Monday, November 15, 2010

Homegrown - Our new raised garden

I'm proud of my efforts in the garden this week. At first I was waiting for Paul to dig out a stump and put together the kit-set raised garden I showed you last week. But then I thought I may as well give them both a go, since I'm home all day. And I succeeded with both!

So then I went about the business of filling the new raised garden. First I laid sticks, branches and leaves on the bottom, drawing on one of the concepts of hugelkultur style gardening. This debris will break down over time, releasing nutrients into the soil. In the meantime it will help retain moisture in the garden, improve drainage and make use of scraps that would otherwise go to waste. I couldn't find my camera to take a photo of this layer for you.

For the next layer I collected seaweed from my local beach, rinsed it and soaked it for several days in a big tub of water.

The seaweed will eventually break down into the soil around it, releasing important nitrogen as well as many nutrients not available in other organic fertilisers.

Yesterday our little family went to the garden centre and bought several bags of compost, all purpose mix and peat mix to layer on top of these foraged base layers.

From the garden centre we also grabbed several varieties of strawberries (so I can compare and see which ones do the best here in Wellington), as well as some spinach and basil seedlings to go in this new garden. Around the strawberries and spinach I've laid pea straw as a mulch that will release nitrogen into the soil. The pea straw will also protect the strawberries from rotting and help retain moisture in the soil beneath it.

In the bare patch you see, I'll add lettuce seedlings I'm growing, and also plant more spinach and some silverbeet from seed.

It's so nice to have things growing in a garden that didn't even exist a week ago.

While we were at the garden centre I decided to get several tomato plants. Although I theoretically have lots of these growing from seed, none of them have popped up yet and I'm worried I'll miss the tomato season completely if I wait any longer to plant.

We love cherry tomatoes for salads, so I planted seven Sweet 100 plants. I also planted two full-size heirloom tomato varieties, and am interested to see what comes of them.

Upcoming project gallery
Our third vegetable garden has only made tiny strides this week. I found some bits of wood around the side of our house that we'll edge the garden with. However, one of the pieces needs to be cut down to size, so that has me a bit stumped at the moment.

When the garden is ready, I'll plant it out with the broccoli and zucchini seedlings pictured below, as well as some beetroot seeds.

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