Sunday, March 29, 2015

And the Garden Now...

From the post below this one you will know that I am keen to get our vegetable garden sorted and ready for winter plantings. I had thought I would have to do it on my own but hubby has been working with me now.

Much to his embarrassment I am now going to post a series of before's and after's to not only show you how bad it was but to show you how much we have done and how you will see that it could only have been done as a joint effort by both of us.

Early summer had vegetables growing well with new plants being added in the plot I had started. I thought I had it all in hand but the rest of the vast garden protected from roaming hens was starting to become quite overgrown with unkempt weeds that in fact a good mow would have kept in tack. But I don't know how to use a lawn mower.


The one bit of advice I have kept to from my mother before I married was, "if you mow the lawns once you will always have to to them" - so I never have.

As the summer months grew hotter and drier and being busy gallivanting around the countryside with Thelma and family - the garden got neglected and had to fend for itself.

So like 'when the cats away the mice will play' the weeds took over; the self seeded parsnips, self seeded again and the convolvulus had come to join the party in stampedes.

Even the grapevine from over the neighbours fence thought it had been invited and wound its way over the fence and into the game.

The convolvulus was not content with just arriving uninvited - it proceeded to carpet everything in its' track with no stopping, including the chooks run.

But like all things one has to find the blessing in it!! and yes it provided shade from the hot late afternoon sun for the hens!

We discovered quite early on, it is one weed they don't touch.

But Hubby got onboard and started pulling out the parsnips and then the other long weeds. We removed the invasive convolvulus from the fences and freed them up so once the netting could be rolled up and set aside we could start repositioning everything for the new layout.

We were pleasantly surprised when it came to shifting the chook run.

This is a dog run Harry had adapted two years ago to keep the chooks within their own run so we didn't have to clip their wings. He had also mounted the frame on wooden planks so we had thought it was going to be quite heavy and would need the able bodies of our son and a couple of his mates. But we were in luck. Using a plank in the middle of each end we were able to pivot it along the whole width of the garden alternating each end with us both lifting it and repositioned it in its new spot.

We then carefully rolled the hen house along and positioned it in its place. The rolling enabled all the old chooky poos and straw to be tumbled out and once in place, I refilled the nesting box with fresh straw. We found the second plastic egg we use to encourage the laying of eggs, under where the nesting box was in the old run, so that was a bonus. Being light the hens can sometimes scratch the plastic eggs over the edge but it can also be gathered by the excited grandchildren and maybe discarded on the way back to the kitchen.

Then all that was left to be done was to re-fence the area for the next seasons gardens so we can start on them and keep the hens out. We took a huge trailer of green waste to the dump and with other places around the yard still to be cleared there will be another to go later.

In the photo below you can see the chook run then a strip with an openable gate at each end that will be left grassed for walking on.
I have already started to dig over the next part for winter vegetables then there will be another strip for walking on and reaching across the new plot.
Next to this is where the summer garden was with the remaining vegetables that survived on their own in the foreground.
The large gate right at the base of the photo is where the hen house and chook run was and will be used for composting grass clippings and other fine vegetation. Harry plans to fence this part off separately so the hens can be allowed in at times to scratch it over without getting into the main garden but not able to destroy the general shape of the plot.
Next spring Harry will then double dig it over to plant our potato crop.

And through it all there are still some vegetables left for us - a cabbage (that the chooks had a bit of a field day with, when left unattended, when the fence was down!) some broccoli, silverbeet and some beetroot.

We've already eaten the main broccoli heads but they are a sprouting breed so will still supply us with new shoots over the next few months.

So now keeping up with a little work in the garden each weekend, as I have been doing with the other gardens around the section. I will be able to keep everything in check and productive.

What a joy.

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