The summer garden

I am fortunate to have inherited a slightly run down orchard, with high fencing to keep out the kangaroos and other critters, and plenty of open space for gardens.

Sunflower and garden


Sunflowers, sage, sweet peas, comfrey and chicory along the fence line.

The beds in these photos were formed last year from composted weeds dumped along the fence line. Wait a year and you have ready made garden beds, they work especially well for pumpkins and melons. A  little added compost or organic fertilizer help to get things moving.

The citrus trees were previously being choked with perennial grasses, notably kikuyu. It took plenty of manual labour to remove a strip of grass roots from around each tree and replace with mulch. I found the trees are now quite happy to accommodate having gardens around them as the picture below reveals. In this case echinacea, yarrow and lemon balm are growing profusely, while under the bird netting is a lush crop of red clover just beginning to flower.

Echinacea and other herbs sharing space with citrus tree

The bird netting was installed to keep the wood ducks at bay, our local ducks just love to eat back the clover! If using this method ensure the trees and herbs are being provided with adequate nutrients and fertilizers. The red clover is a fertilizer in itself, it will be cut back for mulch and/or turned in as a green manure crop. I also grow buckwheat in a similar way,  and it doesn’t need protection from the ducks. It can be cut back for using as mulch, and if left to seed you can harvest them for the kitchen, or leave them to self germinate and produce another crop of mulch.

At this time of year the garden is supplying our kitchen with potatoes, carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, hot chillis, beans (5 varieties), strawberries, greens and more. In November I harvested the garlic patch, and it looks like we could have a years supply!

Garlic Nov18
Garlic “curing” in a shady spot

We’re most concious of growing food for medicine, other examples are turmeric and ginger, we also have the native turmeric (Curcuma australasica) not to overlook the native ginger (Alpinia spp.)

Baikal scullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) and summer savoury


Then there are the strictly medicinal herbs finding spaces around the citrus trees and fenceline beds, these include Calendula, ashwaganda and baikal scullcap – all currently flowering profusely.

Other summer garden crops we are waiting to mature are corn, okra, melons, pumpkin and eggplant. We started harvesting tomatillas, they make the best green salsa and so easy to grow.

The spring lettuce have self sown, lets wait to see whether they can make it in the anticipated January heat (40C+ forcast for the weekend).

As I mentioned I am able to grow a lot of my own mulch (including grass clippings), however some animal manure is also necessary for adding to the compost. The four resident cows were just moved on to greener pastures, fortunately I can harvest their droppings for a while yet.

For anyone reading this, I wish you a happy new year, and I hope you have plenty of good produce to enjoy and share this summer.













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