Monday, 13 February 2012

Abundance - just not of grass..!

Veg patch :)
This year we have tried something different..we have used the circle/keyhole setup known from the Permaculture Mandala garden.. our designated plot, or rather the bit we have declared as veg patch is not big enough for a traditional mandala garden, so ours is a little un-traditional in shape. Also we don't have all our planned circles working due to other crops, beds which are currently in that space. But we have two operational domes, and these are working great, even though our circles may be smaller than what is the norm as well..

We can grow Pineapple!!
But this year has by and large been more experimental, and we have wanted to try out some "other" types of crop.. so we put in Pineapple crowns., and to our amazement they have actually taken.. I am very excited about the prospects of growing Pineapple!! How awesome is that?? I currently have four, that have taken, but have an extra three crowns which I will place under/around some fruit trees in another place in the garden.

Our tomato/cucumber plants in tyres.
 We have many tomato plants this year, and despite having sown then in situ a little early it seems we may still get some sort of yield from them. Next year we will do a more controlled seedling planting. We have already harvested cucumbers, which were really firm and sweet. So we will try that again next year. 

Our first swale :) or part of it at least
Having made the decision to employ Permaculture techniques to our veg patch has proven to be a tremendous learning experience, but also lots of setup work.. I know Hazel will probably disagree with that, but we are learning as we go, and though its been laborious, it has also been fun. We dug the beginning section of our first swale in the lower orchard part of our garden a couple of weekends back. This swale will catch our bathwater from the second bathroom, and it is our plan to plant strawberries, comfrey and perhaps goosberries on the ridges of the swales.. our plan is to be able to pass the planned fruit tree spots so that they too get fed with the bathwater.. but its early days yet, and much planning still needs to happen. :)

On the orchard side of the fence we have planted two Boysenberry bushes, these will eventually cover the fence, and also act as a natural barrier/living fence here. On the other orchard fence facing the garden proper, we have lemongrass, and chives, but will also later expand with more comfrey and maybe even horseradish, and perhaps even some more Rosemary. Comfrey is very good chicken feed.. :)
Our lemongrass - still very young.

The living fence is a way of keeping out bugs etc, and that's why one should plant smelly stuff on the perimeter of the garden.. ideally.. :-P Also lemongrass creates a very dense root system which prevents the penetration of stuff like unwanted grass!! Which has really been a huge problem for us since day one... and we are slowly starting to get rid of it.. through manual labour, our own btw.. as we have since found out that moles love grassy areas. So if we can eliminate the grass in our veg patch then maybe just maybe the moles will disappear too.. *sigh*

Two sisters... :)
We ended up doing 2 of the traditional three-sisters (corn, beans and pumpkin), we did corn and beans together.. but will clear an area for the real thing next spring. :) We found that our corn plants were really healthy looking and strong, and our beans growing up the corn are bigger, and sweeter... :)

The Strawberry patch
The strawberry patch will be reclaimed in favour of a circle. And like I mentioned earlier we will be replanting the strawberries on the ridges of the swales. We will still be doing many more swales over the next couple of months, so there will be plenty of space for these little delights.

On our veg patch side of the fence we have a solitary raspberry bush.. we got a few from Carmen and Pierre over the mountain in De Hoop, but sadly out of the five, we have one survivor. We places shade-cloth along the fence which will also help separate the boysenberry bushes from the raspberry bushes in future.. and as the raspberry is of the cane variety it down not need support like the boysenberry will. :) I am very excited about these tow additions to our veg patch as the climate here is perfect for them. :)

Our Tamarillo tree
We have also planted a Tamarillo tree-ling in the one corner of the veg patch. This will eventually become a nice tree with edible fruit, under which we will create a food forest of sorts with more shade-loving things.
It will be interesting to see if it will thrive in our strange valley here.. :) as it was gifted to us by friends of ours near Lanceria up in Gauteng.. But for now it seems eager to grow, and has tripled in size since we planted it.

Brinjal - for the first time!
And last but not least we have our first brinjal plant ever! Yay!! I don't know where is came from as we didn't actually sow any brinjal seeds in any of our circles.. but this one plant has decided that that's where it is going to grow.. and it looks very good, so hopefully we will get a few brinjal from it.. very exciting stuff.. Its always such a pleasure seeing ones garden flourish, even if some if the plants are not in their proper places, or seem coincidental, and this year more than any of the last three years here, have we actually been more excited about planning and developing the veg patch into something glorious!!! at least in our own opinion.. hehehe..

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