Edible Garden – Stage One progress

Caution: The following is not sewing 😉

Has anyone else noticed that us creative types often share other similar hobbies? I know a lot of you are also into knitting or crochet, which doesn’t seem like too much of a leap. Or cooking, but then who doesn’t love food, huh?!

The biggest leap I’ve noticed is running. There are several blogger’s I follow that I have discovered also run. I do too, but I’ve never mentioned it here. I am a new runner, just mastered the 5k and feeling strong, never thought I’d ever write that sentence!

Or maybe we all just like to collect hobbies, just like our fabric and patterns.

Ok, maybe I am reading too much into it, no one base any important social research on my blogging musings ok?  🙂

Anyway, the other hobby/activity I have noticed a few other sewing bloggers share is gardening. Me too! So I thought I would share.

The previous weekend was amazing weather here in Wellington. On Saturday I did a bit of sewing but on Sunday I decided it was time to go outside and finally enjoy my garden.

Nerdy Hubby got dragged to Bunnings where I acquired a big garden fork, some new gloves,  a hand trowel and hand fork. On the way to the plant section four 40L bags of compost was also added to the trolley. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one with grand gardening plans and the selection of greenery left a little to be desired.

The plan was for strawberries and herbs and I did manage to snag two new strawberry plants whose tags promise much award-winning fruit. The herb selection however was dire and as we headed for the checkout sans-herbs I did spot a small selection of plants from Awapuni Nurseries (Palmerston North).

I had seen these guys on-line but was hesitant to buy until I saw the actual product. The Bunnings selection was sparse but from what I saw I resolved to go home and order from them online.  Clearing my new patch of ground and digging in the compost would probably be enough of a mission for Sunday anyway so I’d get it all ready for when my new herbs arrived mid-week.

This is the patch of ground in question:

It is a small existing raised bed, if a little sad in structure, on the south side of our section and gets plenty of sun. This side also drains well and the fence will protect taller plants from the occasional gentle breath of Wellington’s famous breeze. The house is to the right, out-of-frame, and with access from my kitchen via the back door this makes it the perfect location.

So Stage One is to start my garden here and if I am any good (i.e. plants are still green and edible in a month or two) I will expand. The grand plan (Stage Two and beyond) is to re-do this raised bed with macrocarpa sleepers or similar and continue down the section to the corner where a second, and much larger, raised bed exists in similar overgrown fashion.

So, first I set to work clearing the scruddy plants away. Don’t worry about that camellia, I rescued it as best I could and relocated it. I give it maybe a 70% chance of survival but if it does die off I do have like 20 more of them dotted around the place! 😉 I also found a raggedy old strawberry plant that I put aside to divide and re-plant.

I broke up the soil with my big fork and then dug in my compost. I disturbed many very fat worms (which are great for the soil) but I didn’t encounter any weta, which is very good because those guys creep me out! It was lucky I got four bags of the compost as the soil level was very low, dried out and generally sad looking.

Here is the lovely black soil waiting to give life to some yummy delights. That green bush above it is coming through from the neighbours side and when I find the saw it will be lopped off before it does any more damage to the fence!

Strawberries are planted and looking very happy:

The left row and bottom plant in the right row is the divided scraggy plant I rescued, I am hoping it will pick up now that it has some space and plenty of light. The two top plants in the right row are my new strawberries, it will be interesting to see how different the fruits are compared to the other variety (assuming they are different and the rescued plant isn’t too old for fruiting).

Plenty of room left for the herbs so after I gave them a nice water I went inside and internetted myself some herbs from the Awapuni Nursery website.

And here they are! They arrived on Wednesday (they dispatch on Tuesdays from Palmerston North, how quick it that?!)

I ordered:

  • Coriander
  • Parsley – Italian Flatleaf
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Sage

…and because you get free postage when you order 6 or more items and they didn’t have any basil I also added:

  • Tomato – Moneymaker

On the Sunday night I dreamt about lovely big heads of broccoli and lush green silver beet and by Monday morning I had quite convinced myself I was going to be an amazing gardener so during my lunch break I ordered some vegetable seeds from Garden Stuff in Prebbleton (near Christchurch).

Oohh! They also arrived on Wednesday, posted on Tuesday!

I LOVE THE INTERNET!!1!

I kept to things I know think are easy to grow and that we eat regularly:

  • Carrot (Imperator 58, 1g of seeds)
  • Celery (Utah 52-70, 1000+ seeds)
  • Leek (Musselburgh, 200+ seeds)
  • Pak Choi (Extra Dwarf, 350+ seeds)
  • Spinach (Chivas F1, 100 seeds)
  • Spring Onion (Ishikura, 2g of seeds)
  • Mesclun (Original, 2g of seeds)
  • Mesclun (Oriental, 2g of seeds)
  • Sweet Pepper (California Wonder, 50 seeds)
  • Chili Pepper (Cayenne Long Red, 50 seeds)
  • Free Gift: 30cm Pot Plant Tomato (5 seeds) Awesome!

Now I am not really doing this as a money saving exercise (much like my sewing!) but more for my fun and our health. Gardening is very good for you I have read, both as a stress reliever and also you tend to eat more green stuff if it’s available in your garden. However, let’s back up a bit here, each of these seed packets only cost me $2 and the seedlings above were just over $4 each bunch so even if I am moderately successful that is a lot of food for very little money!

Not all of these seeds can be planted straight away but this weekend I will add to my growing gardening arsenal some seed raising mix and trays and plant what I can. Some can go direct into the ground so depending on how much room I have left after the herbs go in I may need to clear part of that second bed this weekend, weather permitting.

But, there will be sewing too 😉

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9 thoughts on “Edible Garden – Stage One progress

  1. Yes, I like a spot of gardening. I often go to Bunnings and buy plants and test their strength by leaving them in their pot, rather than planting them, for months. I would like to grow veggies, but the parsley plant I left outside recently was demolished by our resident possum. That possum munches and deflowers our giant Magnolia tree every year. Magnolias are their favourite food.

    In Wellington my dad grew fruit trees, in Sydney we have fruit bats who eat everything so people create elaborate ugly netting structures over their trees. It all seems a bit hard! I am not bad at succulents!! I have put in few flax plants to remind me of home.

    I am very proud of my rosemary plant. I put it in and it struggled for a year or two but now is as happy as larry. A little sprig of it is great with a slop of Dijon mustard a lamb cutlet, then bake for 20 minutes. Hows that – a one sentence recipe! That’s my kind of cooking – but as for running! Not likely. Yoga yes. Good luck with your garden x..

    • Haha, one sentence recipe, you’re my kind of girl! 🙂 I better get me some rosemary too…Hubby loves his cactus and succulents and has grand plans of his own for a space out the front.

      My Nana lives in North QLD and fruit bats would destroy her big mango tree, I remember when we used to stay with her, they are so noisy! I’m glad we don’t have them over here 🙂

  2. Fun! I have started trying to grow things this year too. A lime, lemon, strawberry and some herbs. I’ve kept them alive so far, but no harvest as yet. I wish I had a garden, just using pots on the balcony at the moment. Can’t wait to see how this progresses!

  3. Oh I’m jealous of your big pile of seed packets, I want it to be spring here too! There are few things better than walking out the door with a basket and coming back 5mins later with fresh ingredients for your dinner.

    We just started harvesting our cayenne chillis and they are fantastically hot! If you like ’em hot, then keep them fairly dry – don’t water until the soil really looks dry and the leaves are starting to look a bit sad and wilty.

    Eating food you’ve grown yourself is just as satisfying as wearing clothes you made yourself, and you soon realise how much difference freshness makes to the taste. Bland supermarket veges just don’t cut it anymore! I’m looking forward to more garden updates!

    • Ohh thanks for the advice, we like ’em hot too so when I get them going I’ll follow your method.

      It’s funny for me reading all these sewing posts about autumn sewing and I am gearing up for spring/summer, hehe!

      I got my herbs & tomatoes in today plus some of my seeds and I can’t wait to be able to just wander out the back door and do some harvesting, it’s going to be so yummy 🙂 Just like you said, as amazing as wearing your own me-made clothing, yummy me-made veges! 😀 I’ll keep the updates coming.

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