Healthy living is more than just about what you eat. How about the aspects of slowing down, connecting with the earth, listening to the birds and creating your own organic vegetable garden? The joy of DIY sure beats the rising prices in the shops.
Here are a few tips to start or upgrade your patch:
You can collect seeds from the veges you already have in your fridge…. dry them out and plant them.
Look for treasure in your garden…self or bird seeded plants can be relocated to your vege patch. I found a strawberry plant amongst my roses one day…it has become two strawberry plants now as it grew to dividable stage. Also a tomato plant was found alongside my shasta daisies…it has taken over a corner of my raised garden bed, is braving the frosts and I look forward to early tomatoes.
Ask a neighbour for seeds and seedlings….have a coffee together.
Ask a friend…they may be pleased you are finally taking interest in their vege patch.
Being a little warmer this morning than it has been…I was inspired to weed my raised garden bed. I found two ripe and ready cocktail tomatoes. The silver beet is robust!
Recently we had a local Sustainable Living Show. One of the most inspiring and easily achievable garden additions was the Keyhole Garden.
A keyhole garden has been used in East Africa to provide food for families all year round including during the three month dry period.
It is a garden circular in shape, with a hollow central column. This is traditionally made of a loose-weave basket into which foodscraps, manure and greywater are tipped.
The ‘Keyhole” is the access path to the central compost heap.
Around the outer slope, vegetables are planted and mulched to prevent water loss.
Due to the shortage of water, only greywater is used to water the garden by tipping it into the central compost column. Instead of watering on the surface and having a lot of water lost through evaporation, the water will drain through the soil, below the topsoil, thus watering from underneath.
As the water is percolating through the soil it is taking nutrients from the compost column with it and so as well as watering it is enriching the soil directly adjacent to the roots of plants. Insects and earthworms love this system and happily play their roles.
You can make your keyhole garden out of freely-available local materials.
For example, being near the beach, the photos show that driftwood has been used for the column and the edge. Also, wire mesh has been used rather than the traditional woven basket.
Plant around the circle according to the hemisphere in which you live. That is, in the Southern Hemisphere…..put sun-loving vegetable plants facing north and shade-loving ones facing south.
Let me know if you make your own DIY Keyhole vege garden.
Pumpkins are appearing on the vine of an escapee from the confines of the raised garden bed.
Yes if you look at the earlier posts on this site you will see a small pumpkin vine developing” outside the square” (or in this case rectangle) of the new raised garden bed in my organic vege garden. Resisting the temptation to keep things really neat and under control…the vine was left to develop and spread across the lawn. Then came the flowers…and now..
Lovely solid rain is giving all the veges in their raised garden beds and containers a good soaking.
Even the runaway pumpkin vine is forming two small pumpkins so far. The tomatoes have started turning red and we have been enjoying a few each day of late. The compost mix is getting “thick, rich and creamy” with layers of goodies from the kitchen as well as efforts from the horses.
Out of the tangle of tomato vine a pepper plant is emerging and has a couple of small peppers forming. The zuchini plant has paused on production so I am hoping that some fertilizer and this good rain will encourage it to come back to work.
I planted a few more baby beet seeds last week as these were very successful and much enjoyed. Now that I have learnt that the young leaves are tasty too, I will be on to them early.
Last week we enjoyed a meal out with friends at their house. Amongst the home grown vege were some yummy carrots. I have been inspired to plant a few ASAP.
A second DIY compost bin has happily been installed in the vege garden. Just along from the raised garden beds…
it is already attracting easy use as I can trim dead leaves and other debris from my nearby patch and drop it straight in.
I am paying attention to the idea of having layers of “green” waste and “brown”/dry vege material. Also a sprinkling of lime is beneficial, as is a sprinkle of water, a little soil and the vege waste from the kitchen.
All in all a delicious concoction is forming. Last night at the horse paddock I gathered a few droppings and have soaked them overnight in a bucket. Tonight the tomato plants will be watered with the liquid and I will add the manure to the compost pile.
I have been so excited with the new addition to our garden…a new compost bin!
A mixture of pine and douglas fir/oregon I am told. My wonderful man made it for us. It is of a good height so that we can get a spade in to it easily to turn the growing heap. And it is dismantleable when it comes time to dig out and distribute the compost treasure. There happened to be a concrete slab under it…great for clearing it with the spade. I hope it will be “connected” to the earth enough…time will tell.
The tomatoes in the raised garden bed are growing vigorously and setting fruit….all is well.