Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My winter veggie garden

Over the years our vegetable garden has evolved to become two distinct areas.  We have seven rectangular beds in one area.  Three of these beds are now perennial beds.  They have raspberries, rhubarb, asparagus and, as of last year, loganberries.
The other area is a round garden.  We now use the rectangular beds more in winter and choose the round bed in summer.  Right now we are enjoying broccoli, kale, peas and the asparagus is just starting to poke through. 
The round bed receives some shade from our house, whereas the other beds are very exposed to the sun.  I also think it is easier to water just one large area in the heat of summer, than individual beds.  Well that's the theory anyhow!  I always imagined putting a sprinkler in the centre and letting it do it's stuff.  Trouble is the plants get bigger and block the water from reaching the edges.  I'll try and set up a raised platform for the sprinkler this summer.
The separate areas work well for us.  I used to find that when I wanted to prepare beds for spring, they still had veggies growing in them.  Now the winter veggies can quietly grow in peace while I work on the round garden.  It was like a jungle in there at the end of Autumn so I set about clearing it.

The idea was that Hubby would construct a temporary fence and we would put the chooks in to do all the hard work.  Ha!  I'm forever the optimist.  Nothing is ever quite that easy!  The chooks kept flying out and digging up the winter garden.  After all the work Hubby put in to create a cosy and safe pen for them!  Eventually, frustrated, I put them put in the chook yard and replaced them with our two oldest hens.

Well, the geriatric girls certainly didn't get out!  They didn't have the energy but neither did they have much energy to scratch and clear my garden.  They just lay in the sun basking while waiting for their warm evening mash.
A couple of weeks later, I popped them back in the chook pen too and set about weeding.  I've sowed some peas and broad beans to dig in when they get going.  The garden should be ready by the time the soil has warmed enough for the spring and summer plantings.

As usual, at this time of year, my rose coloured glasses are firmly in place and I'm anticipating a bumper crop of tomatoes, capsicum, eggplants and many other delights.  Last year, what I actually got was HEAPS of rocket and the occasional tomato!!  Oh, and plenty of zucchinis.
The fruit trees are pruned; they've been sprayed to combat curly leaf.  One strawberry barrel has been rejuvenated and the other is patiently waiting for my attention. 
The weeding has taken place and the resulting weeds have been used to create several compost heaps in situ.  So the ground work has got off to a flying start.  Now I sit and eagerly await the planting time. 
Will this be the year I've been dreaming of?  A summer filled with luscious home grown salads? Plates piled high with crispy, crunchy, flavoursome food?  Will this be the year I trade, barter and share all my amazing excess while I busily preserve and pickle in the kitchen?

Well maybe.  But just in case, I might start searching for recipes that combine zucchini with rocket...


Lynda D said...

Gosh, you have some really good ideas in play. I love that you have two separate gardens and that the winter one receives the most sun. Lots to copy in this post. Thanks Linda from Lynda.

Farmer Liz said...

Rose tinted glasses here too, but I did wonder as I was planting seeds ig it was going to be a complete waste of time again. I hope we have a better summer this year!

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I know what you mean about watering a bed of tall plants. I water our winter brassica bed with a sprinkler taped to a pole with electricians tape, a bit Heath Robinson, but works for me.

Barb said...

That is a great idea having summer and winter gardens. I will borrow that idea if I may. There are quite a few good ideas for diy sprinklers on Pinterest that might be worth a look?

Anne@ArtyGreen in Paradise said...

I can relate totally to your garden aspirations...and then the reality.Mine never seems to look like those gorgeous gardens you see, and when you try to give away courgettes, everyone already had millions of them!

Kathryn Ray said...

I have the same rose-colored glasses when it comes to my garden too.

I love the idea of putting strawberries in a whiskey barrel... definitely will keep them contained.

Linda said...

Lynda, some of my ideas are good but a good friend read this post and realised I made no mention of compost. I have taken heed and piled the compost on the bed now. Feeling quietly confident. :-)

Keep the glasses on Liz and hopefully we'll both have a great summer for veggies!

Gill, that's a great idea! If I can't rig up a platform I will pinch your method.

I just find the areas are more suited to different seasons. I haven't had a chance to look at pinterest yet (I don't know my way around pinterest very well) but I'll look when I get a chance. Thanks for the tip.

Hahaa Anne! You're right! It's never the sought after veggies we have an excess of!

Kathryn, those glasses sure boost the spirits! I find the barrels are fairly easy to reposition if the strawberries aren't doing well and they're easy to re-do each year. I just plant into a thick layer of compost that I add in late winter. The creepy crawlies have to work harder to get to them too!

Mary Preston said...

You did a great job! I like you ideas, you are really creative! Thank you for sharing!