Before we moved I had planted up a number of seeds ready to transplant when we got to the property
But there was a bit of a problem. When we moved, there was no garden. It was all overgrown. In fact I had less garden than my container garden.
I decided to use the sandpit by the house because I didn't want the children playing in it as I was suspicious cats had used it for a toilet. Using wood we had ripped out of the kitchen, I made one square at a time and filled it with compost that I found. This made it manageable to build a new garden, rather than attempting to clear the overgrown old garden. It is not a very big garden, about 1.5m square.
But I surrounded it in chicken wire netting, that I found in the over grown grass, to keep the roaming chickens out.
I transplanted my seedlings shortly after we moved. This meant they were planted in early December rather than October or November. They loved the compost and they all started growing well until I came home and found most of the plants dug up and some of them missing. I replanted the ones I could but I wasn't sure what was causing the problem.
It was blackbirds and they did it again.
I bought netting to cover the little garden but I did lose many of my seedlings. Fortunately I had always thought of this first season as experimental. First lesson - blackbirds are worse in the country than town.
We did successfully harvest quite a few tomatoes, zucchini and also a couple of capsicum from the one capsicum plant that survived the black birds. The zephyr zucchini were yellow and green. They looked great and had a great nutty flavour. The mortgage lifter tomatoes were more successful than the Brandywine blends. The Brandywine was a nice tomato but not as densely flavourful as a cherokee tomato variety I have had previously. Maybe because it was a blend, but I no longer adhere to the rhetoric about the Brandywine being the best tasting tomato in the world. Next season I will use mortgage lifters again but I will likely try a cherokee variety of tomato or Isle of Capri.
I also planted some climbing peas at the end of summer. These were very successful, providing peas into the autumn and early winter. Next season, I will plant many more and I am aiming for two plantings one in spring and then when they die done as it gets too hot, another in the later summer. Fresh peas off the plant are so delicious.
We also had a watermelon plant that grew from a seed in the compost. It had one very good watermelon, so we saved some seeds. Next summer we will plant it deliberately and much earlier.
The issue with this new small garden, is the same issue I had previously. In a small garden, it is not possible to have vegetables growing continuously. The old vegetable plants have to be removed to make way for the new ones. I think this is the biggest advantage of having more space in the future. I will have many beds and while some are still producing the others will be being replanted.
This does take planning.
Towards the end of summer I was wondering if I should be doing any seed preparation but my plants were still producing so I didn't want to rip them out yet. Once they finished I replaced them with broad beans and beetroot. But now we are waiting for them to grow enough to produce.
Next growing season will be in the much bigger garden. To make sure it will be ready, the chickens are at work.
5 Favourite Sights Seen
- 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
- 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
- 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
- 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
- 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.