Day 27/31 - Our summer garden experiment

Monday, October 27, 2014

After two dismal years of summer gardening we've decided to attempt to garden differently over this coming summer.  Our blistering hot summers tend to wilt all but the hardiest plants.  Our dry climate means that to successfully grow a garden a lot of water is required.  As we don't have enough water in dams to provide adequately for a proper sized garden, we decided that at least we'd plant a smallish garden  in the hopes of garden fresh tomatoes & a few other veges.

This shadehouse came with the property & last summer we removed it from it's original (terrible) position & tucked it up out of the way.  As we were talking about summer gardening & the challenges it brings here, we thought of this shadehouse & how we could utilise it to meet our needs.  Sadly it was in terrible disrepair, but today the children & I decided to clean it up.  We removed old vines attached to it.  We braved countless spiders & enormous spiderwebs!  We removed the shadecloth from each end & the posts which were unattached ( there is one attached one left & I'm not sure if I can remove it  as it looks to be supporting ~ I'll get Dave to check it when he has a chance).  Finally the shade house was ready, except that the ground was covered in a very small amount of soil before it hit hard rock- like ground that is typical of an ironbark ridge ~ obviously not great gardening soil.

Attempting to get a photo of myself covered in dirt!

So we took the ute up to the shearing shed &  shovelled the composted manure that still lay there from the original owners shedded sheep operation. Shovelful by shovelful we loaded the ute with this beautiful soil.  It ended up being a terrible day for it at the wind came in strong gusts & caused us to get covered in the dirt (I'm fairly sure I'll wake up a foot taller tomorrow after all the compost I ingested today)!  Finally we had enough to fill the garden adequately for the plants I had raised from seed (which we then planted).  

The job is not complete, although we are very happy with the progress so far.  A watering system is being added (negotiations about the best type are currently under way)!  We are also going to fence this to keep any livestock that may escape into the houseyard out (I've lost too many plants to lambs or cows already).  
If this is successful we will then look at building portable shade houses for the other gardens in future years.

Meanwhile I also have a few other things to plant in the other gardens which I'm hoping will survive our summer regardless - my 'small garden' is now definitely a little larger than originally planned!  

I hope you have a wonderful gardening season this year!

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