Well there's no shortage of reasons why growing some of your own food might be looking more and more like a good idea! This site alone has a steady stream of them. There are dozens of examples and stories of courageous, energetic people out there doing it, often from scratch.

And yet my attention is embracing such a spread of projects, that it took 9 days after we moved into this gorgeous place, to get around to putting in the humble beginnings of a garden. Luckily there are a few small fruit trees, which Zuva and I love to go and pick from.

I keep getting distracted "Watching the train wreck", as some friends on the NZ transition towns email list coined it. It has a certain draw, and fascination! But it can take a chunk of one's time checking in on the latest developments. The peak oil issue has gone relatively quiet now that the economic "theatre" and the swine flu fear pandemic have taken centre stage!

So where was I? Oh right, I was going to plant something in the garden. Things are looking pretty shakey out there, despite the beguiling veneer of normalcy. And it's a fine balance between being motivated by fear, and responding out of common sense and appreciation of the landscape (current reality), which to my senses is changing at an enormous pace.

So I waited a little more. We had been enjoying having friends visiting, and lively conversations about setting up an Ooooby online Store on this site (do drop me a note if you are interested in learning more about this project). Pete and I had been evolving our ideas for how best to structure Ooooby - you are welcome to join in that one. Then I had to set up my office space in the storage garage (I sometimes wonder why we store stuff), prepare for a Transition Training in Northland, and of course some time out for a walk along the beach to get Zuva an ice cream.

Then there was a window of opportunity on Monday afternoon, before going to see the almost finished transition talks video (link coming next week), I grabbed some seeds, a bit of soil food, my favourite tool, oh, and my 'magic' flying garden notebook...

First I had to prune the Roses back pretty drastically. I didn't want to risk a thorn in my forehead while tending the veges. The raised beds are about 6 inches deep (150mm) of a commercial compost sitting on top of a clay base. There is little evidence of micro biology - I did spot one worm, but that was all. The best thing though, was that it was easy to prep it for seeds. After crumbling it into a fine bed, before sowing the seeds I gave it a light dressing of blood and bone, some rock dust, lime and a sprinkling of left over orchid plant food I found in the shed at the last house! I might shudder in horror in a few weeks when I do the Permaculture Course here on Waiheke.

The following 1 min video gives a quick sweeping overview, and then below are the details of what I planted in this makeshift square foot (I must get Ken Clark's book back to him).

Peas - along the back fence
Snow Peas down the left had end

In the back row of 5 square feet I sowed...
1 - Empty
2 - Miner's Lettuce (from Helen Dew)
3 - Land Cress (from Robin Griffiths)
4 - Turnip
5 - Broad Beans

In the 5 front rows went...
1 - Empty
2 - Land cress
3 - Empty
4 - Leeks
5 - Radish (two types)

I have some reservations about this bed. I am so used to full sun on my garden (see the first post in this diary), that I didn't take a good look at the site, and now need to be thinking about getting some raised beds like the Kiwi Corners and place some garden beds in protection (from wind) near the flame tree, as they will get maximum winter sun there, and will get sun from mid morning to the evening in the longer days... I'll go and have a chat with Irmantas

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Comment by andrew clay on April 30, 2009 at 11:42pm
quite impressive work, video, description, James. very motivating.
Comment by James Samuel on April 29, 2009 at 9:22pm
Such fine compliments from such fine people!
Thank you all. I'll write an update in a while.
Comment by Earthwhile on April 29, 2009 at 7:01pm
Nice James, love the way you share it
Comment by Debbie Everson on April 29, 2009 at 4:19pm
Outstanding work James
Comment by Nicola Rankin on April 29, 2009 at 3:17pm
Tumeke James! I have done some square foot gardening myself, I like it for it's conceptual simplicity in terms of plant spacing.
Comment by Carl Chenery on April 29, 2009 at 3:00pm
Nice work James.
I came across the folowing that may be of use for Renters, Students, and those that don't own their own place:
Based in Oregon, but useful all the same- 'regenerative design for the landless many' :)
Comment by Andy Kenworthy on April 29, 2009 at 2:50pm
Top work.


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