Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spring, we're ready!

I often feel I am running behind when it comes to the garden, but this spring I wasn’t going to let that happen. In preparation I built a mini greenhouse, to hopefully aid an earlier start to seedling raising, and as of last weekend the chickens started preparing the first garden bed. With all that ready it was time to get the seedlings going.

One thing I have been slowly learning is that a bit of planning makes a big difference to the efficiency and outcome of most tasks. So the first thing Melanie and I did was to sit down with a pen and paper and work out what we wanted to plant and in what quantities. We planned upon seedling taking about a month to grow, which aligning with the rotation of the chicken tractor means we needed enough seedling for two beds always on the go. Here is what we came up with:

Bean           14
Capsicum       4
Eggplant       1
Tomato         4
Cherry Tomato  2
Basil          2
Cabbage        2
Parsley        2
Coriander      2
Lettuce        6
Spring Onion   6 pots, multi per pot
Silverbeet     6
Beetroot       12
Celery         2
Pumpkin        2, not in mandala
Broccoli       4
Radish         12
Cucumber       2
Dill           1
Zucchini       2
Sunflower      6
Melon          2, not in mandala
Carrot         lots, direct sow
Onion          lots, direct sow
Chives         direct in pot

This spring we have decided to not be shy with how much we can squeeze into a single bed. As Linda Woodrow explains in her book... Mother nature will fill the gaps if you don’t, with weeds. I had this concept reinforced at an urban farming workshop, where I was blown away by how dense they planted.

With 98 pots to prepare and a pressing urgency to get this job done, I had a little brain wave, that I was quite chuffed with myself over. Instead of filling each pot separately with soil, as we have done in the past, it occurred to me that we could fill the lot in one go. We simply laid the pots out on the ground then without care poured the soil all over them.

Putting a mat down is the key. It can be picked up to finish off the pots or put any leftover soil back into the bag.

We also were able to do this with the pots already in the trays as our trays have very large holes in the bottom, the dirt just fell straight through. These trays were a lucky score, I found them on a rubbish pile, and are the perfect size for the table. I have been trying to get one more, but no hardware store seems to sell them. If you happen to know where I can source one, do tell.

Working from our plan the whole operation was complete in around one and a half hours.

So bring it on spring, we're ready for ya.


  1. Ingenious! You sound very organised? Bring on spring.

  2. Nice job! 98 is a lot of pots! Sounds like you are on a roll.

  3. You are well and truly organised! We've had our heated seedling mat working overtime to try and get seedlings ready - timing them is always the thing we find the hardest.

    1. I have found timing quite a challenge too. Hoping I have found the rhythm now though. Let the dance of the gardener begin.

  4. Those look like bread trays? I'm making mini-greenhouses out of bakery mini-pizza plastic containers. Will see how they go.

    1. A friend Kim reckons they are trays used to transport large pot plants. I confirmed her claim today at the hardware store. When I asked if I could have one, the store assistant said they have to return them to the plant supplier.

  5. I get the trays from ebay(also have found a couple on the side of the road) I buy them from a seller called grand_pa_ron_au. I bought my seedling pots from there also.

    1. It is rewarding when you find useful things on the sides of roads. I even have a few beautiful pieces of furniture in my home that were found that way. Thanks for the seller.

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