Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chloe's post...

This post was actually written 2 months ago; it's just taken me this long (and my sister returning) for me to figure out how to upload it (yes, I'm technologically inept...)


So, I’ve taken over most of my sister’s stuff – her house, car, dog, friends – I may as well continue the identity theft and take over her blog as well! (she's gone to Europe for 2 months...)

I’ve always been a keen gardener; mum almost killed me when I was little and decided the black recycling bins would be a great place to start a veggie garden. When I rented a place in outback NSW I transformed the garden, relandscaping and planting a Aussie Native garden which flourished in the dry heat, hopefully its still alive today (I planted it with the knowledge it would have to cope without any human input/watering once I left…). So, having just been in the UK for 2 years, without access to a garden, I’m making up for lost dirt-under-the-fingernails time.

Following our epic garden earth-works over the easter break, I’ve continued the renovations by merging the previously separate fruit tree beds at the back of the garden into one long bed. This will mean more planting space; which is always a good thing! I had to rework the brickwork a bit, which is a little crooked, I know, but it’ll do the trick…

The dogs are appreciating the extra sun-baking space on all the fresh sugar cane mulch!

I’ve attempted to ‘naturalise’ the bed by planting bulbs under the fruit trees (I’m not sure if I’ve used the term ‘naturalise’ in the correct context, but that’s what the presence of bulbs under trees seemed to be called in the UK…). Heaven’s knows what the bulbs are; I’m quite looking forward to the surprise when they pop up, which they’re already doing, one week after planting!

The new magnolia seems quite content, not doing much really, but at least its not withering. I’ve fed it with seaweed fertiliser, so hopefully it’ll come into its own in Spring. The seat we positioned at the back of the garden is a nice sunning spot in the morning, with views over the ‘burbs and bushy hills of Hobart.

I’ve pulled out the spent summer crops – aubergine, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers – dug sheep manure into the soil and planted out the beds with the cool season crops.

In bed 1 – beetroot, onions (silly delicate little things), asian greens…

Bed 2 – brassicas – cauliflower, broccoli (normal and purple-sprouting), cabbage. I’ve scattered nasturtiums throughout this bed as a companion plant.

Oh, and garlic, which I thrilled to see is already sprouting lovely fat shiny shoots. I was getting a little concerned the bed was too wet for the little things, but apparently not. The cloves are from a bulb harvested from last years crop!

Bed 3 – salad greens (mizuna, rocket, baby spinach, lettuce), leeks, fennel, peas (next to their stakes for make easy climbing...).

Pip and I are both a little concerned about the raspberry plant. It doesn’t seem to have approved of being transplanted (with a week in a bucket of water before I got around to planting it). Fingers and paws crossed that with Pip’s careful nurturing, the little cane picks up again; I was really looking forward to fresh raspberries!

Oh, and Luce, I’m not sure how you feel about daphnes… but I like them and they smell nice so I’ve stuck 3 in near the seating area for nice wafts on sunny days, lets hope they’re as odiferous as their name suggests!

On a completely different note, on a somewhat larger scale, I spotted the words ‘Octopus Tree’ on my map of the Mt Wellington area the other day and headed straight up there to satisfy my curiosity. Wow, what a tree! Anyone in the Hobart area should definitely check it out. It’s only about a 200m walk from Shoebridge Bend (the first hairpin bend after Ferntree). Also from this point I would recommend checking out O’Grady’s Falls and the lovely little ferny valley along Betts Vale Track.

Even this early on, my plantings have rewarded me with some yummy produce – I had loads of fresh greens for a salad at lunch. I’m getting sick of silverbeet, it’s such a prolific grower! My Asian dishes are packed full of greens from the garden – pak choy, bok choy, spring onions, coriander. Luce and I cooked some good Turkish inspired dishes with the last of the aubergine and tomatoes before she disappeared overseas. Italian dishes are gaining great flavours from fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary. And garlic chives, parsely and mint brighten up any dish really. Roll on the winter veg, lots of happy cooking ahead! Hopefully, Luce, you’ll get back just in time to see them at their best and enjoy the spoils!

It’s so nice to be back in a garden again!

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