We have spent a considerable amount of time on our little veggie garden these last ten weeks. And, boy, we’ve come a long way. The first two pictures above show what the garden plot looked like when we arrived at the house in April 06. It had not been used as a veggie garden in years and was quite overgrown with weeds and a few random shrubs! I spent many, many hours weeding and working the soil which culminated last June 06 with us purchasing several trailer loads of compost/manure and applying a cardboard mulch on the bed to ‘winter over’. The last photo from June shows what the bed looked like right before we left for our trip back to the States. A friend wisely counselled us to plant our garlic prior to leaving which we did (you can’t see them yet, but they’re in the ground to the left of the tree).
The first photo shows the bed shortly after our arrival back to New Zealand in Oct 06. The garlic had come in quite nicely. I frantically spent the next weeks purchasing seedlings and companion plants and reading furtively to determine which plants would grow well with each other. In went the brassicas (cauliflower and broccoli) in the first row (on the left) along with some lettuces and mint (mint supposedly repels the ‘bad’ bugs known to attack brassicas); tomatoes, zucchini, lettuces, leeks, and spinach in the middle row along with companion plants nasturtium and marigolds; and in the back of the garlic we sowed a few carrot seeds and more tomatoes and chives along with nasturitum and borage which supposedly repels the tomato worm and attracts honey bees! The middle photo shows the garden in late November, a few weeks after everything went in. And the last photo shows the garden as of yesterday — flourishing! We actually yielded our first lettuces and had a nice salad last night and the zucchini should be ready to harvest within the next few weeks.
We also decided that we needed more room for additional veggies. With the logs and mulch we got from the trees we had cut back, we worked on making a raised bed. This took close to a week to achieve. First, Bruce spent an afternoon digging out a 12′ x 9′ patch of lawn which had to be chopped up into tiny pieces and put back ‘upside down’. Then we put down a layer of ‘tree’ mulch. Another day we spent the better part of the afternoon aligning the logs for the bed and drilling holes through them so we could anchor them into the ground using rebar.
Finally, we added a layer of grass clippings, the latest contents of our Bokashi bucket, and then got a trailer full of compost and filled the 12″ deep bed. Last week I transplanted the remaining tomato plants (cherry, heirloom, and beefsteak varieties), some pepper plants and a row of beets. Voila! A nice new bed with loads of room for more veggies!