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Plot Jottings - Paula (March 2009)

posted Sep 9, 2009, 11:58 PM by Faye Connors   [ updated Sep 10, 2009, 12:10 AM ]
There has been ablsolutely no planning or forethought, completely adhock!!!

To prepare my bed I put some posts in to put up a make shift chook run and put my chooks in with the plan that they would eat and scratch up the couch and fertilise my plot for me. Day one all going well, chooks happy and me exhausted from making the darn thing. Day two, murder in community arts garden!!!! One chook eaten by a fox and the other traumatised and continued unsuccessful therapy for post traumatic stress disorder until her death 4 weeks ago, RIP Lucy.

Plan B, I made garden edging with bricks (which I planned to concrete in but never got around to). I followed a permaculture principle with a keyhole design to maximize garden edge and access from paths.

I then put newspaper down, about 50 pages thick, followed by chicken manure, horse poo blood and bone topped with a layer of compost to plant into and then mulched with pea straw.

My first year I put in eggplant and tomatoes, these were all late and looked fabulous for the first crop, lots of leaves and flowers but of course completely wasted as they were too late to set fruit. Lesson, no matter how pretty it looks, if it's never going to fruit and feed you then it's a waste of water.

My next plan was to grow a huge amount of garlic that I would not normally give space to at home. I planted probably 15 to 20 Heads (about 100 little bulbs) most of these were bought from diggers and grew pathetically despite TLC. Crop harvest 6 miserably small bulbs!

The other side of the plot I put in onions. I planted probably 2 punnets of seedlings and then replanted every couple of weeks with new ones to replace the ones that died until I had a full bed of thriving onions, so in total I probably planted 4 punnets of onions. This has been one real success. However, the dilemma of when to harvest! My onions never died down as the books described, no mine started to make flowers. I thought I'd better pull them up then and what a crop! I have my porch at home full of hanging plaited onions!! What I have learnt since is not to get too excited about onions and feed them as they will become all leaf and won't die down ( so chook poo, horse poo, blood and bone and litres of seasol and Charlie carp were very, very wrong and totally unnecessary) and the onions won't store well.

I also had luck with shallots too, which basically grew themselves. I bought the bulbs from diggers and put them in my highly fertilized garden plot and watered and seasoled my way to very healthy shallots, alas they were too over fed and could not be stored, although we ate a huge amount of shallots and had lots to give away.

Spring, was my plan to grow pumpkins which were growing happily until the recent heat wave. I also planted some salad potatoes I came across in Daylesford which I planted in January; they were also doing a fabulous growing effort until the 47 degree days. I was away for a month over that heat wave and the fantastic midwives of the "midwife row" Liz and Jo did their best to salvage what they could. The potatoes and the pumpkins despite looking like they were totally dead have been resuscitated since the weather has cooled off and may even give me a crop if I'm lucky.

My next plan is to put some broad beans in next week.

Yes there are no dates as I have no system or planning I just bung in what takes my fancy at the time and hope. However I think what I will now do is follow a little of Judy's experience and at least keep a diary of what I'm doing so I don't make the same blunders in following years.