Over this past winter, my darling, capable husband put up my new greenhouse, built from recycled windows. Here's a little video tour of it, and the first batch of seedlings getting ready for spring planting. It's a little shaky as I'm moving a lot, and using a simple digital camera - this was my first ever attempt at a video :-). I hope you enjoy it.
Sometimes, video is an easier and more useful way to communicate and show how things are, or how they're done. So I've started making some short videos and putting them on YouTube. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel so you won't miss any of them. This first one is an introduction that shows the first year in my garden in pictures. Enjoy! (You will probably find it easier to read the words in Full Screen mode - so click the wee four-corner icon in the bottom right of the video).
It's spring time in the garden - a time of new things, starting over, and looking forward to the summer bounty. I have spent most of this past winter overhauling garden beds, going through the laborious process of digging out each bed, covering the dug-out base of the bed with cardboard, and the paths around them with cardboard and carpet (to kill off all the couch grass that keeps creeping back into the beds), before re-laying the beds, sieving through the soil for roots and weeds, and refilling the beds. Because of this, I haven't grown a lot in the garden over winter, and am now gearing up for spring planting. So, an update of how the garden looks at the beginning of spring, and what's new.....
The Banksia climbing rose I planted on this trellis next to my garden gate has slowly expanded over winter, and now has its first, tiny, fragrant roses blooming - they are a lot smaller than I expected, but when this whole trellis is covered, will look nice.
I bought some daffodil bulbs way late in the season from a sales table, and planted them anyway - they've flowered nicely. Looking forward to expanding daffodil numbers in years to come!
The parsley on the other side has grown large and lush over winter - I keep pulling out handfuls just to give the other plants a bit more room!
To the right of the garden gate, celery and alyssum are still growing. I've transplanted a rose to the middle of this bed, behind the central upright. The herb bed along the side of the path is doing well, and the carrots behind them are due for harvesting. In the middle where the yacons were I've planted peas as a green manure crop, and will soon dig them in, ready to plant popcorn next month. Beyond that is the bed where I grew potatoes last summer - it has had brassicas, beetroot, onions and carrots in it over winter.
I've got cut and come again lettuce growing in one of the pallet beds, and more self-sown lettuce in another. Some spinach remains in the third pallet - I need to tidy them up and sow more salad greens. I've added a small half-circle bed at the end of the first pallet, and transplanted a Damson plum seedling into it, along with calendula seedlings. Damson is a small, self-fertile plum, and in summers to come will provide some shade to the pallet beds, preventing lettuce from bolting.
I like having these pallets of salad greens just inside the gate, so I can easily snip a bowl full of greens for lunch time salads.
I've popped in some Roman Chamomile on top of the weedmatting I laid under the bricks and over the edge of the lawn, which will soon be covered in cardboard and mulched - so that the chamomile can spread a bit and smell nice when walked on.
The main vege beds - looking fairly empty due to my overhauling. The closest one has some Rainbow Chard still in it, and the back half has been planted with some beetroot seedlings. Behind it my broadbeans, which were sown under the nearly-finished tomatoes in March, are starting to get very tall, and I've had to lash bamboo around them to "fence" them in. Of the two beds covered in netting, the closest has my winter-sown garlic and shallots in it, and the one behind contains broccoli. The rest are empty or nearly-empty awaiting their new summer crops.
When I dug out last year's strawberry patch to overhaul it, the wooden frame fell to bits, so I have replaced it with two smaller garden beds, using edging from the original four garden beds I started with back in 2012 - they were two boxes high, so taking one apart yielded these two. I'm slowly completely removing the original four beds, as I found that they dry out far too fast in summer due to their height, and I want to use the space (and the wooden boxes) for other things. I've planted a Cox's Orange apple tree in between these two beds, which now need weeding and planting. The tyre the tree is in has the lower side wall removed, so the tree's roots aren't restricted.
I also painted the iron fence you can see at the back of this photo - it was an ugly collection of mixed colours. I rummaged in the paint shed at the local dump, and found two cans of paint - a yellow, and a brown fence stain, and mixed them together to give me this neutral colour. I've started creating trellises for peas and beans against the fence, from old branches and string. As you can see, I'm slowly mulching all paths between beds with woodchip over cardboard.
In the corner where I removed the first of the original beds, I've created this new bed. In the middle is planted a double pear tree. Along the side fence, I've nailed up a piece of reinforcing mesh I got free from a recycling bin as a trellis for the sugar snap peas I've planted at its base. From the tree to the front of the bed is planted in brown and red onions, but they're so tiny and fine you can't see them in the pic. I've also popped in a lemon balm plant, a sage seedling, and a wee rosemary bush, and along the side some chives and garlic chives. Edges of the bed created with random piece of wood or logs I found laying around. Rear of bed will be filled with flowers/herbs
At the other end of that strip, I've created another bed, this one with a Gala Apple in the middle. I made a trellis for peas out of old bicycle wheel rims. This bed will be planted in flowering herbs, mostly. Maybe a rose in that tyre in the corner. The white plastic thing blew down just before I snapped this pic - it doesn't belong there. The cardboard along the front will be overlaid with more and mulched with woodchip as a pathway.
With help from a young man who was staying, I erected 3 posts and a reinforcing mesh trellis for my boysenberries. Another day I built the rest of this bed around it - with a warratah and mesh frame for raspberries to grow up through and be supported by without tying them in, and a rustic pathway between made from pieces of branch my son brought home to cut up for firewood, but was a bit slow. Strawberries are planted under the boysenberries and around the raspberries. The other side (right of photo) of the boysenberry trellis is what will face anyone walking into the garden, so will be planted in colourful flowers.
I put new sides on the blueberry bed, and raised the soil level a bit with compost, then transplanted most of the strawberries from their original bed here. I've put frames up over the ends and middle of the bed which will later have crosspieces added to the top, and be covered with bird netting. They're a lot higher than needed just for strawberries, to allow for the fact the blueberries will get very tall in time. I've left room down the middle for borage plants, a great companion for strawberries with lovely, edible blue flowers.
My daughter got tired of waiting for me to make the new seat for the free swing seat frame I'd picked up, so she set to and created it. She and the toddler she looks after now regularly enjoy it. To the left are planted sweet peas and calendula, which are both finally starting to really grow, after sitting there most of the winter. The Stauntonia to the right is slowly looking like it might grow too. Along the front, the Chilean Guavas are now surrounded by some spare strawberry plants as ground cover. Just in the right of the photo you can just see the edge of a patch I added lots of goodies too, then covered with black plastic and old carpet underlay for the winter, to kill off weed and let everything rot down. Soon it will be uncovered and planted with watermelons.
Along the back fence, the Rainbow Chard and green silverbeet have been growing well all winter. The blackcurrants are in bud, and the leeks are doing fine. I mulched this bed with home made compost, and there have been very few weeds. Will probably plant leafy greens along here this summer, so the shade of the fence can protect them from the hot summer sun.
I used the bottom off a blue plastic drum to plant catgrass, a grass that is preferred by cats, dogs, chickens and rabbits. We'll trim it every now and then and feed to the rabbit.
My lovely husband build my new glasshouse over winter, made from recycled windows! I love it so much!
The glasshouse is full of seedlings I started sowing in August, and will soon start planting out in the garden. The shelves are an old plastic greenhouse frame, which I found, sans plastic cover, in a local metal recycling bin. At the time this photo was taken, I'd just moved a lot of seedling outside to harden off, but the new spaces soon fill up with new seed trays!
And finally, I've started clearing my VERY overgrown front yard, and preparing it for a potato growing experiment, and lots of sweetcorn. More on this soon.
This page is my blog formerly known as Kiwi Urban Homestead.