Permablitz in my rental backyard – Part II
Much has happened in the BatCastle backyard since we last checked in. The greens are all exploding from their place in the keyhole bed, the beanstalks are reaching fairytale proportions and the kang kong has taken off down the hill somewhere towards the neighbors’ place.
Not bad for only about two months into our six-month lease!
A lot of people ask us ‘what’s the point in making a big garden when you’re all bloody gypsies and you’re only going to be there for a few months? Well, there are many reasons:
1. We just love gardening and our sanity would become questionable without it.
2. We get a motherload of amazing organic produce cranking in just a couple of months on an almost non-existent budget.
3. It leaves a legacy of a veggie garden for the next tenants or the landlord, hopefully inspiring them to continue it. Important to get it all approved by your landlord or realos before you start, though. Some can be quite anal. (Simple solution? Rent somewhere else!)
4. It makes an otherwise boring, featureless lawn-scape (your typical Aussie backyard) into somewhere we actually want to hang and talk and do stuff. I see it at it as a cheap extension to our living room!
So from humble beginnings involving one Sunday arvo blitz and many subsequent potterings, our little garden is already paying for itself. Already we’ve harvested fistfuls of rocket, lettuce, silverbeet, kale, mizuna, mustard greens, basil, parsley and tatsoi, bucketloads of beans, some beautiful beets and a couple of daikon radishes the size of a small child. I consider that a pretty good return from a few haybales and a bag of chook poo!
Speaking of which, our own chooks have actually turned out to be a bit of a let down. Even though they’ve chilled out with their lofty migrations up the neighbour’s tree, they’ve failed to produce anything vaguely resembling an egg (even an egg sized-poo would be ok!), don’t seem the slightest bit interested in eating our food scraps OR any worms we throw to them (what they do eat is a mystery to me) and the weeds are actually growing up around them from lack of decent scratching! I’m sorry, but as chickens, they FAIL! I always hate to say ‘I hate to say I told you so’, but back when I was eying off the big fat egg-pumping, earth-moving Isa Brown Chook-Droids at the Channon market, the girls were getting all dewy eyed at the small cuddly (ahem *USELESS!*) ‘English game bantams’. That’s the last time I buy chooks without consulting the gospel of the Henderson’s Chicken Breed Chart: http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html (a must-see for anyone wanting to have a quick look at all different breeds chooks and all of the amazing things they do)
On the bright side, though, the chook yard fence makes a great trellis for all of our Telephone peas climbing up at a rate of knots, and the Ceylon spinach looks like it might have a good time up there too if it makes it through winter unscathed.
Even though there’s still heaps of space to plant in the beds, we’ve started cultivating some of the more obscure areas, like under the back stairs, where it’s sheltered and moist most of the year. The soil was surprisingly good, so we put in some mint and gotu kola which will hopefully both go crazy under there out of the sun.
In fact, I’m not sure if the soil is so good that the plants can’t keep up with their own cellular division, or if there’s something gone awry down in the keyhole bed, as just about everything in there has started to go frilly! There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with their growth (it’s actually unbelievably fast) or the health of the plants, but they’re just… frilly! If anyone cares to enlighten me… by all means do!
Any idea what that’s all about??
Anyhoo, til next time, Go Get Ya Garden On!
I’ll let you know when the kale is up to our eyeballs and the beans are bushing up our view!