A Garden in Transition

When we moved in nearly three months ago the garden looked like this (at least this is the west side of the back garden)


There was nothing wrong with this garden.  It was functional, neat and easy to look after.  But not what we wanted.  We also needed to get the power connected to the shed which involved digging a trench through this part of the garden.

After the trench had been dug – and I got the bob cat man to remove all those white stones and the larger plants we didn’t want at the same time – the garden looked like this.

IMG_0294  IMG_0296


A little naive, but I didn’t quite realise quite how destructive the bobcat and electrical work was going to be.  Pretty much a clean slate I guess, but now a lot of work ahead of us to get it looking presentable and working productively.

Thankfully this weekend we had the wonderful combination of a free Saturday and lovely weather to get out into the garden.  My initial plan was to use all recycled material, but after trawling through a couple of salvage yards we realised none of the material on offer was suitable for use outside.  According to the guy at one of the yards pretty much all such material was scooped up in diggers and sent straight to landfill along with whatever other rubble, plant material etc that were in the area being excavated.  What a waste, though I guess that’s also where the stones from our garden have gone.  We also considered reusing the railway sleepers that were already in the garden, but they were rotten and FULL of white ants, argh!  Anyway, this lead us to getting supplies at the big green shed.

So while Mr Good measured, sawed, hammered and screwed, I dug out the remaining white stones that the digger hadn’t been able to get too.  A tedious job, but someone had to do it.  I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to do the whole lot.  At the end of Saturday this is what we had accomplished.



Bed number 1 is 1x3m, running east to west against the shed (so fairly protected) and in full sun for most of the day.  I’m thinking of erecting a frame at the back to grow beans, snow peas etc up and then planting something in front, but I’m not sure what.



Bed number 2 is a large L-shaped bed with each side of the L being about 1.5x4m.  Part the L runs east-west with one end in pretty much full sun all day and the other end in morning sun (the middle gradually getting more sun the further it is towards the est end).  The North-south running bed only gets morning sun, but is quite protected.  I’m thinking of tomatoes, capsicums. and eggplants in the east-west part and beetroot, silverbeet, lettuces, and Asian greens in the other part.

Still to be built is another identical (but mirror image) L-shaped bed plus a narrower east-west running bed.  In these ones I’ll plant cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes and maybe corn.  The herbs will be grown in pots and out the front.  Is there anything I’ve forgotten?

Of course we also need to get some soil and a load of compost to dig through before we’re ready to fill these babies up with plants.  Plus I haven’t sown any seeds yet, that’s this weeks job.  Obviously I’ve left this pretty late so all the big ticket items will be bought as seedlings this year.  That includes tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums and maybe the zucchini and capsicum.

It feels great to be doing more than just dreaming about the garden at last and while it’s still looking like a bit of a mess at least we’ve made a start.

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22 Responses to A Garden in Transition

  1. fergie51 says:

    Looks great, like the snappy little welded stakes holding in the timber! We passed through that way on our way to the Barossa Valley two weeks ago, would have been very happy to donate some tomatoes and capsicums!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Fergie, I saw that on your blog – you also stayed the first night in my home town. Sounds like a great trip – just about to go check out part two. What a pity about the capsicums and tomatoes. Never mind.

  2. renlikesred says:

    Great stuff! Big job but definitely worthwhile. Pumpkins?

    • Barbara Good says:

      Pumpkins and I have a difficult relationship Ren. I plant them, they take over the garden (I mean they end up everywhere!), I nurture the three of four little pumpkins that finally grow and then end up disappointed with bland insipid tasting flesh. I definitely need to get some different varieties in my seed collection.

      But I did shove a couple of seeds in a tray today. We’ll see how they go and where the heck I end up putting them. They are definitely NOT getting a prime location!

  3. Jo says:

    Hi Barbara, those gardens will be just wonderful! I would love that much planting space.
    It really isn’t too late to plant seeds. I always direct seed, and in Tassie can’t do that before mid-October. My tomatoes always fruit in late January, whether I plant seedlings or seeds, so I have gone with the seed option for the last few years because it is cheaper and the plants are stronger. Good luck with your lovely new backyard food forest.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks Jo, you inspired me. I planted seed today. I did plant them in seed trays or various descriptions as the beds are filled with soil and compost yet, but it’s a start. I’m heartened by your late seed planting (we’re probably a similar climate to Tassie, though perhaps not quite so cold). Next year I’m definitely going to try your direct planting method, as seed trays haven’t always worked that well for me in the past.

      A food forest, now that does sound fabulous. I hope it turns out just that way!

  4. skud says:

    I can bring you some tomato seedlings, if you’d like?

  5. Glenn Finlay says:

    Well done! Great to see the progress and in many ways good to have a clean slate.
    We live in Sale in Gippsland a similar climate I would reckon. We haven’t planted out tomatoes yet as the soil is still a bit cold I think.
    At the moment we have
    Potatoes all up and ready to be mulched.
    Peas (almost finished)
    Broccoli (all year but best now for us – lots of bugs when the weather warms up)
    Lots of lettuce
    Garlic ( got a while to go but using some of it wet as hard to get Aussie garlic over here at the mo)
    Broad beans ( gunna be a massive crop this year)
    Rhubarb is growing well ( do think you might put in rhubarb crown?)
    All our herbs are in pots scattered around the edges of the vege gardens.
    I have space worked up for the tomatoes. Cucumbers. Zucchini. Beans. Carrot. Eggplant and capsicum. And might try to find room for corn also.
    I LOVE this time of year!!
    Good luck. Looking forward to seeing it progress ( have you left space for that chook pen?)

    • Barbara Good says:

      Wow, Glenn what a comment, thank you! Yep, I reckon Sale would be pretty similar (I was born there actually, nice part of the world). Now I have some questions for you. Firstly potatoes, too late to plant? I have some shooting in my garage that I dug up before we moved. Same with garlic, is it the wrong time to plant that? Rhubarb, yum and yum! There is definitely room for a crown of that somewhere. What conditions does it need? I was thinking a spot out the front might work. When are crowns available? Carrots I’m going to leave this year, I don’t think I have deep, rich enough soil for them yet. Perhaps next year.
      I too LOVE this time of year.
      And as for the chook pen, Mr Good is going to build me a chook tractor to go over the garden beds, but I also have a great spot under a big wattletree in the back corner of the garden. There’s no way I could grow anything under there anyway and it’s nice and protected from the elements. I don’t think that will be until next year – after our holiday in december – but they are definitely on the cards.

      • Glenn Finlay says:

        Definitely not too late for potatoes. Apparently they are good for new beds as they help create soil structure. Garlic -probably too late, as a rule garlic is very sensitive to day length. It needs days that are increasing in length to form the cloves. I’ve been told by old gardener s to try to have the tips of garlic shoots breaking the surface of the soil at the winter solstice. I don’t think you need to be hard and fast in that but you need need plenty of lengthening days so a bit late now. It will grow beautifully but won’t set bulbs. Fasinating quirky mother nature hey! Rhubarb is a bit of a guts so might be best to wait till next year when the beds are richer but you could try one now.
        Good luck

      • Barbara Good says:

        Thanks for that Glenn. I’ll plant the spuds and eat the garlic! and I’ll hold off on the rhubarb, but get working on its future bed.

      • Glenn Finlay says:

        Oh and I’m well pleased to hear about those chooks!

  6. It looks like it will be wonderful when it’s finished, Barbara. Its such a good feeling to fill new beds with soil and start planting. Just wondering though about the wisdom of putting electrical cabling in a vege bed. Is it possible that someone might put a maddock through the live power accidently?

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks for the warning L, I assume you’re meaning the condute you can see in the picture (the orange tube that the wire gets fed through). This is actually an old tube with no wire in it at all, we discovered it when the garden was being dug up. And if it did have wire in it you would be completely correct, it’s no where near deep enough. Ours is buried over a meter deep so unless I’m digging a mighty big hole we should be fine.

  7. andreamynard says:

    You’re working so hard, and I love your ideas for planting in those beds – they’re going to be so lovely. And very tasty! We have a corner of our garden that looks like a scrap yard (I’m guilty of never quite having the courage to show pics of it in my blog!) and the idea is that it’s not scrap, it’s all material that we’re going to recycle and use when we get round to sorting out this area. As I block it from my sight yet again I do wonder if it’ll ever happen.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yes working hard in the garden Andrea…. pity the housework isn’t getting the same attention. I think everyone has a corner of the garden like that don’t they? We have several and we’ve only just moved in! See the big pile of bricks in my yard (they just got dug up from around the clothes line), I now have the job of chipping all the old cement off them so we can recycle them into lovely paths, fun!

  8. Andrea says:

    Wow Barb you and Mr Good don’t mess around!! Garden beds already in place……………..read through your comments and there’s lots of great ideas , yes potatoes worked well for new beds for me too. Have the girls got their own little garden beds? Those brick paths will look great especially with herbs trailing over them……….keep on chipping!!!

    • Barbara Good says:

      The beds got finished off and filled this weekend Andrea. I’ve got flower seedlings growing in the hothouse to start a new fairy garden for the girls, not quite sure where we’ll put it yet though. And they have helped me plants all the veggie seeds.

  9. I am yet to plant my spuds out as the weather has just been far too cold. Last frost date is usually November for us and you should be pretty similar I’d think. I’ve been late with planting seeds too but zucchinis should be right to bung in soon, beans and such too and spuds, well I’m popping mine in hopefully this weekend. 🙂 Just be ready to protect them from the inevitable late frost (much like todays hail 😦 )
    Check out the gardenate website or iPhone app. We’re considered cold climate here and it’s an awesome help to let you know what you can plant in your climate, when to plant it and also growing tips, companion plants and what not to plant with them too. Oh, and it’s free. 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      Okay, I just planted my spuds yesterday – here I was thinking they were pretty cold tolerant. I did put a nice think layer of mulch over the top so hopefully they will be okay. I’ve planted beans and zucchinis already, but have them in the hothouse for now – though the zucchinis haven’t come up yet.
      I will definitely check out that app, just what I need. Thanks for the tip.

      • Spuds don’t mind the cold so much as they don’t do frost. They definitely dont like the tropics either (picky buggers hey ;)).
        I’ve got a huge range of seeds in my greenhouse but I’ve planted them much later than perhaps I should have, although Jo’s comments give me a lot of hope. Sadly though I have a resident in my greenhouse who thought it funny to go around digging up and eating the seeds! Bloody mouse!

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