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Planting our babies

28 May

We had another clear sky sunny autumn weekend.  No rain to complain about, a bit of a chill in the air, but perfect weather for vegetable garden creation.  While we’re waiting out my garden design and construction procrastination phase, I’ve been creating little bits of gardens, filling in some gaps with herbs and vegetables, and the odd flower.  The rest of the time the garden is pretty well occupied by weeds and whatever opportunistic plant species decide they need a new home.  Without the rain (take a look here) I had no excuse left to put it off, it was time to find a permanent home for the Drama Queen’s seedlings.

While I always dream about gardening in style, the reality is that we put on the daggiest clothes we could find, collected our tools and equipment and hit the courtyard.  I had assembled my rag tag team of three.  Two of them wanted to be there, and the other one just wanted to avoid too much carnage.  The Daredevil got to put his new birthday garden tools to the test and the Drama Queen helped him while I got stuck into the hard work of turning the soil and preparing the beds, and Mr Perfect supervised to make sure that no one and nothing came to too much harm.

Before we started

We had built some trellises for the pea plants to trail over, and the Drama Queen was so proud of them when they actually stood up in the newly prepared beds.

Pea trellises are in

The Peas ready to plant on their new trellises

Small plants and small children are not always a great combination, but as the Daredevil bored of the fiddly work, the Drama Queen took over and started giving the plants names and calling them her “babies”.

The Drama Queen and Daredevil hard at work

Everything is in the ground

We planted three kinds of Peas – Sweet Peas, Snow Peas and normal peas, broccoli and gourds.  All the peas should do well, we had a pretty good result from the snow peas last winter, so I’m pretty optimistic.  The gourds already look like they’re about to jump out of their skin, so I’m hoping they don’t take over completely.  The broccoli I’m not so optimistic about.  We planted some last year, and it didn’t survive the insects or creatures who feasted on its new shoots, and to be honest we didn’t give it the most delicate planting into the ground – they were the last, and the attention span was waning.  Plus they probably should have been a little bit bigger before we put them in the ground, but you never know your luck in the big city, fingers are crossed.

Finished pea trellises

Sweet pea plants ready to take on their trellis

After a covering of sugar cane mulch and a drink of seaweed fertiliser, it was time to pack up, clean up and let our babies get used to their new home.

The Drama Queen and her dirty behind!

I checked on them today, and everything is still alive, the broccoli is even looking happy.  I’m looking forward to our harvest!

Sam

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The rain washed away our garden!

24 May

Well, OK, there’s not much of a garden there to start with.  Every time we begin to think about making a good start something, and by that I mean rain, gets in the way.  Sydney had an exceptionally wet summer, and while we have made a start, a lot of the hard clearing stuff out kind of work is done, we haven’t quite gotten around to the fun constructing bit.  So really the rain has washed away our garden dreams!

The cleared front garden with makeshift pathway waiting for the new design to take shape… yes it’s still waiting!  Though we have mulched it to prevent weed growth.

the mountain of weeds and unwanted plants cleared out of the garden.

After we mulched this garden ready for the plants and new pavers it rained, rained some more and when we thought it had finished it kept right on raining.  Throw in there a hospital visit, a few birthdays, a bad back and a run of sniffles and the end result is that we still have a mulch garden without the schmick new pavers.

The Munchkins and I have propagated a whole lot of plants ready for our winter vegetable garden.  We have broccoli, snow peas, sweet peas and normal peas as well as gourds and strawberries.  They’re all ready to have a go at growing on their own in the big bad garden, but just as we had set aside today to make their new home, it has started raining.  After one of the driest Mays on record, the one day we want to go out and get out hands dirty it pours!  I had planned on blogging about our gardening successes for today, so damn you unpredictable weather patterns!

A plethora of peas

Beautiful broccoli

Gorgeous gourds

The seedlings are stacking up next to the pavers ready to go into the front yard, the 2 Kangaroo Paws that have been waiting way to long to let their roots run free and the tomato stakes that just completely missed their opportunity for last seasons tomatoes.  The Drama Queen has been so proud of them, she carefully planted them (check that out here) and has been watching them sprout and grow.  The Daredevil has been my chief watering can manager, and so far as a team we’ve done a good job.  We just need the weather to come to the party and not rain on our parade.

So far my gardening activities have added up to a lot of weed pulling, a bit tomato taming and a bucket full of thinking and planning, basically not much doing.

For this weekend, rain rain go away, its time our garden had a play!

Sam

Contain it

4 Nov

What if you just don’t have the space for a garden?  Or you live in an apartment, only have hard surfaces or you don’t want to put the hard work into a rental property you will just have to leave behind.  I have the answer, and a little bit of inspiration.

 Containers.

Yes, it is true they are a little bit needier and fussier than the traditional in the ground kind of gardens, but containers and pots can be a lot of fun.  Not only can you have fun with your plants, but you also have the fun of designing and styling with the container too!

I have been tossing around some container gardening ideas for our courtyard and in the process dug up some idea gems off the net.  So now it’s time to share the goodness.  Hope you enjoy!

Containers and clever use of colour make this small space pop.

A traditional container garden from France - a collection of gorgeous pots and plants

Vertical gardens are becoming really popular and are great if you have limited space

Your containers can be free with a little bit of imagination - re-purposed tin cans

and another tin can idea

Another option for when your kids grow out of their gumboots!

I guess the bigger the cup the better the planter???

If you are serious about container gardening here are a few tips and tricks.

  • Your container will need drainage holes, so if you’re re-purposing something make sure it has holes or that you can drill some in.
  • Use good quality potting mix available from your local nursery.  Potting mix is specifically designed for containers and is a lot better than digging up the soil from your garden.  So, for the sake of a couple of dollars it is worth making the investment.
  • Make sure you fertilise your plants regularly.  Depending on what you are growing, there are specific container garden fertilisers on the market.
  • Don’t forget to water.  Pots and containers are much thirstier than other gardens, so don’t make my mistake and forget to give your pots a daily happy hour drink!
  • Use more than one plant species in your pot.  Different textures, colours and layers can look spectacular!
  • If you are planning to move your pots, don’t make them too big or you’ll never be able to move them when they’re full of soil and plants.

And most importantly – have fun and enjoy!

Sam

photo credits – themicrogardener.com, thegardenglove.com, downsizemyspace.com

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