The end of winter Garden is so beautiful.
Many of the plants are already in flower.... It’s nearly spring and what I decide to grow, for my summer garden, starts in the pantry.
I can dream over my seed catalogues all winter, but because I have a small space homestead, I have to be as practical as possible.
I’ve worked out what vegetables I need to preserve for next year, what food I want to grow for summer eating, as well as what I can actually fit in to the gardens.
I’ve also planned which medicinal and culinary herbs, I need and want to sow.
I don’t have a lot of space to grow my food and when you have a small garden, you usually have the winter plants still growing when you're starting to plant out your Summer crops, if you’re able to garden all year like we can in most of Australia.
The spring garden can be a real juggling act, a puzzle if you like.
You have to work around the wonderful perennial food and herbs if you’re sharing the space.
You have to think about what you had growing in a spot last summer and then over the winter and then not plant that variety of plant in the same location.
I try to rotate my planting, so if I had Brassicas (leafy greens) growing, the next plant in that location would be Legumes (beans and peas) then Alliums (garlic onions chives) and lastly Other (fruiting & rooting) everything from potato’s to tomatoes.
Sometimes I miss a variety because the timing is off when I’m transplanting the seedlings. A plant may still be producing well and so I leave it there and find somewhere else to plant what ever it is I’m sowing or transplanting in.
I am always adding compost after I have finished with an area of the garden, at the end of the plants life.
My compost consists of a lot of rotted down duck and chook poop, straw, food scraps and so many other goodies.
You’ve got to give back to the soil, it’s a living organism, you can’t just take from it all the time and expect good crops and personally I don’t want to be adding chemicals and artificial fertilisers, I want my garden to be as natural as possible.
I also love to mulch with straw, it really reduces the weeds but more importantly, it helps to keep what I water, in the ground for the plants and with our dry, insanely hot summers, that’s a must for me.
I love to add alpaca poo to the garden, when the plants are established, that’s great fertiliser because I can just throw it straight on the garden. It’s high in phosphorus- which is what your flowers and fruit need.
When You're deciding what you want to grow and how much, You also need to consider the amount of space your plants will need, think about when they are bigger, you want some air flow and to also fit as much as you can into the garden, also will the plants get enough sunlight, or too much - that can happen here.
Remember you don’t just plant out your garden once, some crops you succession plant, If a space opens up you want to be ready with the next plant. I definitely want to grow as much food as the season will allow.
If you’re new to gardening and you’re not sure, how the different plants grow, read your seed packets or seedling labels for a basic guide, you can also research the plants in books or YouTube.
The main thing is to have a go, whatever happens, you’ll definitely learn something and no one ever has the perfect season where everything grows well, not that I’ve ever heard about.
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