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Vegetables Fruit and Berries Chooks

In our family, I am largely responsible for the back garden (which produces most of the fruit, berries and vegetables). Now that the boys have grown up and moved away (sniff)) the back garden can be reshaped from a productive+play area to just productivity (until the grandchildren arrive, at least - that is the only reason the tall plum tree hasn't been taken out). So, I'm progressively working through a plan to convert the back garden into more of a permaculture setup. I'm also wondering if it is time to completely rethink the back garden, including the location of the actual vegetables. The fruit trees would need to stay where they are, but there might be scope to separate the vegie beds a bit more and provide space to walk around them. Here I'm thinking ahead 15-20 years when raised vegetable beds might become more important. But I don't want to rush into this - the current arrangement has been in place for over 20 years after all.

Vegetables

The vegetable garden is about 55 square metres, organised into 5 different areas for crop rotation (see below for details). In summer this produces most of the vegetables we need. I'm still working on getting the succession planting right for winter (although the trick seems to be to plant brassicas much earlier than one can believe, in February!), and it still gets a bit too cold in Melbourne for things to do well in the main winter months. In addition, the sun drops down behind trees to the north so about half of the garden bed (which runs East-West) is in shadow for much of the winter.

Each zone of the vegetable garden is used for compatible plants for a single year. This plant group is then moved to the next bed along for the following year. This both reduces pest buildup (as part of our commitment to organic gardening), and enables plants to be matched with the right nutrient levels (which change over time - the acid levels build up and need to be reset with lime). The current rotation scheme follows the table below, and is based on the ideas of Peter Cundall, the now retired host of Gardening Australia on the ABC. The left-hand end of table is the East end of the garden, the right-hand end of the table is the West. 

  Bed 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5
2014/15 Alliums (Onions/Garlic/Leeks)
Spring: Plant Peas, Beans

Summer/Autumn
: Plant Brassicas (Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts)
Early Spring: Dig in Green Manure

Late Spring
: Tomatoes, Capsicums, Basil

Autumn
: Add lime, Mulch
Spring: Sweetcorn, Cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, zuccini)  

Autumn: Green manure

All year: Root Crops and Asian Vegetables
2015/16
All year: Root Crops and Asian Vegetables Alliums (Onions/Garlic/Leeks) Spring: Plant Peas, Beans

Summer/Autumn
: Plant Brassicas (Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts)
Early Spring: Dig in Green Manure

Late Spring
: Tomatoes, Capsicums, Basil

Autumn
: Add lime, Mulch
Spring: Sweetcorn, Cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, zuccini)  

Autumn: Green manure


Fruit and berries

The current inventory of 18 fruit trees is as follows:

Recently, we've branched out into a small nuttery - three hazelnuts (needed because of the Byzantine complexities of hazelnut cross-pollination - A pollinates B, but B won't pollinate A, so you need C which might be pollinated by B and if you are really lucky will then pollinate A). We've gone for:

The berry inventory is:

Chooks

The family poultry collective currently consists of four hens (or 'chooks' in Australian English):

We also normally have a Welsumer (breed information) and sometimes an Ancona (breed information), but our flock is currently large enough. We won't add any more chooks until the numbers drop a bit lower, and then introduce a number in one go. It only disrupts the pecking order once and makes it easier for the new arrivals.


©Andrew Treloar, 2015. W: http://andrew.treloar.net/ E: andrew.treloar@gmail.com

Last modified:Tuesday, 03-Nov-2015 15:21:44 MST