It’s raining this morning and wwoofers are arriving in the early afternoon, so I thought I’d take a moment to write my blog post now. I’ve already ventured outside with a raincoat to sow some more sunflower seeds direct. I should have done this yesterday, before the rain which had been forecasted but I didn’t get around to doing it. Nevermind, although it has eased off a bit hopefully the moisture in the ground will help the seeds to germinate. The first lot of sunflowers that I sowed in mid-September have already poked their heads above the surface of the soil. I plan to sow them at fortnightly intervals until mid-November, so we have a continuous display of sunflowers over the summer. They bring so much cheer to the garden and are delightful for the bees. There are a few self-seeded sunflowers in flower now in the garden, which grew steadily over the winter. Carol’s post prompted me to get a packet of “Ginormous Flower Zilla” seeds from Yates. I am excited to be growing this variety for the first time this year.
Carol’s previous comment about square foot gardening gave me an idea for this post. I’d like to talk a little bit about how to make good use of the space you have. All too often, I hear people complaining that their section is “too small” for a garden, or that they don’t have a farm or a lifestyle block. Well, neither do we! It’s not about how much space you have, but how well you use it. I know people with acres and acres of land, yet they don’t even have a lemon tree or a sprig of mint on their property. We actually give them veggies from our little plot! Not everyone likes gardening which I appreciate, but if you do want to develop a garden, don’t let the size of your property stand in your way. Don’t forget that while rural folk may have more room, they also have to deal with pests such as possums and rabbits which usually aren’t an issue in a city garden.
I have put together a list of ideas for making good use of a smaller area:
· Try square foot gardening, like Carol suggested
· Grow vertically. Think pallets, trellises, obelisks, hanging baskets
· Use containers, pots, troughs, planter bags etc
· Plant crops closer together as Collette mentioned in my previous post. But bear in mind that while this works well for lettuce, spinach and silverbeet, things like cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli need a wider berth otherwise they won’t form a head
· Instead of having a separate bed for flowers and veggies, mix them together. You’ll find the flowers bring so much beauty to the veggie patch and attract bees which helps with pollination
· Grow dwarf varieties of fruit trees, which take up less space (see photo of our mini orchard)
· If you have a good relationship with your neighbours and they aren’t using their garden space, you could ask if you could use theirs or help them to plant a garden, as Collette does
· Plant standard roses rather than bush roses. They add height to the garden and you’ll be able to plant other flowers around them. We have daffodils and dutch iris growing between ours
· Don’t be afraid to dig up your lawn, even if it is infront of your house like ours is. Of course, if you have children and dogs like Collette or are renting, this may not be possible
Even if you are lucky enough to have acres and acres of land and have the space to plant all the things you want, don’t forget that you also need to be able to take care of all your plants, otherwise they probably won’t do that well. Don’t underestimate how much time is involved in harvesting veggies, not to mention coming up with creative and delicious ways to cook them. Don’t take on more than you can handle! Unless you are growing commercially, you probably don’t need to grow acres and acres of veggies in order to feed your family, even if you’re completely self-sufficient.
I hope this post has been helpful. Comments are welcome.