3 new garden beds

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I have been super busy in the garden, on the weekends doing full days knocking off about 4pm for afternoon drinks and then doing the walk around the garden so we can admire the day’s hard work, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, walking around the garden early evening with a drink in hand.

This has been an exciting garden project over the last 3 weeks, 3 new garden beds!  I had a half circle bed which I started off growing flowers in then dug out the middle thinking I would turn it into a fire pit and it ended up being the home for a healthy patch of weeds!

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Spoke to Mr GH about it and asked if we could knock it down and build some new beds that would be more productive, he agreed.  My job in all of our renovations is that of the lackie, the person who has to do all of the ugly jobs.  I had 300 bricks to clean for the new beds and dispose of the old bricks and general clean up, as well as keeping Mr GH feed and watered.  I would do it all again for the beautiful beds he made for me (insert love heart).

The beds are 1.2 x 2.1m and 3 bricks high, I filled them using the lasagne method, cardboard bottom layer, prunings, compost, soil on site, manure until they were full.  I have them irrigated I linked them into the existing vege garden irrigation.

Just waiting till the long weekend in October till I plant my summer crops. I’m hoping for a bumper season of tomatoes this year, fingers crossed.

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Mondays vase, spring Irises

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While at the Melbourne garden festival in March this year there were a couple of the big bulb tents, I must of been in each of them for about 45 minutes agonizing about what to get for the front garden,I didn’t have a plan so had to wing it.

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In today’s vase I have cut some of the Irises I put in, an oldie but a goody the dutch Iris blue magic.  I bought a bag of 25 and planted them in clumps, they are all opening up now and I love how you get the double flower on the single stem.

Thanks to Cathy for this wonderful idea of filling a vase from the garden and sharing it with each other.

The greenhouse review – September

I started sowing seeds the last week of August, I have a heated mat in my workshop where I started the first tray of flower seedlings and have now moved them to the greenhouse.  I started them off in the soil blocks I made and they have continued to do well, the block are half coir which helps with retaining moisture and not dry out too quickly.

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Grown from seed

  • Rudbeckia –  Indian summer
  • corn cockle – ocean pearl
  • Salvia – blue monday
  • Scabiosa – mixed
  • Borage
  • Zinnia – red spider
  • Poppy – jelly beans
  • Cosmos – sea shells
  • Calendula
  • Orlaya
  • Lots of tomatoes and capsicums when they sprout!!

My biggest challenge in the greenhouse is the radiating heat, we are only 2 weeks into spring and I have noticed that my newly sprouted seedlings and trays waiting to sprout have been drying out and have to be watered twice a day which is tricky.

The entrance of the greenhouse faces north and will be shaded by the apricot tree when it comes into leaf the same with the  western side, it’s shaded by the nectarine, there is a fence on the eastern and southern aspects. This weekend just gone Mr GH. has made 2 removable shade frames to help reduce the amount of sun and we have removed 2 panels in the western wall for more ventilation.  The largest panel is on the western side and one for the roof, we used white shade cloth which is 50% UV block and being white it reflects the heat.

I am really looking forward to seeing how it reduces that radiating heat over the coming months, making it possible to grow seedlings for longer in the greenhouse.

Every month Julie hosts a review of her greenhouse and invites us all to share what is happening in ours, thanks for having a look.

Garden share collective – Size

Today I am focusing on the size of part of my garden I visit and pick form every day, my kitchen garden.  I wanted an area close to the house and kitchen that I could nip out to, for herbs, spinach, chillies, salad leaves, whatever is in season.  I didn’t want to have to walk down to the end of the yard with my head lamp on (can you imagine it!!)  at night where my other beds are to grab something I needed.  Some nights I go out there more than once!

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In 2011 I gave Mr GH the brief, we worked out the sizes together, the inside planting size of my kitchen garden bed is 2555mm x 555mm about 700mm deep and it is 7 steps from the back door.  We used salvaged sandstone and bricks, damp coursed the foundation painted the inside of the bed with tar and lined it with core flute.  The base is gravel then I did a lasagne layering of prunings, compost, manure, straw etc and we have irrigated it as well and have a shade structure for the summer.

The kitchen garden is a great success and beautiful to look at,  this winter I have planted in it :

  • Oregano
  • Mini red cabbage
  • Chillies x 3 they have carried over from summer I have pruned them and will see how they go.
  • Corriander
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce x 4
  • Pansies x 2
  • Primula x 3
  • Salvia x 2 again from summer I just cut them back and they re-shoot.

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Being a highly productive bed I add compost and manure each season and every time I add some new seedlings, Once a plant has finished producing or gone to seed I pull it out and add something else in season straight away.  At the rear of the bed we have added a trellis in Summer I grow cherry tomatoes which use the trellis, peas as well.  The rear is also a parsley bed which I let self seed and I have thyme growing there as well.

Can’t let you go without seeing a few pieces of art that I have in the bed as well!

Thanks to the girls from Garden share collective, Lizzie, Kate and Krystie who each month encourage us to share our gardens and what we are growing. I have really enjoyed having a theme to write about, thanks girls.

Wildflower Wednesday

Once a month fellow gardener Gail from clay and limestone invites us to share the wildflowers we have in our gardens.

I was really scratching my head to find something to share today!  I have a tub where I collect the tags of the plants I have planted and yesterday I was investigating them all looking for some Australian plants.  In the end I did find something to share and it has inspired me to plant some more Australian wildflowers.

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Ptilotus exaltatus also pink mulla mulla or joey has a unique pink flower which looks like a fluffy foxes tail.  I think it looks like a plant you would expect to see in dry conditions, the flower heads sit upon single stems with a few leathery dark green leaves at the base of the plant.  It is a small shrub growing to 20 – 30cm tall, it is widespread from the North-West coast into the Northern Territory,  which are some of our driest parts of Australia.

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I saw this plant for the first time last year at a big nursery I think they were a new nursery release last summer and were selling for about $15.  I can remember eyeing them off every time I went to the nursery but thought they were too expensive, I was very lucky to receive one for a birthday present from a dear friend which is why I can share it with you today.

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I think it is a plant that looks better planted in a group which I think I will do, the seeds are available from Australian seed, in fact they have a great range of native seeds with all the required germination information.

Do you grow wildflowers/natives in your garden?

Growing tomatoes organically

On a Saturday morning if possible I like to tune in to the ABC gardening show on 891, on Saturday the 8/8 there was a 30 minute interview with Australian Organic guru Tim Marshall on growing tomatoes.

Tim Marshall is the author of the best selling compost book, Compost: the ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden, and three other books, Bug, Weed and The New Organic Gardener.

Tim has visited over 1,000 certified organic farms in Australia and more than 1,500 certified organic farms in 25 other countries. Peter Cundall says:

“Tim Marshall has long been a legend in Australia as an outstanding communicator, writer and broadcaster, specializing in organic techniques’.

I have a couple of his books and he has been writing a book on tomatoes which is ready for publication later this year.  I had paper and pen ready to take some notes and have shared them with you below:

Radio Interview with Tim Marshal 8.8.15 

Tim believes the benefits of organic gardening is cumulative

SOIL

  • You need good soil before planting tomatoes you can’t do it at planting time.
  • If you need to add lime,dolomite or gypsum do it now before adding organic matter then add organic matter 1 week later.
  • Tomatoes love food and it is early enough now to dig raw manure and green matter into the soil then wait 6 weeks before planting.
  • You can also use aged manure, you don’t need to wait the 6 weeks for it to break down 3 – 4 weeks is plenty.
  • Once the tomatoes have been planted only use compost or aged manure on top of the soil.

PLANTING

  • Tim suggests planting in September, November and January for a good spread of tomatoes.
  • Don’t let tomatoes touch the ground and make sure you mulch.
  • He suggests the cage system is an easy way to grow and harvest tomatoes.

AFTER PLANTING

  • Due to your work weeks ago (now) slow drip feeding is occurring already.
  • Use liquid feeds eg. fish emulsion, seaweed extract, worm farm extract or other teas during growing.

Hope this has been helpful, here is the link for the podcast so you can listen to it if you’re interested, he starts at the 1.50min mark.

Here is a link to Publishizer the site where you can find more information on Tim’s upcoming book : Ultimate organic guide to tomatoes.

Happy tomato growing everyone!!