Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Big Vege Patch

We started the day with a bike ride around our village today. I loved it, and my bike, Aggie, zoomed along without a squeak or rattle. She had a service fairly recently, so she's lovely to ride. There have been some roads near the village that I have wanted to explore for ages, and today we did just that. There were lots of things to see, including horses! 

When we got home I had a panic because Johnny's laptop cord wouldn't fit my school laptop, and I needed to do some work on it. We ended up taking a trip to John's school to find the cord I needed, as my one was too far away for a quick trip, and my laptop was completely flat. The local Standardbred farm has masses of  mares with their dear wee foals, and we drove past on the way home. 

While I finished the last major paperwork job of my school year, Johnny whipped up some cupcakes. Aren't they gorgeous? 
 I love the spotty paper cases. We shared them with The Crafty Neighbours this afternoon over tea and coffee. Then we went over to admire their new tunnel house. It is big and fabulous. There was much discussion about how to support tomatoes and planting tasty things like passionfruit. I decided that my greenhouse is a little small for a passionfruit, so I have high hopes for the one across the road!

My Vegetable Empire is looking good, with plenty of things growing. This is the view from the back door. The lettuces are providing plenty of leaves, and I'm trying to think of good things to do with rainbow chard.
 Today I planted the first things in the large raised bed in the back garden. It was quite a battle to make the tepee as I had a fancy gadget to hold the poles together, and it made things a bit difficult for me. The plastic joints on the beast kept popping apart. I think old fashioned string may have been the way to go. I caught Johnny laughing at me struggling with it from the bedroom. Hmmm.
 The big bed above now has one cucumber, three squash plants (not trailing), peas, six tomato plants and six celery plants. There is room for more stuff too. The smaller of the back beds, shown below, has onions, cavolo nero (Tuscan black kale) and spinach plants. The climbing frame is just perching there temporarily
 Johnny got the automatic sprinkler controllers set up today. There is so much garden to cover that it is good to have part of the garden watering itself. We carefully bring the battery operated controllers in over winter because they are rather expensive to have facing the elements all year around.

Mouse thinks the pea straw on the big bed is very nice to roll around on. He had a great time racing around and hiding in the undergrowth today when I was weeding.
I'm very lucky because Johnny is so handy and made my raised beds. They are made with interlocking landscaping timber with decking timber (grip tread side down) on the top. He made boxed corners to finish them off to match the house. Because the timber is treated we lined them with plastic. We have lined previous beds with cardboard sheets on top of the grass, but didn't this time, due to the vast expanse and lack of available boxes. There is some soil in the bottom, along with green material like grass clippings. Then they are filled to the top with a mixture of pea straw and well rotted horse poo. I don't find I have any weed problems with poo. It stays moist underneath, but does tend to become very dry on the top on hot days, so is not so good to germinate fine seeds in because they sit in the dry layer and the tiny shoots die off. You could put a nice strip of seed raising mix into a trench set into the poo. 

I will need to keep working on building the soil regularly in my raised beds by adding compost, and basically anything nutritious that I can get my hands on. I like to feed my plants with organic liquid fertilizer too. Tomatoes enjoy their own special fertilizer for maximum fruit production. 

So I had a great afternoon digging for victory, and we had lettuces and radishes from the garden for tea. Come on tomatoes!  


Meg said...

Wow..the garden looks awesome as do the cup cakes..yum.

Have a great week at work.
We took Henry to the Richmond Santa was pretty sad...a lot of company vehicles wearing tinsel and floppy antlers and a geriatric pipe band but Henry enjoyed it.
Love you guys,

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