There’s a bed in our garden that needs moving. It’s a long story, but in order to give us easier access to each bed, we’re now trying to be consistent with 2 beds adjacent, then a gap. This one is part of a triple, next to a single so has to be shifted down.
First though, the plants had to be moved to a different bed – the one just below this one used to hold some old spinach, unsuccessful eggplants and capsicum so I cleaned it out a few days ago in prep for the next crop.
Unfortunately the plants that needed shifting are pretty mature and they aren’t dormant right now so the timing wasn’t great but, nevertheless, yesterday was the day. There were 2 cauliflowers (sown March 7th) living quite happily amongst the weeds (we let the chick weed grow because it’s a great snack for the chickens). In fact, one of them is the only one of my 5 cauliflower plants that actually has a head. But needs must so off it went to the new bed with its fellow caulis and the silverbeet (sown early April).
Transplanting them was surprisingly easy as apparently cauliflower and silverbeet – even when mature – have pretty small root balls. Or at least mine did.
The basil that thrived in this bed wasn’t worth transplanting – it dropped all its leaves in the last 2 weeks. I guess basil really doesn’t like winter.
The warrigal greens I propagated in March were doing pretty well but, as they are perennials and the rest of the plants in these beds are seasonal, I moved them to the horseradish bed along the fence and protected them with a small ring of chicken wire. Since the chickens have never tried eating them I’m sure they’ll be fine and maybe I’ll get a bed of mixed ginger, horseradish and warrigal greens that spread all on their own. That’s the plan anyway.
Then there were the potatoes. I planted some small kitchen potatoes out of season on 30 April without a lot of optimism but some of them sprouted. Frank swears that transplanting potatoes is not the done thing but I wasn’t just going to compost them so I carefully dug and found quite a bit happening down there ranging from small, white pre-potatoes to healthy, firm potatoes that may just be waiting for spring to shoot (I’m pretty sure the latter are those I planted 2 1/2 months ago that are no worse for being stored underground). Every bit of potato that I could find got shifted with the silverbeet and cauliflower.
The last thing to go into the new bed were the 4 spinach seedlings from seeds I sowed in mid-May. These were the perfect size for transplanting so I’m sure they’ll do fine.
The bed now looks pretty good. By the end of the day the cauliflower was sagging but this morning, they have perked up and give me hope.
The old bed is now ready to be cleaned up (with the help of the chooks) and moved down about 6 inches. It was a lot of work with more to come for such a little shift, but it will make things a lot easier and this garden is going to be here a while so it’s worth it.
wow I would never have thought you could transplant a cauliflower so far along. It looks as though it is going to be a tasty one! Are you moving the beds so that rotating crops will be easier? I think it is better to have perrenial veggies in their own bed.
I think you might be right that I can’t transplant such a mature cauliflower, but if I wait until I harvest everything from the bed to move the bed I’ll miss being able to plant a spring crop so some risk had to be taken.
The move wasn’t about crop rotation (something I’m just starting to be able to do because I’ve got more than 2 beds) it was about being able to reach each plant from outside without having to step into the bed.
I agree about teh perrenial veggie thing. I know it isn’t in tune with the concepts of permaculture but I like being able to clean out a bed and add more manure and dig it over and really rejuvinate it. With a couple of perrenials in the middle, this becomes impossible.
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