12c) and driest we’ve had since our first week here – which it turns out was not at all a true indication of a Ballarat winter being sunny and cool rather than wet and bloody freezing.  This break in the weather gave Mr Good and I the perfect opportunity to start putting our garden plans into action.

We’re focusing on the front garden as we still need to wait for the trenches and electrical work to be completed out the back.  At the moment the front garden is all grassed except for the narrow garden bed along the fences where the roses are plus a couple of bushes including a cotoneaster (a bothersome plant if you ask me and we have two of them).  The plan is to get rid of the grass altogether adding a narrow garden bed along the front of the veranda and under the window on the other side of the house.  As well we’ll add two smaller rectangular garden beds in between the fence and the veranda, one on either side of the path.  The remaining area, including a path from gate to front door will be paved with second hand bricks.

Today we measured and staked out the garden beds on the veranda side, dug up the old rose and random plant under it that stood in the middle of the grass and started to dig out the central garden bed.  We started here because we were given a beautiful Corella Pear tree as a house warming present that we decided to plant in the middle of this garden bed.  It needed quite a large hole and was planted with lots of compost and then fed with some blood and bone.

IMG_0049  IMG_0050

The next step will be to dig up the grass in the rest of this bed and use some of the bricks to edge the garden.  Around the pear I’m going to plant some perennial herbs including rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon verbena and oregano.  I think I’ll also find some flowering plants, perhaps some annuals, to add some colour between the herbs.

I finally got around to feeding the roses after they were pruned a couple of weeks ago and the lemon tree got the same treatment.

Mr Good and his brother did some work out the back moving old railway sleepers we are planning to reuse in a future garden bed.  In the end these were more rotted than we first thought and some were home to white ants.  These will have to be taken to the tip.

The last thing I decided to deal with was composting.  I’ve been umming and ahhing about what composting method I want to use.  A bin would be easiest, but I don’t think it’s the most effective.  Having multiple (at least two anyway) compost heaps inside some sort of the frame seems a good option, that way you can have one being used and one rotting down getting ready to put on the garden.  However, I’m not sure I have a good place for this and I wonder about the dog getting into it or rodents being attracted to it.  All the while I’ve been collecting the vegetable scraps.  Some go to the worms, but they just don’t eat fast enough.  So today, after reading someone else doing this, I dug a couple of holes in the bed between the roses and buried the kitchen scraps to compost straight into the garden bed. I have plans to plant this area out in a couple of months, so hopefully in the time until then the scraps will rot away and provide nutrients for the future plants.  I’ll continue doing this all the way along the garden beds and in the beds we have planned.  At least until I work out a longer term solution.

And that’s it, a nice couple of hours doing what I enjoy most (or at least as much as cooking and reading and a few other things).  Anyone else get out in the garden this weekend.  Or perhaps you have some advice on my compost conundrum.

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3 Responses to The start of something good

  1. Are chooks out of the question? I used to ponder compost deeply, but since the chickies arrived I haven’t given compost a second thought.

  2. I was watching Gardening Australia on iView this week and Sophie did a story on composting. She advocates a 3 x cubic-metre bin system and showed how to layer a section. My impression of the system is that it would be VERY expensive to fill a cubic metre with the ingredients. She used a combination of twiggy materials for the base, then the typical green/brown layer mix, but the quantities required are enormous, and you can’t use any proteins in the kitchen scraps or you attract vermin. I have used a compost tumbler with reasonable results – but better if you add a little manure to the mix.

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