Planning in the home zone…designs for a natural playground for preschoolers, a grown-ups’ haven and an irrigation system for busy new parents…workshops…spring cleaning…
Perennial herbs are making their spring comeback: mint, sage, thyme are all taking off. Broad beans are up to shoulder height and we’ve started picking the beans (some of them, as always, were meant be green manure but didn’t get dug in in time!!). Lettuces, parsley and beets are starting to go to seed – the dilemma being how much to clear to make room for the next crop and how much to leave for attracting beneficial insects and then saving our own seeds? I’m thinking 80/20 at this stage as the ground is warming up and I’m keen to get my solanums in!
The few snow pea plants that didn’t get nibbled off as babies in autumn have grown prodigiously, scrambling over broad beans, up fences and into neighbouring hedges, and are now covered in delicious, crunchy pods every day. Getting past the bees and stretching up to pick them is the only challenge! I think they are the best value vegetable out there, where under $4 worth of seeds planted in two minutes and then ignored all winter can give you at least $4 a day worth of vegies through much of spring.
Bees have been very excited about the floral explosion of the last month. Feeding, breeding, buzzing all over the place. The infrastructure man has expanded their accommodation and plans to extract some honey over the long weekend. Meanwhile I will be renovating our irrigation system – due for an overhaul after several reconfigurations of garden beds, a few tree migrations and the odd garden fork through the pipes…oops.
This month, Zone 4 extends to my Mum’s garden nearby, where lots of recent tree propagation means that her irrigation system also needs an upgrade, and our seedling trolley needs to visit and help carry the load! This is a very big trolley (think mobile propagation bench) made with steel mesh shelves, so that tree seedlings are kept up off the ground, well ventilated, less vulnerable to bugs, and easier to water. Its high frame also allows the plants to be covered easily with shadecloth when needed. So really it’s a Zone 1-2 kind of contraption but it enjoys travel.
We are missing our dose of wilderness lately, with so much green stuff to do in the city and the burbs…in the last couple of weeks this has included the fabulous Seed Freedom Food Festival (keep an eye out for this in ‘Pip’ issue 4, I hear), the Home Grown Hand Sewn market, and Nature Play SA events designed to bring children out to have physically challenging and exciting adventures in the elements. In our case this meant wearing half-inch-thick mud from head to toe yesterday. All in a good cause, I tell myself…
Nature Play SA – http://www.natureplaysa.org.au/
Seed Freedom Food Festival – https://www.facebook.com/seedfreedomfestivaladelaide
Home Grown Hand Sewn market – https://www.facebook.com/Homegrownhandsewn
Catch the Garden Guide for Australia’s Mediterranean, Warm Temperate and Tropical climate zones at Pip Magazine online