Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vegie Futures



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..



15 comments:

anexactinglife.com said...

This was a treat for me to read because in my part of the world, Christmas and gardening are completely incompatible! Happy New Year.

lucindasans said...

I love reading your gardening adventures.

And look at you girl! Becoming a handy person who problem solves and fixes tools!!! I think sharpening a spade is so impressive.

theroadtoserendipity said...

Brilliant! I love watching other people's new vegetable gardens evolve and grow. Most probably because it is someone else digging and doing the hard work other than me for a change but lubbly jubbly Ms Jo and kudos on reclaiming that lawn for your vegetative purposes :). More kudos for fixing the water pipe all by yourself, for sharpening the spade in the first place (you are almost approaching medal!) The thing about the Christmas baking is that you have to eat it all very quickly to negate the effects of you eating it slowly for the rest of the week. Neither way managed to pare any of the effects from your hips but at least the guilt is over and done with in one fell swoop ;). Bokashi is awesome stuff for the garden. Full of probiotic gorgeousness and by the way, MORE kudos for dealing with that compost bin. No-one likes to have to do the mucky jobs but that "mucky job" is going to yield dividends in your new garden :). Can't wait to read about your new garden and how it grows and how much fun Benson is going to have when he finally locates that bokashi ;)

CJ said...

You've made a wonderful job of it all, that hard work was definitely worth it, and with all that compost it should do really well.

Jo said...

Dar, I often wish Christmas and gardening were incompatible here because I like to be able to concentrate on one or the other!
Lucinda, yes, I am ace at sharpening the spade:)
Fran, I didn't actually fix the water pipe, but watched and learned, so theoretically I could do it next time..
And my next trick is learning how to make my own bokashi grains. Again, I have watched the You Tube video, but that is as far as I have got!
CJ, thanks, I know that as a fellow gardener you know how excited I am to finally be able to plant:)

rabidlittlehippy said...

Seems to be the Christmas for water pipes. We had a young bloke in from around town helping out with weeding the 1.2-1.5m tall weeds in my front garden. Aside from eating all my blackberries and THEN pulling out the bush itself he did a great job... Except I kind of forgot to warn hom about the water pipe. He hit it with the pitchfork (which he had decided to use for weeding and thankfully didn't break the tines) and sent a spurt of water 2m straight up. No water on Christmas eve in the middle of cooking our big Christmas dinner! The first plumber assured me no-one would come and help as he had knocked off as had the rest of town and so I was imagining Christmas with 3 kids under 7 and no running water. Thankfully a neighbour popped over, went and bought the parts and fixed it inside of 15 minutes. Legend!

You've done great in your garden Jo. You should have lots of superb veggies. Garlic is the easiest of easies to grow over the winter and potato onions (yelwek farm in Tassie sells them) are awesome too. :) Broccoli, cauli, Brussels sprouts and more. Oh the possibilities are endless!

missmaudy said...

Doing well with the vegie patch. This year's effort has been placed on hold until, well. Probably next year. Someone who wasn't going to be looking for work until February has had work find him, so nothing has been done around the house.

And Benson the Wonder Puppy's exploits with the compost remind me of my old dog and his fondness for following me around while I dug in the blood and bone (it was nearly impossible to do it faster than he could snuffle it up. He was a very speedy snuffler!)

Kristen Johns said...

Great work on the veggie garden! I too am heading out to the back yard tomorrow to tackle my four foot high compost heap (maybe 5 feet?). Moving dirt around is always a good way to clear one's head, I find!

Jo said...

Jessie, what a huge relief to have such a handy neighbour. I have discovered I really LOVE running water. On Boxing Day I had to tip my gardening drink bottle water into the kettle for a cup of tea while waiting hours for The Man to come and plumb. It made me realise how very dependent we all are on that magic water that comes out of the tap..
Miss Maudy, damn that pesky work ethic of your man! And yes, I verily believe blood and bone to be some kind of puppy cocaine..
Kristen, good luck with that compost heap. Is it under snow?

Kristen Johns said...

No snow for us! I live in a lovely little pocket of Canada on the West coast where we rarely get snow! It's always a green winter for us, which makes gardening a year-round activity / chore!

Jo said...

Ah, you really do live in the northern Hemisphere equivalent of Tasmania! It sounds lovely. Happy gardening. I am sure moving compost is an excellent way to work off Christmas!

Lynda D said...

....and there you have it, the reason for my raised beds and fences around them besides - the dog. Just be sure that you have sufficiently wide enough paths so that you can get to the inner sanctum of the veggie patch. Arms only reach so far. I put a half size picket on each corner and cable tied a plastic fence around each one. It works for everyone but the bloody birds. I yearn for an enclosed yard so no birds can get in. Once you have a veggie patch the girls wont see you on cool evenings. Its magic. I even take a chair out with a book and coffee and sit among the veggies. I've got IT bad.

Jo said...

Lynda, thankfully it appears I have the only dog in the world who doesn't know how to dig... yet. And yes, gardening is so addictive:) I have my chair under the pear tree, will have to move it slightly so I can watch the pumpkin growing..

Tracy said...

I am certain all the drama will be worth it in the end, when you are eating the best-tasting, free, home-grown food in all the world. I had to give away vegie gardening when I began my degree. But I'm done now so as soon as I get a new job and the associated income its raised corrugated iron vegie beds for me!

Jo said...

Hey Tracy, that degree will be all worth it when it translates into new vegie beds:)

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