Not spring

The problem with August is that’s it’s not Spring, but it wants to be. It’s sunny most of the time and warm enough in the afternoon to sit outside and read a book, but you can still feel that nip in the air and by late afternoon you’re back inside, closing the house to the fresh air and getting the heat going again.

The problem with August feeling almost like spring, is that you want to start gardening. Now, there are a dozen things in the way of me actually doing any gardening right now even if it was full blown spring, but that aside, I want to garden. Why can’t I? Frost. Early morning frosts that lay sparkling white all over the ground. Now I’m told that frost is great for clay and clumpy soils as it helps to break it up, but it’s not so good for for seedlings or even trimming back my lavender bushes (frost can get inside the newly cut wood and split it – ouch!).

However, it is time to plant strawberries as the frost helps to harden them up (or so I’ve read).

So today, this week & the rest of August I plan:

  • Mulch circles around with new trees (with cardboard, compost, B&B and mulch/straw)
  • Begin digging the foundations for the vegetable beds (bricks due to arrive mid week)
  • Purchase strawberry plants
  • Plant strawberries around the new trees
  • Find and clean old seed raising trays and seedling boxes ready for planting
  • Figure out a house/seedling/furniture safe place to start growing seeds inside
  • Order bulk load of compost
  • Order seeds
  • Order bulk mulch & straw
  • Beginning edging the paths around the new trees with bricks
  • Learn to prune my fruit trees and know what and how to spray them with
  • Figure out how I’m going to pay for all of this…

While I wait

While I wait for the days to pass before I can leave for Earthsong, I have decided that I really need to get focused on gardening again. When I sorted through my book collections the other day I piled up all my books on Permaculture & Organic Gardening, so it was to this pile I turned.

I pulled out all the books I had by Jackie French, devoured them in 2 days and then set to work deciding what I could do on an upstairs balcony with full sun all day (practically). Eventually (as it was pretty much my only choice really) I decided to build 2 “box gardens” and to replant my other pots. I grabed the car keys, wandered down to the green grocer and begged sweetly for 2 stirofoam boxes and a cardboard box of cabbage leaves, which he was more then happy to supply. I then drove over to CERES to get my potting mix, seawead fertiliser and of course – the plants.

After wandering around the nursery for about half an hour, I finally decided that I wanted seedlings rather then seeds. Why? because I’m hopefully not going to be here for long enough to nurture seeds into full grown, harvestable plants. So the decision was:

  • Cos Lettuce
  • Baby Spinach
  • Flat-leaf Parsley
  • Chilli plants (compleate with 1 chilli each 🙂
  • Snow Peas (which I am growing around a wire desk organiser that I don’t use)
  • Basil
  • Strawberries
  • Rosemary
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • and Silverbeat (I think that’s what it is, I can’t recal now, oops)

Then came the task of actually creating the garden. Jackie recomends filling the boxes half full with something like lawn clippings or cabbage leaves (green folage type stuff) and then fill the rest with potting mix, plant densly, water everyday and fertalise with something like a liquid seaweed fertiliser.

The end result was thus:

Lets just hope they yield me a bumper crop (or better yet, we leave before they mature and I have to give them away, lol)