August 12, 2009 at 9:33 am #249206
I posted here, gosh, perhaps a year or two ago as I was gearing up to start a vegie garden. And then stupidly, I didn’t. Now it’s (almost) spring again and the bug has bit 😀
So, to start again – I’m Lizzie, married mother of three living in Adelaide. Typical suburban block, small backyard, totally underused. I’m a newbie, but I’m giving myself a bit of an education in prep for a determined start to this blasted vegie patch.
Couple of issues. Of all the things that could happen, this year we happen to be going away in late September/early October. It’s only for a week, but the original idea was to prep the raised, no-dig beds on or near the first week of Sept and start some seeds off then as well. Then around my birthday (first week Oct) plant them out (or you know, thereabouts). I don’t want to risk seedlings dying without a daily watering (they’ll be about three weeks at that stage) so what I’ve decided to do is go ahead and prep as MUCH as humanly possible (ie, garden beds through to completion, seeds ordered, supplies gathered) and then literally walk in the door on Oct 4 and pop some seeds into seed raising mix and perhaps have them in the ground by the end of October. Most planting guides say this is going to be okay for the vegies I want to grow but I’m still a bit disappointed because I really wanted to get them in a little earlier than that. We’ve got a temperate climate here so they would have coped. Never mind. Better than having the seedlings die I suppose.
Second point – the building of these beds are gearing up to be ONE SERIOUS HEADACHE. I want to keep the materials chemical free (ie, organic vegies) and finding untreated timber economically is proving to be a bit of a hassle. I can get untreated Qld hardwood sleepers from Wood n Logs for $20 ea but that’s quite a bit pricier than I was figuring…I need 12 to build the beds I want and with delivery and a few odd untreated posts for the corners we’re looking at $260-$300. I happen to be married to a man who is rather frugal, LOL, and that’s a lot of money to spend on something like that. Add on to that an order from Diggers Club and other materials to finish building the beds (organic material)…I don’t think there’ll be much change out of $500.
Speaking of seeds – Diggers are okay? What about Eden Seeds?
The other option for the beds is bricks/retaining wall type blocks and I’m trying to Freecycle those but with everyone and his dog starting a vegie patch this time of year, I don’t think it will pan out. If something crops up before we go the hardwood sleeper route then wonderful. Given they’re untreated, how long could I expect the sleepers to last?
Lizzie in AdelaideAugust 12, 2009 at 9:38 am #425839HummerKeymaster
Hi Lizzie, I prefer Eden seeds.. I have a much better strike rate 🙂
Welcome back :wave:August 12, 2009 at 9:44 am #425840GiannaMember
G’day Lizzie and welcome to ALS. :wave:August 12, 2009 at 10:06 am #425841
Not sure what seeds to get – Eden has organic and/or heirloom varieties, right?August 12, 2009 at 10:22 am #425842Tassie TigerMember
Gooday LizziesHome and welcome to ALS:wave:
have you thought about using old water tanks or corrugated iron roofing for creating your raised beds or perhaps even some old bath tubs?
Enjoy the journey to simple living:tup:August 12, 2009 at 10:36 am #425843
I looked into that Tas – there are specialised ‘tank’ version garden beds that look quite snazzy although I read somewhere today that Bluescope steel specifically advises against using them for growing vegies in (ie, next to food sources). And I think most of these corrode where they touch the soil? Anyway, I came to the conclusion that I would have to find an untreated wood source and build them myself, or happen upon some second hand bricks somewhere..
Those tanks do look cool though 🙂August 12, 2009 at 11:03 am #425844FishfoodMember
Before you go to far with the building look at wicking bedsAugust 12, 2009 at 11:16 am #425845BelMember
Hi Lizzie.:wave: I’ve got a suburban block in Adelaide too. Can I ask why you want raised beds? Our soil is quite alkaline/clay as Adelaide soil can be, but instead of spending lots of money on raised beds, we’ve used the cash to buy composted cow/sheep poo (from U-Poo), lots of straw mulch etc. We’ve only been in our new place for about 18 months and it hadn’t had ANY work done on the soil prior. The veggies are now growing great. Still work to be done, but we’re plugging away, adding more organic matter each season.
Re the seeds issue, we’ve used Eden seeds with good success. We were a bit disappointed with Diggers seeds last season but we’re giving them another go this season. GR raves about them and has good success and I didn’t think it was fair that we’d written them off after one try. To be honest, I think it’s possible our seeds weren’t getting enough water to germinate over the hot summer.
Starting your seeds a bit later into spring isn’t a bad idea in Adelaide. I find that even if I get my seedlings in earlier, they just sit there waiting for it to warm up ‘properly’. There are still lots of cold days in September, so mid-late October is a good time to get things cracking.
Good luck. Plenty of good helpful advice on this site if you need it :tup:
PS You in north or south Adelaide?August 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm #425846BobbeeMember
Hello Lizzie :wave:
It’s nice to see you back. Goodluck with the garden.August 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm #425847LearningMemberAugust 12, 2009 at 12:58 pm #425848
Hi Bel 😀
The spot I’ve got earmarked for the veggie beds is actually part of the existing curved garden bed along the back fence. After much staring out the window at where the sun falls at diff times of the day coupled with the practicalities of three ball-kicking kids and an already-small lawn, it was decided that we keep things simple and just whack some vegies in there.
That said, the existing bed border is a ground level paver thingy (you know, the common kind, not bricks, but something else) and would be utterly useless in holding back the organic material of a no-dig bed. The beds are also curved, so just as an example, if you can imagine a straight back edge of around 3.6m, the left side 1.8m, the right side about 1.5m and the front edge the curvy part (starting at 1.8 and shortening to 1.5 as described), then more or less replicate the entire arrangement on the second bed (but increase the length to 4.4m), then that’s what I’m playing with. If the beds were just a bit narrower, then I’d just put up a left, right and front border (using whatever I could get my hands on) and fill the entire space with organic matter (mulch, pea straw, manure, etc etc).
Problems with this theory though – 1.8m on the long side too far to reach…I’d have to create some sort of access to the far corner. Also, filling the whole space up would take up twice the materials. Building another bordered bed inside the first one (2.4m x 1.2m to keep things simple if we go the sleepers route) makes it far easier to reach to the back, plus we have all the spare space around the bed for the planting out of companion plants, or flowers, or strawberries or whatever. I should take some pictures so you know what I’m on about, LOL.
Also, I love the idea of re-working the entire space there to be more fertile but I don’t want to wait for that to slowly happen…and I can control the growing conditions (soil etc) better with a no dig bed.
And to answer your question, I’m in southern suburbs 🙂August 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm #425849
Learning – thanks for the heads up with those links…off to check them out now!August 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm #425850
Learning – I’ve had a quick look at Cornucopia and will look more tomorrow, but it got me thinking about seeds (which I’ll need to order soon I guess…how long do orders generally take?)
There are so many different varieties and I’m so new to this, I have no real idea which ones to choose beyond some basic info I’ve gleaned from elsewhere. So if you’ll all indulge me here (I could post this elsewhere but it’s 10:30pm and I’m too tired to go look for a more appropriate place to put it, LOL) I thought I’d run though a list of some of the vegies I’m wanting to try over the next 12mo or so. Clearly not all at once, as some of the growing seasons are off. But I’d love everyone’s recommendations or suggestions as to varieties, since I’m really flying blind here.
Quick note: I’ve quickly come to the conclusion that if you’re going to put the effort into growing vegies, you’d be a mug NOT to have them be organic, so all suggestions must follow that. (And can someone explain the virtue of heirloom seeds to me?) Okay, here goes:
* Herbs (parsley, garlic chives, basil, oregano)
* Cabbage (but less so…I’m thinking for coleslaw)
* Capsicum (this is a definite)
* Carrots (might as well give them a go)
* Beans (preferably climbing but if some of the bush types get a thumbs up, I’m open)
* Peas (snow pea and/or sugar snap. Obviously the beans and peas on trellises)
* Lettuce (3 or so varieties – suggestions welcome)
* Potatoes (intrigued by the growing process – I read somewhere that Peter Cundal I think does a green manure crop, slashes, plants potatoes, waits for harvest, the plants tomatoes? I might have order mixed up, but in any case, do they do better kind of off to the side on their own, in chicken wire bed or old tyre? My preference is for chicken wire)
* Pumpkin (maybe)
* Spring onions (this is a definite – you just snip the tops off to use them and have them grow most of the year without replanting this way, is that right?)
* Tomatoes, duh! (some of the varieties I’ve heard are really good are Tommy Toe, Mortgage Lifter and Grosse Lisse. Since this is one of the main reason I’m looking forward to this, I want to get the tomato situation right. Flavour important. Suggestions please! I intend staking (or trellising?) toward back of beds, and would prefer 3 diff varieties so a good range of flavour, colour and performance
* Zucchini (because I’ve heard they’re great to help get kids involved and grow fast. Kind of like the vegetable gardening equivalent of the Kick Start Soup Diet (okay, not the kid part, the fast part, LOL) You get hooked on the growth of this one and it flames the fire, so to speak!)
* Strawberries (again, yum, but for the kids as well. I’d like to have several plants but no idea how much I could expect each to produce)
So a long list, and not all of them will get done in the initial planting, but I’d like to order most of my seeds in one hit (strike while the iron is hot, plus with the other expenses this garden kick is likely to produce, I’m not sure DH’s heart can sustain him a second seed buying episode in a few months! :D) How far in advance can you order seeds? If they’re used within 12mo, am I good?
LizzieAugust 12, 2009 at 6:58 pm #425851HerbmanMember
Hey there Lizzie – welcome back. Seed question – I use Eden Seeds because that’s just who I was introduced to so haven’t changed.
I grow my herbs from seedlings rather than seed simply because am lazy, they are cheap to buy and they last all year anyways (up here in Brisbane anyway)
Spring onions – when you buy them from the shop just plant the white bits with roots on them. Then like you say – just snip them and keep using.
Sorry – think that’s all the help I can beAugust 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm #425852LearningMember
I placed an order with Cornucopia last Saturday night, and had the seeds in the mail Wednesday.
The viability of seeds depends on storage conditions. Keep them very dry, cool and dark, and they’ll last at least 2 years, probably more.
I haven’t enough experience to advise you on varieties, I think the best advise is just keep planting! Use the search function here, you’ll learn heaps from that. Hopefully someone from your area will jump in with some local advice. Good luck 🙂
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