31 Aug 2014

garden share collective: september

I was beginning to think I’d have to skip this month’s Garden Share Collective because there was nothing to report.

But there’s been real action in the garden just recently, with Dad starting to box up my vegie beds.

We — or more accurately, he — is not finished yet, for a couple of reasons. First, finding all the timber we needed took much longer than he expected. Many of the timber yards were very low on stock; apparently all our Tassie timber is being shipped to NSW for the housing industry.
 
Second, my dad is super-accurate and a complete perfectionist. ‘That’s close enough’ is not in his vocabulary (before retiring, Dad was in earthmoving; he did jobs such as the Eastern Creek raceway and Sydney Airport’s third runway, where levels had to be millimetre precise). So even though these are ‘just’ vegie garden beds, Dad was uber-obsessed with getting everything perfectly flush and properly aligned. The fact that none of my perimeter fences or existing, inherited paths and borders are square presented frustrations and logistics to be overcome. But he’s getting there.
 

I am immensely grateful for the hard physical (and emotional!) work Dad has done for me. Because it’s allowed me to dream of crops and produce never before possible. In fact, I really have to improve my gardening game now to live up to the brilliant standard of these structures.
 
The new bed (dug by my friend J; on the left in the pic below) is already destined for ten tomato plants. Corn is another crop that will now be possible because of the extra space.
 
All of the beds, once they are topped up with some extra ‘vegie mix’ soil, will be considerably deeper than they were (the framing is 30cm deep). So I’m now planning borders of root vegies — beetroot! carrots! parsnip! — that couldn’t be grown before because the beds were shallow or full of the pebbly fill that we found beneath the lawn. I am imagining leafy borders of these root veg plus some low-level companion plants such as marigolds and poached egg plants.
 

So there’s still nothing new to report to you on the growing front (garlic, kale and silverbeet is going along nicely), but I’m filled with real excitement about the possibilities to come as the frames are completed — and the days grow lighter and the soil warms up — much more so than in previous years.
 
After reading Garden Deli’s glorious English summer ode to sunflowers, I’ve decided to try some in my revamped space, both for their happiness and their bee-attracting qualities. And in the plot where the bay tree was (at the end of the path in that pic above), not a new lemon as previously pondered, but a patch of annual companion plants that hopefully won’t be too bothered by the mucky bay roots I haven’t been able to completely remove. Pretty for bees and for me.
 

The weather in Hobart has been unseasonably warm of late, and spring bulbs and blossoms and other beauties are lifting our spirits after a gloomy winter. One of my favourites is pussy willow. These branches were a gift from mum; we both love the metamorphosis from soft grey kittens to the explosion of yellowy fireworks (see another pic here).
 
It’s a beautiful time to be outside right now, though many of us are being realistic — September and October can be colder, frostier and snowier than winter proper. But right now we are enjoying these glorious days. I hope you are too.
 
Don't forget to see others in the Garden Share Collective. Click on the logo in the column at right to see more green thumbs. 


34 comments:

  1. e, that is so exciting! I am dreaming of making my back lawn into vegie garden too. It WIL happen:) I am so thrilled for you, this growing season will be such a pleasure to plan for. What a lovely dad you have:)

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    1. i have the best dad, Jo :-) it's very very exciting - i feel like i have a vegie proper garden now. perhaps i will become a proper vegie gardener!

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  2. Your dad is making a beautiful job of those raised beds, lucky you. It will be a good growing season I think, how lovely to have this new space to plan for. It's nice to see spring breaking out with you. Here we are holding on to the last dregs of summer. CJ xx

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    1. whenever i visit you, CJ, it looks like you;ve had a lovely sunny summer. hopefully we will have the same here! we can only hope.

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  3. Wow, that is looking fab! How exciting to have all that extra space. I look forward to seeing how you fill it all up.
    I also have wooden raised beds, and I will say that they do dry out a bit. I'm not sure how much rainfall you get down in hobart, but if I had my way again I'd be making wicking beds, or at least lining the inside of the wooden sleepers with plastic to prevent moisture leaching out.

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    1. hmmm... we get surprisingly little rain, especialy over summer, despite what people think about tassie (and despite our prayers). it's already been a fairly dry winter, too. thanks for the warning, bek - i'll be more vigilant.
      and yes the new beds are fab!

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  4. Those new beds look fabulous. New space to grow is always a fun thing to contemplate. My raised beds are half your height. But when we had the landscapers put in top soil (only sub soil when we bought the place) we had them put a good 12" where the garden is, so I too can grow carrots without trouble. Which is so nice.

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    1. hi daphne. i'm really excited about expanding my growing repertoire to carrots and beetroot. trouble-free veg - bliss :-)

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  5. Wow e, so much progress...go Dad! I am sure you are rewarding his precision efforts with some tasty baking! Truly, this looks great, so many food growing possibilities in front of you. Raised beds are the business for root vegetables. Happy gardening!

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    1. Go dad indeed! i am very very lucky :-)
      i've had my seed catalog and veg growing books out to think about all those news possibilities jane, and even start drawing up rough plans.
      happy gardening to you too jane :-)

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  6. Is it wrong to be envious of your new raised beds? All that fabulous growing space, no wonder you're looking forward to the new season. Thanks for the mention... I'll be looking out for your photos of beautiful sunflowers in a few months time - both to get me through the dull, grey months here and to inspire my planting for next year :)

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    1. i don't mind you being envious, GD, because usually i am envious of everyone else's gardens!
      your beautiful flowers got me thru a bleak winter so i'm honoured if i can do the same for you! there is motivation for me :-)

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  7. That’s just amazing Elizabeth! I’m genuinely excited and happy for you. Your garden has grown since I last saw it. It always had character, except for those nasty looking flowers; remember :-) It’s also a testament to your fathers skills and the fact that he obviously adores his daughter. Credit to you as well :-)

    Daniel

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    1. i think i only get credit for badgering dad into making these beds for me, and making the cups of tea while he worked.

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  8. Your dad is a complete gem! I look forward to seeing next month's update. Have fun :-)

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    1. thanks kyrstie - yes, the fun really begins soon!

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  9. What a superstar your dad is, a grand job he is doing there. Just think how wonderful they they will look when they are brimming with wonderful produce. Can't wait to see them in a few months time

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    1. hello sue - me too! i have great, lush, abundant visions in my head already.
      'superstar' - i will tell dad you said that :-)

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  10. What beautiful flowers E. Your vegetable gardens are going to be fantastic, they are well planned and executed. Good for Dad, he is a wonderful man to help you build these. My husband is the same, you can't just build a garden, you have to do the beds properly, complete with spirit level and heights of beds. It can be frustrating but once done, they remain for a long time. Enjoy your Spring gardens I am sure your father will reap the rewards too x :D

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    1. merryn, you just made me remember - dad was most annoyed one day when he forgot his level. but you are so right - i will have these beds forever; the wood is good quality and will not rot away, like the makeshift stuff i was making-do with before.
      thank you merryn - i hope spring is lovely for you too :-)

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  11. Great post. My dad was exactly the same. Your beds look amazing ... you must be excited. Love those flowers .. gorgeous. Wish we were having that unseasonably warm weather here ... sick of the rain! :)

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    1. do you a swap frogpond, because we really need rain here. just heard on the radio that hobart is for a 'warmer and sunnier' spring than normal - great! but on the flipside, a dryer one. not so good.

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  12. Oh those veggie beds are fabulous, I keep trying to tidy up the sides of my beds, but have never invested in any proper edging so they will always look raggedy. I grew a parsely edge to my herb spiral and really liked the look of the edging. sunflowers are awesome looking forward to seeing some bright and colorful photos this summer.

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    1. thanks AA! there's a thought, a neat row of parsley somewhere, instead of random self-sown clumps here and there... i have lots of motivation to get it right now for everyone here, not just me!

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  13. Ah, I love pussy willow and that photo is gorgeous. Good luck with the new beds.
    Francesca

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    1. hullo francesca, i haven't gotten to your GSC post yet.
      at the risk of sounding kinky, i love feeling the softness of those little grey ...kittens! i just have to touch them everytime i walk past the vase.

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  14. oh those garden beds are well worth the post! I bet you'll love planning out your spring veggie garden in those!

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    1. hello brenda - i have! i've already started sketching where i'll put my summer crops. i love a plan.

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  15. How wonderful of your Dad to build you such great veggie garden beds (and your Mum for giving you such beautiful pussy willow) enjoy Spring, can't wait to see those beds in full bloom, it's exciting!

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    1. thank you catherine - it's very exciting. being able to plant more tomatoes and my own sweetcorn - well, what more could a gal want :-)
      i hope you enjoy spring too!

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  16. Your dad sounds exactly like mine. He takes his time and does everything exactly right, things must line up be square and goodness level! Roy and I's she'll be right attitude doesn't work when it comes to building things perfectly. I have to say though your garden beds are looking wonderful and it will be such a pleasure to plant in them when you get your plants ready. Enjoy the warming days and I look forward to coming back next month to see whats happened next.

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    1. thank you lizzie - that's serious motivation for me, a positive challenge coming from such an amazing gardener like yourself!
      i must reply to your GSC post. i read it and then got sidetracked by adding my link.

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  17. Awesome dads are awesome. I'd love to have my own garden one day and make use of my dad's gardening knowledge, too!

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    1. morning leaf! i'm sure one day you will :-)

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