Friday, June 3, 2011

Sharing the land

It's time to tell you about a plan that we've been hatching with Jill and Mike Pring.

Jill and Mike have some under-utilised land in their back yard, and kindly invited Susan and me to cultivate it under a landshare agreement. Anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I leaped at the chance, and Susan is really excited at having the chance to create a vegie garden from scratch.

So, what's a landshare agreement?

In a nutshell, people with more land than they can use get together with people who would like more land to grow produce on. Both parties are protected by a contract which formalises what they can expect of each other. You can find lots more info at

In our case, the land in question is about 250 m2 of grass and carpet weed behind Jill's and Mike's grapevines.

A blank canvas

We're itching to start growing stuff, but I'm determined to be methodical and get the new garden (christened 'The Patch' as 'The-New-Vegie-Garden-at-Jill-and-Mike's-Place' proved too much of a mouthful) off to the best possible start.

The Patch looks very promising, with a gentle, north-facing slope. My initial excavations for the compost bays have revealed a deep, sandy loam soil.

Speaking of compost bays, we've been able to make use of the extensive Pring family woodpile and are constructing an opulent four-bay compost system, with each bay able to contain a little over 1 m3 of compost. Luxury!

A post hole auger is really handy

These old weatherboards will do the job

We also have plans for a water tank and a smallish timber shed, as well as a bathtub worm farm.

I've planned a four-bed organic vegie garden. Permanent strip plantings of comfrey and lucerne will eventually provide most of our mulch needs (I hope), and a windbreak of indigenous wattles on the north side will slow down the fierce summer winds and provide more organic mulch. Rosemary and lavender bushes will help to attract beneficial insects.

Here's the plan:

The Patch
The Patch has to be fairly low-maintenance, as it might only get attention once a week. I've given that a lot of thought, but I don't doubt that it will be a learning experience with much trial and error. Stay tuned ...

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