Now don’t get me wrong I would not consider myself naturally “green fingered”. So much of what we grow is through trial and error, but I have to admit there is nothing more satisfying or as fresh as growing your own!
We do have a rule however, that everything has to have a
purpose; to produce something.
When we bought the property there were already a few ‘dwarf’
fruit trees (little more than seedlings) surrounding the enviro-tank that
services the house. We call this the miniature orchid and have continued to
expand the variety of fruits in hope of harvesting yields in future years.
We have also planted a variety of fruit trees (native and
heirlooms) along the house garden fence lines. As these will not only produce
fruit in years to come, but also supply shade, but also screening/privacy.
To date our fruit trees include- lemons, limes, oranges,
mangoes, cumquats, passionfruit (well vines), brazilian cherries, mangosteens,
carob, macadamia nuts, rosella (well this is technically a shrub), mulberries,
finger limes… I am sure this list will continue to grow. These fruit trees/seedlings also produce the
only flowering aspect to our garden. And therefore attracting bees necessary
for pollination as well as other wildlife.
Having had (minor) success in suburbia growing in small
raised boxes and pots, the prospect of having the space to grow more was
exciting! Although you do not need ‘room’ to grow an edible garden- some of
these alternative options I continue to investigate, as we could always grow
more, or grow more efficiently… as we look at a variety of techniques- companion
cropping, ‘square foot gardening’, aqua/hydroponics, ‘sprouting’ and growing from food scraps. As I’ve
said no expert, just trial and error. Experimenting with composting techniques,
as we try to both reduce our waste, utilise our naturally available resources
(particularly manure) and would ultimately like to reduce our reliance on
artificial or externally sourced products.
Over time our ‘edible garden’ has continued to develop and
expand. From a patch we cleared midway between the house and the pig pen- so
that I could pass through and inspect daily. And it was just off the
underground enviro run off and on the downward slope (minimal grade) so that it
was wetter in winter… unfortunately this also meant it was wetter in summer. It
is also closer to the creek than other parts of the house yard, so has a higher
clay content- which is gorgeous black soil; great for nutrients and drainage. Producing a reasonable crop in our first year
(even though we started late)- growing lettuce, capsicums, eggplant
(aubergines), bok choi, zucchini (courgettes), cherry tomatoes, some carrots
and beetroot, a reasonable strawberries crop, french beans and even a few
butternut pumpkins (butternut squash).
To the introduction of raised beds, trellises and
expanding our produce from seedlings sourced from the commercial DIY/gardening
stores, to local sourced and heritage/heirloom varieties of seedlings and seeds.
And now even seed saving and germination.
We also converted an over imposing ‘screen’ comprising of
poorly selected, non-productive plants to a convenient herb patch- ideal for a
quick dash from the kitchen for an extra dash of flavour. Whilst adding a
welcome scent when approaching the front door.
As I said in an edible garden, everything had a purpose.