I was so pleased when Christmas was over, not because I didn't like Christmas - it was lovely and Christmassy and jolly and there was all the 'Ho ho ho' and tinsel and trappings that are supposed to accompany the holiday, but as soon as it was over I was thrilled to stop faffing about with the wrapping and jollity, and get stuck into digging and arranging my new vegie garden.
I have never actually had a proper vegie garden, just strips of space clawed back from the lawn here and there, and lots of pots, but inspiration hit a couple of months ago. Up above you can see the children's old cubby house. One day it will be a chicken house, and all the space next to it will be the chicken yard, and I will have beautiful permanent raised beds in the sunniest part of the lawn. Until that fair day dawns, however, I have dug up what was once the children's old sandpit, and a fair whack of lawn as well, and claimed it as my own to grow wonderful lush vegies.
I started before Christmas, when Benson-the-Naughty-Puppy started mysteriously disappearing through a locked gate, and past a fence which is taller than me, and without a chink in it larger than a kitten could get through. Until one day I saw him chasing the cat. The cat leaped up on the four-foot high compost bin and flew over the top of the fence, and, ears flapping madly, Benson-the-Flying-Wonder-Dog followed suit.
Heart sinking, I knew the day had finally come to empty the giant, full-to-the brim compost bins, a task I had been putting off for at least a month, as I kept trying to cram more in the top. It took all day, and a million trips in the wheelbarrow, but I moved the entire, smelly collection over to the other side of the house, back into the bins far, far away from any fence. Benson is not pleased to be trapped in the backyard, but I had a huge load of freshly cured compost (two years old, an excellent vintage) which I dumped where the old sand pit had been, and then planned to expand my vegie empire another few feet or so, past the edge of the old sandpit, and into the lawn.
But was stymied by a very blunt spade which wouldn't cut through the grass. I sharpened the spade with a file from The Man's shed, and it was surprisingly effective. So effective that on Boxing Day, when I had a whole day on my own while The Man took the children out for a picnic, I managed to slice straight through a (quite small) water pipe, and started a (quite small) flood. By an extraordinary coincidence, I for once managed to have an emergency when The Man was actually in the state, and by another extraordinary coincidence, the exact joiners we needed were there in the shed, and it took about five minutes to fix. Now I know how to fix water pipes:)
For the last two days there have been absolutely no dramas, just a lot of hauling around bricks (left over from when we pulled down two chimneys several years ago. I knew those bricks would come in handy..), and digging bricks in to make four beds for crop rotation purposes. This would have been excellent for working off all the Christmas baking, except that I keep eating more of it..
Then tonight I had the bright idea of digging in the contents of the bokashi bin under the laundry sink. Bokashi is a compost system quite useful for townhouses and apartments, all sealed in a bucket, no smells etc, which uses a fermented grain to 'pickle' the compost contents. When the bucket is full, you leave it to continue 'pickling' somewhere (under the laundry sink for instance), while you fill up bucket number two. Then you empty bucket number one by digging it into... the vegie garden? Under some fruit trees? At your mum's place, or in your allotment presumably, if you live in an apartment? Anyway, my bokashi sat under the laundry sink for about a year. I had bought the bins several years ago in a phase when I thought I had to buy everything in all the 'green' catalogues to save the planet. I know better now but I have the buckets, so use them in a desultory way. Anyway, yes, a year under the sink.
'Aha!' I thought, 'I will use that pesky bokashi in the vegie garden, and my pumpkins will be the size of beach balls.' I can tell you now, that even after a year, bokashi is on the fragrant side. I buried it diligently, and then remembered The Dog! Aaargh! Benson-the-Keen-Nosed-Hound sniffed out the wonderful aroma of well-rotted food stuffs from the other end of the house, and hasn't been able to leave the vegie patch alone ever since. I tremble for a) the baby butternuts I just planted, kindly donated by a friend who had an excellent germination rate, and b) for the carpets if Benson manages to dig up the bokashi.
Sigh. I didn't imagine that digging a vegie garden would involve quite this much drama. Vegies in pots are starting to look so EASY.
But I have an actual, real vegie garden. I am so excited:) I will now hop into bed with my garden manuals and plan the ultimate crop rotation..