It’s time to explain a little about my veg garden design. The basis for my design has been solely on Linda Woodrow’s book:
Disclosure: some of the links in this post are referral links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Linda used a ’mandala’ design which centred around the idea of circles for each garden bed. Whoa what is he on about I here some of you say! This is what I thought also – not square or rectangular beds. This is crazy talk. Well there were all sorts of reasons for it and Linda detailed it quite nicely in her book which made enough sense so I just went with it. This was the first and only book I’ve read about permaculture. Maybe I should have researched more but I’m one of those people that can research so much and then end up doing nothing. Therefore, I’m trying to break the habit and follow some basic rules which I’m making up as I go. First rule is – More doing and less planning to a point that derails the entire project.
Have a look at this link https://www.growveg.com.au/garden-plan.aspx?p=839720 which shows my garden plan. It is a great tool from www.growveg.com for designing gardens. I’m still getting to grips with it but it gives you an idea of my design. I’ve given some photos. Wish I had a drone to do do some arial shots.
Now stop … don’t be thinking that looks a bit sad. It’s early days and it will come together at some point.
Let the chickens do the work
I made a dome chicken coop. The ’how to’ for building the coop is all in her book and you can find the instructions easily on the web. I made my own changes borrowing from some other ideas on the web. I used electrical conduit for the frame and bolts rather than wire to hold frame in position. All in all it was a good project but putting the wire mesh on the dome frame was a nightmare. The gauge wire I used was not easy to mould. The wire bits gave me a few stabs but there was something therapeutic about the blood and sweat in the end.
I like building things. It makes me think of when the kids want to play games and I’m like “no no let’s play lego..” because I secretly prefer that to pretending I’m a cat. Walking around on my gout ridden knees trying to lick myself and make mowing noises. Just yesterday my youngest walked off after a while into our lego ship build because I was getting too into the design. I was left building on my own. I need to work on my parenting I know but this ship was pretty awesome.
So got side tracked there but the basic idea is that I have my dome chook tractor move on a new area in a cycle. After sometime when they’ve eaten the weeds, grass etc and pooped some fertiliser, while laying eggs, they move on to the next bed. I’m going around in a circle and will eventually have 6 round garden beds in a big circle and a pond in the middle. The cycle will then repeat and once things are established the chickens will have fodder after harvesting.
Grey and lifeless soil
So far this is going ok and all though things are a bit pokey looking at the moment as we start to go into winter. I think that I’ll be spending some time getting my irrigation system better set up and soil up to scratch over the winter ready for spring. I planted some onion and carrot seeds recently straight into my new virgin bed. My beds are at ground level and soil is very sandy with very little organic matter. No earthworm activity. I have done a PH test and it was around 6 so a bit on the acidic side which I expected. I’ve added some dolomite and ash from the wood heater to correct but left one bed without because the potatoes prefer slightly acidic soil.
After the chickens have been there I dig it once to get out any weeds that are left. I intend this to be the only dig and then will follow a no dig or only dig the first 8”. I add some cow or sheep manure and organic fertiliser in a pellet form. I’ve then also dig in some dry pine needles. Seems to be various opinions out there about pine needles. I’m giving them a chance to try build organic matter and to recycle what’s on the land. I finally cover with lucerne hay.
Please share any of your own stories or ideas. You welcome to criticise. I’m experimenting so don’t expect this is going to go perfectly.
That brings me to introduce you to my my next post which will be about my irrigation and I’m doing this all on rented property….