How does my garden grow…? Part I

This is the beginning of a massive project for me. I have dug up  a third of my beautiful lawn and together with The Drift Farm in Napier I am going to be planting an heirloom vegetable garden. It will be organic and I won’t be using any harmful pesticides or ferilisers (picture me snail-picking in the dark with a miner’s hat on). Quick definition of an “heirloom” vegetable: ‘ancient varieties that have become scarce due to mass cultivation; seeds are saved year after year to preserve unique characteristics’. Basically, I’ll be growing the kind of vegetables my great-great grandmother used to grow! More on heirlooms next time.

This is what my garden looked like yesterday:

And this is what it looks like today (note that this is merely Phase 1 and that a LOT still has to happen):

Next I’ll be double-digging and composting in preparation for the mass planting session in August. Picture giant orange pumpkins, striped squashes and nasturtiums spilling down the terraces and climbing beans and peas elbowing for space on wigwams!

I’ll also be converting the current lawn ‘pathways’ into either straw or wood-barked pathways. And my three chickens are finally going to be put to good use digging around in the dirt and ‘grooming’ the soil .

I spent hours planning and plotting the layout. What worked best for me was to use bits of firewood and sticks I had lying around to map out the beds and pathways.

The entrance is a garden archway that I’ll use for hanging onions out to dry in summer. I’ll also be planting something exciting over the arch – but haven’t decided yet (heirloom climbing rose perhaps?) I know it’s all very hard to imagine right now, but can you picture it?

I’ll to be looking into making my own organic compost and possibly putting up a tunnel somewhere for seedlings. Did I mention that I live in a suburb…? Urban gardening is taking on a whole new meaning for me and I’ll finally be practising what I preach on a larger scale. (My formal container-ed herb garden is just not enough any more.)
When I set out with livetoeat the idea was always to post about cooking what I grow. So here’s to the start of a whole new chapter!

PS The opening pic on the home page is courtesy of The Drift Farm.

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7 Responses to “How does my garden grow…? Part I”

  1. Betty Bake July 13, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    lovely :)
    I have a giant herb pot – but i also want to grow so much more… Im just so bad about watering my garden as its on another level, as living on the mountain side has its downsides too :(

    it is going to be fabulous :)
    enjoy and I look forward to seeing what you grow

    Betty Bake x

    • bern July 14, 2011 at 6:20 am #

      Hi Betty Bake! mmm… garden does need water. You could always put in a simple hose ‘drip’ system so all you need do is turn on a tap. Have you tried terraces on your mountain slope? Today I’m composting – keep you ‘posted’. x

  2. Leigh-Ann July 15, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I look forward to seeing it grow…. very exciting Bern! x

  3. Matt Allison July 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi Bern,

    Well done! Exciting stuff, I look forward to following your progress in future installments!



    • bern July 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Thanks Matt. It’s been fun so far and the beginning of a great journey – I can already tell!

  4. laura July 21, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    homegrown food is so much better!¬

    • bern July 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more!

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