Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I couldn't wait - building the soil for the vegetable bed

I know I said I was not going to do any gardening until  after the week down in Brisbane in early March.  Well physical work, that is - but there has been lots of planning going on....:)
I wandered out over the weekend, put on my big hat and gloves and started to pull out a few weeds, just in the herb spiral, mind you!  I tied back the franzipani that was leaning over it, and the mandevilla that grows-like-crazy, but never stops flowering so it can stay.   A nice thick layer of compost was spread over the area, and then a layer of mulch.  Now that can sit and brew, and the worms can do their job, and when I come back I should have some good soil to plant my herbs into.  The mint and tropical coriander, garlic chives, mother of herbs and basil are perrenial, and I just re-plant dill and parsley every year.
The next bed over is the perrenial bed, with four asparagus plants in the front, and lemongrass, galangal and turmeric in the back.  This is the turmeric flower - I will harvest about half for the freezer, but leave the rest in the garden to stay dormant and begin growing again next wet season.  This keeps the bed a manageable size.
This is the galangal flower, which will be treated the same way as the turmeric.  I wish I had scratch and smell - this flower smells amazing! A sweet gingery smell.

  I pulled out the asparagus plant next to the pawpaw, leaving me four asparagus plants.  Pawpaw can be aleopathic - which means it sends out a signal for other plants not to grow near them, and that asparagus was not doing well.  So now that I have an empty section in the middle,  I popped in a  few green bean seeds.  I thought if nothing else they might feed the soil.  Green beans don't do very well in my garden, so I always plant them not expecting too much, but they make nitrogen available to the garden.  I will plant the carrots and onions that I received from MrFothergills there later- not truly perrenial, but you tend to put them in and forget about them for a long long time so it is almost the same....

Our gazebo frame eventually rusted, and so it has been taken apart and delegated to the veggie patch to use as stakes.  For now they are just piled along the back fence until I decide how to use them.  I like to grow vertically and use both fences, but think I might put a permanent trellis up the middle of the annual veggie bed.  I worry that I might be taking sun away from the other plants with too much vertical growing, but I have seen gardens employing vertical trellises, and everything seems very lush and prolific.  This bed is my main annual bed, and at the moment has rosellas in the front and sweet potatoes in the back.  I am hoping the rosellas will be ready to harvest in April/May.  By then the weather will have cooled down enough to plant lettuces, brocoli and kale.
The problem with trying to grow year round is that when the main growing season starts, you are anxiously waiting to harvest the final crop of the last season.  The fence to the right of this has ginger, chokos, jicama, bitter melon, and sweet potato.  None of this has done well during the wet season but seems to be taking off again, so maybe these grow during the wet season but produce afterwards.  I may just leave this all growing as perrenials and see how they all go.  Certainly a lot of them are volunteers from last year.  The choko started out well, but then stopped producing.  I see lots of flowers now so am hoping it will start up again.  I am pretty sure it should produce for most of the year.

I am going to try solanacea - eggplant and tomato - in broccoli boxes combining a wicking bed and worm farm system, but I will do a separate post on them. Here is a very basic diagram of my veggie garden.

 A walk on the beach resulted in two large garbage bags of seaweed which went onto the asparagus and into the two compost bins.  Now I feel I can go away and the worms will be working hard in my garden building the soil up and getting it ready.  I love the changing of the seasons, and getting excited about what is to come next. 


  1. Coincidentally, I just did a post on my ginger too

    I recently planted some old edible ginger I had lying about the house. It was all wrinkly and no good for cooking. Unbelievably it has grown huge in a short time.

    I will plant tumeric and freeze it like you do - I never thought of doing that!

    1. Adam,
      yes I find it quite convenient to let ginger, galangal and turmeric spread out in the wet season, then at the end of the season, I harvest most of it, and leave the remainder in the garden. I keep ziplock bags in the freezer - so easy to grate from frozen. Then also the next wet season I don't have to be scratching around for starts as it starts up on its own :)

  2. I'm going to try my old ginger in a container. Love seeing your garden develop and a peek at your plans. Our frost last night didn't make it close to the house and the nearby gardens, but both north and south fields were "burned" and there was ice on Husband's truck this morning.

    1. Lesa,
      Lots of people here grow it in containers with a lot of success, so I am sure we will soon see photos of your prolific ginger :). Brr... sounds cold.

  3. Oh my gosh - I don't know half of what you named but I'm looking them all up. I try and try to plant things but nothing every grows very well except my herbs and Mexican Midget tomatoes. I can't wait to find out about some of the plants I've never heard of and see what you use them for. Thanks for sharing your garden plans!

    1. Whimsey,
      I think we all try and try, but for success you need to get together some plants that do well in your area. It sounds like the herbs and tomatoes are a hit. Besides with all the other lovelies you create I don't know when you would have time to garden.

  4. Oh yeah I want scratch 'n sniff. The galangal flower looks beautiful.

  5. Your garden looks very nice! I wish you all the best with your flowers and veggies :)

  6. It looks fabulous. You are growing a great selection. Love the turmeric and the galangal flowers. I'd grow them for those alone.

  7. It's looking good girlfriend. I think your idea to prepare the beds and leave them for the worms to do their thing was brilliant. Your mind will be at ease while you are away, and you now have a jump start on your garden.
    I never knew about the pawpaw being aleopathic, I love learning stuff like this.

  8. I have a funny feeling that in about 6 months you're going to be posting about record harvests from all those well-prepared beds. I can't wait to say "I told you so" :-)

  9. It does look like you will have a good crop!

  10. Wow you are a good organiser with a diligent mind and hands. I marvel at your brimming enthusiasm. I hope it is infectious, so I can get a big dose of it. Right now, the holiday season has lulled me into a state of lethargy and apathy!

  11. I don't know what is happening, but I cannot reply individually to comments. I have started a pop up window for comments and will see if that is better - sorry about that!

  12. Hi Africanaussie, to be able to answer individual comments, try this as it works for me:

    1) At HOMEPAGE of blog, go to title bar (right at the top), click design.

    2)Go to SETTINGS (left column), click post and comments, comment location, embedded (choose from drop down menu)

    Viola, that's it! I hope it works for you.

  13. Dearest Africanaussie,

    Oh My, you sure are preparing well. And
    Your pictures are wonderful; love dto see the turmeric flower and the galangal flower♡♡♡

    PS> My blog, embedded doesn't even work... Good Luck for both of the crops and the blog, my friend.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  14. I am excited to hear you can grow asparagus. I will like to have a go as well.

  15. Malay Kadazan, Oh yes do try - I think you have a lot more space than I do. It is perennial and you will only start harvesting after about three years. I started some seeds at the same time as two year corms and the ones started from seed are actually stronger and provide bigger stalks!


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