Friday, 8 April 2011

A day in the Garden and worrying about Bee's

Today I spent some time in the garden preparing vegetable beds for the next round of planting.  Autumn is my favourite season and I love being outside in the garden at this time of year.
Along with my little helper Jessie who loves to help dig in the garden I turned over a 1m x 2m garden bed that has been sitting vacant since January.  It used to contain my Rhubarb, but with all the rain we got at the start of the year the Rhubarb drowned.  Since then I have tried to break up the somewhat heavy soil with Gypsum in preparation for the next planting.
Jessie helping turn the soil
The drainage has improved quite a lot so now I am debating what I will plant in this bed.  At the moment I am thinking Snow Peas with some lettuce around the edges.  Because the bed backs onto our shade house it gets a bit of wind protection, it also gets plenty of sun as it faces north.
I will do a PH test first as our soil tends to be very acid and if it is acidic I will need to Lime the bed first as peas like a neutral to alkaline soil.
You can see our passion fruit  growing across the back of the shed where I am trying to train it.  The plant is actually planted about 2m inside the shade house and used to cover the entire shade house roof.  Last August with the help of my parents we replaced all of the rotten and white ant eaten wooden roof beams with steel framework (thanks Dad for your welding skills) and mum and I stitched up new shade cloth to cover the 4m x 10 m shade house.  The passion fruit got a very heavy prune in this process and yielded about 7kg of pulp from all the fruit we collected but this year even though we are starting to get fruit I suspect that it will be a lighter crop.  However this is not too much of a concern as I still have a lot of pulp in the freezer.

Not long after we moved into the house Hubby built be 2 raised garden beds out of old roofing iron that we scavenged at the dump.  The beds are about 1.5m wide, 50cm high and 5m long.
While in the garden today I also turned over half of 1 of the beds, dug in a heap of composted manure an covered it in a thick layer of sugar cane mulch.  The other end of the garden bed is still full of cherry tomato's that just self seed everywhere. 

Ready to plant on this side, ready for a haircut on the other
The far garden bed has a climbing frame at the far end currently occupied by Malabar Red Climbing spinach which tastes very much like silverbeet and is very tolerant of the hot weather we get here in Queensland. The rest of the garden is now taken up with overgrown basil that has gone to flower. 
There are 2 types of Basil in the bed, that common sweet basil and a perennial Basil that my father in law grew for me from cuttings.
It all needs to go but I have been reluctant to prune/pull it out as every day it is just covered in bees feasting (do bees feast?) on the flowers. 
At this time of the year there are fewer things flowering so it feels very mean to take away these sources of bee food. 
Maybe I will stagger the removal of the basil so that I have some other things (probably more basil grown from cuttings) for the bees to eat by the time the last of the basil is gone.

These little guys are pretty hard to get a photo of, they just flit about so quickly


  1. That looks like such a lovely veggie garden! AND SO TIDY! Great size too, I imagine you could grow quite a lot of produce in it... The potting bench looks great too.
    Im having trouble pulling out the last of the tomatoes and summer crops too because the garden will feel naked otherwise.
    I read somewhere that the common Alyssum sown around a veggie garden will help feed the bees and attract pollinators too. I threw seed around last sunday and already they have germinated! The bees seem to like the white best.
    How sad will it be when the basil is gone!

    Whoops, didnt mean to wirte an essay!

  2. Oh and I forgot to say how cute Jessie looks in her patch!
    Ollie loves helping to dig up the garden too!

  3. I love your garden beds! We did the same with leftover roofing iron from the first part of our house.

    I would also go with snow peas and lettuces in Jessie´s patch, although she may prefer an old buried one or two!

  4. Daffodil you are correct Jessie would much rather have a "bone garden". The raised beds doo make it easier on your back too.
    Phoebe I love an essay, it is a good potting bench but does not really get used as I have another in the shade house. Here in QLD it is much more enjoyable during the summer to bee in the cool of the shade house. However in saying that it will be getting use this winter so I can get seeds started.


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