Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A gardening we will go...

Life in the garden has become fleeting. With a new baby to take care of, my trusty shovel has been collecting cobwebs. That all changed a few days ago however, when bubba was happy to snooze in the garden safely in his pram.

JAP or otherwise known as 'Just A Pumpkin' variety

The garden has been doing some wonderful things without me though. It's been producing pumpkins and sweet potatoes - the vines dying back and feeding the soil microbes in the ground. It's a beautiful thing. Messy, but nonetheless beautiful, because I can see the potential for more things growing when the warmth of spring returns. Feeding the soil every year means more plants will grow!

An offering for garden marauders

There was even enough pumpkin to sacrifice to the wildlife. Or as Jackie French puts it, a tithe back to nature. Some animal has taken an interest in this one, either a hare, bush rat or dare I even suggest the resident wallabies? They've been known to eat our sweet potato shoots every winter. Hmmm?

Sweet juicy mandarins

Also in full production in the garden is our Emperor Mandarin tree, and kumquats. This is always the perfect time of year for eating citrus, to keep colds and flu away. I pop tiny kumquats in my mouth instead of vitamin-c tablets. They make my lips tingle if I eat too many. But it's something the whole family enjoys, as we surround the kumquat tree, spotting the best ones for each other to eat!

We found a baby kitten in this wishing well, last summer
what will it produce this year?

I've been experimenting with small spaces too. Plants don't survive too well being exposed during the heat of summer, so winter was the perfect time to get some plants started. I decided to use the shade potential from our wishing well and an established coastal rosemary bush. By planting in a concrete block and a terracotta pot, the plant roots should keep a perfect temperature - the trick is having their bases touch the ground.

Five plants in this tiny space

The plants were free too - a volunteer tomato, sprouted from the compost, which I transplanted into the block. The aim is to get it to climb up the side of the wishing well and spill over the roof. I also transplanted a wild sown parsley I spotted growing in the grass, and some chives I thought were buried when our planted wheelbarrow tipped over. Dave dug through the soil to find our chives again! I suspect that's a capsicum volunteer plant in the terracotta pot too, where I also threw in a few flower bulbs to help attract the bees.

It's a heavily planted area, but my hope is they will work together through the next growing season. Plants do so much better stacked together like this, than they do in exposed rows. But that's our climate for you. It's so intense during summer that any shade potential is welcome!

More planting potential

I also managed to salvage our large terracotta pot, to place on the ground nearby. It was sat on a layer of stones first, so it could drain during the wet. Having the base partially covered by earth and mulch however, will prevent the roots of whatever I decide to grow in there, cooking in summer. Not sure if I will plant rubarb, or a medley of seeds I have which need to be planted out soon. Decisions, decisions...

Race to cover the rebar and down the retaining wall

David got busy in the garden too, weeding the grass from our jasmine vine, to place an old concrete rebar arch, we've been meaning to find a spot for in the garden. I love recycling. This warped rebar was left here when our slab was laid for the house. Six years later, and it will hopefully become hugged by greenery, for the birds to nest in and hopefully in turn, shade our garden shed too.

It's the middle of winter, but the vine says spring is already here!

The jasmine is nearly ready to flower soon. We wont get as many blooms this year, because of the hard prune we had to give it in order to get at the grass. But it won't be long until the trellis is covered again. It proves my theory of how mild winter has been this year. Many of the plants have continued to grow and even started to bud. Although the uncharacteristic wet winter may have something to do with that too. It doesn't get as cold when there's rain about, but enough sunny days to warm the soil.

I don't know how long it will be until my next venture into the Gully Grove jungle, but it will be waited for with anticipation. I know it's only a short matter of time, until our little boy won't want to come inside from the jungle either. Then, I can garden until my hearts content.


Isn't that what the promise of spring teaches us every winter?


  1. Yes, that sure is one lesson of spring. We had a trying one. It rained. So much so that getting anything in the ground was a miracle.
    I am so happy you got the baby out there. I hope he comes to love it as much as you.

  2. I'm pretty sure Peter will become a dirt boy as soon as he's walking, lol.

    I feel your pain with a wet spring - we had several formerly and hardly any of the fruit trees set fruit because the bees couldn't forage in the rain. Heavy rain also meant the blooms which did manage to get pollinated got knocked off the bush.

    But you can also get seedlings rot in the ground if you don't get enough sunlight and/or the drainage is bad. Just another challenge to learn how to garden under extremes. It seems to happen every year.

  3. We had that same issue with our plum and apricot trees as usual. The plum trees seem to be tougher but the apricots are very sensitive. At this point they are bee forage and nothing more. I think its not just the conditions but also about our own particular microclimates that we are learning more about this year too. We cannot predict next years spring despite what we learned this year so we have to learn to be more flexible ourselves I guess.

  4. I'm sure the bees truly appreciate the forage! Sometimes we don't get the crop we want, but the plants still work for the better in nature. Gotta look after the bees.

    I'm also discovering that micro-climates in the garden, are the key to any growing success. I would REALLY love to write more about this subject, but it takes time and photographs, which isn't on the list of priorities at the moment. I can't wait until Peter is a little older. This dependency stage is very limiting.

    Love my new bubs, but I'd surely love to love the garden more too!

  5. I remember that stage and know its worth just on its own merit. But he will grow up fast and you both will be in that garden. Perhaps you can just take photos of him in the garden and you can write about the microclimates he grew up in at a later date-even a much later date?


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