Last summer, there was post after post after post about my prolific vegie patch. That vegie patch was a dream come true. I had wanted one for so long. That is what retirement is about. You get to do all the things you have ever wanted to do.
You may have noticed from the photos that our block is sloping. It is on the side of a hill. Our vegie patches (now there are two) are next to the house on a pile of clay fill that was dropped there when a cut was made into the hill for our garage. The pile of fill (once it was flattened) is the only flat (well, flattish) bit of land around. You may also notice from the above photo that there are stairs down to the vegie patches. The only other access is from under the house and up (or down) the slope.
Our vegie patches are 12 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. And every single bit of vegetable matter (mulch, leaves, straw, poo, paper, compost etc) in those two vegie patches has been carried down those stairs or up from under the house by Maus and me.
Last year, I carried bales of straw and bag after bag after bag of compost and poo down those stairs when I was sick. I was so sick I could hardly breathe but I carried on.
This year, we have had another marathon effort carrying bag after bag and load after load down the stairs or up the hill into the patch. Today, my back and Maus’ shoulder are buggered.
Constructing the frames, we had so much mud stuck to our boots they were so heavy we could barely walk. I dug trenches in the rain. We measured lines and levels time and time again. Day after day, Maus and I swore at each other and threw wobblies when the levels weren’t right or the wind picked up the piece of zinc alume we had just put in place.
We bought the zinc alume and the edging which cost several hundred dollars. We had irrigation put on, which cost more than $1,000. All up, we bought 12 bales of straw, two ute loads of compost, 24 star pickets and 20 bags of poo. It will be 2100 before we break even on the cost.
So why did we do it?
More than anything else in the whole wide world, I like growing things. I love my vegie patches to bits. I can just sit and look and admire them. Vegie patch 1 has garlic that is not far away from picking, two silverbeet plants left over from last year, along with oregano and sage that survived and, of course, mint galore. The asparagus is sprouting. We are getting a few spears every couple of days.
I have also planted corn, rocket and beetroot seeds which are doing well. I have leek, spring onion and pickling onion seeds that are just popping up their heads. And parsley seeds which, if I stare long enough, I can convince myself are emerging. Each morning, I go out and check the little seedlings to see if any more have popped their heads through the soil. I love going outside and picking the silverbeet for the dogs’ dinner or pulling a few rocket leaves for ours.
In our new vegie patch there will soon be tomatoes, cucumbers (but not as many as last year) and capsicums.
I just love it. A friend recently asked, “Don’t you miss the law?”, to which I replied, “No”. “But you used to love takeovers”, she continued. “Yes,” I agreed but there are so many other things to love. Growing vegies for one.
BTW: If you would like to know how we made our vegie patches, here is the link to last year’s post.