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After a few requests, I thought I'd post another tour of my garden, now that it's Spring.
First a few pics of my house.... which I built myself 13 years ago, out of mud brick. On the roof you can see a solar panel and our new solar heater. The red cupboard contains the gizards of our solar electricity system.
Here's the entrance to my vegie garden, with our chook, Speckle, thoughtfully posed in front of the "Real Food" sign Paula made me. When I'm working Speckle hovers here, ready to catch weeds and snails I chuck over the fence. And if I leave the gate open for even a second, she's in, having a nip at the cabbages.
A snap of my vegie garden. I'm disappointed with this photo though, because at the front is my tomato bed which is barely grown, while the abundant beds that are really feeding us right now, are in the distance behind it.
Here's a close up of one of my spring vegie beds. For the first time ever I grew picture-perfect broccoli, snowy heads of cauli, and my cabbages are fattening up on schedule, looking beautiful.
I think the secret to this best bed of brassicas ever is:
1) it's in a nice sunny spot
2) I double dug it - ie loosened the soil to twice the depth of my garden fork
3) I fed it with homemade compost made of oak leaves gathered in autumn, chook poo from my chooks, and seaweed I collected from the beach. I've come to believe that any old compost isn't necessarily good enough. Good quality compost like this one makes a difference.
4) I planted it with good quality seed, purchased from New Gippsland Seed company. I'm going to post another time about seeds, but basically I think many seed companies can't be trusted to give you good seed. So far I've had brilliant results from New Gipps.
Here's the same bed a few months ago, not long after I planted it out:
Damn - I didn't get a photo of my beetroot, carrot and spinach bed, another one with all the above secrets applied to it. I've pulled up everything but the carrots now, as they were starting to seed. I've got a sandbox full of beetroots, ready for me to make kvass. We've eaten meal after meal of the best and most luscious spinach ever. I've had lots of failures, but this seed I bought from New Gipps. Actually, in this bed I had a mix of four different types of spinach, and one of them was from New Gipps. That was the one we ate. The others put out a pathetic number of miniscule leaves and went to seeds. I did, however, get a snap of it a few months ago, back when the beets and spinach were tiny seedlings:
In the bed behind it, you can see row upon row of leeks, onions and garlic. We've just pulled all the leeks, fat and tall, and I snuck a peek to find the garlic is bulbing now too. Hopefully it won't be long til we can eat the garlic and onions.
This here is my food forest. You wouldn't know it was the same bare ground I laid out in winter. We got home from a tour to Sydney in Sept and ran around screaming because while we were away it had transformed itself into a mini forest.
We are getting a fair bit of food from it already - armloads of broadbeans, three artichokes a week, some odd brassicas that I dumped there when I didn't have space in my vegie garden, herbs, parsley, food for my animals, and we've just started pulling big fat beets and vibrant orange carrots.
Here's Jesse's garden, complete with his cubby. This photo doesn't showcase it very well - but it has two beds thick with strawberries, which are ripening up as I type. His other summer plants are in but quite small, so there's a lot of bare space for now. I think in a couple of months it'll look gorgeous. He's very proud of it. He goes out every day to water it, and recently drew up a map showing what plants he has, where. This is my idea of "homeschool" for a 7 year old.
There's heaps more to show you, such as the new chook food areas I've planted out, so my chooks will have greens year round-ish, but I was too distracted to take enough photos. I'm on tour now, so it'll have to wait till I get home.
But I'll finish with a photo of harvest bounty. Before we left for tour we pulled up armloads of stuff to store, so that it wouldn't go to seed in our absence and become inedible.
Here's Jesse and me, proud as anything!