Tuesday, 19 June 2007

let me introduce myself

Thanks Fluffy for inviting fellow gardeners over. I love the idea of a fruit/veggie garden blog, and hope others will join. I love seeing other peoples gardens, and seeing how they go about dealing with the problems that arise.

I'm been in a house in Coburg for the last six years, with the privilege of turning a backyard full of weeds, concrete and ageing fruit trees into something a little more productive. The concrete was a surprise that only made its appearance when I started digging; in the end there were two skip loads . The fruit trees I took out as they were not fruit that I'm all that keen on (loquats and prickly pear) or were shading the side of the garden that was obviously destined to be the veggie patch.

This is the veggie patch as it was late this afternoon. There are some fruit trees espaliered along the north fence (barely visible in this photo as they've just lost their leaves and have just been pruned). There's a quince and pear (not visible here) and mulberry, apricot and damson plum. I've had a lot of fruit from the quince, apricot and plum, am still waiting for blossom on the pear (I believe they are very slow to start to fruit) and though it fruits a bit I don't think the mulberry wants to co-operate.

The veggie patch is divided into six beds. The first bed is for flowers, because there was a shed next to this spot (it started to collapse soon after we moved in so it's been removed) and the soil is full of lead paint fragments. I'm assuming the rest of the soil is non toxic, I haven't got round to having it tested. Does anyone else worry about this?

The next four beds are for veggies to be rotated annually. I confess although I try to keep notes on where and what veggies I plant, I've found it impossible to follow any sort of strict rotation plan. The last bed has raspberries, asparagus and some currant bushes. There are some ill thought-out indigenous native shrubs against the back fence which are crowding out the last bed, and I'm desirous of more fruit trees. We will see.

The other side of the garden has the garage (beautiful isn't it), the chook pen, and some more fruit trees. The lemon tree was the sole survivor of my fruit tree massacre. I was fully expected it to die it looked so diseased and sad, but it confounded my expectations when the chickens started living under it and produces more lemons than I thought possible. There is also another apricot, some dwarf apple trees, a multi-graft plum, a nectarine and a dead cherry - casualty of the drought. I've probably planted them too close together, but what can I say, I'm greedy.

The orange cat is Rufus, my feline gardening assistant; Hannah, my almost 4 year old daughter also plays a role in the proceedings. As of course do the girls, Olive (in the foreground) and Beryl....

There' s a certain irony in discovering just before the chooks started laying that my then six month year old daughter had a severe egg allergy. So any eggs produced get given away or made into cakes to take to work. They do seem to keep the apples coddling moth free, so I guess they earn their keep. (Photo from the archives, you may notice the apple in blossom).

I attempt to grow things organically though I'm not utterly purist about it (for example I'm not rigorous about where the animal manure I acquire comes from and I use a pyrethrum spray with piperonyl butoxide as I've not got round to finding one without). I've also played around with companion planting; one day I'll write about my horseradish disaster.... I'm not terribly orderly or organised about things, and I'm very happy that I've every year there is a range of self seeded flowers throughout the patch. Please wait with baited breath for my next post about the mystery vegetable 'Cima di rapa'.....

1 comment:

vaguelyspecific said...

Nice post! It's great to hear what others are doing in their gardens. I'm glad to hear you've been doing it for six years. While I've always had a tomato patch and some herbs this is my first time with the luxury of a whole veggie garden so I'll be following your blogs with baited breath!