A Change In The Garden

Years ago we constructed a huge vegetable garden complete with raised beds, shade structures and a permanent dripper watering system.  It served us so well and became a huge part of my life.   I diligently raised heirloom variety vegetables from seed, carted in horse manure and straw constantly and reaped the rewards of my hard work, season after season.

Somewhere along the way things started to change.  Our farming life expanded, the kids grew older, other projects came along and I also sensed a change in the garden.  The reliable staples such as zucchinis and cucumbers started to struggle.  Vegetables were growing but not flourishing. The soil became more difficult to work with despite my best efforts.  Even when water was in short supply I worked hard to make sure the vegetables were watered yet they still struggled.  And as a gardener, so did I.

Vegetable garden

Over time, the roots from thirsty neighbouring trees had silently burrowed into all of the raised beds.   The soil had become completely choked and clogged with roots, the mulberry tree being the main offender.  I have found its thick roots many metres from the tree itself, tangled like rampant spaghetti.

Vegetable garden

So, I eventually gave in.  Relining and refilling the raised beds seemed like a back breaking task.  Persisting with the roots seemed an equally useless task.  The trees are too valuable; especially for their summer shade so getting rid of them wasn’t really an option.  The beds sat in a sad, empty state for some time while we contemplated our next move.

Vegetable garden

Eventually Terry brought in the heavy equipment and flattened all evidence of the vegetable garden, except for one permanent bed of asparagus that seems to be completely fine.  Now I have a large bare area that I plan to fill with hardy native plants that will hopefully attract the local birds and fill the void.

Vegetable garden

In the meantime I have really missed growing food.  I have mostly missed the tiny flowers, pods and tendrils that you get as a bonus from growing vegetables. I have missed the smell of celery flowers and fresh thyme.  More than the actual vegetables I have missed all of those little things that you simply cannot buy.

Vegetable garden

Recently I have turned a disused horse yard near our house into a little vegetable patch.  At first I felt that if I could not grow acres of vegetables it was hardly worth bothering but now my mindset is shifting.  My new patch is small but manageable.  It is protected from the harsh western sun and the rabbits and kangaroos.  The soil is soft and workable and the water pressure is great.  The existing fence is an instant trellis for climbers and the little shed at the back is handy too.  My winter crop of leafy greens and herbs are flourishing and it feels very grounding to have my hands back in the soil.

Vegetable garde

Onwards to a new chapter in the garden.   Stay tuned for more progress.

How about you? Any gardening or other major projects? I hope your vegetables are flourishing.

Happy Sunday, friends x

 

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    Toph

    August 25, 2019

    Dear Jane
    No Doubt about you .. you persistence always wins in the end as you move onwards n upwards …
    I always enjoy your blogs n stories

    Well done n beat wishes from thailand

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Thanks Toph, nice to hear from you.

  2. Reply

    Liz

    August 25, 2019

    Hi Jane, the drought is taking its toll all over the place, isn’t it. I can imagine how much you miss growing food. A small but manageable patch sounds like a good plan. Peter and I moved from Canberra to the far south coast of NSW early last year. One of the things I was keen to do was start a larger vegetable garden. I’ve had to find the best spot in the yard, which ended up being out front. Of course, it has had to be netted off to keep the possums, wallabies and other wildlife away. And it’s been so very, very windy and dry, but things are still growing, thankfully. Today we enjoyed a salad for lunch with baby cos lettuce leaves and the first of the tender snow peas. I’ll be interested to see how your garden grows. Best wishes, Liz (Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things)

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Thank you, it is really lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well in your world…and your garden! x

  3. Reply

    Anne Bartholomaeus

    August 25, 2019

    Well done Jane. I’m sure your old horse yard vegie patch will bring lots of pleasure. I’m with you, growing anything is good but something to pick and eat is a treat. I find even growing some parsley and spinach/silverbeet is rewarding. At least you always have filling for an omelette to hand! Vegies for one or two is trying…feast or famine!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Exactly! Thanks Annie x

  4. Reply

    Ewe beauty

    August 25, 2019

    Oh Jane !! How resourceful of you! I’ve always thought an old chook yard would be good too …,can’t wait to see progress ….well done.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Thanks Trish x

  5. Reply

    Kate

    August 26, 2019

    I spent years battling bush rats who would manage to get around every cage, net and trap I laid. The solution was to grow bananas and sacrifice the bountiful fruit to the rats, king parrots and flying fox, leaving me to grow. I started to wrap up the garden last summer, with a view to move into an apartment a little closer to work and the train commute. That’s not what’s happened so I am returning to the garden this spring. Keeping water up to it is hard, but I am bucketing from the shower and kitchen sink.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Good gardening to you Katie, it requires persistence doesn’t it?

  6. Reply

    Francesca

    August 27, 2019

    Hi Jane, this has happened on two occasions in our forty years in the country. On each occasion we have started a new vegetable patch from scratch, well away from trees , their roots and shade. Our latest patch, which is now 9 years old, has zero competition from trees, and is well fenced against predators. I may start raising some of the beds. You can’t live without freshly grown veggies so your new patch will gradually expand I am sure.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 6, 2019

      Thank you Francesca, growing food is so important, it requires some persistence doesn’t it?

  7. Reply

    Amanda

    September 9, 2019

    Growing food is definitely a challenge but so rewarding. We moved our patch a couple of years ago as the house yard expanded but battling the snow, frost, drought. wombats, rabbits and cockatoos is a constant! Each spring we are reenergised and usually rewarded. Looking forward to hearing how your new patch progresses Jane.

LEAVE A COMMENT

RELATED POSTS