This is the first of a continuing series of posts (if you are interested!) in how our garden is developing in our backyard. I intend to be honest with you about our failures as well as successes, and realistic about the costs involved. I hope that these blogs will help you to see the reality of a working garden (it’s not all produce, pretty flowers and skipping along in a happy dance I tell ya). So without further ado…the first instalment!
A few details: we live on a small sized house block around 700m sq, and our back garden is facing east, meaning we get the morning sun. This is our first attempt at putting everything we have learned along the way into practice in our own backyard (lots more steep learning curves to come!). I am NOT a photographer, and many of the images here are taken with my iPhone so please forgive me!
When we arrived, our back yard was a rectangular blank canvas. We have one major issue to contend with where we live, and that is poor drainage and the possibility of flooding. This always had to be considered in every element of our garden design. We also have limited funds to work with so we have done everything ourselves. Lastly, we have a huge mango tree in our yard and this is something we have had to work with/around.
So. Do you think I can find a single picture of our yard when we first moved in? Sigh…I was enjoying the moment without bothering to photograph it! Anyway, here is SuperSon No1 at it with the axe. The very first thing we did was have a professional cut the mango tree right back. It was a beautiful tree but it was just too big and too close to the house. This was also a blessing, as we were then able to have a pile of 10 cubic metres of fresh mango chips.
Our first priority was to plant out the trees we wanted. We planned out where we wanted to put them, then got to work with the mower and some newspaper. We wanted to put the wood chip as a base in this area.
This picture is taken from our balcony. We thought it would be clever to lay all the newspaper first, then shift the chip over it. Mother Nature didn’t like that idea! a big rain came through and we then had to finish in what ended up being not the ideal conditions to say the least!
We did then manage to get the chip moved (a mammoth effort!) and eventually after a couple of long physical days we ended up with this:
Once all the chip was laid, we went ahead and planted the following trees, making sure each tree had enough room to grow and have its own space:
- Lemonade fruit
- Ruby red grapefruit
- Imperial mandarin
- Nashi pear
- Fejoa (for my Kiwi hubby!)
- Black genoa fig
- Dwarf lychee
- Valencia orange
- Variegated meyer lemon.
All our citrus are dwarf sized. We have since found out that our neighbours also have a fejoa so we can expect some bumper crops with the extra tree for pollination!
We made sure we put some gypsum in each tree hole because of the clay nature of the soil, and added some compost and slow release fertiliser into the hole as well.
We also got in a built a 3-bay composting system too, this was something we had been wanting to do for a long time as renters! My Dad and Matt got busy and built this project together.
At this stage we were on top of the world! Less mowing, trees planted and looking beautiful. What more could we ask for! Ah the naivety of those early days (ok ok, its only 18 months later when I am writing this, but seriously, there has been a lot lot LOT of learning since then!)
If you are interested in the next instalment, click here.