The Kiwi Living back yard is taking shape nicely, and this week Tony found the perfect spot for some unusual edible plants like Mizuna, Cavola Nero and Chilean Guava.
Dig out the garden bed
Scrape off any existing grass/weeds and dig it out. It can take a while so it's great to call a mate in to give you a hand. Dig out the edge first, then work your way in, removing any rocks, grass, and debris as you go. Give the soil a good turn.
Dig a trench for the stone wall
Tony uses stones that are large, about 30cm in height, so he has dug a trench around the edge of the garden bed 200mm deep and 30mm wide.
Peg out the line of the stone wall
Attach some string from between each corner peg at exactly the height you want your stone wall to be. Then when you come to lay the stones, you have a visual guide to help. Tony measures his at 30 centimtres.
Lay a concrete foundation in trench
To ensure the stones don't move around, pour some concrete into the bottom of the trench. This will also help to keep your stones level.
Lay stones in concrete foundation
Choosing stones that are similar height and shape, place them in the trench, keeping them as close together as possible. Keep an eye on the levels, using your peg line as a guide. If you need to, you can remove/add concrete for a particular stone if it's too tall/too short, so that it remains plum with the string line.
Concrete around base
To give them some final support, add a little more concrete to the case of the back of each stone ( the inside of the garden bed ) once all your stones have been laid.
Prep the soil
Once the wall is complete, add some Tui Vege Mix to give your plants all the food they need to grow into big tasty, veggies.
Next up, some Tui Organic Flower Mix & Tui Organic Vegie Mix - both high quality planting mixes containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your flowers and vegies with the best possible start and sustained flowering throughout the season.
Planting Your Unusual Edibles
It's a good idea to loosen the root ball of each plant and soak them in Seasol before planting to help reduce transplant shock. Keep applying Seasol throughout the season as a tonic and your plants will be healthy and thriving.
Tony's unusual edible plants
Indigenous to Japan - often referred to as Japanese Mustard and you might find it sometimes in a mesculin salad mix. The taste of mizuna has been described as a "piquant, mild peppery flavour...slightly spicy, but less so than rocket. It has a long growing season and high tolerance for cold weather and it's the perfect time to plant right now.
Is a type of kale also known as black cabbage or Turkish kale. It's a bit like a cabbage in texture and has a blue green colour that turns an intense silver beet green when cooked. Really versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of different meals -- in smoothies, or add the leaves to mashed potatoes, stir fries, soups or pasta.
Violas are a wonderful edible flower with a sweet essence that is lovely thrown across salads or used for flavouring or decoration. They are very easy care and importantly - they're cold-tolerant so they're a good choice for our Kiwi back-yards.
Italian variety that comes from a little Italian coastal town near Venice called Chioggia. that's best eaten raw, sliced thinly or grated. Also known as a candy cane beet because the skin is a hot pink fuchsia colour and when sliced open the inside has beautiful pink and white stripes! The greens are also edible.
Bulbing fennel is native to the Mediterranean and the whole plant can be eaten. The greens as a substitute for dill in the kitchen, the seed as a spice and often people often don't know what to do with the great bulbs that fennel produces. Best of all, fennel is very easy to grow in NZ and copes well with dry soils and coastal conditions.
Chilean guavas are perfumed, aromatic, tangy small berries that can be eaten raw, scattered over muesli and fruit salads or used in sauces and made into preserves, jams and jellies. Chilean guavas enjoy full sun, are frost hardy and can be grown countrywide.
Happy in a warm, sheltered position and grow particularly well in northern parts of NZ. They have a lovely glossy evergreen leaf with closteres of fragrant flowers following by green then red berries. Think chocolate covered coffee beans!
More on this project:
The following Tui products were used in this project:
- Tui Vegetable Mix
- Tui Sheep Pellets
- Tui Flower Mix
- Seasol Plant Tonic
Special thanks to...
Scottish Stone Walls