Monday, December 13, 2010

Homegrown - The secret garden

Last week I told you I was pleasantly surprised to find potatoes growing under ivy down the back of our property. That must be a magic spot because this week I cleared more ivy, only to find a brick enclosed garden hiding beneath.

Here's the before shot:

Here's me clearing it out:

And here's what I found hiding underneath all that soil and ivy:

I found three sides of a brick garden, with the brick-work actually mortared in. I also dug back the soil in front to discover it was cobbled with the same red bricks. Since the little garden was missing a front wall, I created one with an old board and some more bricks that were buried under the ivy.

I think someone once had their compost bin in this spot, because I found lots of crushed egg shells and this avocado tree that must have sprouted up out of an avocado stone.

At a guess I'd say the avocado tree is around three years old, which means we won't be getting any fruit off it for at least another five years. Still, it's always exciting to find fruit trees growing in your backyard. And even if we won't be here to enjoy it, somebody else will.

At first I thought I'd plant potatoes in this new garden, since they seem to do so nicely in this spot. However, one of my courgette plants isn't doing so well in garden number three, so I decided to plant another couple of those in this garden to ensure I get a decent crop.

I heart courgettes. One plant produces such bounty, I can eat them all summer long, and still grate and freeze enough to see me through winter.

The one down-side to this garden is that the neighbour's garden hose doesn't reach it. Oh, did I mention that we're using the neighbour's hose because the only outdoor tap our house has is right up by the road? Practical for washing our car (if we ever did that), but not so practical for watering my gardens in the backyard.

Anyway, luckily this is only a small garden with just two vegetables growing in it, since it looks like I'll be watering it by hand from now on.

I'm pretty excited about my secret garden. Already it's making that corner of the yard look crisper and tidier. I was admiring it out my living room window this evening. Ah, the simple things.

And while I was clearing out my secret garden, Paul was busy thinning my carrots for me. I haven't had the heart to do it because I hate choosing which carrots get to live and which will die. Luckily Paul isn't pregnant and doesn't get emotional over vegetables, so he did the dirty work for me.

I'll have to get him back to thin them again in a few weeks time, but hopefully by then we'll be able to eat some of the small carrots in salads, instead of throwing them away.

Just for fun, I thought I'd show you how my original three gardens are coming along.

Garden one: Everything is thriving. This week I fed my tomatoes and cucumbers with liquid vermicast from my worm farm, and laid pea straw down around them as a mulch that will help the soil retain moisture in this dry summer we're having. I would have mulched the peas and beans, but I ran out of pea straw.

Garden two: From this garden we've been eating lots of spinach, a bit of basil, and L has been eating all the strawberries (ripe or not). The other day I found her kneeling in the spinach, looking for more strawberries.

Garden three: My beetroot has sprouted. All 12 broccoli plants are doing well. However the courgettes are getting a bit battered by the wind, and one of them is disturbingly yellow. This week I fed the plants with liquid vermicast to give them a boost.

And that's all for now. I'm taking a break from gardening over the Christmas period, and will be back again with Homegrown in the New Year.

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