Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Garden efficiencies and cycles: seed propagation

Having had our no-dig garden now for some five months, we are beginning to get into a bit of a cycle: fennel made way for garlic (planted earlier and now quite large) and new seed plantings of Swiss Rainbow Chard and parsley. The snow peas have virtually finished (with some saved for seeds), just as the dwarf beans began to take off. With the beans in full tilt we planted some purple runner beans from seed (using teepee style sticks over fennel for support and bug protection), and beetroot and carrot seeds, plus some coriander seedlings (sown during Winter).
dwarf beans

It's great to see cycles in action side-by-side simultaneously in the one small space - an ongoing cycle of life!

I'm also becoming more aware of the need to be efficient in the garden, not just with precious resources such as water, but with seeds and seedlings, and fertilisers too. I've been researching and reminding myself of ways to store and propagate seed from brocolli, peas and beans, and have struck various herbs like rosemary and marjoram. We've also propogated some green tomato ('Zebra') seeds - hoping they'll germinate!

Being efficient and effective with fertilisers and composting is also important - so far we have one compost bin, but ideally could use two or even three (being about 80 litres in volume), to spread the benefits further and more regularly, and minimise the need for buying compost. Others have been successful at growing compost, mulches, and green manures, as is key to permaculture practices. So our peas and beans can be turned into the ground once harvest is finished, and the fennel leaves bulk out the compost heap too. As the lemongrass kicks in that can provide some mulch/compost.

I'm beginning to see the real benefits of the no-dig approach as well - the soil is really friable and free-draining and the plants seem to grow more vigorously. It's easy to beef up a zone after one crop in preparation for another as well - although due to our small-sized garden this seems more intensive to do!

And finally, our new limestone raised garden bed now has some tomatoes planted - the big Aussie Grosse Lisse, Roma, and Beefsteak varieties! Bring on Summer (and Spring has just begun)!

Happy gardening!

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