Now Spring is finally here I’m resolved to grow more food in the garden. I need to put my money where my mouth is if I’m talking about seasonal, locally grown, food miles matters. But, I needed to start from scratch with a big mouth and no money.
Last year didn’t deliver the bumper harvests of the year before, due mostly to my apathy, but I’m determined to start as I mean to go on this time. It’s an ambition of mine to grow zucchini – an ambition that has been thwarted for the last three years, by shady position, cool temperatures, and my garden nemesis, Powdery Mildew. I have one more red hot go left in me. If I’m not successful this year, I vow to give up trying and shall never speak of it again.
So last weekend I set about creating a new veggie bed. This one would have it all – sunny position with good airflow all around, smack bang in the middle of the yard. I roped in Mr. B for his heavy lifting abilities and sparkling wit.
First we planned out our area and removed the bricks – easy. These would be re-laid elsewhere. Next we scraped off the sand they were bedded in, then dug up the gravel layer underneath that – both were used for the re-laying of the bricks. Then came the heavy lifting part – Mr. B dug up the earth to a depth of about 30cm, as I wanted my zucchini to have the best possible home. I did the light lifting, squashing myself into small spaces and awkward positions part, when I crawled into the chicken run and dug out about half as much volume of earth to swap into the new veggie bed. We’ve done this rotating / re-cycling of garden soil before with great success. The soil from the chicken run is full of well rotted vegetable matter and chicken poop, and will provide plenty of organic matter goodies for growing hungry zuchini. The old, barren soil from under the bricks will be rejuvenated in the chicken run for a few years before we rotate again. I took the opportunity to harvest compost that’s been cooking away in the compost bin, and castings from the worm farm. All the ingredients were mixed together in the new bed and levelled and stomped down. By this time it was starting to get dark and every muscle in my body was aching so we called it a day.
Here’s a quick summary of our very long day’s work, for your viewing pleasure.
A little later, feeling exhausted, I went out in the dark to shut in my chickens for the night and almost fell into the new bed – literally teetering on the edge with arms madly windmilling, like a Warner Bros cartoon. Glad that wasn’t caught on film. Absent-minded nit-wit!
The new bed settled a bit overnight, and I decided to add 3 bags of shop bought topsoil the next day. Not too bad though – total cost AU$12.
Surely I’ve done enough to deserve home grown zucchini this year. I’ll be planting from seed when cold days and bitter nights have passed. Watch this space.