A Secret Club’s Secret Sub-club

Pat Ringland started the official Sydney Gardening Group. It is a bunch of people interested in gardening who are also members of the official Swanson’s Adventure Club. Last Sunday we had the inaugural little shindig at our place and  each month we will go around to another member’s house and share tales of  gardening, swap seeds and trade tips. We were excited to host the inaugural event at our place! Below are a couple of photos Pat took at the event. It also made us take stock and reflect on where the farm was at, assess how far we’d progressed towards our ambitions and determine how much further we had to go.

Front Yard - Photo by Pat Ringland

Front Yard – Photo by Pat Ringland

The Front Yard is looking OK at the moment. To our surprise the house actually shaded much of the front yard during winter and so, despite the warmer weather, the beds went into hibernation.

We do have:

  • a good bed full of green manure crop grown from seeds acquired at Milkwood’s seed circus;
  • a bunch of weed heirloom tomatoes that didn’t ripen because of the season and we ended up turning them into two giant batches of green tomato chutney;
  • pretty impressive kale that took ages to get going but it just keeps on giving;
  • lots of garlic growing well and undiseased;
  • some beetroot;
  • happy rosemary and parsley plants;
  • pigface that we foraged cuttings from a verge in Newtown. This native succulent has really taken root and going gangbusters around our lillypilly tree, which has also recovered from the heat of summer and looking very healthy now.
  • nasturtiums growing plentifully along the fence that we just grew from a plant we pulled up in an alley.
  • passionfruit vine and banana tree growing without complaint in the corner.

What we could work on is:

  • care for the underdog! For example, the curry tree was overtaken by weed tomatoes and we didn’t care for it well enough. I’ve pruned it right back though, and now new shoots are growing.
  • the grass is coming through our cardboard and mulch ground cover. We could have tried to keep up with its growth, but we didn’t. I think the solution will be more mulch.
  • watering. I think the onions in the front are suffering from lack of water. It’s not rained in Sydney in ages and there is nothing like rain from the sky to help plants along if the farmers are a little preoccupied!
  • not forgetting the front garden now we have our attentions on the back as well!
Back Plot - Photo by Pat Ringland

Back Plot – Photo by Pat Ringland

The backyard is going great too. I think overall we are doing quite well. We got the harvest of mustards we took to the co-0p, as reported in earlier posts, and a substantial amount of leafy greens for ourselves. We’ve let the bokchoy flower to attract bees and also to get the seeds and we are still waiting on the black beans and broad beans to grow. All in all the back plot is doing OK but we do need to work on soil remediation. We are adding nutrients (worm wee) and minerals (seasol) and we have mulched, but the structure of the soil is a bit sandy in some places and clay-ie in others. But these things take trial and error and time. Anyway, it was exciting to show off our work to the group and we look forward to being part of this secret sub-club in the months to come!