Garden Update

Wollemi PineGarden Update: Planting weekend has arrived! The Snook and I started on Saturday by pruning the lilli pilli trees to create a bit more sun on our garden beds. Then today, we got up bright and early and headed – IN A UTE! – to Gardens R Us. We came away with about twenty punnets of seedlings, and handful of seed packets, potting soil and compost, a pot, and a couple trees. (I also got a very special little tree – shown here – which I’ll tell you about in a minute.) We unpacked it all at home and set to work planting it out. We were guided by the plant density suggestions in Square Foot Gardening. Man, the “Mel’s Mix” sure makes planting easy! We were just digging things in with our hands. It didn’t take long to get everything in place.Side bed
Here’s the bed along the side of the house. This one has two savoy cabbages, cavolo nero, baby cos lettuce, leeks, and some rainbow chard.

New trees
Two new trees: a lime tree and a bay (i.e. laurel) tree. We’ll never pay for limes and bay leaves again!

Lemon tree
Our lemon tree got moved to the corner by the sliding glass door, which gets lots of sunlight. It’s got so many blooms right now; we should get a ton of fruit off it this year.

Small bed
Here’s the small bed beneath the bottlebrush tree. This one is dedicated to salad and herbs. We’ve got basil, coriander, lettuce, parsley, rocket… and petunias. (We got a couple flowers for colour.)

We’re giving strawberries another try. Snookums has planted four different varieties in the top two troughs. We’ve also got a trough of coriander and sage, and a couple pots of cat mint and cat grass. (We’ll bring those inside periodically and drive the kitties wild.)

Kangaroo Paws
This bed is waiting patiently til next weekend. It has lavendar and rosemary, but the Snook has grand plans. We bought four potted kangaroo paws (all in different colours) and we’ll plant them out next week. I think they’re going to look fantastic.

Big garden bed
Here’s the big garden bed. The tall climbers are all along the back and side so we can build a frame for them. We’ve got four different varieties of tomatoes (including black Russian), broad beans, snow peas, jalapenos, cauliflower, red chillis, beets, broccoli romanesco (the weird one), capsicum, beets, ORANGE PUMPKINS, and snapdragons in the corner. Oh, and the four squares on the right have been planted with asparagus crowns, which apparently can take a couple years to start producing.

Fence bed
This is the narrow bed along the fence. We’re trying sweetcorn again! We’ve also got two types of dwarf bush beans (butter and snap), and more basil, beets, leeks, and rainbow chard. The Snook also planted some shallot bulbs with a couple petunias. (He was singing some song about being a “lonely little petunia in the onion patch” the whole time.)

Wollemi Pine
And lastly, next to the front door is my Wollemi Pine. I was thrilled to learn that Gardens R Us sell them. These amazing Australian trees were only discovered fifteen years ago, and it was the botanical equivalent of finding a herd of living dinosaurs. They were thought to be extinct for hundreds of million years before Steven Noble, a “modern day explorer,” found some near Lithgow. Less than a hundred trees survive, and they’re obviously critically endangered (to the point where the exact location of the trees is classified). However, a few years ago they started a cultivation program and it’s now possible to buy your own Wollemi Pine. (Proceeds go to the conservation effort.) They’re not cheap, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s the coolest thing ever. I’m naming him “Coelecanth”.

Expense Report:

Month Time Cost Harvest
September (so far) 11 hours $535 รขโ‚ฌโ€œ

Again, this doesn’t include our time going to the nursery to pick out plants, nor does it include the ornamental (and expensive) stuff like the Wollemi Pine and the kangaroo paws.


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  1. Your garden is SO much more organised than ours… My husband spend today finishing off the structural part of the cubby house we’re building for our daughter. So domestic.

  2. Mulch! You guys need a good think layer of sugarcane or lucerne mulch over the top of all that. It’ll help regulate the temperature of the soil, stop it drying out, and help keep the weeds down. Our yields were significantly improved when we started mulching. It’s looking great though!

  3. woohoo – I love the pictures with the plants named on them – and all I did was stick my arse in the air all weekend….

  4. Yeah, we’ll probably mulch once the seeds have sprouted and all the transplants are established. I’m not too worried about our soil drying out due to the peat and vermiculite. Judging from how it felt during planting, this stuff stays moist like a champ. (Mel doesn’t address mulch in the book except for people in extreme climates, so I’m guessing that means officially it isn’t required.)

  5. Ooh, I love that rainbow chard. It’s tasty and sooo pretty. I got some rainbow chard seeds for my own garden, I hope it grows well.

  6. you guys are so organised! I started growing some seeds in a tray on top of the heater but I can’t wait til it gets a bit warmer here so we can get our veggie patch started.

    You do realise that it may take a little while for your lime tree to start fruiting? You may not have a yield for mojitos this summer ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Not that organised, really. I read the book, then we went out with a tape measure and worked out where we could put beds. Then a little bit of maths to work out how much material we’d need to build and fill them. The hardest part was finding the vermiculite and peat moss in significant quantities. (Future Googlers: See my post from last week for details on where to get in Sydney.) The actual vegetable selection was very haphazard. I went through the ones he suggests in the book and made a list of the ones that we’d actually eat. We made the executive decision to avoid big pumpkins, zucchini, and eggplant this year since they tend to take up a lot of room. So when we got to the nursery, we just picked the stuff we knew we wanted and then got a couple extra punnets to fill in gaps. We also got seed packets to cut down on extraneous seedlings. (The only thing I had in excess was 4 savoy cabbage seedlings, which were on clearance anyway. I gave them to my neighbour Michael for his garden.)

    So while my little pictures make it look organised, in reality it was just a bunch of scribbles and a couple lists in a notebook!

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