Saturday, October 9, 2010

Inner Melbourne - Family of Four Vegie Garden Design

An example of interplanting a veggie garden in a landscaped Suburban Garden: Notes to a Client

For Background Reading on Permaculture Principles: The Essence of Permaculture

Zone 1: Quick Pick / Kitchen Cupboard

Pots - Lettuce / Coloured Pots of Geranium
Herbs (Rosemary/ Thyme/Parsley)
Seedling Nursery

Zone 2: Annual Veg Crops (quick pick varieties)
Broad Beans
Snow Peas
Climbing Beans

Zone 3: Slow Growing Annual root veg /perennial  fruit / Veg

Tomatoes (Zone 2 or 3)
Corn (plant several in close proximity for cross pollination)



Zone 4

Compost Bin - Back Slightly Sunnier Spot
Infront of Fig (where bin was) - is now a space for drying cuttings (before adding to compost)
Remember 1:1 Ratio Wet:Dry
Wet = veg/fruit scraps
Dry = Clippings - no bigger than tips of branches + dry leaves / dry grass clippings / dry hedge trimmings (place clippings beside the bin for a couple of weeks (or days in Summer) to dry before adding to the compost - unless autumn leaves - they can go straight in.
No root balls (too woody) and no big branches
Newspaper (scrunched up) is an alternative when no clippings/leaves are available
Dry has been the missing ingredient (it is like a sandwhich where the dry layer provides aeration for the breakdown of the wet)


Air in the soil (like in the compost was the missing ingredient)
The way to create aerated soil is to layer compost - with mulch and manure (3-6 alternate layers) ending with a mulch of either whole (not crushed) sheep manure/lucerne or sugar cane mulch. I have dug in the compost to begin with as it was not well broken down (but well enough - you will find some egg shells about which take the longest - but are a good source of calcium). On top of this was placed crushed sheep manure, organic pellet form (slow release) fertiliser, blood and bone, sugar cane mulch followed by whole sheep manure (again slow release).
You can not plant seeds in this 'no dig' style soil structure yet.
If you want to plant straight from seed then make a small whole and fill it with seed raising mix (or grainier soil from deeper below once the layers have broken down), otherwise plant seedlings straight through the layers.

An initial planting of legumes would be great for the new areas (Zone 3 - where the tomatoes are planned) you allow them to get almost to full season (just seeding/flowering) or just before and then cut them (with a dutch hoe for example) and dig them into the soil. This can also be done at the end of the season - before planting the next crop.
Never plant tomatoes in the same spot two seasons in a row (a bacteria infection tends to occur)... try crop rotating root veg with leafy veg the following season and continue to alternative in this way each year.

Strong smelling herbs - garlic chives/peppermint varieties are great around veggie crops and also your roses to stop disease and pests.

Comfrey/Yarrow around the fig would be ideal - the tap root of the comfrey brings valuable nutrients up to the surface and both can be added to the compost to aid break - down. Stinging nettle - if you can stand it is also great for this.

Nasturtium / Peppermint Pelargonium are non-inavisve ground cover ( and great weed control) as are strawberries.

Hedging can be achieved with edibles such as blue berries (mulch well and water often) if you want an alternative to the box hedge.

I would consider planting another passionfruit vine to support the one already in - and buy an organic beef liver from the butcher and dig it in - just below the root ball. Passionfruit need plenty of nutrients and this is an old and tested method (again only if it sits OK with you!)

I would think about cutting the lawn (1/2 meter circumference) around the Wisteria and Olive to allow watering and feeding of the soil above the root zone. You could also consider planting some edibles around the drip line such as Artichokes. Artichokes would also look very uniform (and are Perennial) for the front under the weeping ornamental where the pumpkins are planned.

In the shady corners
Clivia/Clematis/hellebores would all work as well.

I hope this Summer provides a crop BONANZA!

Here is a great website to help with knowing what to plant when
Veggie Guide - Gardening Australia

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