Yesterday I spent the afternoon working on our bee friendly garden. I thought I'd finished ripping all the weed mat out of the gardens (the two that run parallel to the fences), but there was more! I ripped out the rest and added a layer of compost to mix in with the soil. I'm lucky in that we have volcanic soil here. Every time I'm out in the garden I'm coming across huge earthworms! Fingers crossed this is a good sign.
In our bee friendly garden I've now planted - Canterbury Bells, Cosmos, Snapdragons, Poppies (standard and California), Carnations, Aquilegia, Foxgloves, and Lobeila. I've still got lavender plants to pop somewhere, as well as two packets of Yates Bee Pasture Pollen and Nectar Mix. I'm thinking I'll sprinkle this out in the front gardens as I find Borage can really take over. This mix includes Phacelia, which I love as well. The goal here is to attract as many pollinating insects as possible, but also to create a cottage garden feel.
I've also been thinking a lot about how I can be most productive with my small section. Here are a few things I've taken into consideration as I've planned my summer garden.
* Vertical Gardening - Runner beans, cucumber, peas, beans, gherkins, miniature pumpkin/squash varieties and melons (if well supported) are all happy to climb so I'm currently in the process of planning structures to make this happen. I tried Sarah's idea of growing zucchini vertically a couple of years ago and it was really successful (as long as you keep on top of tying) so I'll give this another go.
* Container Growing - I've always grown my potatoes in containers, but this year I'm also going to give growing a couple of extra tomatoes in containers a go. Varieties need to be carefully chosen for tomatoes. Once upon a time I thought all cherry tomatoes were perfect for containers. Small fruit doesn't always mean a small plant. We live and learn! I use potato bags for growing my potatoes. I had thought I'd put in Illam Hardy, but nope... now I'm 98% postive they're actually Cliffs Kidney. Also failed to write down the date I put them in (winner, winner, chicken dinner haha). They're doing really well though! I wanted to try another variety in the hope of more new potatoes for Christmas Day. Obviously I'm running out of time as most early varieties take 90-100 days. However; I'm going to give Rocket a crack. They're meant to take 60-70 days. Less time also means enough time to chuck in another lot just after Christmas too. Does anyone have any tips/tricks on growing carrots in a decent size container? Mr 5 is desperate to give them a go, but growing them in the volcanic soil the first time is probably going to be hopeless with all the lumps and bumps. Open to suggestions here :)
Dwarf Fruit Trees - Not veggie related, but by buying dwarf fruit trees this has meant I've been able to squeeze in a variety of peach, nectarine, lime, and apple trees. I still purchased some full sized varieties e.g. mandarin and lemon.
Space Saving Varieties - I've looked into different space saving varieties this year e.g. compact tomatoes for pots, Space Master cucumber, and I'm going to give Golden Nugget pumpkins a go. Would love any further suggestions for compact varieties.
Square Metre Gardening - as I've mentioned before I personally wouldn't garden this way with all vegetables/fruit due to the increased risk of disease with tomatoes, courgettes etc but for things like corn and salad I always do something similar to this.
It's pouring with rain here this morning so possibly won't be too much going on today. Maybe a little bit more seed sowing and pricking out some seedlings in the garage. At least the new flower seedlings will get a decent water. Sorry for the long post. Someone couldn't sleep after waking up too early! Have a great weekend everyone.