We had prepared a second veggie patch site in late September and today created the beds and erected the fence. It is rather bigger than our first veggie patch, where I have already begun raising the usual. We cleared the ground for the second patch, taking out the top layer of weeds where there were thousands of worms hiding under the surface. Much of this went on the compost heap, the rest stayed in large turned clumps. On Sunday when the winds blew at over 120 kph, I attempted to lay newspaper, shouting furiously at Leo to keep them watered so they wouldn’t blow away, and then dumping bags of compost to spread over the top. While Elsa chased the empty bags over the paddock, Eug collected wheelbarrow loads of mulch from a Eucalyptus that had fallen on the fencing and across the road in Norms corner. Someone had cleared the road, leaving large limbs on the roadside, and a whole pile of mulched trunk and leaves. This was also spread over the veggie patch, with some more old horse manure from the shed. On top of this I laid sugar cane mulch, watering to keep it from blowing away.
In these new beds I planted corn, fennel (most likely in the wrong season!), beetroot and pumpkin. The girls planted rows of flower seeds, and I some sweet alyssum seedlings I had raised in the greenhouse at home. We found more wooden planks in the shed to surround two of the beds.
In the first veggie patch during September I have sown tomatoes, radish, beetroot and zucchini after preparing the soil. It has been rather cold, so there has not been much growth to date and I fear I have planted too early.
Also during September I composted and mulched all the fruit and ornamental trees, except the silver birches on the western boundary. I used chook manure pellets, and am worried I went overboard with the amount I used. I then mulched with sugar cane mulch and waited for the rain. We received an enormous amount of rain – 178mm, way over the average of about 72mm for September.
Winds had ripped a piece of corrugated iron off the roof of the shed, and while the whole shed looks quite precarious with rotten beams holding up the whole structure, the hole in the roof has provided some welcome light. I am investigating whether it is worth saving the shed as a piece of history, reinforcing the beams and rebuilding the roof and guttering. Unfortunately it may not be worth the effort or money. I also investigated the pricing of a new fence for at least the southern, western and northern boundaries with a couple of gates thrown in. It will come to about $5000 with a land survey thrown in.
Work on the landscaping of the frog pond has halted with Spring upon us and higher priorities. Blackberries also threaten to take over again, so once the veggies are established (I have room for some herbs, rhubarb, silver beet) I will turn my attention to getting rid of the ugly piles of sticks and getting the northern boundary under control. And of course, the grass will need mowing in later November once the growth period slows down and it starts to dry out.