Monday, 24 August 2015

A no dig vegetable garden

A few months ago I wrote about the 3 Bens (see post here). A couple of weekends ago I headed down to the Bellarine Peninsula to do a Permaculture Course with the 'gardening Ben'. Of course this is in preparation for my country retreat although I hasten to add that I have absolutely no intention of creating a 'have to be there' vegetable garden. Having to be there would rather defeat the purpose of a country 'weekender'. There would be nothing worse than worrying about whether the rabbits had eaten my lettuces, or the creepy crawlies had attacked my spinach or the watering system had ceased to operate. So I went along with all those thoughts in my mind and came away with all sorts of plans to ponder. 

What I found fascinating about the no-dig garden (well a bit of light digging but no grist to the mill/shovel digging) was how simple it all seemed. I'll take you through the process but first a view from the vegetable garden at Kiltynane Winery where we learnt the secrets. 
Peace, tranquility, a view to die for and a veggie patch to work on
So it was down to the veggie patch to see how it is done! One of the problems that Ben has is that the wind can be damaging but he has to work in with the view for the visitors - so as much as he would love to plant windbreaks they would interfere with the views. It's all about compromise.
Let's chop down the use-by vegetables and then cover them with staw
Out with yesterday's newspapers - spread them all over the prepared plot and...
Then it's time to water them in!
After a good water it's on with another bale of hay - spread it all around (doing the hokey pokey)
A visit to the compost for some sweet smelling odds and ends from the kitchen
Including some steaming (truly) coffee grounds you can see in the front which Ben collects from the local coffee shop  
More spreading - Ben calls his layers a Lasagne
And once his lasagne is made he will walk the garden and pull up some self-sown seedlings and just plant in the top
Of course having delicious compost including horse, sheep and chicken poo plus food scraps and the ubiquitous coffee grounds (keep away the bugs!) will make a difference. He also noted that the bales of hay which have been in the compost can also be used as the edge of the garden and seedlings can be planted in the top of it as well! Amazing.

Gorgeous colours also help - as do delicious veggies
If you think you would like to do the morning course then the next course overlooking the beautiful Swan Bay is on 18 October (see the link here) For a non-gardener like me to get all excited it must be good! And the olives which were removed from my home in town and are currently awaiting transport to the country retreat - they will benefit I'm sure from what I learnt. So go no-digging if you can!

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