Saturday, August 11, 2018

Garden update August 2018

Hi friends! It's been so long since I've done a garden update, but it feels like spring has come a little early this year, so my thoughts are turning outdoors.

I've been making a lot of green smoothies lately, to take advantage of the abundant leafy greens I have growing. My smoothie recipes are ever-evolving, but my latest one featured silverbeet, spinach, three types of kale, parsley and mint from my garden.

While wandering around my yard last Saturday, I noticed the soil level on the raised bed pictured above was getting low. I'd recently sprinkled seaweed and used coffee grounds on all of my gardens, but that hadn't increased the contents of any of them by much, so I got to thinking about where I could gather more free garden fillers from for this particular bed.

On a whim, J and I drove to a couple of local cafes hoping to gather more used coffee grounds, but one of the cafes was closed and the other one had its own composting system. Not wanting to waste a car-trip, I filled up three large plastic containers with wood mulch that had been dumped at a local park and carted them home instead.

I was thinking about clearing out the low raised bed completely to refill it, but several of the plants in it were well established, so in the end I just moved the smaller plants to the next raised bed down the hill (pictured above) and dumped a layer of wood mulch around the more established plants. I also added sheep manure to help the wood mulch break down.

I was racking my brain for what else I could add to the garden to top it up, when it suddenly occurred to me that I have a compost bin full of grass clippings and various other garden material I've been chucking in there over the past year. Now, I must admit, I've mainly been using this compost as a place to dump garden waste, and haven't taken the time to stir it, or been particularly careful about my ratios of brown to green materials. As could be expected, when I opened it up, I discovered it hadn't broken down particularly well, but I figured it would break down eventually, mixed in with the wood mulch on the raised bed, so I pulled it out and spread it around.

Taking a break from the raised garden mission for a minute, I pulled out my loppers and pruned my nashi tree (pictured above) and one of my apple trees, which were both looking a little criss-crossed. I've never pruned a fruit tree before, but I understand the theory of it from having done a Certificate in Horticulture, so I decided to give it a go. Since it was my first time, I didn't take off many branches, just the ones that were obviously growing into the centre of the tree instead of out. If I had any doubts about a branch, I left it on, figuring I could get it next year if I need to.

I then spent an hour mowing our lawns and refilling the large compost bin with the grass clippings. It is always a treacherous affair mowing our lawns in winter, when the clay soil turns to bog, but it had been sunny for a couple of days so I got away with it.

I was definitely in the gardening mood and it was such a nice day that I just kept going. I emptied one half of my rotating compost bin (the half that has been composting away while we filled the other half) and sprinkled that over the raised bed I was trying to top up, as well as around my citrus trees, which always need more loving.

I had to take a shower after emptying the rotating compost bin, because there's no way to do it without getting smeared in stinky compost. I figured that was a good time to call it a day in the garden.

But I was straight back into it on Monday afternoon, when S helped me pull out the dormant asparagus crowns from around my citrus trees and move them to the raised bed I've been trying to fill. It was a tough job pulling them out. They did not want to budge. Their roots have really spread out since I planted them in the citrus garden last year. I needed to move them though, because over summer and autumn they were shading out our citrus trees. Since we'd all much rather eat fruit than asparagus, it was an easy choice to shift the asparagus.

I then collected another three containers of wood mulch and used it to finish topping up the raised bed I'd been filling, as well as to fill in the gaps I'd created in the citrus bed when I pulled the asparagus out. I'll need to top up the whole citrus bed with soil before spring really hits, but need to pull out all the strawberries and then replant them in the fresh soil to do that, so it's quite a big job.

My other gardens are doing their own thing at the moment. The other half of my wraparound deck garden is currently growing lettuce, carrots, coriander and strawberries.

The gardens I topped up and planted in June are doing well. I harvested some of the silverbeet for my smoothie this week and everything else is growing nicely (lettuce, broccoli, spinach, basil, kale and coriander).

This avocado tree planted itself from a discarded stone in the perfect spot, exactly where I wanted a big tree to grow to give us privacy from the road. It's doing well there, and even if we never get an avocado off it, I'll still be happy it's there. (I hope we do get lots of avocados though!)

Our feijoas are filling in and getting taller. I'm hopeful we'll get fruit off them for the first time next year. We all LOVE feijoas.

This plum tree, which I thought had died, has just started budding again. I'm so relieved. My other plum tree did die, so I'm not sure if this one will actually fruit unless I plant a companion plum tree for it, but at least I won't be starting completely from scratch.

Our Star Magnolia tree has been blossoming abundantly and scattering its petals like snow over our lawn. Beautiful.

My rosemary is almost as tall as our fence. It thrives in this hot spot against our house.

These are some of the pretty flowers I planted back in June. The purple ones are spreading well, and seem to have settled into their new home nicely.

So that's how my garden is looking at the moment. There's always more I'd like to do, but then I think back to how my garden looked when we bought this place two-and-a-half years a go, and I remember to be grateful. There was not an edible thing here when we moved in, and now there is an abundance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.