Garden Island . . . into decent vegie patch

Posted on October 27, 2009


Wooh! (big breathy sigh). This was a big job. Heres a photo montage to start, showing a bit of the history of the property and what it was like. Note all the sacrificial gum trees and me playing on top of them.. oh.

montage-y history

There is an out of focus shot which gives you a rough indication of the garden bed as it was. Didn’t really get a good before shot. The hibiscus at the rear was pruned each year but still came back. The nandeena up the front was the biggest in the garden, I found why, it had a few thirsty roots which had wiggled there way into the end of the spray irrigation pipe. It was basically a garden bed made up with rocks and small parts railway sleepers, surrounded by pebbles.

The process for removing the garden was the biggest job and happened over the course of a few weeks. Digging out roots is tricky business !

So lots  of digging later resulted in the nandeena and then the hibiscus finally budging and coming out of the ground. Luckily the hard clay underneath meant that the hibiscus roots were all evenly spread out so I didn’t have to dig too deep.

Staggered digging over different days was the key, also slicing roots with the spade or the mattock then pulling them up by hand rather than digging more seemed to work well. Tried to be pretty thorough with chasing roots and pulling them up, heard stories of roots continuing on looking for nutrients regardless of being attached to their original tree or not.

There was also lots of annoying rock-raking, a feature of the garden. We used the stuff as a drainage channel later on. All the digging had to be done around the little lemon which you can see in that digging photo.

We considered using salvaged wood for the sides but there was a whole lot of roof tiles


digging a trench for the sides

around so we used them (i’d seen that in a community garden calendar before). Just dug a trench and filled back in. With added stones around the outsides of the tiles to help with drainage/settling. The dramatic looking height difference in the tiles is allowing for the soil to be built up over time (they have a pretty serious compost system after all..). The blue stuff is carpet underlay which I put down to reduce the soil evaporation as it was a couple of 30 degree plus days out in west syd. 36°C it hit on the hot one.