Sunday, October 5, 2008

The goddess

Linda Woodrow. The Permaculture Home Garden.

I have read this book from cover to cover at least four times. Sadly it and I have been parted for ages as other library readers got revenge on me by keeping it out way too long just as I did. Until late last week that is when I found it on the shelf, just like the wee bear in the children's story The Bravest of Bears.

Now I am reading it again in wonder. I have so much to reflect on now that we are two years down the tracks of our gardening adventures. I'm planning a trip to the beach for more seaweed and logs this week. I haven't been seaweed hunting for a very long time. I understand more clearly the particular benefits which animal manure offers compost heaps. I am reminded yet again to use sawdust and bark with great care. I am very pleased to note that of her list of herbs which have very useful nutrients for the compost heap, I am now growing comfrey, chamomile and borage.

After I inspected my peastraw and horse poo iron covered compost heap this afternoon, I realised what I wanted to do with the strip which runs along the back wall of the house. I created this garden using bokashi compost when we first moved in. In the summer of 2007-8, we grew tomatoes, basil and marigolds along this wall. In the following autumn I planted leeks and celery and silverbeet and raspberries there. Spring bulbs have also been sprinkled along this strip. I've added home made compost, a bit of blood and bone and plenty of pea straw mulch. This summer there will be more summer crops dotted along this strip but I have no plans for growing vegetables here in winter. Instead, I think I will do as I did out the front last winter. I will lay pea straw down thickly, then pile horse poo (or sheep, depends what I have for free) on top and then finish off with another thick layer of pea straw. This will break down over winter but the surface should still be higher than before the mulch was laid. Then I will plant into the mulch in spring. The following summer I may put tomatoes there again. The brick wall and the all day sun are ideal for the tomatoes. I gather they shouldn't go in the same place two years running, but haven't read anything suggesting that a two year rotation is unwise. Whereas I understand that potatoes should be on a four year rotation and the same for brassicas.

My tomatoes will mostly be in large outdoor pots this summer. I have only a couple of spots for tomatoes in the garden beds. I notice no asparagus has shown itself so far. Maybe it has rotted in the wet. Also my garlic and shallots are turning brown at the ends which seems unusual for this time of year. I suspect that the rain has something to do with it but am not sure.


Leanne said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I haven't read the book yet but have reserved it at library, hope I am on list soon.

Tell me more about seaweed.

Love Leanne

Nova said...

hmm maybe i need to read it again, cos when i did i felt like it wasn't much use if you didn't have room for a 7m mandala.. most likely missed a lot of good stuff!

is it odd that i am totally jealous of your straw & poo pile?! lol.. :D

Nik said...

I need to reread her as well but she's been on loan for a while. I look forward to reflecting on what I first read a few years ago too and take a bit more on board.

Nova, you definitely don't need to the full space to give it a go.