Despite dabbling with veggies over the last couple of years, it wasn’t until starting our 6m x 6m veggie patch in the beginning of February 2020
(getting on to the end of summer here) that I felt like a real gardener and homesteader.
Stay tuned for a post on how we started our veggie patch, but over the past few months we’ve gone from this:
The original idea was to have five rotating beds, with them moving along each Spring to help with nutrients and pests. In order, the original five beds were:
- Fabaceae (Beans, peas), also was planning on putting onions and garlic here?? Have since learned that both of those can stunt the growth for beans and peas, so we won’t be doing that 🙂
- Brassicaceae (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Radishes)
- Solanaceae (Tomatoes, Capsicum/Peppers, Potatoes)
- Apiaceae (Carrots, and Celery) and Chenopodioideae (Beetroot)
- Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkins, Melons, Squash, Cucumbers, Zuchinni)
— And then adding in Corn, Lettuce, and other plants here and there which from what readings have said aren’t bothered whether they’re rotated or not and can fit in with the other plants around them!
The initial planting looked something like this, keeping in mind the third bed is just a “holding” bed as it was too late in the season to plant out our Nightshade plants:
Some things have definitely worked out better than others! A big game changer has been surrounding the patch in a chicken-proof fence…there’s more than enough fodder for them to eat around the property without scoffing lettuces and ripping other things up in the process (like the Sweet White Corn, which never had a chance)! Another lesson was to keep more ontop of the weeds (most of which came through the hay mulch that we use). I left it far too long, and it became a multi-day saga instead of just little bits here and there. Unfortunately, the weeds also hit the Beetroot and carrots quite hard, so they really had to struggle to grow in between them, and then it was a struggle pulling the weeds out without pulling out anything else.
During the makeshift fence construction, we also decided that there simply wasn’t enough space and it should be extended. Our garden then went from 6m x 6m to about 7.5m x 8m. This allows us to add in two more beds (one for our onions and garlic, and another as a rest bed situated next to the Cucurbitaceae so the cucumbers etc have somewhere to spread out). It also allows us to extend the rest of the beds further so we can fit more of each family in.
Things are currently looking a lot more like this:
It’s been amazing watching the garden transform over a few short months — can’t wait to see what it’ll look like at its full height of productivity in the Spring and Summer! Mr BirdCat and I have already been able to enjoy meals made almost solely from ingredients from our garden, which is such an amazing feeling, and definitely encourages us to grow more.
Here’s some photos taken of the veggie patch just yesterday (click on a photo if you’d like to see a larger version):
It’s difficult knowing how to introduce a vegetable garden that’s already been growing for a while, but hopefully this post provides a good overview of what we’re working on, where things will go, as well as a base line to compare with future changes to the veggie garden! Thank you for following along, let us know in the comments below if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or what you’re growing in your garden!