Edible Garden – 1 month on

I feel like I should post some more sewing before I bombard you with more garden photos but I don’t have any sewing to share just now…

*shrug* 😉

So gardening it is 😀

I uploaded some photos to Facebook at the end of the month to share with my friends. Sometimes I completely forget about Facebook, haha. Anyway, I realised, as I looked back at my first photo and the one I took that day to share, that it had been one month since I started my little edible garden project.

I hadn’t really noticed the change since it has been quite gradual in my eyes but what a difference a month makes!

30 September 201229 October 2012

Look how great that spinach looks, we have already cut off a few outer leaves for cooking, and my little carrots are busy growing out of sight. They will need some thinning out and I have also added a second row too. I cannot wait to eat them!

I may have planted some things a bit close together because I never expected the parsley and coriander to go so mental!

And I swear I have been using both these herbs like crazy, everything is coriander flavoured in our house, it’s a good thing we like it. Eventually they will go to seed and die off. I will have to start again but before that happens I will try harvesting some to dry. Maybe I will try planting them from the seeds too. I think that only works if they are a heirloom variety, not a hybrid, I have no idea what they are or if that applies to herbs so we shall see.

The strawberries are looking delicious, but not yet ripe. I added pea straw to keep the moisture in and the fruit off the dirt. I will use some of the reclaimed chicken wire (from under the ivy) to create a bird (and husband) proof tunnel to protect them this week. The Kowhai tree has lost all its flowers now and until the Pohutukawa come into flower I don’t want my Tui and Waxeyes eyeing up my fruit as a replacement for the sweet nectar!

Last week Hoonigan Performance Enthusiast Hubby and I spent 4 days up around Taihape (pronounced tie-happy) and Hastings volunteer marshalling for TargaNZ, it was awesome! On the way back we passed through Palmerston North so that I could go visit my new favourite nursery (Awapuni) for real.

In my head I imagined a very large garden centre with lots of people potting little seedlings up and customers scrambling to buy them all and it being a very commercial experience but I was so very very wrong.

We actually missed the entrance and had to do a very quick u-turn on SH3 to drive back. A long driveway, all secret garden-like, takes you past some of the green houses and outdoor growing/potting areas before you arrive at a very residential looking building. A small room is where the plants are kept in racks and after you select your green goodies you pay by honesty box.

Yes, that’s right!

$4 per bundle or 3 for $10 and you put your money in a little letter box on the wall. I only saw one worker, through a small window. I think that is awesome! I love supporting the little guy and I was actually really pleased by what I saw. I brought three bundles of new plants home.

The next day Geologist Hubby was sent that way again for work and so he popped in, with absolutely no prompting from me at all, and bought 3 more bundles as a surprise gift. Isn’t he wonderful? He is very proud of my efforts. Ok, so there was an ulterior motive, his selection was two types of basil and gherkins. He wants to try a few pickling and spread making things and has asked me to “grow them up good” for him 🙂

So I quickly needed more garden space and Sunday morning was spent preparing my extension, but first I took care of a little business.

You’ll remember we left off here:

Well, after cleaning out the car from our trip away I found the receipt for the fail-fork and following Ana’s suggestion I attempted to return it for a refund with great success:

And now meet my new friend, Mr McGregor!

Cue more pulling out of hostas (I know what they are called now thanks to Tineke) and much forking and digging. The hosta roots have made the soil very gluggy and because it is mostly clay I used a new secret weapon:

This stuff is great! I actually bought Mr McGregor the weekend following the breakage and dug some of this Clay Breaker through with compost in the first area and this weekend I could already see a huge improvement.

So after clearing a bit more superfluous foliage I added more clay breaker and compost to my newly cleared space.

This gardening business is hard work I’ll tell you, I was pooped by the time I was ready to plant! The soil needed much more work than the first section and hopefully over time I can improve it further but for now, because I am impatient, I just stuck my seedlings in and we’ll see how they do.

So here they are, from left to right: Silverbeet (chard), Broccoli and two types of Basil (bush & sweet), across the back (because I am guessing they will climb, so I will add some sort of framing later on) are Gherkin and Cucumber. Yum!

The beans & Pak Choi will be transplanted soon and when I have more space in my rubbish bin another lot of fence attacking ivy will disappear!

The other big achievement of the weekend and this week has been compost! The home-made kind…well, not really…yet, just the beginnings.

The previous owners left 3 plastic compost bins behind, like this but black. They look fat black darleks!

I peeked in them about 2 weeks ago but whatever was in there was all dried out so the following weekend I started one of the bins off by dumping in the lawn clippings. Now I am also adding my vege scraps, shredded paper and other weed-free gardening waste to build them up.

I have done a bit of internet research but like most things I am just jumping in and seeing how it goes. I will add some “blood and bone” and start turning it over to aerate it this weekend and I guess we’ll see. Apparently adding lime with “keep it smelling sweet”, not that I intend to sniff it all that much. When that bin is full I will leave it to do its thing and start on the next one and repeat, in 4 to 6 months time the first lot should be ready.

It will be so good to get to the point where I am even making my own compost. This whole gardening thing hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be (or as time consuming) and I am really enjoying myself. Next on the agenda will be harvesting my own seeds!

My friend E said it best, and to paraphrase her most excellent post, “I am taking back control of my survival”…it feels so good!