Project 4: Companion Planting
Well, it's been several months since we last posted about the garden project, but don't think that means that we have been idle.
On the contrary, we've been busy little bees!
We now have a fully functional vegetable garden. Yep, it's true, we missed a few blogs along the way, so I'm going to run you through our veggie garden antics.
We decided to create a vegetable garden which is essentially chemical free. Considering that Yianni has Multiple Sclerosis, we want to ensure what goes into our bodies is as free from chemicals as possible.
So, what is COMPANION PLANTING?
Essentially, it’s a method of growing plants together, with the idea that they will assist each other in some way, like deterring pests, improving growth, enhancing flavour and attracting beneficial insects.
Sometimes it's a no brainer. For example, tomatoes and basil should be planted together.
TIP #1 - Don't do what we did and overcrowd the garden bed. The seedlings look so tiny, but they quickly grow & dominate the space. So far, we have been lucky to control the growth of the tomatoes...so far!
What we noticed was that the basil was filled with aphids at first and now, they seem to have disappeared from both the basil & the tomato plants.
We have also planted Rose Geranium in the back, along the fence, on the left of the image. THIS plant always has little white things flying when we brush against it, so it could possibly be helping to deter the aphids...we don't know, but it seems to be working!
3rd October 2020
RAISED GARDEN BEDS
These raised garden beds are available online, from places like Bunnings or other gardening centres. We chose to support a local business, Amari Tanks, who also manufacture rain water tanks (that's a blog for another day).
The benefits of purchasing from a local manufacturer are:
Superior quality product
They came fully assembled
Delivered to the door...well actually, placed in the garden!
Reduce your carbon footprint
You are supporting local industry and keeping locals employed
Plus they were really great to deal with!
10th October 2020
WHICH SOIL TO CHOOSE?
Our next hurdle was soil. We have no idea where to get soil from! So we again went to Google and in our case we are lucky enough to have our Theio Yianni who recommended the soil to buy and from where.
Our choice was to purchase from Jeffries Garden Soil, which we did all online and they delivered to our driveway. We chose the Jeffries Veggie & Garden Soil as it was recommended for raised garden beds because it resists compaction and is high in organic matter.
LAYERING UP THE GARDEN BEDS
When the garden beds arrived, we lined the bottom with cardboard which we had saved up and watered it in for about 2 weeks.
We then placed a layer of twigs, leaves, lawn clipping and general organic material from around the garden and whatever had fallen from the giant eucalyptus tree in our front yard.
We ordered the soil.
Compost - we have been composting for several months and mixed this with the soil which arrived
Topped each of the garden beds with the soil, mixed with the compost and let that sit for about one week
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT'S TIME PLANT!!
We had attempted to sow seeds, but that was a bit of a flop! Plan B it is then!
1st November 2020
It seemed that seedlings was the way to go, especially for first timers like us. This meant a visit to Virginia Nursery to buy some seedlings. Admittedly we got over excited and purchased too many for the area that we had to plant. No problem, we persevered and planted ALL of the seedlings in to the garden beds! They were so tiny & cute, ppfft, not sure what all of the fuss was about planting them at certain distances...we got this!
No we did not get this! Even though everything seems healthy fast forward to today and we can see that the garden beds are overcrowded, especially the zucchini plants. They are out of control!!! This garden bed has Aubergine (Eggplant), Zucchini & Lebanese Cucumbers. However we didn't know that zucchini grow so big and we planted 6 of them in such a small area...noted for next year!