Saturday, March 7, 2015

Coastal Growing Successes

Jerusalem Artichoke Flowers

We live very close to the ocean on very sandy soil and ever since we started gardening we have tried to be improve the soil by using recycled or waste materials rather than purchasing garden soil. This can be hard on plants, as can the location, with a westerly aspect and temperatures between 0 and 45 Celsius degrees throughout the year. We also get strong winds and in the Mediterranean climate that we are in not very much rainfall. We do have access to a bore, rainwater tanks and grey water with each additional source improving the success rates for plants. Whilst the front gardens were originally built for vegetables these factors have meant that we have been slowly shifting to more of a food forest/cottage garden style as the plants are happier.

 We now have five dwarf apple trees in the front garden and are really pleased with how well they are growing. the Fejoa hedge protects them as does the ground cover of oregano.


We are growing more of our annuals in the two raised beds that we recently built outside the kitchen and have successfully grown masses of chillies, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, beans and eggplants. The beans have now self seeded which is very exciting so we are looking forward to another crop of those.

 Another success story is the lemongrass which we were originally given one plant of and now we have six large clumps and have given many clumps to other people. We use it in cooking and also as a mulch and it looks fantastic in the new garden bed beside the pool.

 In an effort to provide both food and privacy in our back garden we planted a passionfuit vine last year. It has now covered half of out back fence and the wire above it covering an ugly shed behind and providing beautiful flowers and fruit.

 I was given this pear tree several years ago by one of my sons who loves pears and whilst it has taken a while to get established it now has nine perfect pears on it. We cannot wait to try them and have been so excited by the success that we have planted another three trees with the one planted beside it producing its first fruit after only six months.

 The pomegranate is a very good tree for this area as it is hardy and attractive, we are really looking forward to finally getting some fruit.

 We bought one rosemary plant and have managed to propagate from it and now have several plants and have given some away. The bees love it and we really enjoy its beauty and taste and it is another plant that thrives in this area.
Strawberry Guava
 The strawberry guava has not grown very quickly as it is in a really tough spot, however each year it produces kilos of fruit for us to enjoy. While my aspiration for it to be hedged has now been put on hold we are still very glad to have it in our garden.

Sweet Potato Vine

We were given a cutting of the sweet potato vine and whilst it struggled at first it has now taken off and climbed trellis and covered large parts of the garden. We use the leaves in salads and stir fries as well as occasionally digging up a root to eat.

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