This is the first month that I’ve participated in the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie from the Strayed Table. The idea is to share what has been happening in your garden over the last month, what is currently on your to do list and also what challenges you’ve faced or need advice on. It’s all about encouraging gardeners, especially novice gardeners like me (I wonder how long I can claim that, it’s been a few years since I started gardening, but I certainly don’t feel like an expert at all).
As this is my first contribution and my garden is fairly new I thought I would start at the beginning, with photos of my garden when we moved in four months ago.
Since then Mr Good and I have designed and built a series of raised beds, erected fences around them to keep the dog off, built a cage for the spuds and a frame for the climbing beams. I’ve planted seeds to grow in my small greenhouse over the colder months – with varied degrees of success. I was gifted some wonderful tomato seedlings. I’ve pulled weeds from the entire bed running along our eastern boundary, finding some stray mint plants as I went. I’ve planted a pear tree and some beetroot seeds in the front garden. Learned how to prune roses (I need to go harder next year!), sprinkled a collection of flower seeds and planted some cuttings in the front garden and along the side of the fence and have started a new garden bed in the front running along the veranda. This will be home to a couple of pelagonias and geraniums I grew from cuttings a couple of years ago, plus some other flower seedlings Miss Four and I planted in a seed tray a few weeks ago (again the selection and scattering was quite random so who knows what will come up).
As for what’s being planted in the vegetable garden beds in the back yard, I have planted one entire bed (the smallest) with three types of strawberries, eleven plants in total. The second smallest bed now has beans planted at the back to climb up the frame against the shed wall and four tomatoes in front of them (one each of the following: wild sweetie, green zebra, Janne Flame (?) and brown berry). I also scattered some basil and lettuces seeds in front and between the tomatoes.
The two large L shaped beds have not been entirely planted out yet and the plants that I have put in are something of a mystery as my ingenious labeling methods wasn’t so ingenious and now I have no idea what is what. I have a tray with zucchinis, cucumbers and pumpkins planted in it and I’m pretty sure the two that I’ve planted out are zucchinis but to be honest they could be any of them. The rest of them need a little longer in the seed trays before transplanting.
The rest of my seeds have either come up and then withered (the tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums) or haven’t germinated at all (corn, rocket, lettuce and leeks). I think this is mostly because they were at the top of the greenhouse where it gets too hot. I need to get a piece of shade cloth or something to give that top section a bit of protection. I also experimented with planting seeds in egg cartons as I’d seen a few others do, but nothing came up at all. They seemed to dry out really quickly. I thought it would be the opposite with the cardboard absorbing some moisture and then releasing it back to the plants later. Apparently not. Again these were at the top of the green house, so it’s perhaps worth another try with them lower down.
Finally I have a pot of basil going well in the green house which will eventually live on the deck when the plants are a little bigger and several sage and rosemary cuttings growing nicely which will be transplanted into the front garden.
Still on my to do list is to install an irrigation system (argh, sounds expensive!) so that I don’t have to water everything by hand and so that we can use a timer to water while we’re away in December. Obviously the rest of the beds need to be planted out which I will do direct with seeds and see how they go. I’m thinking of corn, tomato, eggplant, capsicum (late I know, but I thought I’d experiment), more lettuce, rocket, pak choy plus some flowers including sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds and a few others. The front garden is still very much a work in progress and my plans change constantly. At this point I intend to remove the grass gradually and plant our the entire space, except for a path from gate to front door and to allow access to the gas and electricity meters. The planting will be a mixture of edibles and ornamentals with a cottage feel which will suit the house. I’d love plants suggestions suitable to the cold Ballarat climate.
The challenges have been many so far, but mostly relating to finding the time (preferably without a two and four year old helper) to do the big jobs I want to do. The weather is also something I’m slowly adapting too. I think I planted my potatoes too early (they’ve been in for several weeks and haven’t popped up yet), plus I was slow getting the cage around them and the dog took a liking to sleeping on that particular bed. And obviously I had issues with the greenhouse – which I need in this colder climate to get some seeds started – that I will hopefully overcome soon.