It’s taken thirty years, but we now have a veggie garden. Today we planted it out, and Hubby and I are both patting ourselves on the back. We’ve been so busy over the years running businesses and travelling that we never had the time. But it’s finally here, and it’s a cracker.
We did it for two reasons. We live in a small country town and you’d think the vegetables would be locally sourced and fabulous. Sadly, they are not! And secondly, I’ve always wanted a veggie garden. It’s an above ground garden as you can see from the pictures. We made it above ground because we didn’t want to be bending and I really liked the ‘No-Dig’ garden concept which requires the building up of layers. There is a cost of course to this type of garden which would be above that of one which is using ground soil as first you have to build the structure, then fill it. For those interested in the cost our total was $A450, a figure which we can easily rack up at the supermarket counter! Half of that was the cost of the filling. We already had most of the materials bar some extra wood to hold it all together. That, surprisingly, was more than half of the balance ~ wood is not cheap! But of course, building it yourself, allows you to make it what size you want. Ours is 4 metres long, 1.2 metres wide and 1 metre deep, which is a lot of space to fill.
If you don’t know how a No-Dig above-ground garden works here are the layers.
The straw bales at the bottom are basically to save money. You wouldn’t need them for a lower garden. Also, as our bed was not on hard ground or concrete, we didn’t need to add drainage. Once it’s filled the bed needs to rest for a couple of weeks before planting. I think we left ours a little too long as the soil compacted and we had to aerate it with a fork and add potting mix. That was really the only bit of hard yakka that was involved.
Then we planted. Some were my own propagated seeds and some were seedlings (my lettuce didn’t strike, nor did my cucumber ~ two of my favourite foods so we needed to buy those plus a few other impulse purchases!). It is, of course, a whole lot easier to buy seedlings. They all look so lovely too! When everything was in the ground we covered it with a nice pea-straw mulch and watered it all in well with Seasol (liquid seaweed), and as we’re not compost people, we’ll be perking it all up regularly with castings and juice from our very happy worms.
We’ve been doing worm farms on and off for years. It’s magic stuff and so easy too! As we don’t have a compost heap all our veggie scraps (bar onions and citrus) go to the worms. We chop it all up and feed them once to twice a week, then water them once a week and collect what drains through, and bottle it. Yes, we bottle it because that’s the ‘magic stuff’ ~ a phrase coined by my late father who reckoned it made his garden grow like magic overnight! His garden loved it, our garden loves it and so will our veggies.
And this is how the final garden looks a few weeks later ~ it’s what I see every time I look out of my kitchen window. Hubby built the netting cover structure with pliable piping ~ easy enough to find out how to do it on google. When it was finished we stood back and admired it all for at least half an hour! We are so proud of it. And the veggies are going great guns ~ nothing like fresh salad every day to put a smile on your face!
I am feeling very satisfied with our efforts. Not ever having created a vegetable garden before, it’s turned out extremely well. As I write I gaze out of my study window and I can see our sheep roaming about quietly, and I can’t help thinking that we not only have productivity going on in our paddocks (our sheep are wool producing), it’s also now going on in our garden as well. It makes me very happy and I feel very blessed.
Cheers and happy gardening!
Inara Hawley © 2015