Things I have learnt: Garden edition

Last year (how odd to say that now) one of my partners (Scott) and I landscaped the back yard (finally) and built a vegetable garden from raised garden beds.  We’re situated on an old flood plain, so our soil is clay – which although full of nutrients, isn’t the best soil for growing vegetables in necessarily, so is great for going squelch, squelch, squelch in when wet – so we covered that which doesn’t have raised garden beds with mulch to avoid tracking more mud into the house.

I joined Diggers, a gardening group which gives free seeds to members twice a year, and who specialise in heirloom seeds and plant varieties to ensure diversity in foodstock.  I also joined because I love the idea of growing things that seem odd like Purple Dragon carrots, or striped eggplants.

I have learnt a whole lot of things while gardening and I want to share them so that when it comes to setting up the gardens next year, I don’t forget the lessons – and hey you might enjoy it too.

  1. If you don’t cover the garden beds with a form of mesh, the cats will be so excited that you have provided them with the biggest litter tray ever – and any seedlings or seeds you have planted will be dug up
  2. Even in winter, unless it has rained, you need to water the garden every other day – this will still take 30 minutes
  3. Watering the entire garden takes 30 minutes, this is a problem in summer, because that’s enough time to start sunburn
  4. Peas are tasty, but need to be on sturdy trellises so they don’t get blown down.  Also six pea plants per trellis is too many – you end up with a pea forest that way.
  5. Planting corn in a square is a great idea, but not with any corns in the middle – they don’t get any sun and don’t grow
  6. Planting beans or peas around the corn stalks works really well
  7. Eggplants like the sun and should be planted on the north side of the garden beds
  8. Rockmelons like the heat and should be planted on the north side of the garden beds – they also have corners in their stalks, so they droop down over the garden beds easier – they LOVE water
  9. Pumpkins on the other hand grow straight and aren’t happy about drooping over the edge of the garden bed
  10. Plant WAY more broccoli, and plant them with nasturtiums to avoid them being eaten by caterpillars
  11. LABEL YOUR SEEDLINGS.  Capsicum, tomato, and eggplant seedlings all look the same (how surprising given they’re all nightshades), as do leeks and onions
  12. Nigella/Kalonji doesn’t seem to like sun so plant on the south side of the garden beds, probably behind corn
  13. Don’t plant 7 tomatoes – they take over the whole garden, and having 1 metre between each plant is not just a nice recommendation
  14. Pay attention to how far plants should be planted apart
  15. Don’t leave seedlings on the top level of the greenhouse in summer, stop growing seedlings in the greenhouse after the first 30C day
  16. Celery and Celiarac are hard to grow, as are Paprika and chillies (this season anyway)
  17. Carrots only grow properly when they have enough soil to grow in – put more soil in the garden beds
  18. Eat the herbs you planted
  19. Fertilise the garden beds with seaweed solution every two weeks
  20. There is only so much room in the garden beds
  21. My mother calls spring onions, shallots – which they aren’t
  22. Carrots also like sun, so without that they don’t grow much, especially in winter
  23. Corriander likes sun and the heat – plant in sunny spots
  24. Once the tomato plants have taken over the garden beds, the ones you’ve also filled with marigolds, just keep watering them until they ripen – don’t worry about anything else in the bed
  25. I don’t eat lettuce
  26. If companion planting tomatoes and onions, leave room for the onions to not be crushed by the overenthusiastic tomatoes
  27. Snails will eat lettuce seedlings and attempt to munch on your strawberries. Snail pellets are a saviour here.
  28. When it is over 35C on any given day, water the garden twice a day.
  29. Raspberries really need well drained soil – this is not clay.  If they do decide that they like where you’ve planted them (one of the 8 plants I bought is thriving) then it will take over and become a little bramble patch – this isn’t a bad thing where I have planted them.  Keep them watered well in hot weather.

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One thought on “Things I have learnt: Garden edition”

  1. Number 25 made me lol, I can so imagine myself planting veg that I don’t eat just because they seem like the sort of thing you should plant. You know, if hell ever froze over and I took up gardening!

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