Thursday, 27 March 2014

On a mission

So I'm on a bit of a mission, a voyage of discovery and experimentation and it's all to do with gardening.   See that garden bed below, it has been cleared.  I've hacked, pruned, grubbed out shrub roots with a spade and mattock. 

This was a beast.

So what am I doing taking out quite a nice garden bed, well I want to make a big vegetable patch and grow food.  I've been reading up on permaculture, composting, making a difference in our own backyard and so I'm starting on a very small scale to see what happens.  We do have a vege patch in the back yard but it is not doing too well.  Tomatoes are not happening this year.  :(

We get rid of an amazing amount of foliage including leaves, branches and weeds from our property all year and I'd like to try and put as much of that back into the ground as I can.  So the contents of the wheelbarrow is the start of my compost heap.  The grapevine has started to drop it's leaves and I've also pruned to let more light into the family room.  I stripped the leaves off what I pruned, put them in a pile and ran the lawn mower over them.  I raked up some other leaves and they got the same treatment.  Together with some grass clippings, I've got a nice little pile of goodies ready to do its thing.  I'm throwing in my kitchen scraps too and to my absolute delight when I went and checked my pile this afternoon, it's all hot inside which is what it is supposed to be doing.  I'm collecting paper and cardboard to add as well and the coffee grounds can be added too.

 Now I don't know how this whole permaculture thing is going to work because we are surrounded by trees and very little light enters our property.  We are also on the south side of a hill, not so good if you live in the southern hemisphere.  Vegetables and fruit need sunshine to grow but I'm sure there must be a way to get things happening starting with getting the soil healthy.  So my newly cleared ground is going to be bombed with cow manure, compost and mulch.  We have heavy clay soil so there is a bit to do to make it a happier place for veges to grow.  I've been spending up to 3 hours in the garden nearly every day and loving it.  It rained today so I cleaned the house instead.

If anyone has any success stories, tips, knowledge about composting, permaculture, growing veges in shade etc, I'd love to hear them.  I'm thinking of getting some more chooks too.  All those eggs and fertiliser. 

Well I've a busy weekend ahead.  Charlotte will be home from her Queensland holiday, my sister-in-law and nephew are coming over for dinner Saturday night before he goes off to study in Italy and travel for a few months and then Sunday/Monday will be spent with my gorgeous niece who loves to craft.


  1. It all sounds exciting to be doing new things in the yard. It's good to change things up a bit once in a while. Good luck!

  2. Well you're off to a good start Anne. I'm no expert and there's plenty out there - but I can only say mulch mulch and more mulch! oh and definitely a few chooks too.

    We started off with very bad soil and have gradually built if up over the years - it does take a while. You're right about the sunlight too - it will probably be trial and error for a while until you find what works in that spot for you. It took some time too for us to work out that you have to really like what you plant! Not much fun if you successfully grow heaps of eggplant/brussel sprouts etc but don't really enjoy eating them. Have fun!! cheers Wendy

  3. What a great project to take on, can't wait to see its progress.

  4. Its looking good. Mulch Mulch Mulch thats all I can say. Chooks are fantastic they are such a useful pet I love them. Good luck with your new vege garden. I use horse manure and pea straw and mushroom compost. Also waist from the chicken pen and rabbit cages, compost bin and worm farm. Not much goes to waist when you have chickens and compost bins. xx

  5. I don't remember how I got here, but I do know that I want to stick around for a while. And maybe I should react on newer posts first, but I live in a very shady country and I used to have a very shady garden too. Things that work quite well are leafy greens (lettuce, chard,...) and I have really good experiences with beans too, all kinds of them. I garden mostly in pots, for my it's convenient and I put in traditional potting soil and see what works. It always surprises me how well most things work. I wish you a lot of luck and a lot of fun also...


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