Garden preparation is one of the most rewarding jobs in the gardeners calendar. I really enjoy having a good dig around the garden to improve the soil with chook poo, dynamic lifter, worm castings, and blood & bone.
This year I had some additional help in the garden. Two weeks ago my friends decided to get together and help out in the patch!
They got out their digging implements and gave all of the beds a good going over.
All I had to do was coax them into the next bed once I thought that the previous bed was worked over sufficiently.
I had no complaints from Edwina or the other hens, that is for sure. They thought that all of their Christmas’ has come at once. Over the course of the week, I led them to the garden beds, and for a good couple of hours they turned over each bed. They got rid of any earwigs, slugs, caterpillars, and any other insect they could find. For services rendered I gave them a big handful of sunflower seeds when they got back into their coop.
As I mentioned on Wednesday, I planted some purple podded peas. Here is what the legume bed looks like at the moment.
It is a little difficult to see, but the picture is of a trellis held in place by recycled tomato stakes. I found that my summer crop of snow peas was able to grip onto this wire much better than string or wooden trellis, so I went with this again this season. Soon it should be covered in masses of green with wonderful purple flowers.
Today, according to Cosmic’s moon planting guide was a good day for planting leafy, onions, garlic plants. I started at about 1100 and first planted the garlic. I had two bulbs of Early Purple that I bought from Diggers, and I managed to get 29 cloves out of them. Here are some of them in the ground.
I then mixed up some potting mix that I made from coconut coir, worm castings, garden bed dirt, and some compost. It was a fairly fine seedling mix and I hope it works well. I planted red onion and elephant leek seeds into punnets and will transplant out in about a month. The orange things on top are Maxicrop snail pellets. Last year, everything I planted got decimated by slugs so this year I took precautions.
I then decided to plant some more rainbow chard and English spinach. They shouldn’t take long to sprout, and I have the garden bed all ready for them to go into.
In one of the beds I have some spring onions that I must have missed last year. They re-sprouted about two weeks ago and are doing well. After all they are just glorified bulbs. I also have some silverbeet that is still going strong in the same bed. It should last another few weeks.
I also found three leeks that had re-sprouted from last years crop, so I transplanted them into the garlic/onion/leek bed. They look a bit lonely, but will have other leeky friends soon enough. I used a bit of spare broom handle that was about 30cm long, poked it into the ground about half way and dropped the seedlings in. I then watered them in. That way, I am hoping they will have nice white stalks come harvest time. I think the Veggie Gnome gave me that tip.
Next, I re-potted two blueberry bushes I had been neglecting.
The pots had contained the remnants of two nasturtium bushes that I planted three years ago. They lasted for ages, but the heat wave got them over summer, so it was time to make good use of the pots. I mixed up two big handfuls of worm castings and about half a handful of blood & bone into each pot before I transplanted.
I then transplanted a Chilean guava that had out grown its pot. I used the remaining seedling mix and added about four handfuls of garden bed dirt for good measure. It is in the square pot, in front of the sage bush.
I still have three capsicum bushes growing well, and all three are still flowering. Here is a two year old bush that is still producing masses of bell peppers. I just keep watering and feeding it, and it keeps flowering and fruiting. There are about 20 capsicums on it now, with some of the smaller ones going red very quickly.
Well that is about all I managed to get done today. I was quite happy with the days work. The other seeds that I bought from Diggers were Broad Bean Aquadulce, Broad Bean Crimson flowered, Carrots All Seasons, Warrigal Greens (native spinach), and a big bag of lucerne seeds that I will sow in Spring as chook feed and green manure/mulch. I will plant the broad beans near the end of the month. I really enjoyed getting my hands dirty. It was great fun.
Hi Gavin; I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for awhile now, thanks. Yesterday I had my “helpers” out in the garden as well – I had to put bird netting over the already planted up beds, but gave them free rein on the one remaining one. They had such fun – and so did I, watching them!
Silver Rookie says
I can’t wait until our garden is as productive as yours. We’ll be relying on your advice for sometime to come. When you guys are up for it we really must organise that local dinner soon.
How nice to have such efficient help in the garden.
I wish I could have chickens but it is not practical for us.
Where do you get the coconut coir? It isn’t available locally in our area – do you buy it mailorder?
GartenGrl at Cool Garden Things says
That must have made your chicken friends day!
As they love to hunt for little bugs in the garden and it’s very good for them too…that and morning sun-or so I have heard!
Nice round up. Send the chickens over my way 🙂
Chickens are the best garden helpers! I designed my chook pen so that it sits over my garden beds. Once a garden is ‘finished’ I move the chook pen onto it and a few weeks later I have a clear, turned, and fertilised garden bed ready to plant. Perfect!