When I first got to Moondance, it was full of pretty flowers in bloom, teeming with lots of wildlife, especially birds, but the food garden looked like it had fallen into disrepair, and taken over by all kinds of weeds. It didn’t even have a gate of sorts.
Dan used to have a productive food garden but as a single man, he got busy with his music production business and did what he could with the rest of the house and just let the garden be. We decided that we should move towards living off the land as much as possible and eventually getting off the grid.
We started with one bed before moving to another. Dan’s family friend, Karel helped out a great deal by sifting beds of clumpy soil, and planting several seeds, including chili, radish and carrots. We bought several seedlings, but lost our entire cucumber and kale crop over the summer months to at least one bandicoot. Fortunately some seeds did spill on the ground, so we saved them for the following year’s crop. It was time for Dan to put up a fence, which he did eventually, after much nagging.
By mid summer, all original six beds were restored to their former glory, filled with organic seedlings and then mulched.
On top of the plants that were started by Karel in spring last year, we went with easy cut and come again produce like lettuce and silverbeet, as well as herbs. We eventually got more adventurous and planted a diverse range of food crops that now includes daikon, celeriac, chickpeas, watercress, potatoes, tatsoi, bok choy, mizuna, and many others. We haven’t been too lucky with eggplant though, so the goal for 2013 is to successfully grow eggplants! We have already started seedlings in a seed tray so… fingers crossed!
Dan also dug up four new beds this spring because of our wish to double our food output. In these new beds we have planted onions, carrots, basil, garlic, tomatoes, chamomile, borekale, corn, sunflowers, and watermelon. To see what we are pulling out the ground, do visit my Instagram account.
This spring we also bought some strawberry plants, a tea plant, a black sapote tree, a feijoa tree and a lemon myrtle tree. Dan’s father paid us a short visit and also bought a mulberry tree, avocado tree, and a couple of papaya trees for the garden. We are certainly looking forward to a bountiful harvest in summer!
There’s a lot more work to be done to becoming self sufficient, and a lot more to learn about food farming, so I’m planning to take a permaculture course from my next door neighbour early next year. She is a certified trainer and its ideal to learn from someone who understands your area best. In the meantime I’ve been reading Bill Mollison’s book, and watching videos on the subject. We are building towards a food forest and possibly selling our produce one day – Moondance produce.