Yesterday was another perfect winter's day. I spent most of the afternoon in the vegie patch, the first time I've really given the garden some extended attention in about two months. First I ripped out the tomato plants that have finally turned up their toes, along with a capsicum. I weeded, then fetched two buckets of sheep manure and dug those in to the bare patches, along with a bit of blood and bone. I also sprayed the broccoli and cavolo nero with Dipel ( which contains bacillus thuringiensis) control the cabbage butterfly larvae. Then I fed just about everything with some worm casting tea.
It's looking pretty bare out there. The plan is to buy some lettuce and cabbage seedlings and bung those in next week. I also need a new thyme plant, because mine is just about dead. I think I'll give some parts of the garden a bit of a rest, and plant some green manure instead, just to give it a go.
As you might gather, I'm pretty laissez faire with the vegies. I don't follow any planting guide.I plant as I have space. As far as crop rotation is concerned, the most I do is just make sure I don't replace spent vegies with vegies from from the same family. I don't water much. I spray for the butterfly larvae, but only when I remember. Yet, our vegie patch provides us with loads - it's a rare dinner when we don't have at least one of the vegies on our plate from the backyard. As for how the patch looks - well, let's just say it won't be featured in any garden magazines any time soon.
What I think lets me get away with this amount of slapdashery is that I make sure that the patch is regularly topped up with organic matter - compost, manure- sheep and chicken, worm castings and blood and bone. Every time I plant I incorporate at least one of these. The other thing I do is mulch heavily with hay, which I buy from a local farmer for $5 a bale. This means that even though I don't water much, the soil stays moist underneath the mulch. These two things, good soil and mulch, I think are the key. Beyond that, I find the patch pretty forgiving.