Garden Share Collective

This is my first post for the wonderful initiative that is The Garden Share Collective dreamed up by Lizzie from Strayed From the Table. Gardeners love nothing more than chatting about their triumphs and flops so this is a fabulous way of getting inspiration and support from other like minded folk!

I thought I’d start with a Before and After shot of my Vege garden.

Veggie Garden 2009  garden view

We moved to New Zealand in 2009 and bought a house on a 20 acre apple/cherry orchard and one of the first things we did was create a vege garden in the 2 acres of garden that we have. Mr Fig made the raised beds for me and we arranged them in a kind of octagon shape with three square beds in the centre. This layout has worked well over the past four years although we have extended the garden somewhat; a potato/squash bed, a cucumber/gerkin/squash walkway and a herb spiral.  The honeysuckle entrance is one of my favourite parts; I wanted to feel as if I was walking into a room or a very well stocked pantry! The scent is gorgeous and it attracts bees so thumbs up all round. I’m planning on growing a scented rose on the far archway this Spring where I usually grow sweetpeas. If anyone has a recommendation I’m all ears. I love growing flowers in with the veges; my favourites are calendula, heartsease, borage and dalias. I planted the wrong type of marigold last year and the variety ‘sugar and spice’ grew as tall as the tomatoes! Everyone who visited loved the colour though and my toms were very healthy! I’m going to grow Nasturtium ‘Peach melba’ through my courgettes this year and viola ‘Chicky Chicks’ in the Pimm’s bed. I’ve also been tempted by Sunflower ‘Golden Toasted’ which has edible seeds. You simply soak the seeds in salt and/or spiced water for a few hours, pat dry then roast in the oven or microwave.

What’s growing?

I’m not much of a winter gardener it has to be said but I always plant garlic. I plaited my garlic harvest for the first time last year and I get a little rush of pleasure every time I walk past it or snip one off to use for dinner.

First garlic shoot Garlic 2

I also love to grow herbs all year round. They have a much better flavour than the supermarket herbs and are much cheaper. Winter is the only time that I have any success with coriander and dill; it’s much too hot for them in the summer and they bolt so quickly.

Dill Coriander

I also managed to grow a mountain of parsley this winter. It’s in a flower bed because I thought it was Candytuft that I had grown from seed! Must remember to label seedlings next spring….

Parsley Mountain

I’ve also added silverbeet ‘Rainbow Lights” to the garden this year. It’s great in stir fries and a substitute for spinach (my spinach has a long way to grow) and looks beautiful with the sunlight shining through the stems. Pak choi is another favourite winter green and, again, I use it much as I would spinach. It probably looks as if my pak choi is in prison with the docking gate behind it! The naughty chooks adore pak choi; they pecked their way through my first sowing so Mr Fig exercised his Kiwi Ingenuity and constructed a functional (if not downright ugly) cage for them from an old docking gate and some netting and bamboo canes. Some of my veges are lucky enough to have proper cages made out of pvc piping and netting!

Rainbow Lights Silver beet Pak Choi

There’s always room for lettuce too and I have sown some microgreens in an old wooden crate. Microgreens really tart up a salad! They are very nutritious too of course and are the ultimate in Fast Food since some varieties are ready for harvest in just 10 days. I grow about four varieties in strips. Press the seed gently into the soil and cover lightly with potting mix. I choose different colours and textures so they look really pretty. My favourites are Pea ‘Fiji Feathers’, Beetroot ‘Bull’s Blood’, Mustard Streaks (Brassica juncea) and Radish Rambo. I’m going to try Beet ‘Rainbow Lights’ as a microgreen this year too – so pretty.

Lettuce and silverbeet Microgreens

Growing away merrily oblivious of the weeds (or perhaps too polite to say anything) are my Sweet Peas. If I absolutely had to choose my favourite all time flower the Sweet Pea may well be It; the colour, the scent, the way I can just plonk a handful in a vase and they still look gorgeous…… sweet peas rock.

Sweet peas

Now I’ve been saving one of my most exiting projects till last… they are…..

compost bins 2 compost bin

….my beautiful compost bins! I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the magic that is Compost Making. Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks they’re pretty cool. The Figlets had a great time one afternoon!

Kids compost

Tasks to be Tackled

Pimm’s Bed – I need to dig out the soil and weed mat it because couch grass has just Taken Over this space grrrrr. It’s a Battle I will Never Win but I can make it hard for them without resorting to Chemical Warfare…. I’ll then plant up with strawberries, cucumber, mint, borage and Viola ‘Chicky Chicks’ for the Ultimate Pimm’s. I’m also vaguely thinking about a Cup of Tea bed; basically a bed full to the brim with herbs that make a good cuppa; mint, lemon balm, fennel, violet, chamomile and lemon grass. I’m wondering whether a glass of chilled violet tea would taste anything like those violet sweets I used to eat as a child……

Pimms Bed

Clean out the greenhouse – I must clear all the cobwebs that are decorating not just the corners but the ceiling and the walls and the seed trays and harvest the last of the chillies.

Dig in lots of sheep poo from under the sheep shed of my Crazy Farmer Friend who is busy milking cows at the moment to feed her gorgeous little calves (I feel another post coming on!)

Weed, weed and weed some more and weed mat the garden paths.

And my personal favourite job…..order seeds for spring! I had a clear out of my Seed Box and look what I found….

Old seed packets Mystery Seed packets

Lots and lots of seeds (only three out of date but I’m sure they’re fine) and three “Mystery Seed Packets”…. I wonder what they are? That’ll teach me for leaving them out whilst watering the greenhouse…. Do I really need to order more seeds? Well of course I do!

So many plans and thoughts for the garden this year! Here are a few heart warming pics of Nearly Spring in my garden! See you next month.


27 thoughts on “Garden Share Collective

  1. Pingback: Garden Share Collective: 5th August

  2. Hey Sarah … just love your blog! Wow, do you have lots on … makes me feel lazy. I have had great success with a similar compost set-up. You will love it! So pleased that you are part of The Garden Collective. Good! 🙂

    • Thanks Julie! Your lovely comments always make me smile! Yes it’s a lot of work but I’ve learnt a lot so we’re simplifying things as we go now 🙂 I’m off to look at your post now – I’m sure you haven’t been lazy at all 🙂

  3. I love ordering seeds, its so much fun. Your garden is really lovely and boy has it changed since you first started. I am a firm believer of composting, I have a three bay system very similar to yours and I don’t know where i would be with out it along with my worm farm. Herbs are really expensive at the shops so I too grow as much of them as I can. I also have trouble growing coriander and dill in summer.

  4. Hi Sarah, glad to have found your blog! I love your before and after veggie patch shots. It truly is your own stocked pantry! Isn’t gardening fun?! I had a chuckle at your nameless seed packets, I too have a few of them, there really are few surprises left in life, it’ll be a nice lucky dip to see what sows from them!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I so agree about the mystery seed packets being a nice surprise!!! Will look forward to seeing what yours turn into 🙂

  5. I love the before and after shots of the vege patch 😉

    I’m glad you posted this as it reminded me that I need to have a look at the Garden Collective – I received a comment from lizzie a while back about being involved and I had a quick look but meant to go back. I thought about sharing the school garden experience as it was something slightly different.

    I like the compost bins – bet the Figlets reckon they are ace dens, I know my two youngest would 🙂

    • Funny that, as I was going to suggest the Garden Collective to you. Thought it would be right up your street 🙂 The school veg garden would be a great topic indeed. The Figlets really love the compost bins; they add to it all the time, so funny!

  6. What a wonderful idea to have a Cup of Tea bed. My most successful scented rose is The Generous Gardener – it’s a David Austin rose and not sure if it’s available in NZ but it smells divine and scrambles over an archway beautifully.
    How deep does the soil have to be to grow microgreens? I’d like to give it a go.

    • The Generous Gardener sounds gorgeous. I have seen David Austin roses at the garden centre so will go and have a look. Thanks for the tip. Micro greens can grow in very little soil as they only last until you harvest them (10 days some of them). My top tip is as soon as you see them produce shoots plant up another batch….then you’ll always have a supply! They look great as a garnish on soup too 🙂

  7. I love your idea for a Pimms bed! My husband has been making a seating area in the garden that a friend has christened the Pimms terrace… I may well pinch your idea and grow some Pimms ingredients too.

  8. I love the plaits of garlic – gorgeous. We often do a dream order of seeds online – and then look at what we have on hand and sigh…

    • You’re spot on! They’re recycled pallets. We have lots of sources of these pallets around us and I think the finished product looks really good. I love to recycle and the fact that they’re free 🙂

  9. I love the Pimms bed idea, I may have to pinch that! what a great way to celebrate your English roots in NZ! Loving your blog, I’ve popped over from the Garden Share Collective and I’m really enjoying getting to know gardens at home and the other side of the world, I look forward to keeping up with yours.

    • Thanks for popping over! The garden share is just fabulous! I love peeking into other people’s gardens too- so inspirational. Yes the Pimms bed is a nod to my English roots….my kiwi friends quite like being served Pimms too!!

  10. Hi Sarah! Popping over from the Garden Share and I love your blog name as much as I love your garden. Sounds like you’ve been having a lot of adventures and I have to admit I love the idea of the honeysuckle entrance. Now to member that when I get my own house!

  11. Hi Sarah, your garden is amazing, its great how you have all of the different beds with the flowers living happily in it all. I also love the idea of the cup of tea bed so look forward to reading more about what you decide to plant 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Louie! I’ve just moved my Bay Tree into the Cup of Tea bed because I read about a bay Leaf and Lemon tea which sounded yum. I don’t usually go for themed beds but I’m finding that it’s making me become a bit more adventurous in the garden! 🙂

  12. Love the idea of entering your “well-stocked pantry” through a honeysuckle arch. And the pimms bed is brilliant! Very glad the garden collective has introduced me to your lovely garden.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Andrea and for your lovely comments. I love the honeysuckle arch too. It grew so quickly and covered a rather ugly old wooden arch. I’m looking forward to growing a scented rose over the other arch 🙂

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