Thursday, December 20, 2007


I have just begun extending the vegetable patch so that it is four times its former size. The problem with our little vegetable patch was that it was not big enough to keep us in food all the time.

We would have 20 lettuces come on all at once, then 30 cobs of corn then 400 tomatoes. The new approach is to grow multiple lots of the foods we eat, but at different stages.

This will require a lot more space and involves developing a plan, being organised and keeping records.

One of the weaknesses in my garden is that I don't have a proper area for propagating seedlings, so it is a task I am always putting off or avoiding. The propagation area is like the furnace room of the garden, so I really need to address this issue. I am going to propagate under our big locut tree at the edge of the veggie patch and I need to get it set up so that it is an easy space to work in.

The foods that are popular in our house, at least with the children, are : corn, cucumber and carrot. So I am aiming to be totally self sufficient with these. I should also be able to be self sufficient for much of the year with potatoes, pumpkin, onion, garlic, lettuce, tomato and a few culinary herbs, which are other foods we consume a lot of.

There are probably lots more, but the though of trying to achieve everything all at once is overwhelming...

I have planted sunflowers and marigolds to attract birds and repeal insects, plus I love both these flowers.

I am digging circular plots and covering the pathways in between them with cardboard to try and kill the Kikuyu grass. Eventually I will dig out the pathways and fill them with sawdust- free from the local mill. Sawdust takes a lot longer than cardboard to break down.

Around the border of the veggie patch I have planted comfrey, which is an excellent competitor for Kikuyu and a great fertiliser for composting. I am also planting lemon grass to try and compete with the Kikuyu.

The theory goes: comfrey and lemon grass will not overtake the Kikuyu but will hold their own. So to increase coverage you need to keep dividing and replanting in the areas you want them to grow. In our new huge veggie patch this will take a while to achieve.

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