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So it seems the job of gardening in the new house has fallen to me and the thoughtful folk who came to the family housewarming bought us a shit load of plants. Anyone here got a green thumb? I'm very new to all of this and my gardening knowledge only extends to watching the odd episode of Burke's Backyard as a kid.

Having no tools, I went to Bunnings the other day and bought shovels, shears, branch cutters, watering cans and shit. We inherited a neat electric lawnmower from our parents neighbour which works well, even though I massacred the lawn a few weeks ago by having it too short, it's grown back fine though.

Following Doc's advisement I also got some Seasol to put on the lawn as in the corners it's dead. Apparently the previous owner's dog would have pissed there, killing the grass. Hopefully it'll rejuvenate it and start growing again soon.

Another job would be to install reticulation in the back yard, it's quite a large grassed area (9x13m) and I'd need to plan it out properly and spend a weekend putting it in but I think it's doable. Nothing fancy like hooking it up to mains, just a hose plug on one end near the tap so I can plug a hose in it and give it hell for half an hour on watering days. Mains/timers and shit can come later.

In the meantime i've set up ~37m of that holey hose stuff around the edges. Around the edges there's raised beds ~1m wide with rose bushes on the two sides and a big bushy creeper bush along the back. It was a fucking mission threading it under the overgrown bush at the back and i've got the wounds to prove it, but I got it in there and while there isn't as much water coming out at the far end of the hose it still gets wet and the bitch plants will love it. Same principle here, just plug the hose in and let her rip for 20 mins on the watering days.

One of the rose bushes at the end is dead and I'm thinking of ripping it out and starting a herb garden. Really have no experience with it though so will need to do some research.

I know it seems like it's not something Twelve would usually talk about, and people renting houses would have barely thought about it except for mowing the lawn before inspections, but I thought it was worth a try.
Everywhere I've lived I've made sure I've started a herb garden, and my new place in QLD is no exception. I have Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Chives & Parsley currently making nice additions to a nice spot under my window. The biggest problem most people have when it comes to gardening, is when to water. For the most part, never water a plant while it is under direct sunlight. Sure, there are a few exceptions, but for a general rule, avoid it.

Have you thought of starting a compost bin/heap? Every time I find a few works in my garden, I move them over to the area I've designated for my organic/vegetable scraps. After about 3-4 weeks, it's been reduced down to high quality soil to use as planting soil. Not only are you making a great source of nutrients for your plants, but you are helping out the environment by using your organic waste.
My parents had a herb garden and it was fantastic, it feels horrible buying the stuff in little packets from the shops so I definitely want to get one going. Rosemary, Basil and Parsley are mandatory!

Any tips on how to get started? Any special kind of soil or fertiliser? How much to water it, in full or part sun?

Haven't though about a compost bin, but it's a good idea and we'd be able to make space for it. Will need to do some research on that too.
My father designated a compost area in our family's oil palm estate. It's definitely a big plus as Cakes has described, not only is it good for the environment - but great for getting higher yields and healthier plants.

It's not too hard, you'd just want a moist environment (easier in Malazer, thanks to our 90% humidity) - but you can use mulch I guess. Then you want to load it up with juicy earthworms. Not sure about the earthworms in Australia, but they're probably 50 times larger than the ones here and they might eat steak.

Basically the key ingredient is worms, worms and more worms.
Fork wrote:
My parents had a herb garden and it was fantastic, it feels horrible buying the stuff in little packets from the shops so I definitely want to get one going. Rosemary, Basil and Parsley are mandatory!

Any tips on how to get started? Any special kind of soil or fertiliser? How much to water it, in full or part sun?

Haven't though about a compost bin, but it's a good idea and we'd be able to make space for it. Will need to do some research on that too.

If possible, steal some already developed shoots/plants from your parents. Parsley and Chives spread rapidly when in idea conditions, and Basil grows really quickly in any type of damp soil.

In order to get started:
1) Figure out where you are going to plant them in the long run.
After you do this, start preparing the soil with chicken poop fertiliser, vegetable scraps, ensuring there is a worm population, weeding. The bags of potting mix at woolworths make a great starter soil provided there are no weeds when you mix it in.
2) Get some long rectangle planter boxes/pots to start with.
Throwing the seeds into soil in an area that you cannot regulate the climate will still work, however I've found that by putting them in pots to start with, I can ensure they don't get too much sun/rain whilst they are still preparing to shoot. When they get about 3-4 inches in height in a pot, that is when I transfer them to the soil. A lot of people fail at the start due to their seeds dying out in the sun, or from getting too much rain. Pots allow you to avoid those extremes.
3) Watering
Ideally, about 20minutes before the sun comes up, give them a good soaking. The reason for this is so that the plants are hydrated and ready to start their process of photosynthesis. Another good time is in the late afternoon when the sun is setting, mostly because there is still sunlight, but not the heat. Watering the leaves is pointless, you need to be getting to the base of the plant, and directing the water at the base gently compared to having a spray going over the leaves always results in more moisture absorption, and a smaller water bill.
NB - Watering a garden is a very relaxing thing to do. Try it with a beer in hand.
4) Sun
Basil tends to be a prick of a plant in the sense that sometimes it likes full sun, other times it needs shade/part sun. With basil, I suggest planting some in full sun, and keeping some in a pot that you can move. Vegetables are pretty much fine to have full sun provided they are not watered during the hot parts of the days, where most herbs thrive with part sun. I'm not sure why this is, but just from experience where I live, this has been the case.

Fucking easy to grow and have such a high harvest yield. Set around 4-5 decent size potatoes on a windowsill (your favourite type) and leave for 2 weeks. Once it has sprouted a whole bunch of green/purple 'eyes' (nobbly bits), cut up the potato so that there is an 'eye' on each piece. Throw these in the ground about 25cm down, and spread them out from one another.
Pro-potato-grower tip: Get yourself 3-4 old car tyres and have them ready to stack into a tower. Plant the first lot of potatoes in one tyre with all your soil/compost/potting mix etc, then every time you see the leaves bloom above ground, put another tyre on top and fill it with soil and repeat this process until it is 3-4 tyres high. Once you start removing each layer, you will find kilo upon kilo of potatoes.

I think my father and I worked out that per 5 potatoes planted this way we get around 20kg worth harvested.

For a compost bin - An old washing basket dug into the ground works well. The holes allow worms to make their way into it, as well as make it difficult for weeds to grow everywhere through it. Dig it into the ground, fill it with potting mix, soil and fertilizer, then just start putting your scraps on it and wetting it down every week. Make sure you take the basket out of the ground eventually.. plastic and such. Of course you can stick to the old 'dig a hole and pile it up'. I just liked being able to lift it out and dump it when I wanted too.
this is what my garden looks like(first 2 are summer squash, last 2 are tomato plants)




This was taken about 2 weeks ago, new pictures tomorrow
If I wasn't on myphone I'd make a big post. Hit me up on vent or man Fork, we'll work something out.
From little of what I remember, and what Google could do for me, I knocked up this basic plan.

The garden beds around the sides would all be one system. A set of risers with butterfly and spray sprinklers would suffice, depending on what there is to water. This would be considered the easy part.
You have a paddock-load of lawn man. Enough for a decent back yard cricket match. Pop up sprinklers would do the job. The average WA household tap has enough pressure to do 2-4 sprinklers. There is a bit much overlap in this picture; it may look better with the real dimensions.

Your lawn would be a good candidate for underground watering. This is where you take a special hose with small holes along it, and dig it in underneath the lawn. No un-sightly sprinklers popping up to trip over. The only catch is it is harder to fix break downs, having to dig holes to find the problems.

I've used all these systems before. They have their pros and cons. It would also be in your best interest to install the systems with automation in mind, even if you don't want to do them straight away. Less digging required later that way.

It will take a good bucket of water to keep the lawn green. I've never been much of a fan of such large spaces filled with just lawn. Have you considered turning the yard into something else?

You could try a 3 tier waterfall with a fish pond. You would aim to make it only knee deep (so drunk friends don't drown themselves too much). Stick in some koi and guppies, invite along some frogs and shit. Build a nice gazebo in the other corner (with lighting and data ports) so you can sit out there in the evenings, taking in the serenity.

How about a fire pit? Bitches love fire pits. A good fire, built properly and with some basic safeguards in place, is a nice place to hang out on cold west aussie nights. Go for a large wooden bench, some large rocks to sit on, and have some fold-out camping chairs in the shed for extra seating.

You could also plant the entire space with veggies. You'll never have to go shopping for fruit and veg again! Only certain veggies will grow at particular times of the year. You'd need to come up with a list of which ones you like, then plant out accordingly. Because of the seasonal plants, the veggie patch would be given a semi-portable sprinkler system. So you can move them around depending on the needs of each plant. Nothing much fancier than adjustable risers and varying butterflies.

In the interim, you could consider a tractor-type sprinkler. With a decent length of hose, you put the hose down along where you want it watered. The tractor follows the line of hose and would be enough to do all of your lawn.

Much the same for out the front. The little area at the front door had hanging plants or something, I'm not sure. Hanging plants can still be watered using a small system. Same for pots. The hosing can be concealed and minimised, to help with aesthetics. I'd keep the lawn out the front, if only to park extra cars on. Maybe rip it all up and pave it instead.

Cakes has pretty much said everything about herb gardening. Have them in pots close to the house first, then move them out to the garden when they are bigger. Rinse, repeat. Really just need to keep an eye on them, checking for pests and weather damage.

A good sized compost heap stinks. Whilst I enjoy the smell of rotting food matter as much as the next person, the neighbours usually do not. I'm all for promoting worm habitation, but they can be done separately to compost. If you do want to compost, consider a stand-alone set up, like a barrel.


And whilst you are at it, a chook shed would also work wonders for your garden. I can make a decent shed, small or large. Chook manure really helps a fledgling veggie garden. You just have to keep the bustards out of the cabbages.
No pics but I just wanted to say that I spent a good 4 days of solid yard work in preperation for my mothers vegetable garden.

First, I had to remove 3 large plants, about the size of me and transport them into the front yard. That alone took an entire day. If I were to have chopped the plants down to nothing it would have been an easy task, but I had to dig them out whole. Never underestimate the power of nature.

After all this, I hand tilled the dirt because we have no machine. Wetting the near desert like dirt and digging and turning the soil was painful. Let me just say that the nutrient dirt that you can buy and mix in to help soften and simulate healthy dirt is a life saver, fucking use it.

After all this, I carried unused stones as big as my head from the front yard to the back (I live in a fucking mansion btw so this is like 300m) up and down steps (so no wheel barrow) because we live on a hill. Once the stones were transplanted, I made a nice little surrounding stone wall for my mother to plant her shit.

I think she's planning on growing green beans or something as one of her items because they regrow about as fast as you pick them. Beyond that I'm clueless. It was quite the task and it feels amazing having completed it. I'll get some pics up soon of this and the second garden I made which was much less epic.
If you're having kids Fork, a nice big lawn is the best possible garden you can have. You can throw them outside until dinner and they can play with the dog and not get themselves in much trouble.
Hey, that's my house! Goddamn Doc, you really went above and beyond the call of duty here so thank you.

The holey hose I put around goes along the blue line in the second picture and should be sufficient to water the top level there. I have been meaning to get a tractor hose to make watering the lawn easier before doing anything drastic like retic, used to have one as a kid and I loved it haha.

Great ideas with the landscaping scenarios, we really haven't thought about anything like that at all. A few have suggested that we extend the patio out the back from the lounge room (bifold doors, clothes line side) outwards into the lawn a bit which would be good for a spa or something.

Waterfall, fish pond, gazebo and fire pit (!!) all sound awesome, will need to mull it over with Stacey and try figure out what we want to get out of the back yard. As Jim said babies will need more grass and less fire/drowning hazards.

My next mission is to stop in at Bunnings, get a tray or two and herbs to start my little garden and rip out the dead rosebush and prepare that soil. I'm also working on a creeper and set it up next to a pillar so gotta keep that alive, will post results later if it doesn't fail dismally.

Then we've gotta decide where to put 2 trees we got, which are in pots at the moment but grow up to 8m tall according to the little tag on it. I'm thinking one near the lounge bifold doors to give the room a bit more shade and one in the back left replacing an unknown tree that is dying pretty well.
With the tree you are adding, determine the thickness of the branches fully grown and if they will become a hazard with gutters and things due to their leaves. The last thing you want is blocked gutters, fruit with bats shitting on your lawn/roof, branches dropping during storms.
Jiminy wrote:
If you're having kids Fork, a nice big fire pit is the best possible garden you can have. You can throw them in for dinner

Cakes wrote:
With the tree you are adding, determine the thickness of the branches fully grown and if they will become a hazard with gutters and things due to their leaves. The last thing you want is blocked gutters, fruit with bats shitting on your lawn/roof, branches dropping during storms.

Woah good idea, will need to google it and see how big it'll actually get and plant accordingly.
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