My blog has been silent for far too long. But no more! I have a new house and a new garden, which have both been keeping me occupied for the last few weeks. The last tenant apparently did not have green fingers, although he had no trouble growing weeds. My work is cut out for me, but I intend to turn this garden into something magnificent. I have begun the removal of grass weeds all through the garden, many of which are over knee-height. I have pruned down the shrubs shading the windows and pruned the mandarin tree and part of the feijoa trees (there are three) into shape. Great additions to my fruit plan, might I add!
In between this and sorting out the house I have been making repeated efforts to overhaul the vege garden. The vege garden is a thing of great size and great excitement on my part. The only problem is that it was full of an equally great crop of weeds. Some of them were up to a metre high. Bit by bit I have toiled away, determined to get the weeds out before they set seed. Finally, today I have conquered the vege garden and it is mine! I imagine there will be many more battles yet though, as those weeds won’t give up their land so easily. They’ll be back, sneaking in on solo missions or bombarding me in organised armies.
There is also a new weed in my life. Its name is oxalis. I have never had oxalis in my garden, but I have seen it in other people’s gardens and heard the tales of this horrible beast – “What is this creature?” and “How do I kill it?” I can see that it is not a weed for the lazy gardeners. You cannot expect to get rid of it by pulling its stems, as they just break off. No, you have to climb into the garden on your hands and knees, dig up the clump to reveal the little collections of orange-brown bulbs and dispose of the whole lot. It is when the tiny bulbs go solo that you start to have a problem. They could be anywhere and if you chuck the soil too much you will just spread them around! I’m sure I looked more than a little insane as I knelt in the soil digging around carefully and getting very dirty. I felt like a pig hunting for truffles, only there was no tasty treat at the end. No, wait, there was some chocolate… I’m sure some of those fellas will be back, but I’ll be ready. In my mind, they’re not yet as bad as the travelling underground invaders, bind weed (convolvulus family) in my last garden and what I think is kikuyu grass in this garden. I also stumbled upon some potatoes in the vege garden. I have no idea how old they are but they look good and will be tested in the near future.
Well, before I had finished with the weeds, I started planting veges and herbs; pretty soon after we moved in. So far I have planted basil (mainly to let it seed), chives, garlic chives, lots of parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, spring onions, pak choy, cabbages and my darling rhubarb. I plan to plant a large portion of the garden with a cover crop for the winter but am still tossing up which one to go with. Mostly, the point of this will be to reduce weeds and protect the soil. I could plant mustard, which I already have seeds of, and then dig this into the soil in spring, giving the added bonus of organic matter for the soil. Or I could plant a wheat crop, which I need to buy from Kings Seeds, and then cut it before it seeds, let it dry, then use it as mulch for berries or other crops. Maybe I’ll do both! Next I need to overhaul the compost bin, which is covered in grass weeds, and I need to find a new horse pooh supplier, as the soil needs a lot of organic improvement. Who’s got cheap pooh?