Friday, February 24, 2012

Garden of Eden

I just discovered this wonderful online film about how gardening the way the Garden of Eden was made. Sometimes I think we do fuss too much!  Gardening was never meant to be hard!

It is fairly long but oh so true, and just makes me want to get going on planting my vegetables right now... You might remember that just before I went away I dumped a whole lot of the wood chip mulch on my veggie patch. Not normally what one would do, according to all the gardening gurus I see on the TV shows and gardening books.  They all use sugar cane mulch which is nice and fine and breaks down very quickly, and they always tuck it around the new seedlings like a soft downy blanket.  I purchased a bale of sugar cane mulch over the weekend, along with a big bag of chook poo.   Now, when I was sprinkling the chook poo around I was thinking that I should dig it in.  Why I had that thought I don't know, because I do ascribe to the lasagna gardening technique, (loosely, you know) and that requires just adding layers and layers of organic matter which the worms and nature will eventually mix up and break down into rich soil.

I guess it was because I thought that the wood chip mulch was too course, but when I started to mix it in I discovered more worms in my garden than I could ever remember. After seeing this film I am going to get the rest of the wood chips out of that pile and use it on my veggie patch.  I do need a few fresh greens added into the mix, and will add a few comfrey and lemongrass leaves and any other leaf clippings I have at the time. I do have the sugar cane mulch and will use that around the newly planted seedlings, since I think that the more variety in what we feed the soil the better, and I am certainly not going to throw away something I paid good money for.  There is a rather thick layer of mulch on the garden right now, so I might put it into a pile somewhere and add it later, once my veggies are up and established, but from now on those humble wood chips definitely have a place in my veggie garden.

I got a lovely e-mail from Mr Fothergill's telling me very gently that I had not spelled the name correctly, so I do apologize and here is the link - they have a great selection so check them out.
MrFothergills web page 
He looks like a genuine farmer type doesn't he?

I think they will be sending me some more tropical heirloom and organic type seeds to replace the ones I gifted out, so I am doubly blessed.

The few seedlings I started out have been doing well.  I must say that the lettuce seeds in the little jiffy pots under the plastic cover are amazing... I always thought it would make the atmosphere too hot to be under plastic, but I guess they like their little sauna.
 These are the same seeds planting in seed raising mix without the plastic cover.  This is after 5 days.
 These are the MrForthergills silverbeet seeds in jiffy pots after five days, so I think the plastic cover is the key.  I have planted them in pots because traditionally I tend to lose my silverbeet to dieback once I plant them out.   I will make sure they are good and healthy before I plant them out into the garden.

I may be starting my seedlings a bit too early as we have been getting lots of rain, and it is still hot and humid, but these are under the eaves, and I am anxious to get going with my veggies this season.  Open leafy greens are more likely to thrive in this weather.


  1. My goodness! You've been busy! I can't wait to watch that video link on the Garden of Eden. I'll do it over the weekend when I have a bit more time.
    Wood chips....yes, that could attract worms. I leave a thick layer of dead tree leaves on the surface and the worms thoroughly enjoy this.
    I know you know this already, but be careful not to put wood chips next to your house. Wood chips rarely attract termites, but play it safe and keep the chips away from your structures.
    You're going to have some beautiful crops.

  2. Hi David,
    Hope you enjoy it, and yes, thanks for the tip - we have stones alongside the house, all the wood chips are in the garden, away from the structure.

  3. Hi! Its been such a busy year here that it took me sometime to visit you. I was wondering looking at the silverbeet seedlings you sprouted, did you ever tried growing swiss chard in the tropic. Always wondered whether it can do well there or not.

  4. I can't wait to see pictures of your veggie garden once all those seedlings are transplanted and start producing bigger leaves. I'm sure your garden will look like if not close to the garden of Eden.

  5. I'm amazed at how well the lettuce has sprouted. I've never been able to get them going from seed when it's still hot. The plastic cover must make the difference.

  6. That's great about the worm population! Sounds like your lasagna methods are working and they are doing all the digging and mixing for you.

  7. HI MK,
    Most people here grow silverbeet so I presumed that swiss chard doesn't grow here.
    Solitude Rising,
    Oh I certainly hope so - the soil seems good, and I have plenty of seeds - stay tuned!
    I always thought it would make them too wet, but clearly they enjoy their little micro climate. Now i am madly collecting all those flip top plastic containers!
    Appalachian feet,
    I love it when you try something and it works. As to your question about the wilt - I am hoping to plant a few bigger varieties of tomatoes this year and will see how they go. Going to put comfrey, eggshells and powdered milk into the planting hole.... I don't have much room so rotating crops is hard. this year they will go against the fence.

  8. Thanks for the link to the video, I am going to check it out.

    I think that while the basic principles always apply to gardening, it is personal too. Sometimes I when I see people doing things I think it will never work and it does.

    You seem to be getting more rain than us here, hope so, it looks it on the radar anyway.

    You have inspired me to plant some more seeds. I have some in but really should have more, so after seeing yours I will put more in.

  9. Tem sido muito gostoso acompanhar este processo incrível e mágico da germinação... Estou na torcida acompanhando com imenso entusiasmo a sua colheita.
    Grata pelo link do vídeo, vou assistí-lo com imenso prazer!
    Um grande abraço

  10. I am eager to watch the video link. No time now, unfortunately, so it's on hold. Love the way you describe things. Gardening the lasagne way is a very clever analogy. Being a bark chip addict, I can attest to the abundance of worms, too! Without my own extensive and greedy use of bark in my own garden, we would not have had the type of garden I so desire. Our western Cape summers are too harsh and would not have allowed the forested feel I have achieved. I also loved your description of your lettuce sproutlings enjoying their sauna. You make all of us keen to play in the garden with your infectious enthusiasm!

  11. been very nice to follow this amazing process of germination and magical ... I'm following the crowd with great enthusiasm to his harvest.
    Grateful for the video link, I'll watch it with pleasure!
    A big hug

  12. KJ
    I am glad I inspired you to plant more seeds, although I think I was a bit enthusiastic! You are right we have been swamped with rain lately. I love the wealth of information out there, and my soil would not be as rich as it is without the wealth of information I have gleaned from blogs.
    MaZelia, I have translated your comments here. thank you, I am sure the plants know they are being cheered on from all corners of the globe.
    You have definitely achieved that foresty look in your garden. Thank you for your super kind comments, I think comments like that make me a better gardener.

  13. Dropping by from the UFHC to say hi and check out your February challenge. It looks like your off to a great start. I love the video link you shared, I've already watched a third of it. Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your post.

  14. aloha, its all looking really good, i love doing lasagna also, its so much easier to let the worms do all the hard work :)

  15. I like your approach of doing what feels right, mucking about, experimenting. Maybe because I'm doing a lot of that myself. So I feel encouraged! Very interesting about the plastic covered seeds. I haven't had such good luck this year - I'm propagating native wildflowers. This year I got a heating pad to go underneath, but it didn't help much. Maybe I'm not using it right. - so I am trying different approaches too and planning other strategies for next go around!

  16. Looks like an early spring there also.

  17. Thank you for your post! After reading your post I should really get more mulch in my veggie patch. I mulch everything else! It is still too warm this March to plant my seedling on my back deck. I want to wait for cooler weather! I guess when I post again in April you will have quite something to show - can't wait!


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