Back in July, I published a bed-by-bed tour of my garden. At the time, it was in a rather bare state. I kind of took that blog as a challenge to myself: to be able to update with something stunning in a few months.

I found it really motivating. I got heaps of work done and for the most part, I did what I said I would do.

And now we’re well into spring. Things have grown. Things have died. How is my garden growing at the moment?

Bed 1

In July, this bed had been half taken over by weeds. I’d decided to make it a beneficial insect bed. The goal here is to grow herbs and flowers that will bring good bugs, bees, beetles, and parasitic wasps to my yard.

Bed 1 - now growing strong

Since then, I’ve managed to weed the other half and fill it with plants I scored cheap after lockdown. It’s a bit of a repository for special things: my friend Helen gifted me with a dahlia and some yellow lilies that I’ve planted in here. There’s also an elecampane tuber sourced from KoruKai Herb Farm (you might have caught that on Country Calendar a few weeks ago).

Soon (perhaps later today), I’m going to drop in some miniature sunflowers I’ve been raising. It’s taking some work to keep the weeds from re-infesting, but I’m hoping this will be a delight as summer progresses.

Bed 2

Back in July, the peas were just popping out of the ground, my pak choi were still in greenhouses, and the chooks were clearing out the lower end of the bed.

Bed 2 as it stands today

Now there are so many peas I’m struggling to keep up. The climbing frame is also struggling to hold them. I still haven’t found a climbing frame I really like for peas.

The pak choi have shot to seed and fallen over – but they still hum with bees each morning so I haven’t had the heart to pull them out.

The Printanor garlic (on the left) is looking pretty good. It came up in good time and is so far free from rust. Joining it is some Ajo Roja I’ve grown from bulbils (on the right). Again, these are rust free and growing nicely, so I’m pretty happy with them.

Bed 3

In July, Bed 3 looked bare. Now… well, it doesn’t look bare

Bed 3 as it stands today

This is my experimental garlic bed. As you can see, I’ve not done well with my weeding.

It turns out that my hot compost pile was not hot enough to kill weed seeds. After I put the compost on, this happened.

I’ve been looking at (and procrastinating) this job for weeks. I guess no one is perfect!

Bed 5

In July, this bed was a strawberry bed. Since then, I’ve ripped out all the strawberries and transformed it into a Square Foot Garden.

Bed 5 as it stands today

I told myself I wouldn’t plant this one until Labour Weekend – it’s easy to get excited in September but I don’t believe it actually improves output. So I’ve kept myself busy growing some seedlings in the meantime. This week, I got out there and cleaned it up.

Then I planted in my tomatoes, capsicum, and cucumber. I’ve got basil, coriander, and mesclun waiting to get a bit bigger before I plant it as well.

Bed 6

Strawberries! Back in July, I’d just cleaned up the bed. Now, we’re harvesting strawberries.

Bed 6 as it stands today

It’s a bit odd, this bed. There is uneven growth and things aren’t quite right. I’ve started using a liquid fertiliser more regularly to give them a bit of a boost.

We don’t have too many birds in the garden – it turns out slugs, ants, and Roxy are our biggest strawberry thieves.

I’ve been using a bird net over this bed anyway, but I’m not a fan. It makes access harder. That makes me slack on regularly harvesting them, fertilising them, and weeding them. Let alone mulching them – which I haven’t done yet either.

So the bird net got thrown off this week and hasn’t quite made it back on yet.

Bed 7

Most of the broccoli I planted in here for my July blog turned out poorly. Loose heads. Very small. Only a couple of the stragglers remain. The rest have been recently pulled out and fed to the cows.

Bed 7 as it stands today

The catnip, however, is huge! Our first harvest should be coming up in a couple of weeks and while there is catnip in a lot of my beds, the ones in Bed 7 are really going hard.

I’m planning to get some green manure going in here next. I think I’ll begin with a round of buckwheat – though there are a few options in my seed collection. Ideally, I’d like to use it as material to start another giant compost heap on this bed over winter.

Bed 8

Back in July I said this would be a random one, and it still is.

Bed 8 as it looks today

Those garlic are doing nicely. I’m very interested to see what I pull out of here. Given the fact there’s zero spacing between some of them, and they’re fairly close to the rust-infected beds, it’s incredible they’re so healthy.

The carrots I was trying to grow in July either never germinated, or got quickly eaten by slugs. I’m not having any luck with carrots at the moment. But the silverbeet is finally beginning to take off. I like silverbeet, but Richard isn’t much of a fan, so these are mostly being grown as a bit of extra chook food.

I’m thinking about putting some soybeans and chickpeas in here. I have the space and the seed. I’ve never grown either before so it could be a wonderful little experiment. Homegrown edamame and falafel!

Bed 9

I hated this bed so much in July. It was full of grass. I threatened to nuke it with glyphosate.

Bed 9 as it stands today

I didn’t nuke it with glyphosate because I believe what I read about it’s effect on soil health. Instead, I covered the bed up with a sheet of plastic and starved the grass of light for a few months. Then I dug up anything that survived and lined the edges with more plastic to prevent re-invasion.

It’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t had much in the way of weeds or grass growth. It’s about time I got my Agria potatoes in – that’ll be happening next week.

Bed 10

Not much has changed here.

Bed 10 as it looks today

My lettuce and disappointing carrots have gone to seed. I’ve grown some epic leeks this year. This is another bed where the catnip looks fantastic.

But this one needs some work. Most of those lettuces can go to the chooks. The leeks are being quickly given away and consumed before they send up flower stalks and become woody.

It’s another bed I want to put into green manure production. Though it may get some potatoes if I can’t fit them all in Bed 9.

Bed 11

Bed 11 was still in development when I last checked in on it.

Bed 11 as it grows today

Now, the Jersey Bennes are about ready for harvest. We’ve also taken some incredible cabbages and broccoli off the top end recently.

I might try spaghetti squash in here this year. I germinated some seeds I found on a whim last month, and as I think about it, this should be a perfect spot for them. The bed is fully lined with plastic edging, which should stop the grass getting hold under the vines.

Beds 12 and 13

Some progress – we are killing the grass!

Beds 12 and 13 as they look today

I’ve also emailed our local ITM about some wood to build more beds like Beds 5 and 6 beside them.

I’ll need to get to work moving some soil before they can be installed, so they may yet be some time away – but they are on the way!

Bed 14

Still grass.

And beyond…

Most of the things that were in this section in July are still in this section in October, but overall, there is progress.

Yes, I could do more weeding. And the 50m roll of plastic I purchased before we moved in has run out and I’m trying to avoid buying more. But overall, there is progress.

There’s been a lot more rain then we’ve had in previous years, which is both good and bad for the garden. On the bright side – it’s mostly good.

And so, I’ll just keep plugging away, throwing seeds in the soil, and hoping they grow.