Following on from an earlier post about the amazing garden I visited in Coromandel Valley, I figured it was probably time to bring you an update of what’s been going on in our garden.
We had an interesting summer season at our place, the wicking bed was certainly a great addition to the garden, however one big lesson for me this year was about the need to give shade to my plants, especially on the hottest days of the year. The wicking ensured a constant source of water to the roots of the plants, but on those 40+ degree days my poor tomatoes were all but scorched and it took them a long time to recover, and in some cases they didn’t. So that was quite disappointing and not really something I’d needed to worry about before as my biggest problem used to be finding a spot that allowed for full sun. (We did enjoy lots of fruit though so it wasn’t a complete disaster!)
Alas though, gardening is all about trial and error, finding out what works in your garden and what won’t. Next year I will have a go at constructing a bit of shade (using white shade cloth) to allow light and heat through but also offer some much-needed shelter from the sun.
In the back bed, my little selection of greens and herbs is going great guns. The worms in this bed are clearly very happy as everything continues to thrive. I haven’t really intervened much at all here, except to add a very welcome layer of compost, and the occasional addition of a new plant, some seeds or leftover scraps from an onion.
Perhaps my finest achievement so far has been the overhaul of our backyard space. When we first moved in this area was quite beautiful but very dependent on water and not really all that user-friendly. After an extended trip away, during which our watering system gave up the ghost, we returned to find a lot of the plants in the garden had up and died so for a long time the space was grossly neglected.
Late last year P and I decided we were tired of looking at the wasteland that was our back garden so we set about trying to overhaul on it on a really small budget and with minimal intervention and we reckon we did a pretty good job. The first job was to build a small retaining wall to allow us to open up the space around our bbq area a little. We wanted a small patch of grass that was going to be water efficient but also allow us to hang out and read a book on on a warm summer afternoon. We used recycled red bricks for the wall and then behind that we dug in a tonne of new garden soil, compost and cow manure (which I’m sure our neighbours were really happy about!). The gum tree in the back corner of the garden is a constant challenge as it steals much-needed water and nutrients from the soil, but so far things seem to be going ok and we’ve reached an agreement where I won’t constantly threaten to chop it down if it promises not to drop a large branch on our roof.
We set about planting out a range of mixed use plants, some native, others not, some edible, others not. As you can see, some have thrived and others have not. Once the plants were in we added some dark mulch to help keep the ground moist and every couple of weeks everything gets a good feed with seasol.
There is still lots of work to be done in this part of the world and we are constantly battling the large gum tree in the back corner of the yard which drops everything from branches, to leaves to tiny gum nuts to keep us on our toes, but in all this space brings me a lot of joy and my favourite part of the day is being able to come out and see how much things have grown.