Thursday, October 23, 2014

HOW TO: PREPARE THE GARDEN FOR SPRING



Hi there readers! Dave here, with another garden instalment. 

So, we’re half way through Spring (in the southern hemisphere); some of you may have thought about reviving that old neglected patch of remnant vegetables / weeds to something of its former glory, but you can’t quite recall how you went about it last time. Well, this post is for you - a quick refresher on preparing your garden for spring!

It may seem odd to be writing a “prepping your garden for spring" post half way through the season, and while you are absolutely right, I have five good reasons why you are also wrong!
  1. Gardening is very climate related, so where you live it may not yet even feel like spring
  2. In most parts of sub tropical and temperate Australia, there’s a good case to be made that we should probably have between 6 and 8 seasons rather than the good old 4, with the most flux occurring in the period between winter / spring and spring / summer
  3. There is an old chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now”. That is, even if you’re late, you should start now anyway!
  4. UK gardening legend Monty Don likes to say “Don’t worry, what you lose in time at start of the season, you make up by the end.”
  5. With the effects of climate change already among us (most gardeners would attest to this), the seasons are already a little messed up anyway. Where we live, it’s felt like summer, spring and winter all within the space of a month, and not in the order you would expect!
Convinced? Let’s get started.

Deciding which plants to keep for seed / flower / beneficials attraction

Having annual vegies that self seed in your garden each season is one of the coolest things - they get started when the feel like it and you don’t have to transplant them. Alternatively, you can pull them before they drop seed and collect it yourself for sowing next year (also totally cool). Typically annual herbs are a pretty good one for this, along with brassicas like kale, broccoli etc. A further bonus is the great array of flowers that will show for a good period before setting seed. They look amazing and attract beneficial insects to your garden for pollination and pest control.

Look for the strongest plants of each one you’d like to keep and let them go to seed. Pull the rest and put them in the compost pile or feed them to the chooks / rabbits.

Reviewing previous planting rotation

A good crop rotation plan is key to keeping on top of pests and disease. If you haven’t already, make a note of which plants were planted where and be sure not to plant the same family of plant there (i.e. tomatoes and potatoes are both from the solanaccae family so shouldn’t be repeated. Similarly, brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage etc) should be rotated). There are some forms of bed preparation where this is less important but on the whole for regular "tilling the soil" vegetable gardening it should be followed.

Remove weeds

Weeds, along with all other plants will really start to take off with the warmer weather so try and get these out ASAP. As the old adage goes, “One years seeding equals seven years weeding!”

Consider a break crop / green manure

As a bit of food for the soil, you might like to consider a “break crop” and / or green manure. A break crop gives the bed a quick rest from hardcore production and might be something like micro greens / mustard that you could eat for salad and then dig in. Even better for the soil is a legumeous nitrogen fixing crop that is grown and dug in before it sets seed, keeping in the soil all of the nitrogen that the the nitrogen fixers have absorbed from the atmosphere. A mixed crop like cow pea / buck wheat and millet will provide the nitrogen along with some good mulching material to break down. 

You can do this for a small part of a garden bed or an entire bed, but it will probably need around 6 - 8 weeks to mature (i.e. you lose that bed for other veggies in the meantime). 

Adding back - feed the soil, not the plants

Each time you plant something new it is necessary to add back to the soil what the plants have extracted in producing vegetables for you to eat. Remember that you should feed the soil (it is a living breathing mass of micro organisms, fungis and bacterias) not the plants.
There is a whole heap of soil science that you can get into here, but really it all boils down to compost and manure - it's hard to go wrong with those two.
Some manures like chicken poo should be composted well before applying directly to beds that you want to plant immediately (it’s high levels of nitrogen will burn new seedlings), others like rabbit poo can be put straight on. Nurseries typically have a large range of composted manures to choose from, but if you’re on your game, your compost piles from last year will be right on cue to add back to the beds now!

Plant perennials!

Consider planting a heap of perennials! They are better for soil building and will winter through meaning you won’t have to replant next season. If you can get a little fruit / nut orchard going all the better - in a small yard you can espalier them; they will produce fruit after the first few years with little to no help and outlast you by decades! A true investment in the future. 

Raising seedlings vs buying

It really doesn't matter! I typically do a combination of both. Don't get bent out of shape over it; do whatever you need to ensure that in a couple of months you’re eating veg from your own garden! 

Mulching

Finally, get into the mulching! Bare soil is the nemesis of the organic gardener (and should be of the broad acre commercial farmer but we won't start down that road). Amongst other things, good mulching feeds the soil, stops evaporation of nutrients, retains moisture for your plants (critical in a dry australian summer) and provides protection from heavy rains. Don’t even think about not mulching; lucerne hay, straw, sugar cane mulch, lawn clippings, dry leaves - get that mulch over the soil.

There you have it! Happy gardening!

May your efforts be prosperous, your crops be strong and fruitful, and the sun shine warmly on your back!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WEARING | WEEKEND ATTIRE






Weekends can be tricky to dress for when you've got young kids. In fact, every occasion at my current stage of life calls for the same casual attire, shorts and tee's. I could wear this dynamic duo every single day without a second thought but lately, I'm trying to actually 'dress' myself rather than rely on my 3 sizes too big shorts that saw me through 3 pregnancies.

Last weekend I lived in my Corsair Cami. These cami's have been my go-to pice now that the weather is warmer. They're a lovely linen blend and can look a little dressy or super casual. Plus I can get some sun on my back when wearing them! Bounus.

On Sunday I threw my Falling Flowers Kimono over my old denim shorts which made me feel like I could stretch the outfit from the beach to the afternoon catch up with friends.

WEARING

ONE
Bohemian Border Printed Maxi Skirt | free size
Corsair Cami in White | Medium
Gypsy Weekender Bag

TWO
Denim Shorts | try anthropology for similar



Bohemien Traders is Currently having a FALSHSALE and taking a further 40% off all SALE stock. Use the code FLASHSALE at checkout to redeem. My personal top pics are the following;




Sunday, October 19, 2014

STILLS | A ONCE EVERY NEVER COLLECTION


1. Kitchen table. Afternoon Light.
2. Tonight's dinner - homemade spaghetti with pantry-pickings-pesto. A little bit of pine nuts, a little bit of walnuts, a good handful of garden parsley and another of basil. Generous lashings of olive oil and lemon juice. Mercy.
3. Taken whilst picking good handfuls of parsley and basil. Dave's prepping for Tomatoes.
4. Today's attire. My block printed skirt and salt water sandals. Very light and easy.
5. Bedraggled succulents. Their appearance is excused as they're constantly man handled by small children.
6. My baby. Not even a baby any more but still my youngest child so she can suffer the title for her entire life. That's fair, right?
7. Coriander going to seed. The prettiest of all the unruly plants in our garden.
8. My very favourite photo from the last shoot. My childhood friend Ella wearing the Bohème Dress.


I haven't added the linky thing (because I can't be bothered) but feel free to add your link in the comments section if you like.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

STYLE FILE | RUST




Continuing with the theme of delicious patinas from the last few weeks - here we are enjoying a spot of rust.

I love the warm golden tones and character that rust can bring to a surface.

Traditionally rust was a reaction to be avoided.. but more recently along with the 'old is new again' boom, rust has been embraced a little differently. Rusted objects become stunning statement pieces in homes all over.. external walls are clad in untreated metals, exposed to the elements that will change their feel and appearance over the years.

Aside from the natural reaction that creates rust, the colour of rust can be beautifully appropriated into a diversity of contexts - paint; artwork; fashion.. how stunning is the kimono above?!

Does rust feature in your wardrobe, your living room, or just your Grandparents garage?

Images sourced from Bohemian Traders Pinterest boards
Post by
Nicole