By
3 Sep 2010 - 4:13 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

The daffodils are up. Sunny coloured heads that miraculously poke up from the lawn each year in places that still surprise and delight me. I have no idea where they are before they shoot, but because I don’t mow in the off-season, I have no need to know until they start to put up leaves in mid winter. Sprinkled through the grass they’re as good a sign of the change in season as any.

There are a couple of poppies, too, left by a kindly former resident of Puggle Farm, though they’re going to flower a little later in the year. I’ve been blessed to move into a house where someone did an awful lot in the garden in years gone by. Makes up for my lack of maintenance, with flowers in just about every season.

My small contribution, the irises that we put in front of the sun room, do add a touch of a different colour, but now and for the next few months it’s the rhododendrons that make all the difference. A festival of red and pink shades takes over the garden beds; great big blousy flowers that thrive in the cold weather. A Nepalese native, they can live for ages, a gift I like to think from the former owners.

My gift to the future is less certain. The pigs are doing an admirable job in tearing out reeds, though the mud means they’re not really doing the roots much damage any more. The problem with the paddock, now it’s denuded at the bottom, is obvious. A makeshift road to a neighbour’s bush property blocks the drainage points in three places, leaving the flat bit of my place sodden. The answer? Big machinery to dig things out. Expensive pipes, or just work around the problem and be thankful in the dry spells that there is some moisture left in the ground. Where the land is, and how small it is, means it’s not worth doing anything significant. I’ll spread more gypsum and re-sow and try to put more organic matter in the clay base, but that’s about all I can justify doing.

The vegie garden is coming to the end of its winter cycle. We’re eating the tops off the broad beans and the tight heads off the brussels sprouts plants – it’s amazing what you can find that’s edible when you grow your own. Even better than edible, it’s seriously yum. The broccoli has started to flower after the middle was cut out, but even these shoots are fantasticly flavoured, the woody stalks and tougher old leaves the only thing left going to the pigs.

As things come out of the vegie garden, things go in. Another 15 raspberries planted, mostly outside the netted garden, so we’ll just have to see how that goes. Potatoes (no dig style) are being gradually sown, including the wonderfully titled Up To Date. Some every two weeks, including a mob outside the netted garden, to see if they can survive the animal onslaught. The tomato seeds have turned into fragile seedlings, too, though they won’t see the outside world for a few months yet. For the minute they’re on top of the fridge where it’s warm and sheltered.

Despite living on a property with plenty of land, the vegie garden is no bigger (and possibly smaller) than a standard domestic vegie plot. The only real difference about being on a farm (besides the threat of bandicoots, wallabies, possums and the occasional bossy jersey cow) is that we’ve got more poo from the animals to help fertilise it.