Sunday, July 25, 2010

In the garden

It felt so good to finally be out in the garden, for a whole day, for the first time in ages. Work has been great, amazing projects and opportunities that have challenged, enriched and developed my art practice over the past year. The one downside has been giving up most of my time in the garden. So with our garden hosting the Tamborine Sustainable Gardeners Society monthly meeting at the end of August, I have given myself one month to catch up on all the pruning, weeding, mulching, transplanting, sowing.....that hasn't been done for the past 12 months, eeek!
Or I will simply thank Tom very much for his talk last month on edible weeds and explain that I have the supermarket equivalent of edible weeds in my garden.
I am fairly optomistic that I can bring about a reasonable outcome in a month. Plants have grown very well in the last year, with good rainfall over many months, and although the weeds have grown well too, it doesn't stop the other plants, just makes it a little harder to see them. It's the right time of year too for some major work on reshaping, with cooler weather and many bare branches. First job was the mulberry tree, which was pruned last weekend and has new leaf bud bursting forth now. The peach trees will be next, they are already in blossom, but as long as I get to it this week, I can bag the developing fruit before warmer weather brings the onslaught of fruit fly.

Some time in the vegie garden (above) cleared the last of pumpkin vines, pruned the grape vine and finally removed the last of termite riddled timber compost bins that had passed their best. Sticking seed straight in the ground has been my sole planting technique for most of this year. This has brought me a good crop of delicious sweet sugar snap peas, peppery rocket in abundance, potato crops and lettuce. Cherry tomatoes self seeded themselves, spring onion have grown to the size of leeks and there is an abundance of fresh herbs - coriander, italian parsley and mint. I have realised in the last year that plants will keep growing by themselves whether I am fussing over them or not. The main exception to this is watering, which I restrict to the vegie garden. The fruit trees are established enough to cope for several months without water, and although the crop may be reduced, i still have plenty and some to share. The garden is a mess, but a productive mess, and I can live with that.
I filled a bucket with mandarins, oranges, limes and lemons today, they were hiding amongst the dried asparagus debris which I cut back, composted and mulched, in anticipation of Asparagus season, yum! I do love fresh asparagus, picked fresh it doesn't even need cooking, just eaten straight, so sweet.
So I am guessing you get the idea, I love gardening, especially food gardening, and if I don't answer the phone much next month I'm probably outside having fun in the lovely winter sun.


  1. Wonderful post Nicola,
    great reading about the experience ... its great to hear about what can occur when one is too busy to carry out the normal amount of maintenance ... that is a revelation!
    I remember years ago when planting a garden from scratch around my home the fortuitous stay of friend with great horticultural knowledge helped me shift perspective from overtending the garden and overwatering to letting the plants show me what they needed by stepping right back. He even suggested not watering any natives and therefore letting nature do its thing...and over the next years when I saw none of those plants die I was able to see how appropriate his advice had been without doubt.
    Previously my experience had been is a completely different landscape and climate - and whatever i'd learnt there did'nt apply at this next place necessarily.
    Asparagus sounds wonderful ...good gardening Nicola!

  2. Looking good. Don't forget to leave some jobs for Dad to do.

  3. Sounds good Nicola - looking forward to the visit in August

  4. It's exciting to see a picture of your garden. I never though about it I guess. it looks great.

    We'll be going to Florida tomorrow; haven't seen that garden since April. It's been raining for at least a month so it'll require a good bit of work! (understatement) Here's to remedial maintenance!

  5. What a bountiful garden! It's so nice to be able to grow your own food. I spotted a papaya tree, we used to grow them in Singapore, my mom would steam the young leaves and eat them with home made sambal, my dad particularly likes the ripe fruit with lime (also home grown) and a bit of sugar.