Thursday, 26 December 2013

the transformation of a garden



Anyone who knows me, might say I'm just a little bit obsessed with my garden. It's true, I do loooove my vegetable garden, but it wasn't always the pretty and productive space it is today. When we first bought our place, the space that's now the veggie garden was nothing more than head high weeds and a jungle of pumpkin and choko vines. Amazingly with some hard, sweat inducing work (and a few choice words), it was actually turned around quite quickly. My husband would also like me to add that it was mostly his hard, sweaty work that cleared those weeds. I did help. I promise, I did! I had blisters on my hands to prove it!

It took a couple of weekends to clear the weeds and vines and to flatten the area. We (OK, mostly hubby) did that with just our hands and some shovels. It's not perfectly flat, but it's not too bad.

Anyone who's built a garden will know they're not cheap when you're starting from scratch and we had a budget to stick to when starting ours. Originally we thought we'd build our raised beds out of wood, but we live in a high rainfall, subtropical region and wood tends to warp really quickly where we are. So we settled on corrugated steel beds. The cheapest we could find were the little raised beds from Aldi which we butted up next to each other to create lines and maximise our space. We filled the bottom of the beds with the topsoil we had and then brought in some loads of local organic compost to top them up with. 

As I was trying to keep costs down, almost everything in our garden was started from a few packets of seeds. My kids helped me plant everything out. It was so exciting for us all watching those gorgeous little seeds sprout to life and within 6 weeks we had something resembling a proper garden! You can get a better look at how dramatically the garden changed in the first six weeks here.

Over the next months, we had some truly sucky weather conditions (a drought period, heatwave and then 2 floods!) which made us reassess how we were gardening. The floods made us realise we had some serious drainage issues. Half the garden just washed away in the rain and to solve these problems (and when the budget allowed) we filled the rest of the space with more raised beds with some drainage pipes placed underneath. We originally mulched between the beds with woodchips salvaged off the side of the road, but the rainfall made these break down far too quickly. So just last spring we brought in some pebbles to keep the weeds at bay and so far they've been doing an amazing job! Those pebbles completely transformed the space. It's not a perfect garden, but it's mine and I love it. Hmm, I think I might have mentioned that already.



There's been a lot of trial and error with the garden. We've had some huge successes and amazing crops- more beans, eggplants, basil and peas then we could eat! But also some spectacular failures- a complete bust of a potato crop, pests obliterating crops overnight and my pesky nemesis bowerbird pinching the best strawberries (I've got my eye on him, don't you worry). It's all been a blast though and I'm a complete garden junkie now. I don't feel complete until I've had a little wander through my "supermarket" aisles to see what we can harvest for dinner! It's an ever evolving thing and I'm always planning what the next season will bring! Obsessed? OK maybe just a little

Want to see how fast my garden grew in the first 6 weeks? You'll find that HERE.

Want to see what my garden looks like right now? Click HERE.


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11 comments:

  1. Oh your garden is just beautiful!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much! I see from your blog you grow a very lovely garden of your own!

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  2. You really have created a beautiful garden, so much wonderful food. I think that I have to put some planning into my veggie garden, there is lots of weeding to be done before anything can be planted. Your photos are inspiring:)

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    1. Thank you! Veggie gardens are awesome... the hardest part is getting started :)

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  3. Wow...that is one beautiful space you've created...and so quickly!!! My big garden is a rather ambitious space that I've slowly been building up bit by bit for seven years. And we are not halfway yet! Then there is my kitchen garden which I threw together in a week and it is lovely and thriving and giving so much food. Hmmmm....I also am a little "crazy" about my gardening and I'm happy to know there is another one like me on the other side of the world!
    xo Jules

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    1. Thanks Jules! I love finding other people mad on gardening. It's a very addictive hobby :) Your garden is great, although you are probably looking forward to some warmer weather!

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  4. Hi.
    Came from a link on another blog - loving your garden. How long ago were the garden beds at aldi? I am struggling to find something to edge ours......

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    1. Hi Alli! The garden beds are one of those "weekly sales" at Aldi, and they normally only come on sale once a year I think? I can't recall exactly when our beds were bought (we've bought them over 2 years). I don't think Aldi has sold any this year yet though. They don't tend to last long on their shelves because of the price. You just have to keep your eye on the catalogue to find out when they are next on sale.

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  5. We love the look of your raised beds & want to make ours the same way. What did you use on the corners to keep the metal sheets together? Thanks

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    1. Thanks Gerri! These are mostly premade beds from aldi so they have a corner piece that comes with it, that you screw in. It's basically just a small flat piece with the edges turned in for screwing in. Good luck with your garden!

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