Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back in the garden, April '12

Hello nice people! I hope you have had a good weekend :)

Over here I've been busy in the garden. I've been thinking a lot lately about food security and what I can do to improve our own situation. It is one thing to grow a few veggies out the back and say your 'doing your bit' but quite another to embrace the goal wholeheartedly and look at it from a more serious angle.

We (as in our family) could do more. A lot more. We have the space and I have the time, health and energy to put into such a plan. I like the idea of being reliant upon ourselves for as much as possible, knowing at the end of each day we are living and eating the best way we can - both for ourselves and the planet.

Our garden became quite neglected last year due to a number of reasons but I now feel ready to jump back in and focus on growing our own as much as possible.

With that thought in mind, I've been tending the sad looking veggie patch near the chook pen. The beds were never edged properly and as a result the soil would always wash away in the rain and it was just generally hard to look after. While nothing fancy, I've spent the last couple of days rigging up a semi-permanent bedding system that will hopefully allow the chooks to free range in this part of the garden from time to time, weeding and keeping the grass down between the beds while the crops actually have a chance to grow!

Did I say they love it in here? Such room for them to move. I do love seeing an excited hen sprint to her companions in the hope of finding a bug!!

The beds are edged in a flexible plastic, secured with cable ties to tomato stakes, bamboo canes and pegs. The 'hoops' are made from poly pipe that I had bought from the tip shop ages ago. Cable ties again came to the rescue. All up, each bed took around 2 hours for me to assemble.

Then looking around the edges of the little plot, I do confess to going a little hoopy loopy on the raspberry canes.

They were so straggly and jungly that I was glad to hoop them into place...

..and another packet of cable ties opened ahem

An experiment in one of the beds - growing potatoes over winter:

Have you tried this before? I'm interested to see how they'll go as last winter we kept getting volunteers shooting out of the ground. As our property misses out on the majority of frosts I'm willing to give it a go..

It was a relief to have the netting in place (at last!).
Carrots, which were saved just in time from those hens of ours.

Hopefully we'll see more than two autumn raspberries?

Just outside the little plot, blueberries are announcing that it is well and truly Autumn!

Food security

Do you have any thoughts on this or ways to achieve your goals? 


  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of post. I am glad that you simply shared with us. Thanks!

  2. Hi Christine, your garden is looking great, I love seeing the chooks poking around the place, very satisfying! I am thinking about similar things at the moment, and have been giving my garden a nice Autumn clean up. My aim is to produce as much as I can out of our 1/2 acre and our local community garden that I belong to. I really shouldn't have to buy many vegies at all, in theory anyway! I have been trying to plant/sow something at least twice a week in an effort to be more consistent with my vegie growing, so far it is helping a lot! I have just been making some wigwams for snowpeas and sugar peas, as we can never get enough of those, and I am going to grow potatoes over winter too, as we are coastal and not very frosty here.
    Sorry for the long comment! Have a great day! Julie
    PS I think I will join in your Slow Living month by month as another incentive to keep working on the garden. :)

    1. Regular sowing is what I do need to focus on more, Jules. Would love to have you along for the Slow Living updates - looking forward to it! :)

  3. I am trying to get the year round thing happening, that there is always something fresh and home grown for the table...I am succeeding so far...I am also learning not to waste a single thing that I grow and to freeze or learn to preserve when I can. I have a small garden that is jam packed and we seem to grow enough for our family even in this small space...I intend to try and fit just a couple of more fruit trees in our yard....its all worth it, I think no matter how small or big your garden, no matter how big or small your harvest...if everyone tried to do it they would realise how rewarding it is and how important it is to show our children where real food comes from.............

  4. Having just read this post ...I am extremely frustrated that I have to go to town tomorrow and can't be home gardening!! This is a post with heaps of great ideas and I want to try that hoop thing right now even though it is dark outside.Food security has been on our mind too and I am embarking on some changes with the chickens and garden beds that I hope to post about very soon when I get a chance.
    In the meantime , we have been planting heaps of snowpeas and have achieved our aim of planting over 100 garlic cloves ( no more storebought stuff for us!!). I have had some wonderful seedlings of broccolli and cabbage and cauliflower and spinach which were promptly eaten by our back to the drawing board on that one!I need food security from my goats, rabbits and sheep and I need it now!

    1. Kim , you need some raised beds so the bunnies wont eat your seedlings...

  5. Awesome post - thanks for the info - I will post some pictures when I have copied your idea there. Cheers, Wendy

  6. Christine, I love how you have protected your beds with the hoops and netting...will submit the idea to Superman...I have also been thinking about what more I can do to produce more food, particularly that we are able to grow year round as we have no frost or snow to contend with. Hoping to find the answers to effective consecutive growing as I continue to read and research.

  7. I don't know anything about food preparedness, but it's something that's been on my mind more and more. Specifically to be prepared for an emergency like an earthquake or something where I couldn't get to the store for a few days.

    I just LOVE the photo of your chooks roaming around free in the garden. So beautiful :) :)

    I live on the coast of California, near the ocean. There are lots of deer in our area too. Many of my neighbors have netting covering their gardens, to keep the deer from enjoying free snacks :)

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  8. How lovely to have found your blog, I came here via Wendy's blog from South Africa. Your photos of your garden are wonderful! So nice to find another southern hemisphere blog.

  9. Fantastic photos, as always, and love the juxtaposition of your winter prep as spring kicks in here in the States. Self reliance is a beautiful thing as is community interdependence - getting eggs from the neighbor, trading jam for fresh roasted coffee beans, etc. I'm looking at my career and contemplating how those choices affect my overall sense of simplicity and eco consciousness. Always more to learn!

  10. You raise and interesting point... I haven't thought much about Food Security, but I've noticed many of the blogs that link in for the Slow Living project mention it.

    Most of what I've done is with the idea of local, organic and reducing packaging. I will have to think more about the idea of security... a green house is on my to build list. It may have to move up a few notches.

  11. I love your hoopy loopies! and your green bean heart :) There is always something new to discover and improve with veggie gardening I think. I am finding that growing a larger variety and successive sowing is producing great results.

  12. I am only just regaining some time this year and I aim to make the garden a priority too. Like you, we have the space and I usually plant enough to keep us self-sufficient but can't find the time to get back and tend the garden! I've never been happy with my efforts, but hopefully this year it will all change...... I love your netting beds! Fantastic!

  13. A very important point. We try to produce and preserve as much as possible and sell to locals. A large part of Transition Towns is encouraging people to grow as much as they can. I love your new look beds and the loopy covers.

  14. Wow, everything looks wonderful! The chickens really do great work in the garden for us, too :) Love your new beds, and how you're able to use that area to selectively allow the chickens to forage. I think a lot about food security, also - it always feels like there's more to do!

  15. Oh yes, food security is a very big issue for us as well. I am always thinking of how we can improve our food "position" by extending the harvest (given our short 4 month growing season). We are currently putting the finishing touches on a new greenhouse build which will certainly make a huge difference in providing fresh food through the colder months.

    We "work" our hens pretty hard, too :) They are currently (happily) preparing our garden for planting by eating grubs, bugs and weed seeds and the odd earthworm that has ventured up to the surface after a long winter (our ground is still frozen below 1 foot depth). For temporary fencing to control the hens, we attach chicken wire to rebar posts with zip ties and move that around as needed... those girls get into anything that isn't blocked off! I love your hoops - VERY clever!!!

  16. We've struggled to keep up with the demands of the garden too - thank goodness for the chooks who've been doing most of the hard work for us. There's been so much rain here in Sydney that our ground is quite soaked all the time, and has been for much of the last year, which has made it hard on potatoes. Can't wait to see this year's crop of raspberries! :)

  17. It's great to read your inspiring thoughts, people. It makes me so happy that we can share our knowledge and encourage each other through our blogs! :)

  18. Food security and resilience for tough times are our top priorities so we're learning how to grow food, preserve or dry our surplus plus (re)skilling so we can make most of our things from scratch. Unfortunately my Permaculture garden is nowhere near as big as yours but we still manage to produce quite a bit of food. We also use vertical space and because I don't have room to grow potatoes in my garden I grow them in pots on my deck. I have instructions here at if anyone is interested in seeing how it can be done.
    Great post Christine and wonderful pics. I'm just starting to use hoops and nets to save my precious planted beds from our eager chooks too and so far it's working a treat.


Hi there, it's so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Chris x