Twin Blocks outside Hallett is one of the new gardens on display this year. It's not a romantic garden, but a bloke's vegie patch which provides fresh organic produce for the table. The plants are the order of the day, healthy well grown plants are stars in their own right. You may wonder why we have a picture of sunflowers and not vegies? Simple, they are pollinators, meaning they attract bees and other beneficial insects that help pollinate the vegetables. They also make excellent cut flowers, all the bright colours look so cheerful inside, and they last for ages.
Hallett is a fairly cold place, but summers are often hot and dry so plants need to be protected from high temperatures and fierce winds. The rich clay soil when treated with gypsum and liberal quantities of animal manure; we have horses so there's plenty; makes for a superb growing medium. Since living here we have grown the best ever crops of tomatoes, giving them away by the 20litre bucket fulls. Brassicas go ballistic and root vegetables are in their element.
All in all with the right care and maintenance the mid north is an excellent place to garden, the only real enemy is the earwigs, which we call the garden terrorists. It's a nightmare trying to control these beasties, the native ones aren't a problem, but the European imports are the pits, they manage to get inside the house, I'm sure they'd take over if they could. We've tried all the biological controls, we simply have too many for that to work. The only way to get round the problem is to grow plants to past the earwig stage in the greenhouse, then plant them out when they aren't so vulnerable.
By October the garden should be full of leeks, broad beans, carrots, beetroot, kale, chard, garlic and brassicas. Flowering plants will be used more this year to attract insects, we're hoping to see the blue banded bees again, they're very beautiful and perfect pollinators for tomatoes. It will be too early to put tomatoes in the ground in early October, night time temperatures are too cool for them. In fact the first year we came here it snowed in October.
Look forward to seeing you on the long weekend.
By Felicity Kent, the other half of the bloke's garden.