“I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I just hate it.” ~ Clarence Darrow
‘Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.’ ~Lindley Karstens
“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.” ~ Helen Keller
One of the fantastic things about having little kids is the opportunity to indulge in a bit of whimsy and revisit your own childhood fantasies.
I remember when I was a little girl, I had a dream where I was sitting inside a green canopy, picking sweet fruit from inside the walls of the cubby house. It was probably partly inspired by some Enid Blyton novel, where the main characters were rejected children, romantically making a home in the nearest woodland. But since our town was surrounded by red dirt and spinifex, my dream remained a fantasy.
Until this weekend. We made the most of the sunny weekend weather, we cleared out the straggly tomato patch and erected our pea-tee-pee.
It is a pretty ramshackle structure, comprising of 6 thick bamboo poles, with a trellis support or “walls” strung with jute twine. We even made it a little closing door fashioned out of hessian, another bamboo pole and the staple gun!
We planted around the outer perimeter with a mix of telephone, snow and sugar snap peas. We’ve had lots of perfect pea weather so hopefully, within a matter of weeks, the peas will be racing up the support. The pea plants will shelter the interior and supply a private, cool place to enjoy a healthy snack.
It’s a tight squeeze for two, but already, its popular. My daughter even requested that come summer, we make a watermelon wigwam. A smaller melon might be a better idea! Less chance of concussion. I think a Tommy Toe Tee Pee would be perfect for the summer!
The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world. ~ Vita Sackville-West
If you were wondering why I haven’t posted for a while, this week has been perfect garden weather. So I swapped the keyboard for the trowel. Lots of showers, punctuated with bursts of lovely sunshine sans the crushing heat.
My little part of the world is in a very happy place.
So I thought it would be nice to give you a little tour to see what is growing and how things have progressed in the last month or so. Let’s start with the raised beds….
My allium bed has spring onions, leeks, garlic and chives in there, plus a marauding watermelon. It’s looking a little spare in patches, so I have some celeriac sprouting in the greenhouse that I plan to pop in there as soon as it is ready to transplant.
Next, meet the brassicas! The large middle bed has brocollini, cavello nero and red cabbage, with garlic chives and regular chives. Red cabbage is such a handsome plant.
The third raised bed has chives, beetroots, cavello nero and wonderful red malabar spinach weaving its way around the trellis.
My broad beans are showing their first flowers, as are the kidney beans. The snow peas and sugar snaps are past their awkward spindly seedling stage and are now ready to start racing up the supports I have in place for them.
I also have a zucchini variety called “8 ball” which, as the name suggests, will produce billiard ball sized fruit. I have optimistically given them a trellis to run up, but it seems they want to sprawl.
Last year’s crop of baby corn didn’t make it inside the house, the kids devoured them all alfresco. So this year, I have planted three times as much. I have planted them closer together and hope they will benefit from being planted in the cooler, wetter part of the year. I have called it my mini “Field of Dreams“. I have planted some sunflowers at the fence line for a bit of cheer and to attract the bees.
My lebanese cucumbers are scrambling up the trellis I have for them, and I have a few first fruits, plus plenty of bright yellow flowers. When pregnant with my middle child, I craved a good crisp, cool, crunchy cucumber at least once a day. Husband was becaming paranoid that the greengrocers were gossiping and laughing at him as he was in there almost daily….always leaving with a few fresh, turgid cucumbers. If I had known then how easy they were to grow, I could have saved him the embarrassment and risk to his reputation.
I have a bit of a ratbag bed that is playing host to some wayward tomatoes and chilli’s or capsicums. I am just waiting to be surprised here. It’s a bit of an experimental bed. I was not sure if I could grow tomatoes this late in the season, but they have sprung up everywhere.
I moved my up-cycled cane sun-lounge bed into a sunnier spot as the rainbow chard seemed to just hibernate in the shade. I was hoping to fill this retro bed with a riot of kitschy colour , but to date, it’s hardly much of a party. A few sunny days will hopefully encourage the shy plants along.
It doesn’t feel like I have much planted until I have to photograph it and write about it! Once planted, a veggie patch of this size is not exhaustively difficult to maintain. It is, however, a cultivator of patience. I am itching for everything to hurry up and grow but, that’s really more my problem, isn’t it?
So while the backyard garden ambles toward harvest, I will focus my impatient energies on to developing my tragically fallow front yard into a perennial vegetable patch. Thats’s a whole lot of work just waiting to happen!
“We must start to see waste as a resource” ~ Ben Bradshaw
One of my favourite places to escape online is to Terrain.
I needed a trellis for the centre of my middle raised bed. The one I found on Terrain was rustic and perfect for my needs. At $78 dollars, it wasn’t cheap, but paying that with freight on top to get it to Australia (not to mention a higher environmental impact) the trellis was not viable.
So I was keeping my eyes peeled for another solution.
We were in Lancelin, at their annual Country Women’s Association Fete.
One of the houses nearby was having a garage sale. There on the lawn was a double bead head, made from bamboo and wicker cane.
The price? $5.oo. Bargain!
It fits my middle raised bed beautifully. The posts where the bed head rested are submerged into the soil and it hasn’t needed staking or any further support. It has had the cucumbers and kidney beans growing all over it and has held up very well. At the end of this planting season, I will probably give it a good coating of decking oil to prolong the life of the wicker and hopefully get a few more seasons out of it.
I am so pleased with it that next time I need a trellis, I’m going down to our local salvage yard to see what I can find. A wrought iron bedhead would rust up beautifully. A brass one would tarnish well too.
What household item have you repurposed to use in the garden? I would love to see examples. I have a few more repurposed items up my sleeve too, so be sure to watch this space!