Friday, November 12, 2010

Filling the Square Foot Garden

So I was going to write about how I prepared my vegetable garden a while ago, but I have been too busy in my garden to actually get around to blogging about it! So I actually did this back in August, and it is working very well, but I'll update with new garden photos later. First off I want to explain about the mixture I used for the boxes. As I am using something called the 'Square Foot Method' I wanted to be fairly true to the book and follow the instructions to create a good growing medium. This involves using a formula of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 vermiculite (a type of volcanic rock) and 1/3 peat moss. I was a bit sceptical about using peat moss as I remember the devastation of peat bogs in the UK, but peat moss in NZ is from sustainable places apparently so I felt a bit better about it. The vermiculite was difficult to source, but I eventually got it from a gardening supply place in Christchurch who happily couriered it down to me. For the compost, the book recommends using at least 5 different types, but this was pretty difficult, especially as many bagged composts don't actually state what is in them. I used Tui vege mix, Nicholls organic, Tui organic and worm castings. My boxes are 12" deep but I only needed to use the mix for the top 6" so the bottom half I just used plain compost of a different type again underneath.

My equipment - tarp, buckets, and compost, as well as the trusty book.

First I mixed up all the compost (I had already done lots of sums to work out how much of each compost I would need).

Then the peat and vermiculite were added and the whole thing was dampened and mixed some more.

Then I dragged the tarp over to my boxes and started shovelling it in with the bucket, wetting the mixture frequently which helps the compressed peat moss to expand.

I actually mixed it up for each box one by one, so did the whole thing 4 times. It got a lot easier...

All four boxes are filled up, and I had some left over as I have a box which is only half the size of the others - saved it for my next box. My flatmate and her entire extended family turned up while I was doing this... I'm pretty sure they thought I was completely crazy...

Then it was time to start planning and planting. I'll update with photos of my lovely growing garden shortly, it is doing very well.

My Bathroom Renovation, part 2

After the bathroom was practically gutted, it was time to start putting it back together. Having the floor completely ripped up at least meant it was somewhat easier for the plumber to get to the pipes and sort out the plumbing, some of which was looking a bit dodgy - again, such a wonderful DIY job was done on this bathroom previously...

The bath and frame are positioned.

Bob the builder looking busy building the new laundry cupboard.

Bath in place, it is starting to take shape!

I have walls again!

The shell of the cupboard has been built - slightly smaller than the original so that I could accommodate a bath. The bath is also slightly smaller than standard so that I could still have a laundry cupboard, as there is nowhere else in the house to put a washing machine.

My shiny new vanity - now I have real storage, this will be much better than the plastic drawer set from the Warehouse I've had under the sink for ages.

The bath liner is fitted.

It took me a while to decide on paint colours - I wanted something I liked and that matched the wood detailing, but not something too modern as it isn't in-keeping with the house. In the end I chose a deep purple with an off-white purple for the upper walls. People who know me know how much I like purple, but honestly it was what matched best! (And it was actually my boyfriend who originally picked it).

New floor! It's just vinyl but the wood effect works well in the bathroom and blends well with the real wooden floors I have in the hallway - so much so that when my mum first saw it she thought it was wood.

Really taking shape, not long until it's finished!

The shower is in! Finally I have a shower with good pressure!

Cupboard doors looking very smart.

All finished!

I've had the bathroom finished for a couple of months now, and am still loving it. The shower is so much better and it's nice to have a bath once in a while too, and the whole bathroom feels a lot cleaner and tidier than before, with plenty of storage. It'll be a while before I can afford any more house renovations, so in the meantime it's on to the garden!