24.12.15 and 1.1.16 – Easterly storms bring seaweed onto the beach for the first time in a year – the best christmas present!
the spring garden – 2015, with 15 newly planted fruit trees; 8 feijoas, 1 mulberry, 3 hazelnuts, 1 granny smith, 1 apricot, 1 pear and a kowhai.
the summer garden January 2015
“Hugelkultur” (hoogal culture) is a German word for ‘hill culture’. This is a raised garden bed filled with wood, organic material and an outer layer of soil mounded into a peak. As the wood breaks down it returns it’s nutrients to your plants and also helps regulate irrigation – soaking up excess moisture when wet and then releasing it to the soil when dry. For the first year or so it will take nitrogen from the soil but then as it composts it will return the nitrogen and enrich the soil for many years to come. I’m trialling this technique with two of our box gardens – will be interesting to see what their water and compost needs are! (nb, some woods are unsuitable due to toxicity).
July 2014; avocados
The heavy clay soils here aren’t very inviting to avocado roots.They like good free draining soil with a PH of 6.3-6.5. On the advice of a local expert we have bought 4 young avocado varieties; Hass, Reed, Ettinger and Zutano (there are many more varieties) – these are a mix of A and B types which along with planting close together, helps with pollination. Fingers crossed we might be picking fruit in a couple of years.
One raised vege bed, approx 2metres square.
1 cubic metre topsoil, 1 cubic metre garden mix and 2 small bags scoria.
Dig a central well until it is 1 meter deep from base of hole to top level of raised bed. Fill well with earth mixes and scoria scattered through to aid drainage. Continue filling with soil, compacting as you go.
When the soil is level with the top of raised bed, plant trees – being careful with their root structure – Plant so that only half of the root base is buried – then mound soil up around remaining exposed roots, to further help drainage. Stake, mulch and protect with wind shelter cloth. Water well in summer and keep pruned to height of 2.5m.
July 2014; the winter garden
The garden is one section of steep native forest that wraps around the back of a small coastal bay. Our slice is roughly 3 1/2 acres. On a cleared, flat site straddling the driveway, there are; 33 fruit and nut trees, 2 beehives, 10 raised organic vege beds, a worm farm and countless native and introduced birds. We are vegetarian so use only animal manure, compost and natural minerals to fertilise the soil (mainly seaweed washed ashore after an Easterly blow). My partner and I have built this over the past five years but only recently moved to live here full-time. There is much to learn and to grow. I hope these posts will document this piece of land and it’s ongoing evolution.
Disclaimer; I’m an amateur – copy any content with caution.