You too could carpet your garden paths

Yes we know it is not usual BUT

We have found in the winter that our paths are not very suitable for people of our very nearly advanced age and so we have been considering just what to do to make our garden safely accessible all year round.

A friend had a big roll of old floral axminster carpet in her garage and she very generously offered it to us and of course we said yes please. We had already been using carpet pieces around most of our newly planted trees outside of our fully fenced vegetable garden. This was done to stop our free range chickens from digging up the young trees and for some reason we had positioned the carpet with its woven backing side up. Maybe it was because the carpet was a very unattractive beige.

There is such a lot of carpet in this roll so we decided to use it for our paths inside the vegetable garden and you guessed it, because it is a floral carpet we positioned it floral side up. Wouldn’t you have done that as well?

Yeah we know it’s a bit daft but a floral path inside a vegetable garden is just a bit special don’t you think?

axminster carpet in garden

Sadly we will cover it with some sort of mulch later. When the mulch breaks down it will be added to the garden beds and replaced as need be.

In the meantime I shall enjoy strolling on my floral path as I work in our vegetable garden.

Strolling on weed mat would not be nearly as enticing, would it?

Apple Cucumbers

We have always grown cucumbers in any garden we have had. And we have had many gardens over our 47 years together. We have created gardens in 3 addresses in Panmure, 1 each in Penrose, Titirangi, Stanmore Bay, Pt Chevalier and now in Miranda.

And we have always managed to provide ourselves with cucumbers – long green ones and/or Apple cucumbers.

But we have never had a success like this year.

We have planted two apple cucumbers and one of those has sulked and produced two measly, wimpy and inedible cucumbers. The other one however is an Audrey. It is an Audrey named so after the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors – that ate and ate and grew and grew. Now we haven’t feed any bodies to our Audrey but she is well feed and watered by the fact she is in our asparagus bed.

Our asparagus has been in this bed for 3 years and has done so very badly so we (I) decided that this well nourished raised bed should grow other things this year instead of us waiting anxiously at the bed side for our asparagus to appear.

Don’t get me wrong, we have had a few miserly, miserable thin spears each year but the expected harvest just hasn’t arrived.

cucumbers 2 feb 2016

So I have replanted the bed with dwarf sunflowers, two tomatoes, six lettuce and six celery plants and one apple cucumber. We think we have gathered about eighty cucumbers so far and there looks like there could be in excess of 200 yet to develop and be gathered.

So we are making raita, cucumber salad, picked cucumber salad and cucumber sandwiches and we have given some away (about 25 so far) and we have 18 in the fridge and I haven’t been out to gather today’s crop as yet.

I will call the cucumber total 80 so far and add to the number as our cucumbers are gathered each day so we can see how many we get by the end of our Audrey’s natural life.

I might just walk around the garden with the camera

and photograph the gardens or maybe use the video option on it to show where we are at.

I have been thinking a lot about the direction our garden is to go in and while we have not created it fully in the permaculture way we have done a great deal it seems.

Our garden is not sprayed with anything with …cide in it. The only item sprayed is water. We do plant (well I do) and try to fill all the gaps, we do mulch a lot and we do make compost. Our chickens manage some of our compost, and they do lay delicious golden eggs and supply us with young chickens which we do eat when the time is right. We do buy chicken feed and it would appear that if we apply more fully the permaculture method we may well reduce the quantity of supplementary food that we purchase for the chickens.

The big difference between us and the permaculture ideal is our many compost making methods which do require a fair amount of input from us. The chickens do some as I have said but building them into the garden scheme will assist us to streamline composting, mulching and gardening. The time and effort saved will be a bonus on top of more fresh food more of the time, I am gearing up to run and change all but I have realised that I need to plan the garden including when and how to compost and manage the chickens on paper first so that any incremental changes we make are effective. I have to remember I am racing to become a septuagenarian and I want the garden absolutely ready for that.

And of course I want Best Beloved on side so must not add too much too soon or he might flag a bit seeing as he is already a septuagenarian.

It is really quite exciting.

where we are at

To begin the process of change we do need to establish what we have and where and how it fits with the Permaculture strategy.

We have 2 flat areas of garden with a bit of a slope between which was created by the previous owners of the property.

The garden is fully fenced and the fence cover is windbreak cloth. It is about 2 metres high and is rabbit and chicken proof.

Our chickens free range over the rest of the land except for two young ones aged about 11 weeks and they are contained in a fenced off area within the garden.

Best Beloved has built 8 raised beds (about 30cm high).

We also have 2 areas not raised but also in garden.

Our worm farm is in a full sized bath with a door as the cover which hinged from the fence.

We have 2 pallet compost bins, 2 other plastic bins, a 3 tier plastic compost bin and a tumble compost bin.

Inside the garden we have 2 peach trees, 1 almond, 5 blueberries, cape gooseberries, 2 passionfruit vines, 1 grape vine, strawberries, an elderberry and 3 guavas and a kaffir lime tree.

and lots of vegetables.

The next step is to work out on paper what to do now.

Maybe you have some ideas and of course I shall take photographs so it makes more sense