Monday, April 5, 2010

Boxed-Up Garden

Just finished planting my winter crop, all in boxes!

Living in a flat reduces space to a garden of pots. We are lucky enough to have a courtyard out the back of our flat. I have a few pots and boxes with veggies and herbs. This winter we have cabbage, broccoli, baby spinach, rocket, kale, peas, silverbeet (the colourful variety), spring onions and rogue pumpkin. The eggplant won't survive the winter, and we need to find a temporary home for our chili tree! We don't have a sunny enough spot inside our flat to keep it warm.

Jack Frost is coming and the Chili Tree needs a new home

The soil is my own special blend. I originally bought the soil from Canberra Sand and Gravel 3 years ago. The first veggie garden, a big bed, was hopeless. Mainly because of the possums attacking the plants. Over the years, I have built up its fertility and soil biota and I have moved it 3 times since then. The last crop over summer gave me some fabulous results.

Possum proofing the veggies is always a problem. Our neighbours upstairs (also with many pots on their veranda) told us of a sneaky basil eating possum that hangs around the complex. I use a simple deterrence method; skewers in each corner of the pot, covered with a light plastic mesh. It is enough of a pain that possums will give up and find food elsewhere.

Sneaky Possums

Fertiliser is all natural. Previously I had been using a combo of compost, pea straw and manure. Now we have no compost, I am going to mix a special blend. Need to do some pH testing before I come up with the perfect combo for the pots.

Choosing veggies for pots is difficult. You have to try species that aren't too deep rooted. Varieties you can try (and most I have had success with) include:
Rocket, spinach, silverbeet, tomatoes, beans and peas, herbs, eggplant, chili, kale, cabbage, broccoli and brocolini, capsicum, strawberries, any baby varieties (carrots, beetroot), lettuce, chives and spring onions, garlic etc.

Try to use deep pots and water regularily. You can use liquid fertilisers in your watering regime, or alternatively use natural mulches for an organic garden. Blending mulches/natural fertilisers is tricky, and there are many myths I plan to discuss in a later post.

Happy Box-Gardening!

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