Tuesday, May 31, 2011

wow! it's really happening!

well ... i am chuffed, ecstatic and over the moon .... it's happening.  our wasted gorgeous expanse of backyard is really starting to transform .... it's not a wish, a hope or any of that .... it is really happening.

so .... back in my Contour .... it's a catching thing! post .... i referred to our great plans for the shape of things to come in our backyard .... here is a refresher on what it was gonna look like.

the whole idea here was that we had defined the flow of water across the block ... identifying this meant that we could capture and re-use that water, naturally.

so the next thing was to get all our supplies together.

1. cardboard.  and heaps of it.  sourced from grocery stores and the like, but a lot of the stuff at the grocers has a waxy finish on it and would take longer to break down .... but we found that the stack under the back entry of the local liquor store was the IDEAL source <g>.  cost .... nada!
2.  mulch.  well aren't we lucky that we've just had a council mulch day?  we have a nice big big pile in the front yard thank you!  cost ..... zilch!
3.  straw.  well, we had to buy this .... could've sourced it a tad cheaper down in the flat lands .... but would've eaten up more than that in the cost of petrol to go and get it .... so we just bought it local.  two bales for $22.  not bad!
4.  chook poo.  well.  hubby was on a mission and he went around some of the area farms and was able to get me 10 bags for $2 each.  woohoo!  potent stuff too .... needs to air out and be thinly used.

so.  time to get going!  first thing is to lay out the carboard in the pattern we want.  logs that have been cut from trees in our yard will make the borders of the beds.  this all goes well.  bed is about a meter wide, which will make for easy access on either side.

first thing to go down is straw.  honestly .... should've used mulch.  but i wanted to use these beds fairly quickly.  and i knew that using straw vs mulch would provide for quicker decomposition.  so a nice thick layer of straw goes on the beds.  this is followed by the chicken poo.

note that we have let the carboard hang out the edges of the bed excessivly.  the area's between the beds will eventuallly be filled with a pine bark mulch .... yet to come.  in the picture to the left note the tripod behind the bed.  this is a very deep area that i will be planting beans in shortly to get the nitrogen fixing stuff happening.  this area gets excellent sun during the day, so i really needed to exploit it.  the tree in the tire is a tangello.

you can see from the next photo that i actually have a rich soil down on one end of the bed.  this is because this is where the asparagus will get planted (two are being transplanted, two are new crowns i have purchased).  it needs a good deep rooting (10 cm) and would be completely overwhelmed by the chicken poo .... so i am using a rich soil from another part of our yard for this.  this will need another 4-5 wheelbarrows of soil before it is ready to take the crowns.

and finally .... another layer of straw.  this will bed the whole thing in very nicely.  the picture to the right shows it half covered so you can see where it is all going.  because of the potency of the chook poo it will need to sit for several weeks before i can consider planting.

I am thrilled to report that we have been having torrential downpours the past few days which have done a few things that are very special.

  • the rain will be helping to magnificently kick start the decomposition process and means that i should be able to start planting in the next week or so.
  • the contour thing has worked!  i have watched the meandering trail of water as it trickles down .... straight to our back bed!  whoohoo.

after this beds in, we will need to add a layer of good compost / soil and cover with straw.  it is in this straw that we will make little holes, fill with lovely soil and plant out my seedlings.

we have had a great addition to our backyard  .... hubbies home made bbq barrel.  it worked a treat for us when we used it this past weekend!  note the models to the right.

and the other is that the front bed continues to get more and more planted out.  the past few days i added some lovely baby spinach.  yumm!!!!  note that i have used the method that makes a whole in the straw, fills with a bit of manure and soil and then beds the plants in.

 i am so looking forward to what we will be eating from our garden kitchen come springtime!

next job .... off the the liquor store ... need more cardboard!  <g>


  1. Oh Maggie, your blog is a feast for the eyes! I have to dash off to do school drop offs now, but I can't wait for a spare hour or two to read every single post. Just love seeing how other people garden , it is just so inspiring.
    Just loved visiting.
    Would it be okay to mention your blog on my blog? I have so many people beginning to garden, this would really get them going.

  2. Hey Kim! of course you can! i reckon the more we talk about and share how we are trying to go green and reap the benefits of working in the garden and eating in the garden the better of we'll all be! it's great to share! go for it! (and tell me about your's too!)