In The Garden – July, Part 2
This week ‘In the Garden’ :
Last week was busy with replanting the little native trees & shrubs seedlings in the ‘Native Bush’ part of the garden and once that was done my attention fell to the lawn. Every house seems to have a lawn, it gets cut religiously on a nearly weekly basis but I know of few who actually enjoy this task. Since the popularity of decking grew it seems the ol’ lawn has little purpose these days, apart from maybe if you have a dog or hens, but even then there are other alternatives. Since I would dearly like what land there is to be productive, I’m going to eventually eliminate the lawn. There are a few reasons for this, and I can’t stress the first one enough (1) I dislike mowing grass, it’s a waste of time because – (2) unless I have a sheep or goat I have no USE for grass, and (3) remember this property is just 455 m² and includes a house, I kind of NEED all the space I can get my hands into. So out with the grass and in with the ‘meadow’ ! It’s an odd shaped property with equally oddly shaped brick walls, but one good thing about that is it divided the front garden from the back part and the back block of grass will stay because this is the area my hens and dogs have ‘control’ over. So any fruit or vegetable planted in the back is fair game for the animals. I’ve got plans for this area with the hens and dogs in mind but that’s for later, much later!
Two of the three allocated garden beds are in the front and will house the kitchen garden – vegetables, herbs and companion plants. While the third is in the back yard and will be sown with ‘Chicken Greens’ which is a specialized mix of greens formulated for hens. The idea behind it is to sow the seed in either trays or in the ground and after it grows you let your hens eat the leaves. Once ‘grazed’ down a little you give it a break to regrow before repeating the cycle. Much like paddock rotation on large commercial farms. For the mean time they have to make do with the grass on the back lawn which I’m letting grow to get the seed-heads. It’s probably the only part I can’t quite envision in my mind but figured I can always mow it down if it isn’t as useful as I’d like it to be.
The Kitchen Garden, also known as a Potager, is already taking shape thanks to the parsley I’ve planted yesterday and the celery I transplanted today. The celery is popping up randomly in the lawn, also self-seeded, and it’s one of the few vegetables the hens won’t actually eat so it’s easy to let it grow for a while before transplanting it to where I would like it to be (on the other side of the gate in the potager). Funnily enough, in some publications I see celery listed as a vegetable that does NOT like the coastal climate – I guess mine missed that meeting as there are little celeries everywhere. As you can tell by the photos there are no civilized ‘lines or rows’ in my kitchen garden – it’s a ‘go for your life’ kind of garden. I don’t mind if you self-seed, I don’t mind if you fall over, pretty much everything is allowed as long as you don’t tip the house with your roots! In fact self-seeding is very much encouraged considering there is a wild-flower meadow planned in place of the lawn on the other side of the path from the Potager. The Calendula’s are getting a head start, they’ve multiplied quite nicely left to their own device. Although I do occasionally give them a helping hand by scattering some of their seeds in areas they can’t reach via wind. There are gorgeous orange and bright yellow flowers popping up everywhere and I couldn’t be happier. So while some people are dusting off and starting their lawn mowers, I’ve been watching the grass grow instead, slowly mind you, but growing none the less.
Until next time – happy green fingers!
(Image left: No doubt considered a ‘weed’ by most, this bee attracting flowering plant is allowed to do it’s thing as long as it doesn’t run rampant. No idea on it’s name.)
(Image above right – Parsley in the Potager.)
(Image below: Parsley in the Potager with Nasturtium in the broken pot in the back ground. Nasturtium is a fantastic companion plant because not only is it edible, it also encourages bees, butterflies and beneficial insects to your garden eliminating the need to use poisonous pesticides.)