Friday, September 23, 2016

The last of the fruit trees are in

Today I bought and planted the last two fruit trees I've planned for our garden (for now). I got a Mandarin Silverhill and a double-grafted Nashi (Hosui and Nijesseiki).
Mandarin Silverhill (in the foreground)
Double-grafted Nashi - Hosui and Nijesseiki.
The Nashi is planted between the raised vegetable beds and our fence, in a line with my two dwarf apple trees. I'm thinking about growing a grape vine up the fence behind the fruit trees, but might not as I need to get a ladder in that space to prune the hedge from time to time.

This week I picked up some free bricks from a neighbour who is taking down his chimney. I've been on the lookout for bricks for a while now, and this is the second renovation I've asked at. The first one wanted the bricks for their own garden project, but I struck gold with the second one. One of the builders even delivered the bricks to me in his trailer, as he was taking them to the dump anyway and I just lightened his load. (Zero-waste win!)

I'm using these bricks to create edging rings around my apple and nashi trees, and to finish edging out my other gardens. The bricks need a bit of work to get them cleaned up, as I have to knock the cement off them, but it's strangely satisfying.
Free bricks from my neighbour's old chimney. 
Garden edge made from re-purposed bricks. 
Thanks to this influx of new (old) bricks, the brick border around the edge of my garden is now about half done. I've got up to a tricky bit where there are lots of tree roots in the way, so it's taking a while to manoeuvre around them. I've designed the edge in an 'S' shape, and will plant flowers in the spaces between trees.
Unfinished brick border. 
I was so excited to find Comfrey at the garden centre today. I got the last pot, which had two plants in it. I have planted one next to my plum trees and one next to a nectarine tree. Hopefully they will take off and I will be able to split them in time and plant more around my other fruit trees.
Comfrey.
My lovely friend, Libby, visited last week and brought me flowers and a strawberry plant for my garden, so I've planted them in front of my blueberries. They look so pretty - I'm keen to get many more flowers growing in my garden now that the fruit trees are in. I have bought a LOT of flower seeds to plant.

Baby J helped me plant snow pea and blue pea seeds this week. I poked a hole in the soil and he dropped the seed in. My brother-in-law, Ben, gave me a couple of metal frames to grow plants up, so I'm using them to grow peas over Spring, and then will use them for cucumbers and beans over Summer.
Peas will grow up the metal frame in between my winter vegetables. 
I planted carrot, basil, onion and spring onion seeds in my top two raised beds this week, and hope to get them off to a good start so they can be companion plants for the tomatoes I plan to grow against the trellis.

I'm still trying to figure out a good place to start my tomato and cucumber seeds in pots, so I can get them to a decent size before planting them in the garden. I don't want them to get attacked by slugs while they're starting out. I need some sort of potting bench area, but am scared baby J will disturb anything I try to grow, no matter where I put it.

The kids and I have been slug-hunting several nights this week, and we keep finding the little blighters. They've decimated much of my lettuce, although we're still getting enough to eat. The following broccoli managed to survive and is forming a nice head.

The other broccolis I planted are smaller, but some are forming heads anyway, so I'm excited about that. I'll harvest the head but leave the plant in the ground, in case it forms side shoots we can keep picking.

Today I shifted oregano and thyme out of pots and planted them in my sunny herb garden. They weren't doing well in their pots and needed a change of scenery. I hope they take off in their new happy home.
Herb and flower garden. 
You may remember me mentioning a while back that my community has a free garden skip where you can take your garden waste. I've been making lots of use of it getting rid of ivy, and on one of my trips I found some bromeliads (I think?) in the skip that someone else had chucked out. They still had their roots in tact and seemed healthy enough, so I planted them in my garden. It's been a few weeks since I planted them and they still seem to be alive, so I hope that means they're here to stay.

I've been spending so much on fruit trees and compost for my garden, that it feels like a win any time I find something for free. I have been really blessed on that front: Ben built my raised beds with his own wood; The Council started leaving free mulch piles at a local park not long after we moved in; A coffee cart near my house gives me all its used coffee grounds; And now a neighbour has given me his old bricks.

Every time I've needed something, it has appeared. This garden feels providential. Thank you God. 

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