Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gardening is like a game of chess

Remember those seedlings with long sexy legs? Well they have finally been given the opportunity to stretch those long legs out in the big wide world. Melanie and I are both feeling a little sad for them knowing their lives are going to be tougher than most. From previous experience I have noticed the first set of plants going into a bed take a battering from the elements, insects and other creatures. With only the strong or lucky surviving. We have come to accept these seedlings as our pawns in a game of garden chess. And just like is chess, the ones that survive will provided protection to ones that follow.

To give them a fighting chance we have done two things. The first is to leave in the unintentional peas that are sprouting up out of the pea straw mulch. My theory, that I am open to being challenged, is that they will provide an insect decoy, improve the soil and provide green manure. I will cut them off when they start to make a nuisance. I do have a question about pea straw. What variety is typically used?

Secondly we have surrounded them with barrier, in this case plastic milk containers. The reason for the barrier is back when I first learnt and started using mulch. I would push open a hole then plant the seedling. The following day the seedling would be found buried under the mulch. With a bit of observation I discovered it was the birds having a wonderful time fossicking around making a right din. So now the seedlings get a bit of protection. In the colder months I hope it may also provide a bit of warmth, like a mini glass house.

In the past we have used those ice-lolly sticks to mark what we have planted, but the children can't resist relocating them. So for the very first time we are now recording what has been planted in a garden log book. If you are finding it hard to read here is what says:

Winter Garden – Bed 1
17/4/2011 – End of 1st quarter moon phase
Planted out:
5 Bok Choi - Shanghai
2 Cauliflower - Snow Ball (Eden Seeds)
4 Broccoli - Di Cicco (Southern Harvest) - Completely mangled (no leaves).
10 Peas - Green Feast – Healthy but had to separate from same pot.
2 Beetroot - Bulls Blood (Eden Seeds)
8 Beetroot - Chiogga (Eden Seeds) – Some small and had to separate from same pot.

Melanie and I were both thinking, which happens a lot, we should give each of our six main beds some more colourful names than just bed 1,2,3, etc. Anyone got a good idea for a naming scheme?


  1. Those little milk bottle houses may deter slugs too. I lost all the caulies I planted out two days ago. Not happy! I have heard it said that the peas growing in pea mulch do add a bit of nitrogen to the soil...but pull them out before they flower because they then go on to deplete the soil. I think the pea straw sold commercially is not from and edible crop. But then I have never let it go on to fruit. I just use common old wheat straw these days. I put enough compost and manure on the beds and it is cheaper than pea straw. I also grow green manure when I can and dig that in. Good luck with the planting. Fun isn't it!

  2. As for the beds...after botanists...or gardeners. The Walling Garden, The Banks Garden, What is the name of that guy with the accent who was on the ABC gardening show? The Burkes garden....???? Or after your aunities. The Aunty Beryl bed....

  3. Hi I'm fairly sure the pea straw sold here in NZ is the leftovers after they have harvested the peas it is bailed up. good idea with the milk bottles.

  4. how about the names of the states or children's names :)

  5. We tried very clever names for our beds, but they didn't stick. The names that stuck are much more mundane - bottom bed, wonky bed, wet bed - but they stick because they match the beds. I think the key to good names is a cup of tea, a contemplative state of mind, and a bit of mulling time!

  6. Hazel sorry to hear about your caulies. You have my deepest condolences. Thanks about the deplete soil tip. Mel and I were also thinking famours gardeners. And yes it is a lot of fun!

    Kellee that would make good business sense of the farmers to do that. I wonder if that means it could be covered in pesticide, and GM?

    MsB one advantage about naming after states is that assigning names would be easy. I could assign names based on compass bearing.

    Linda in a weired kind of way names like wonky and wet are really good names. I will have to pay closer attention to my beds before I could give them such names. And what isn't a cup of tea good for?

  7. I was going to suggest naming the beds after the six dwarfs that Snow White kisses at the end of the tale, leaving out Happy as she did. But actually, I like best the suggestion of MsB, as the children could intuitively learn some geography while they walk about the garden. :)

  8. Dmarie did you just recently reread the tale or did the fact that Snow White didn't kiss Happy really upset you as a kid? It's disturb me now. Poor Happy. I wonder if he changed is name to Rejected after that?


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