Starting a new garden

 I’m into my fifth week at my new home in Greerton.  I moved July 20th and it is starting to feel more familiar. It does take a while to transition from one place to another.  I do miss the farm hugely.  Luckily this section is large at 840 Square metres, sunny, north facing and flat.

How does one design a new food garden.  Firstly, you have to decide what you want to grow and what you like to eat.  I want to grow lots of vegetables of all kinds and fruit trees.  With that in mind I have divided the garden into the vegetable plot, straight out from the patio and the fruit tree orchard on the side with the hedge.  I had the hedge brought down in height, which it didn’t like, as there is die back and it looks rather uneven along the top!  But, a lot more sunlight reaches the garden in the afternoon now.

Already in the garden: avocado ‘Esther’, meyer lemon and feijoa

The garden had some existing fruit trees e.g. a meyer lemon, feijoa, three grape vines, a tamarillo, a

passionfruit vine, a semi dwarf avocado ‘Esther’, and an apricot.

I also brought trees down from the orchard at the farm.  These included, weeping white mulberry, dwarf almond ‘Garden Prince’, two column apples ‘Polka’, two pears ‘Seckle’ and ‘Winter Nellis’, dwarf feijoa, Grapefruit ‘Golden special’, plum ‘Satsuma’, Thornless jewel boysenberry, Japanese wineberry, elderberry and four blueberries.

I bought more fruit trees through the Tree Crops Association http://www.treecrops.org.nz/ at their annual sale. I hadn’t considered ripening times when I bought trees for the orchard at the farm.  This time I researched varieties that would give me a long harvesting period. I chose an early apple variety called ‘Worcester Permain’, a

Carpet and cardboard covering the lawn with Lulu looking on.

mid-season, ‘Freiburg’ and a late variety ‘Granny Smith’. These are all heritage or heirloom varieties meaning varieties grown that have been passed down through the generations, typically at least 50 years. (Although, many varieties are actually much older than that.) Some experts classify heirlooms as vegetables and fruits introduced before 1951, the time when plant breeders first introduced hybrids or crosses between two species. Heirloom varieties often have better flavour because they are usually not bred for commercial production.

What else have I planted?  A persimmon tree, a peach ‘black boy’, a plum’ Reine Claude de Bavay’, and a mandarin ‘miyagawa’.  And they all fit in the garden!  While they are young they don’t look crowded, but I intend to keep them small like the existing apricot.

I love companion planting so I’ve put daffodils around the fruit trees and they bring instant colour, since some are flowering.  They were dug up from the driveway at the farm.

 

When I bought this property in 2013 I had two raised vegetable beds made at the back of the house.  I have now discovered these beds don’t get a lot of sun being on the south-east side.  However, I have already planted out the broad bean, kale, lettuce and miner’s lettuce seedlings I grew.  I have peas, fennel and more kale just starting off.

The main garden is in conversion from lawn under cardboard and carpet.  I’m aiming to tame the kikuyu and get its’ runners to come to the surface, so that my gardening buddies and I can remove it.  And I may get chooks to help scratch it for me.

The worst thing about moving is being cut off from greens and weeds that I foraged.  Friends have brought me lots though and you may laugh but I transplanted weeds!! Chicory, hedge mustard, mallow, self-heal, wild lettuce, comfrey, nettle, onion weed and twin cress.  There is very little here.  There is an edible weed workshop coming up in September near Katikati. For more information go here.

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