Sunday, 27 October 2013

New soil

Today we built our first garden in the raised row style. The black plastic we put down to suppress the weeds did a fairly good job and the clothes hanger staples helped a little. Taking it up revealed rotted straw from last years' unsuccessful attempt at a garden and the yellow sprouts of an unidentified weed.
The first job was to get rid of the old dog kennel in the back corner.  Once that was gone, I got started with building the rows while Daddy dragon increased the compost heap threefold with grass from a recent lawn mowing job.
The rows are started with straw, loosened from the bale and piled about 6inches or 15cm deep.  Then topsoil is added on top to the same depth.  We used half a cubic metre of a 50/50 mix of commercial topsoil and compost.  Little Dragon gave it the obligatory taste test, but decided it was better to dig in than eat.

Two and a half straw bales and many wheelbarrow trips later, we have three rows along the length of the fenced off garden and a shorter row along the back of the shed.

Then we went a four year old's birthday party for some well deserved cake. (Thank you Heather!)

We've focused on only a few veggies, mostly to make pasta sauce.  In one row is corn, peas and potatoes, the second has tomatoes, shallots and basil, the third has capsicum and carrots.  In the bed next the shed is pumpkin and two varieties of cucumber.  The seedlings we've grown inside we're planted directly in their newspaper pots.  Next time, I'm going to make the pots deeper.  The roots of the peas and corn had grown out through the bottom of their pots looking for more soil before they were planted in the garden.  Seeds were sewn with compost for a backfill.
Straw was put over the top of the rows as a light mulch, and some bark from this winters' wood supply was used on a thick mat of straw to create the working rows.

The outcome looks pretty much like a patch of ground covered with straw, but hopefully over the next month or two, we'll have a productive kitchen garden. Good luck with your gardening endeavours!