Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

14 June 2009

Garden Update # 1

Having presented the garden baseline here, the time has come to move forward on this little project. Thankyou to those who offered helpful suggestions, both in the comments section and also in person.

My first question is to ask about composting. We anticipate being here a good long while so getting some composting happening to keep boosting up the soil (as well as doing something more environmentally friendly with the carrot and potato peelings than just throwing them into the bin) seems a great idea. We have no composting infrastructure and I am after low cost solutions. What do I need to do to get started?

Received some great ideas about this long stretch here.

We have indeed used it as a cricket pitch and expect to have many more backyard games of cricket here. One of R's little friends suggested a swimming pool. And the mother of that friend suggested a lap pool. Both very good ideas but I don't think the owners of the house will come at that! So it will remain a cricket pitch/general running around and playing sort of space - and since winter arrived and the rain started, it has been greening up nicely. I am toying with the idea of a passionfruit vine or two along the fence and maybe a fruit tree or two tucked into a corner but these ideas are a long way down the track. And we may well be getting a friend's surplus-to-requirements swing set which will go somewhere along here too.

The more pressing issue is this patch.

When I first saw this space I immediately thought of a vegie patch. In the eighteen months since this patch became ours to fill, my ideas have moved from vegie patch to flower bed to a mix of the both, a children's garden with interesting little plants and stepping stones and even, in several moments of I-can't-be-bothered-ness, more brick paving...just do away with the problem altogether!

Well, to cut a long story short, I have decided on a garden of tough flowers, but keeping the little angled section to the left free to maybe do some basic vegies (ie. tomatoes and perhaps lettuce in the summer and spuds in the winter) for the boys to have the vegie growing experience.

As I said, I am no gardener! Well, not yet. And I don't have loads of time to give to the garden. I need plants that I know will thrive on neglect and that are low cost to acquire. But at the bottom line I want some flowers because this patch provides the view from the kitchen window.

So I've decided on rosemary, lavender, daisies and geraniums - and I may add a few other items down the track. A friend's mum is potting up some lavender and rosemary for me. And here is the stash from the nursery.

Yes, that is a marigold in there. I have other plans for that!

And because I love using herbs in my cooking and spend a small fortune on fresh herbs in the supermarket...and because I have all those empty pots to is the herb stash.
Sage, basil, coriander, thyme, parsley and mint. And rosemary will round that out well.
Stay tuned.


Helen said...

Looking good Meredith! All those yummy herbs! I like the idea of a lap pool...... spa too?

Meredith said...

Funny you should mention a spa! I seem to recall that the suggestions of pool and lap pool came from members of your family... :)

the sojourner said...

Hey- i could come and make compost for you!! or- you might find the following website interesting for not only compost- but gardening and backyard ideas:
Im looking forward to coming bck to Aus land again so i can becoma a member :)or maybe i could be an Aussie living simply in malawi? heh either way - hope it's helpful :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith. I like the sound of your flower garden with vegie patch - should look really nice from that kitchen window. That part gets a lot of shade, doesn't it ? How would that affect the vegies ? Good luck with this project, and great idea to let the boys into the joys of producing their own greens. Love Dot C.

Sharon said...

If you are after vegies that are easy to grow and look nice, I suggest carrots. It is fun for the kids to pick a few little ones and then compare what they began with to the later ones as they get bigger, and you can plant heaps of carrot seeds so it doesn't matter if they get thinned out by little hands.

Also, pea plants have pretty flowers and I think their tendrils are lovely as well. We have pea plants and marigolds (among other things) in pots outside of my kitchen sink window, and I love looking at them.

Strawberries also do nicely in summer if they are in a spot that gets northern exposure, but is also a bit shady. Their best crop seems to come after about three years. They do go all brown and dead-looking in winter, though.

Chillis have lovely bright fruit and the littlies learn quickly they are not to be eaten plucked from the bush. But be warned, if you plant chillis in a garden patch rather than in pots, they just might grow into trees. We had three chilli trees of about four or five feet tall in our vegie patches in Darwin. They always had chillis on them, and looked cheery and bright.

In Darwin, we bought a compost bin with worm drawers from our local council for $20. But to be honest, we never really needed to compost in Darwin as the soil was already great - the compost bin became a breeding ground for cockroaches and little else. Here in Perth, we have dug down a foot or so into the potential garden bed, then left it open to dump plant-based scraps in. We collect these in an icecream container in the kitchen, which Jeff empties every day. That is my one and only stipulation, if we are to collect vegie scraps they must go out ASAP! Do not include egg shells, dairy products or any meat scraps. And I am not so keen on citrus fruit peel going in either, because it takes so long to decompose. So you can't just dump leftovers from dinner without sorting them out. Mostly, our composting mix includes vegie peel, fruit cores, banana peel and past-their-best leafy greens. And celery that I seem to always buy to much of. HTH.

~ Sharon

Meredith said...

Hello Helen, Rina, Dot and Sharon!

Thank you all for your encouragement and helpful advice. All good things to be thinking about. You are definitely keeping me inspired on this project and all of your guidance and tips are very, very helpful.

One of my problems, besides lack of know-how is "project impatience". I have lots of patience in lots of other areas in my life but when it comes to a project, I tend to like things done in one session.

So for example, keeping a blog is good - I can get a post written in one sitting and have a sense of achievement. Quilting would be a hopeless thing for me to pursue.

And gardening has come under this curse in the past - I go hard for one weekend and then like it all to be done and dusted. And suddenly six months go by until the next burst of enthusiasm strikes. Bursts of enthusiasm usually correspond with mild weather - a nice 27 degrees (celcius!)Funnily enough I got going on this garden idea when we were having all those lovely 25 degrees days - when it should have been getting cold and wintry!

But this is going to be a long term project - and maybe I will learn something from the experience besides a few gardening skills and how to compost!! Something to do with "project patience" which will surely have benefits elsewhere in life. But thank you for all your comments. I feel well encouraged - in the best and accurate sense of this word - to press on. I shall keep you posted.

Love Meredith xxx

PS. Sharon - chilli trees sound gorgeous...a permanently decorated Christmas tree in the garden!