Sunday, December 6, 2009

oh the joys of mushroom compost

So after light-starving my inaugural three garden beds (shown in the previous post) in the hope of killing any stray weeds left behind, I uncovered them (hazaah!) and started mulching them with mushroom compost.  Now, at this point I should point out that before my vegie garden course, I didn't know what mulching was, or what mushroom compost was (in fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't even know of the existence of mushroom compost).  Luckily, the course has been jam packed with compost theory and mulch obsession, so I feel that I know a bit more now  (did you know that there's a difference between dirt and soil?!)

Anyhoo, I mulched, then decided to stick in a couple of tomatoes, one of which was given to me by my garden loving neighbour, who has millions of seedlings in his backyard in various yoghurt tubs, plastic cups and bottles.  He just passes them over the fence.  Sweet.

broad beans

I also planted a couple of his broad beans, and I'm hoping that the broad beans that I loathed as a child turn out a bit nicer in adulthood.  I transplanted a passionfruit from the rhubarb bed, which I'd temporarily stuck there, and also put in a few cucumbers (although I now know that cucumbers grow a little differently to how I thought - across, not up - so I may have to move them).

I had sat down originally with my Lost Seed packets to plan out a vegie garden.  I had my companion planting list, my crop rotation diagram which should, theoretically, determine what I plant together as well, and my entire garden map that I drew up a couple of weeks after moving into the house.  Of course, the companion planting and crop rotation groups were totally contradictory, and so I decided to plant things as I went, just as I always have done.

Just a quick note: Lost Seed are a Tasmanian company that make non-hybrid seeds (yes, something else that I learned in my course). Apparently if you want to grow things from seed the following year you're best off getting non-hybrid seeds.   They've got an amazing array of weird seeds.  Luckily for me they have companion planting summaries on each seed packet, listing a plant's likes and dislikes.  I tried to comply, and ended up following the companion planting far more than the crop rotation.  What does that say about me?

The images below show the three beds, with a weedy one in the foreground:

On the top bed, to the left, I have planted some 'Tigerella' tomato seeds.  The stakes make me look a lot more optimistic than I actually am.  They are simply marking the spot where I planted so that I can identify if they don't come up.  Of course if they do come up, the stakes can have the joyous job of holding Tigerella, the stripey (yes!) climbing tomatoes.

Oh, I should point out, on top of the tap thingy, there is a punnet of parsley that my earlier mentioned neighbour passed over.  I must remember to plant so as not to offend, for one of the major disadvantages of having a neighbour who can look down into your backyard  is that they can identify if you haven't planted their carefully raised seedlings.

Next to the Tigerella are some spinach seeds, the cucumbers (to be moved), and then 2 rows of lettuce.  I managed to show some restraint and only sow 2 rows, following the advice on the packet that wisely suggests staggered planting.

On the middle bed, there are (from left to right) the passionfruit plant, celery, some basil and the tomato seedlings planted a couple of weeks ago (this post actually covers about 2-3 weeks activity).  Along the eastern end of the bed are sown more tomato seeds, this time 'Gardener's Delight' of the climbing variety.  You can see more overenthusiastic staking. 

Then on the bottom bed there are the two mystery broad bean seedlings, a heap of dwarf bean seeds (as a gift from my mum), and some cauliflower.

With the exception of the spinach, tomatoes, celery (which was disasterous!) and basil, I've not attempted to grow most of these plants  before, so I'm quite excited to see what a cauliflower looks like, and I'm almost wetting myself over the Tigerellas.

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