Well our garden is growing particularly well thanks to a spate of hot weather that we have been having recently combined with the fridge wicking potential that has kept the veggies happily growing with no wilting despite some seriously hot sunshine outside. I wanted to show you how Narnia is going and so I decided to take a photo of each of the fridge wicking beds (all 14 of them) inside the enclosed space. Here’s a rundown of what we have planted in the beds and how they are growing.
We will start from the wicking bed the furthest away from the doorway in Narnia. This garden bed is a double fridge/freezer combo and has given us a good amount of space to garden in. We replanted a small red seedless grape vine that had been in the ground inside Sanctuary for 2 years but that we figured was dead. It was overwhelmed by youngberries ( “I” am overwhelmed by youngberries and their crazed desire to take over the world) and once we found it. languishing among the tangle, we decided that it would make a great addition to Narnia where it could grow up the sides and over the top of the structure. We planted out coriander and round carrot seedlings as well as a punned of what was being called “Japanese Spinach”. The day that Bok Choy is “Japanese Spinach” will be a cold day in hell Bunnings! Shame on you for flogging something that NO-ONE is buying because it’s not very nice. Once we realised what it actually was we have no problem with the local slug population gorging themselves on it. It’s our decoy crop 😉
This bed is somewhat smaller than most of the other fridge wickers but we planted out two punnets of “Sweetheart” strawberries as well as some of that (mutter…mutter…) “Japanese Spinach” (cough!). Again, the slugs are going mental over the stuff. I now know for sure that slugs have NO tastebuds. They are leaving the strawberry plants alone though so “Knock yourselves out slugs!”
The third fridge wicker brings us to the last of the “Japanese Spinach” (still twitching after being fooled) and this bed has chillies in it. The two kinds that we planted were “Inferno” (Steve’s choice and “he” is going to have to eat the hot little buggers!) and “Hungarian Hot Wax”, still hot, but bearable hot. We also planted out some chives and the odd strawberry that we could find in the fridge wicking bed.
This bed shows how useful the freezer section of our fridge wickers are. We have used the smaller section for anything that tends to get invasive or that is perennial and may not like being disturbed with repeated cropping. You can see a small replanted strawberry plant that I rescued from Sanctuary and the now defunct (overgrown) boat wicking bed. We are going to remove all of the soil and rocks and relocate the boat wicking bed to a better location where it will be a feature in our house garden as a wicking herb garden bed. I transplanted the garlic chives in the front of the bed from Sanctuary as we had to prepare the beds ready for fruit and nut trees. It’s much happier inside Narnia where it gets regularly watered and isn’t overgrown by pumpkins and nasturtiums.
In the larger rear section we have the first of our beetroot plants. We went mental with beetroot seedlings this year. We both love them as they are incredibly useful vegetables as both the root and the leaves are tasty. We harvest leaves from them till the root is ready to harvest and they are incredibly easy to grow. We bought two punnets of them and then saw some throw out veggie seedlings and bought two more so we have a LOT of beetroots growing in our fridge wicking beds.
The large leaves in the front of the fridge wicking bed are horseradish. It wasn’t doing very well in the pot that I bought it in and I thought it had died over winter in Sanctuary but it turns out it was just waiting to be relocated into a fridge wicker where it suddenly exploded into life and is growing insanely. You can use both the leaves and the root of horseradish so happy days for us.
I like colourful veggies so we bought a punnet of mixed rainbow silverbeet (chard) and there are some more beetroots and chillies in this bed to keep them company.
More silverbeet and chillies and beetroots as well as some of Steve’s spring onions that are harder to see. In the front bed is a lemongrass plant. I want to trial it in the smaller section of the bed as I want to see how it goes in our climate before giving it a larger bed of it’s own.
I divided the clump of garlic chives that I rescued from Sanctuary into two sections and planted them in separate freezer sections of different beds to have the best chance of at least one of them surviving. They both did and one remains in Sanctuary growing happily but nowhere near as happily as its relocated brethren.
More silverbeet and chillies and the first of the adventitious potato plants that grew from small tubers that were in the soil that we barrowed down from the rear of Sanctuary. We did our best to remove them whenever we saw them but we obviously missed a few and they are happily growing with the rest of the veggies.
I did have a nice basil plant growing in the front section of this fridge wicking bed but the slugs are partial to basil as well and scoffed it down to a stalk. One of those missed spuds has taken up the slack and although they look a bit thin on the ground, Steve’s spring onions are doing their best to fill in the gaps. More silverbeet and beetroot and chillies in the rear of this bed.
The front of this bed is full of happy beetroot that are thriving in the fridge wicking beds and the rear of the bed contains the first of our rampant celery plants. You might be able to spot the odd spring onion among the other plants. Steve dotted them all over the place.
We are starting to get to the shadier end of Narnia. The capsicums in this section have been getting a bit of a hammering from the slugs as they have taken up residence in the overflow tubes and my sense of revenge is ignited when I fill the beds with water from the hose and watch them squeeze in alarm out of the overflow holes and floop onto the ground. The slugs we have on Serendipity Farm are HUGE. They are called leopard slugs and are as happy eating other slug species as they are eating my veggies. More celery and beetroot and chives in this bed give us a really eclectic mix overall. The slugs days are numbered when the tadpoles, who are rapidly growing legs now, turn into frogs and take up residence in Narnia.
This bed was going to solely be for celery but as you can see I have relocated a couple of strawberry plants in here as well. The slugs had some fun chewing the tops off these celery plants so they haven’t grown as fast as their compatriots in other beds. As you can see, the garden behind Narnia is benefiting greatly from the placement of the wicking beds. When I fill the beds up the overflow pipes tend to leak a bit and the garden is loving the extra bit of water it gets through our long dry summers.
As you can see its a lot shadier in this part of the garden thanks to a very large eucalyptus tree in this section. This bed has a San Manzano tomato plant in the rear of the bed, more beetroots and chives and an eggplant. There is another eggplant in one of the previous beds but I can’t for the life of me work out which one! It’s flowering and hopefully we get some fruit as they are striped white and purple. Note the interesting fill pipe on this fridge. We used every bit of recycled poly pipe that we could find on the property and this was from an old down pipe from the shed.
A large Grosse Lisse tomato as well as a chilli plant that Steve decided he wanted to have. I can’t even remember what kind it is but it’s happy. Lots of Steve’s favourite lettuce and another cardamom plant (this time not divided) make up the contents of this bed. Note the red and yellow handle of one of my garden weeding tools. This one attaches to a long pole and can be used to hoe weeds as well.
And we have made our way back to the very first bed as you walk into Narnia. This bed has purple congo potatoes that I wanted to keep going. I wanted to see how potatoes grow in wicking beds so this bed was my experiment. It also has a few beetroots, the odd lettuce and a tomato plant that we didn’t expect to live or thrive but that surprised us by giving us 3 tomatoes for our Christmas table.
We have 5 more beds that we have placed in strategic positions near the back door to protect their contents from possum invaders. No possum in their right minds would want to put themselves at risk of Earl-the-wonder-dog aka “He who must be feared with the big teeth and the fast feet” (his Possum name) bursting out of the dog door at any given time.
The first beds that we planted out are growing merrily and kept us in plenty of lettuce although everything but the Lolla rosa lettuce is sprinting to see with this hot weather. Here’s one of the fridge wickers with three different kinds of cherry tomato growing and under that mass tangle of leaves are other (as yet unfilled) wicking beds, lettuces and a poor thyme plant that I am going to have to locate and dig out STAT if I want it to survive. Tomatoes are like triffids and given good conditions will try to take over the world.
I have planted one of the last fridge wicking beds that we managed to fill before we ran out of easy to find soil with Japanese sweet potatoes that had been hanging around in the bottom of my sweet potato basket. Japanese sweet potatoes have dark red skin and white flesh and I am assured by my good friend “Google Chrome”, grow much like regular potatoes. I am experimenting to see if they grow by planting them like regular spuds. If they don’t grow, nothing lost and they will fertilise the bed ready for another experiment. I am thinking about trialing some peanuts and some chickpeas to see how they go. I keep checking the lady at the top of our blocks little plant stand as she often has interesting pots of garden excess plants for sale for $2 a pot. I picked up a loganberry complete with thorns that I am going to plant on the fence. Best of luck getting that fruit possums! I walked Earl yesterday while Steve whipper snipped the front ti tree garden area with Bezial keeping watch on him and was most happy to find a gooseberry plant for sale on the stand. I am going to have to check that stand more often!
So that’s how Narnia is going and Sanctuary’s plantings are almost as happy with regular drip irrigation that seems to be doing the trick a whole lot better than my frantic two hour hosings in the early mornings. I just wanted to show how well the fridge wicking beds are going. Now I have to start planting out some seeds to ensure we are able to take advantage of succession sowing. I am going to have to clear out the glasshouse first! Catch you all soon 🙂