I’ve been the proud gardener of a herb and vegetable plot for one year now. Despite being a gardener in my heart, we’d been living between Melbourne and Sydney for 8 years before we moved to the country in Central Victoria, so all I could manage were herbs and flowers in pots. But now we have some land, DH (dear husband) and last spring I were able to jump in with two feet establishing a veggie garden. It’s easily been one of the most rewarding parts of moving to the country.
While we’ve both dabbled in permaculture practices, it’s the wise tutelage of a no-dig gardener, Charles Dowding – affectionately referred to as Charlie D or Sir Charles in our household – that has helped us turn our goldfields patch (which means zero topsoils, solid clay) into an encouraging start towards a productive kitchen garden.
In August 2021 we brought in trailer load after trailer load of mushroom compost and green waste compost (free from our council) to build our beds. As the technique suggests, there’s s no-digging. Just laying down compost nice and thick, and just getting on with it! It’s been an immense learning experience, and we get to eat from our garden every day.
It feels natural to write about my garden on Sundays, the day we usually spend the most amount of time pottering in the garden. I’ll share what we’re doing, planting, and harvesting as well as what’s working and what’s not. So without further ado, here’s what we’ve been doing this week!
The main task at the moment is keeping ahead of the weeds. Luckily we don’t have too many in the vegetable garden – the rest of the garden is a different story though 🙈 But dealing with them when they’re small saves a lot of work later on in summer. I’ve been doing little 5–10 minute weeding sessions during the week and on Sunday was able to clear the leftovers..for now. Luckily we’ve been having lots of rain, so the ground is moist, making weeds very obliging to come out.
Early Spring Sowings
I sowed lettuce and rocket in punnets which will stay inside to germinate, and in about 10 days, I’ll prick out the strongest plant babies into individual modules and continue them outside for another 3–4 weeks before going in the ground.
Looking at the 10-day forecast, we’re in for some mild weather, so I direct-sowed carrots, radishes and peas for shoots (planting four seeds together) and peas for pods (two seeds together).
I’m thanking my past self for planting autumn/winter crops, as we’re well and truly reaping the benefits now. We’ve got lots of brassicas – kale varieties, purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi and red cabbage. Rainbow chard aplenty and over-wintered lettuce which has taken off these past couple of weeks.
I finished off our root veggie harvest this weekend by cooking up a weekend beef roast with turnips, beetroot and carrots. And we’ve got lots of herbs to spring up our meals: parsley, chives, sage and rosemary.
From the Herb Garden
I’ve also got a modest number of medicinal herbs in my garden. I’m starting simple while I build the soil up to accommodate more and more varieties. It’s super exciting to see many of last year’s planting sprout back up to life. Lemon balm is verdant, globe artichoke is sporting some new leaves, yarrow prolific (maybe too prolific 😬), calendula happy as always, Californian poppies look like they’ll bloom any day and my elder tree that took a beating last summer is sprouting lots of leaves.
The task for this week is to lay down another thick layer of compost on the bed that I’m hoping to start planting potatoes in over the coming weeks.
See you in the garden next week 🌿