It’s been a while in the planning but it was time to get the new bed. We were getting a little crowded.
Not the bed to which I am referring. 😉
Not the particular bed I meant but yes, a new garden bed. 😀
With only a half an acre of land and a desire to be as self-sufficient as possible, plus maintaining areas of the garden to allow access for the car and areas for the kids to play too, it means I am constantly trying to find places for extra garden beds or ways to grow to allow more. It’s awesome fun and with permaculture on my side it’s usually not too tricky to find space for just 1 more plant. 😉
As is fitting with permaculture principles I wanted to see if I could build a bed that allowed for more than just 1 use. Rather than just to grow food, could we also grow food that would shade the house from the western sun? We have no windows along there but even so, added shade will help keep the temperature down a little at least.
Saturday was earmarked as the day to build the bed and add the trellises necessary to grow the plants up. Our builder helped to attach the trellises but as we planned to cut one of the pieces of reo to length AFTER we attached it to the wall it was a little tricky to work with. We ended up with the rather sculptural piece of wire stretching across the driveway and decided to let it stay where it is to allow for the grape vines to meander up and provide shade there. With the bed in place I lined the bottom with cardboard then filled the bottom of the bed with scrapings from the goats shed. We topped it up with soil and into the bed I planted 2 kiwiberry plants.
Kiwiberries are related to kiwi fruit but they are self pollinating (kiwi vines come in male and female and you need at least 1 of each to get fruit) and that means more space to plant other things. 🙂 The kiwi berries have each a 4m piece of reo mesh up which to climb so that should keep them happy for quite some time.
Given the garden beds proximity to the house it should also provide a slightly warmer microclimate in winter so I’m having a little experiment with some frost sensitive plants – ginger, Chinese keys (a more obscure member of the ginger family used in Thailand in Thai curry pastes) and turmeric. I’ve planted them along the bed and also threw in a couple of tomatoes which were languishing in pots for lack of space. I’ll see how it goes.
The bed itself is in shade until 2-3pm at this time of year, then gets the hot afternoon sun right through until about 8pm. In winter it will get a lot less sun but hopefully enough for the kiwiberries. The others are dormant over winter anyway so the lack of sun won’t affect them.
I also had a couple of Fragolo grapes I’d bought way back when I was last at Laverton Market with Lynda which were desperately wanting to be planted out and with the reo mesh arch already in place it was just about building the beds. With some gifted rocks I outlined a quarter circle over the top of cardboard laid down, popped in the grapes and topped the beds with the necessary soil. The grapes themselves were directed to the trellis, the garden mulched thickly, some comfrey leaves scrunched up and added and the whole lot watered most thoroughly. In the years to come, visitors will need to duck under bunches of grapes to come to the front door. 😉
Aside from also achieving a spectacular sunburn whilst I gardened, 😦 Martin took the 2 older kids swimming, letting Orik and I have some quiet time to stay cool at home. He and I also went to pick up an old pond or pool liner advertised through Gumtree for which I have big plans. Stay tuned for those over the next 6 months. 😉
All in all a most productive Saturday. What did you get up to on Saturday?