Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I am back into gardening again.   My soil was old and horrible so rather than buy in some new soil, I spent HOURS digging out all my old soil (from 3, uneven beds) and  used it to level out the slope I had in my vegie patch.   I then decided to try a 'no dig' bed. 

Step 1: dig out all the old soil (NOT no dig, but like I said, I needed to even the slope out).  Step 2:  Made my beds shorter and paths wider.  One of my problems is that I would walk across the garden bed which is a big No, No in terms of compacting soil.  I can now walk in front and behind (previously backed onto the fence) and have placed a board in the middle of the long bed so I walk across it and don't compact my soil.  Step 3: filling my beds.  I decided not to be too anal about this.  I put down cardboard as the base.  Next, I had a lot of old hibiscus stick, Hedge trimmings and pine needles, so I gathered all this up and placed as my bottom layer.  Next was grass clipping.  Luckily I had a massive pile because 1) my husband is too lazy to walk it to the back of the garden and put it in the compost and 2) I have been too lazy and not composting as I've not been gardening.  Clever of me huh? :) Every thing I read seemed to alternate Blood and bone with a mineral fertaliser so next layer was B&B.  Then Manure, then rock fertiliser, then lucerne, B&B, Then manure, rock fertiliser, then about a 2 cm layer of my left over compost from the last time I was into gardening and covered with sugar cane mulch.  Everything said to use more but I am having excellent results so far.  I'm only watering 1-2 times per week depending on the weather.

I planted into it straight away by using pockets of compost for my seedlings and seeds.  I did this garden bed about 5 weeks ago.  I had seeds for zucchini, cucumber, tomato, beans, beetroot, lettuce and silverbeet to start and seedlings for eggplant and capsicum.  It all looks so healthy right now.    I harvested silverbeet leaves tonight.

I've just planted my first broccoli, cabbage, pumpkin, rockmelon and peas.  It may be a little early, but as it seems so cool at the moment, I hope it will do fine.  I also am trying some heritage seeds.  I have Japanese Futsu pumpkin and Rockmelon Charentais that have just popped out and I can't wait to try.  I will upload photos soon as I can't wait to share.

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Comment by Lissa on February 17, 2013 at 5:40

Everything is looking very healthy Susan, it will be interesting to follow progress.

Where do you get your rock minerals from? and what sort are you using? I really think they make a huge difference - I got a bit lazy there for a bit and didn't go down to the landscapers with my buckets, so one garden "refreshment" missed out. I really don't think things grew as well - I try to make sure I don't run out of Basalt and Granite now.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 15, 2013 at 17:36

Well that's good to know: I have left Pumpkins and Cukes in the ground over-winter and they sat and sulked. As soon as spring sprung, off they went again. I have found that Eggplant which I thought was summer-only also can do well in winter. Micro-climate has a lot to do with it. And many plants have more flexible growing conditions than we suppose so it's always worth a whirl.

Comment by Susan on February 15, 2013 at 16:39

I think zucchini's and cucumbers will do fine, I can usually harvest them through winter as long as I'm not starting the plant in winter they do fine.   I think Elaine was more talking about pumpkin and Melon, Rob.  Who knows about those?? I thought I'd give them a try to see if I'll get anything.    Thanks for feedback on Charentais Craig, everything I read about them (just like the futsu pumpkin) seemed to say they were the best out.

Comment by Rob Walter on February 14, 2013 at 19:55

I think it's a great move to improve access to the garden beds by widening paths and using boards. People who see my garden often comment that I waste a lot of space, but I find that a garden that's easy to get around tends to encourage me to garden more. Also, I'm always in a rush when I harvest (because I'm getting salad ingredients in the morning for work lunch or I'm halfway through preparing dinner) so it's great to be able to just get what I want without having to be careful about not squashing other plants.

Elaine, I've just put in some zucchini and cucumbers, too. My logic was that it's going to be warm enough until the end of May, so that's three months, which is enough time to get a good few weeks of harvest.

Comment by Craig Hogan on February 14, 2013 at 6:31
Charentais is worth the hype. You do have to keep an eye on them though as they split when ripe.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 13, 2013 at 22:11

Sounds great, Susan! It's a lot of work to get established but once it's powering along, it's all worthwhile. Most of what you plan to plant sound good for Autumn-Winter but I wonder about the cucurbits. Usually they don't like the cold so it will be interesting to see how they go. Looking forward to the photos.

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