Dirty Hands and Urban Farming

We spent a superb sunny day in the garden at the weekend, planting seeds and preparing for future feasts.

By taking the time to grow our own veggies, we’ll be rewarded with nutrient dense, fresh, chemical free goodness that tastes amazing. Add the simple joy of being outdoors and getting my hands dirty, and I’m in heaven!

Strawberries

Strawberries

Our lovely Black Orpington and Light Sussex Hens spend their time industriously foraging, and they not only keep unwanted pests under control, they also provide our garden with valuable nutrients, our family with delicious eggs  and amuse us with their constant antics.

backyard chooks

We start by carting off the chook poo (manure) and biodynamic compost into the garden bed and mixing it well through the soil. Then some patience is required, as I like to let the soil rest for a week or so before planting. I don’t know if there’s any science behind this – and horticulturalists may scoff – but intuitively I like to let the chicken poo, compost and existing earth mix all settle together.

It gives us time to plan what we’re going to do with our new ‘blank canvas’ (you can read more about the importance of planning in this book review), and time to connect with the earth and respect nature.

WE took a short trip to Ceres (http://www.ceres.org.au/) where we purchased some seedlings and mulch. Dad had already given me some seeds he’d saved from previous crops, so with tools and gloves in hand we were set to go!

PreperationTo construct our garden bed dividers, pathways and stepping-stones we used red gum sleepers (untreated so our garden remains free from unwanted chemicals), as well as stones and logs. It’s important to plan ahead to allow for easy access (you may want to draw a plan first).

Pathway

 

 

 

 

 

We planted tomatoes and carefully supported them with untreated hardwood stakes, then planted basil, oregano and a variety of mint nearby which seems to work well as a natural pesticide.

P1060644CucumberP1050173 P1050340

We then planted beans and corn side by side, because the latter acts as a great support for the former.  We sowed carrot seeds, dug in lettuce, beetroot and fennel, and the strawberries we planted in various tubs around the garden.

P1050172 P1050138

I like to express some creativity when planting smaller plants like strawberries and herbs by using a variety of interesting containers.  Quirky garden ornaments can look beautiful and unique, I especially love this one and these too.

Artichoke

Finally we mulch (super important as it prevents evaporation, protects the soil and suppresses weeds. Mulch also supplies nutrients and organic matter to the soil, helping your veggies grow.), and water the garden well.

We then stand back and love that in almost no time we’ll reap the fruits of our labor (literally!).

    Blackberry Apple Blossom

If you haven’t tried it, urban farming is fun, sustainable and your soil will love you for your hard work and conviction.

Fuji Apples Eggplant

Producing clean food not only nourishes you, it cares for and connects you to the Earth. It’s a great family activity where children can learn and appreciate where food comes from. Watching children playing, picking and eating fresh fruit and veggies straight from the garden is incredibly rewarding. Every household would benefit from creating an urban garden; even the smallest space and budget can yield a tasty crop.

Strawberries ripening nicely. Granny Smith Apples

What’s in your garden? Have you planted something special this season?

Dividing Logs

Dividing logs

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