Hello fellow Growers! We hope you have been enjoying the season as much as we have. Last month we showed you our progress with putting up our fence and gathering supplies. We also started our indigenous and medicine garden and set up our earthworm farms and started composting. Quite a lot has happened since then: from landscaping and prepping self-composting beds to starting nurseries and making liquid fertilizers – even growing some food!

spinach

peas

kale

Our garden is situated between two long foundations that used to house two buildings. These building were demolished about 20 years ago and as such we have rubble 2m down for pretty much the entire length of our garden. On top of that is a mix of sand and pockets of clay.

Up to now we had been practicing no-dig beds with great success: but we were fortunate enough to work with already thriving soil. We took samples of our new garden soil from various sites and saw very little bug life and next to no earthworms. There were weeds scattered here and there but nothing substantial that allowed for good water retention deep down.

We then decided that we wanted to really feed this soil in order for us to continue with the no dig approach going forward.

We spoke to fellow gardeners and decided to dig down and really feed the soil with lots of decomposing matter. We wanted to create beds that would sustain themselves for a long, long time that we could then top feed using the chop and drop method as well as by feeding with liquid manures and fertilizers as needed. We are also making glorious leaf mould to use as a soil conditioner in the spring.

Let’s take a look at how we made our self-composting beds:

Before digging ….

After digging ….

self-composting bed

We dug about a spade head deep, keeping top and bottom soil separate:

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

We decided to go with a mix of long straight beds and circular beds.

Once our beds were dug we placed cardboard at the bottom and layered organic material:

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

self-composting bed

We also brought earthworms over from Mimosa Farmstead and welcomed them to their new home!

These are different to red wrigglers that are used to process kitchen waste. These guys love decaying leaf matter and unlike their red cousins they can live quite deep in the soil. They are great for ensuring good aeration and drainage. Earthworms play a vital role in self-composting beds.

self-composting bed

Now that our beds were ready, we were able to move over some crops. Transplanting can be tricky but were blessed to not have that many casualties.

With that all done we needed somewhere for seeds and seedlings. We had a stack of old train windows and decided to use them to create a hot house on one of our long beds to give it time to settle before planting directly into it.

glass hot house

seedlings in our glass hot house

glass hot house

extending our glass hot house

making glass hot house

Kathy was very impressed with her sophisticated stick tool for digging!

making glass hot house

measuring up

We have been using this method over at the Mimosa Urban Farmstead for a few years now, with great success and we decided to grow seed in both nurseries. 

mini glass hot house

mini glass hot house – with seedlings planted directly into the soil

mini glass hot house

mini glass hot house and rain water collected in bottles

rain water

watering seedlings with rain water

We have been collecting rain water and filling old plastic bottles. We use them at the farmstead and in our new garden for the nursery plants.

beetroot seedlings

Ms Ducky keeping an eye on our baby beetroot

We even planted in hanging baskets, which Ms Ducky has been keeping an eye on for us.

Mama Chicky

Mama Chicky having a good look at the garden at Mimosa Urban Farmstead

Mama Chicky has to stay on the other side of the fence until we need her for bug control. She does like to check in just to make sure though.

Back at Our Garden, we are really happy with the progress taking place.

Out strawberries have settled in nicely with their lettuce, chives, bulbinella, catnip and spring onion companions:

strawberry patch covered in lucern

strawberry patch covered in lucern

strawberries & lettuce

strawberries & lettuce

strawberries & spring onion

strawberries & spring onion

As you can see, we gave them a nice thick blanket of lucern which has started sprouting – nice living mulch!

Our purple cauliflowers are also doing well with their onion and beetroot companions:

purple cauliflower and beetroot

purple cauliflower and beetroot

purple cauliflower

purple cauliflower

Apart from doing well in the self-composting beds, we have been feeding them yummy liquid banana fertilizer, which you can read about here:

3 Ways to Make Your Own Banana Peel Liquid Fertilizer

Our flowers are also doing well – every garden needs some flowers, right:

calendula

calendula – which we use to make medicinal oils and ointments

canna lilly

canna lilly in bloom

lobelia

pink lobelia

pansy

edible blue and yellow pansy

yellow pansy

edible yellow pansy

From the Medicine Garden: Indigenous & Medicinal Lion’s Ear

Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour of Our Garden.

We’d love to hear the progress you are making in your garden – especially if you have also made self-composting beds. Let us know in the comments below or join our growing Facebook group by clicking on the icon at the top right of this page.

Till Next Time,

Happy Growing!

Shireen & Kathy

 

 

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