First year highlights

My first year was a bit hit and miss. I was very sick for most of the year, and did what I could. Every month the garden grew bigger as we built my four perennial hugel beds in September, October, December, and March. Fortunately I had a reasonable amount of energy over the spring/summer months, and quite a bit of help. I had a relapse at the end of March and spent most of the next few months in bed, so not much happened over winter of the first year.



mature corn cobs corn row on southern side of hugel
I couldn’t plant corn on my hugels, so opted for planting a row to the south/shady side of my hugel beds. Because of I was unable to separate seedlings without damaging the roots, I just planted the multiple seedlings planted about a handspan apart in a single row about 4m long. Except for the corn on the ends of the row, the plants fertilised very well overall. Win.

tomato mesh trellis tomato stake trellis green tomatoes and wooden trellis

I tried two types of trellis. A spiral mesh trellis around two tomato plants. The trellises were about a metre and a half tall. Unfortunately the tomatoes outgrew the trellis, and I found it very hard to get my hand in to harvest and prune the tomatoes (to improve air flow and prevent mildew). Not such a good result. With later plantings, I trellised using thin horizontal stakes (bamboo, or other thin sticks). I would just place a series of these stake behind and before each row of tomatoes. The tomatoes do fall sideways a bit, but overall it’s a pretty simple and low maintenance way of trellising the tomatoes.


yellow zucchini ready for picking I’ve never had luck with zucchini in my past gardens. I think the difference here was good drainage and enough water. I was told that the zucchini plants would get big. I don’t think I realised HOW big. They were monsters, with two plants taking over almost the entire 1.2x2m hugel bed. I did get blossom end rot and mildew as the plants were about 6 weeks old. By then, my other zucchinis zuchhini flowerhad established, and I pulled my first plants out.
Buying established seedlings: I did try to grow plants from seeds in my beds, but only had limited success with the easy to grow plants (silverbeet, beans, peas, zucchini, cucumber, rocket lettuce, sunflowers, tomatoes). I bought the rest of my seedlings from the nursery and local grower’s market. Having low energy, I found that planting established seedlings made the garden rewarding very early on. Here in our cold climate, you really have to be on to the timing of propagation. Many seedlings need to be started in the greenhouse in July and August to be able to plant out in September.


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