Homegrown Veggies at your Country Retreat
I don’t know about you but there’s something about being in the country, being on a farmstay, surrounded by animals, that makes me think – where are the home-grown veg? They go hand in hand – and so I decided to make a proper veggie garden – it’s been on my To Do list for a while and today was the perfect day for it.
And what a glorious day we picked to be weaving a garden, in the garden! Weaving the fences for Wiggley Bottom Farm’s new vegie garden to be precise, under the tutelage of my talented friend Jen, who has designed many a garden and helps me out here at Wiggley every week!! Thankfully she's having plenty of help from the dogs as you can see. They truly are essential workers, without whom we’d get nothing done!
The vine prunings we used were donated by my lovely neighbour and terrific winemaker Syd Bradford, the brains behind Thick as Thieves Wines. (now there’s a name to watch out for – put TAT wines on your ‘Must Try’ list if you haven't had the pleasure already). I really love that we’re recycling prunings that Syd was otherwise looking to throw away: one man’s trash...as they say.
We had the perfect day for it and the design evolved as we worked. First we staked out the edges of the first garden bed with bamboo canes, then wove the prunings in and out until we reached the height we wanted. We thought we’d only have enough vines to do three beds in all, but when we’d done three, we stood back and both had the same thought – ‘It looks awfully like Mickey Mouse!’ So we set to and managed to eek out a fourth bed whereupon Mickey thankfully disappeared! (imagine if we’d had to look out of the window every morning, to see Mickey grinning back at us!)
Anyway, misshapen things of differing sizes are more organic and authentic and in keeping with farm life - straight lines and symmetry don’t often ‘go’ in our country landscape.
Preparing the Beds
OK, so to kill the grass off, we poured boiling water on it (you don’t want to be using weed killer where you’re about to plant vegies). Then we spread a layer of newspaper, a great barrier to stop weeds or the grass growing through, and backfilled them with horse manure (only the finest home-grown poo will be used, thanks to Flash Harry, Tina Turner and Velma’s impressive contribution) mixed with soil and covered with straw from the goose shed. Just imagine the nutrients in all of that – we’ll be growing mammoth vegies in no time.
From Little Things…
To begin with, we’ll be planting herbs, corn, pumpkins and tomatoes and in the centre of them all, a cloud pruned bay tree – which will be as useful as it will be lovely to look upon. Not familiar with cloud pruning? Originally it was a Japanese method of training trees and shrubs into shapes resembling clouds – can’t wait to see ours. Check back for regular updates. And better still, help yourself to goodies from the garden next time you come to stay.