My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mini Gardening

I'm soooo looking forward to having space to garden in a productive manner, but in the meantime I thought I'd show how I keep my thumb tinged green.

We live on an acre section. Sounds huge, huh? Plenty of room for gardening, so what am I whinging about? Well, it's an acre of land that sits at about a 45 degree angle! And it is 80% covered in regenerating native bush. The only real flat bit is the driveway! The soil is solid clay too, so backbreaking stuff.

But I have a huge deck. So pots it is. Lots of pots. Oh, and a bath. No space for a bath inside, so lets make use of it somewhere else!

It took about two sacks of potting mix and one of compost for the bath and if I was doing it again, I'd put in another sack just to get a bit more depth.

They do take a bit of watering in summer, but I empty the kids paddling pool into the pots as one method of saving water. Then I put a plastic basin in the bottom of my kitchen sink and it collects vege washing water, dish rinsings, hand washings and cloth washouts. Before you know it, you've collected 15 litres a day!

I grew green beans in the bath in summer. I hung strings from the shade sail rafters and had three plants at either end and lettuces in the middle. The photo of the kids is just one days collection of beans. I was AMAZED at how many beans I grew. (Actually I was amazed at how many beans I grew with the lack of attention I gave them!).

And what keeps my garden growing? Certainly no silver bells and cockle shells. Nope, just good old excrement, otherwise known as vermicast, or as my kids call it, worm poo!!
My worm farm gets vege scraps that the chickens won't eat. And that's enough to keep them ticking over and giving me a container load of vermicast every six months and a couple of buckets of worm wee too.
I dilute the liquid with water till it looks like tea and give them that every week or so and then when I pull out plants I mix in vermicast before I plant new ones.
For nitrogen loving plants sometimes I'll go scrape up some chook poo from under their night perch and mix that in too.
And there you have it. Mini gardening. It certainly doesn't give me enough to not need to buy veges, but it does give us some. And it keeps my enthusiasm up. Great for the kids to help with too. They love the harvesting bit - especially cherry tomatoes and blueberries!

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