I have been umming and ahhing over how to attempt this project for some months. In fact this post has sat here as a draft for ages...I know shocking!! But I have finally made some decisions...
I have one vege patch out the back that is approx. 3m long and 1 m wide but only about 20cm deep. Out the front I have two garden beds that run along side the path, one forms a reverse L shape with the bottom of the L running along under our bedroom window. These beds have some native bushes growing in them but they are tall and scrawny rather than short and bushy.
In February we recieved a flyer in the mail about council collections for Greening the Maranoa. Basically we could dump our green waste and other crap we wanted to get rid of on the footpath and the counicl would collect it. Well my very eager husband got out the chainsaw and was a little over enthusiastic. As I said earlier we are in a rental, but we thought we could tidy up some of the smaller bushes. I asked him to trim down the natives at the front, hoping it would force them to bush out... well my darling husband cut those natives off at ground level. And yes, that is our pile of green waste out the front of our gate. It was the largest pile in our street!
I was quite shocked and worried about what our landlord would say, but then my neighbour informed me that our dear landlord has no idea what is growing on his property - that he rang him to ask if he did indeed have any big gum trees growing near our other neighbours fence (a point of contention about getting them lopped - and yes there are two VERY big gum trees there). Surprisingly the hardy little natives are coming back and have lots of fresh new shoots on them. Yay!!
At this stage I still had no idea how to deepen the beds so they sat dormant for another month. Then a few weeks ago Becc and I were in Home hardware and I found a garden border on special - 3m long and bought 3. I had no idea which garden to use them on, but I was keen. I dug out the round logs at the side of one of the beds at the front, but soon realised that I'd need another 10 or so rolls to do the whole garden - a little too expensive at 30 odd dollars a roll (not on special). So yesterday inspiration struck. I went back to the hardware and bought the pegs needed to hold the border in place, and headed to the nursery. I decided that I would use the border for my very shallow and sad vege garden out the back, but I also needed to double the soil volume and in doing so I wanted to improve it. My dear mother had told me that in the most recent Gardening Australia episode they had given the following recipe for improving a vege patch:
Mix chicken manure (in pellet form from nursery!), mushroom compost, compost and cow manure.
Dig a trench, put a layer of the mixture then put the soil back.
Dig another trench beside the first trench, then put the soil back and repeat.
I had to buy all the parts for the improver from the nursery and limited myself to one bag of each. First I dug away the soil from the small sleeper border and removed them, then placed down the new border only to discover that the bed is closer to 6m long than 3....oh well. I hammered the pegs in and was very pleased with the result.
In the wheel barrow, I mixed half a bag of all the above mentioned ingredients. I then dug like crazy and lifted half of the soil out of my garden onto the other side, spread out the mixture of improver then shovelled all that soil back. By this time I was very hot and sweaty but I persisted and did the other half as well. I will probably have to buy a load of soil from Daisy's because the added improver plus the soil hasn't filled the garden and I know the soil will settle. However for the time being I'm very very happy with the result!
According to Gardening Australia, the bed should be left to mature for 2 -14 days. Well my seedlings aren't going to be able to wait too long, so I'll plant them as soon as I can.
Happy gardening everyone!!