Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What happened to the sandpit?

The sandpit of this blog title is at my house. It was built (by Bernard and me. I think Michael might have helped) when Elanor was four, and was a huge attraction when the children were young. I had other people's children in my garden for seven years - and they also enjoyed the sandpit in its time. (Ok, they went home nights.)

Last year "the sandpit" underwent a major transformation. I had stopped looking after little kids at home, and it became a vegetable garden.

It doesn't receive much sun for much of the year. (Ahem - 'none' for a lot of the year!) The 'interwebs' suggested that leafy greens did best in partial shade, so I planted in mint, silverbeet, kale, spinach and parsley. (I knew the parsley would do well because it self-sowed in the sand pit itself.)

So, if a great deal of forethought had been used, I would have had a 'before', 'during' and 'after photos. I didn't, so I'll just have to paint you a word picture.

The sandpit was pretty neglected for a year before I decided to give it a new life. Weeds (parsley!), old toys and junk. Yuk!

I googled, and obviously one should add lots of composted matter as the dirt was, by definition, 'sand'. Not ideal for growing plants, although definitely free-draining! One site also suggested lots of shredded newspapers on the sand before adding compost. And advised on what to plant in a shady (semi-shade in summer only) spot.

I didn't have enough compost to fill a volume 2m x 1.5m x 40cm all at once - that's a LOT of compost! So I hit on using a plank to section of 1/3 of the space first and plant that up. A few months later I had enough to fill a 2nd 1/3.

(Actually, I was impatient and hadn't left my compost to 'cook' long enough, so I spent 2 months pulling out little pumpkin seedlings which weren't part of the planting plan. That was kind of funny, and they've stopped turning up now.)

So the funky tiered look is more by luck than design, but I quite like it. I planted lots of little seedlings - lots from the garden centres, and then some I'd raised from seed. And a few months later it looked green and lush!

This sandpit garden has been giving me all the leafy greens we can manage to eat, and means I can use the sunny vege garden for things that really need the sun. (Oh, and the patch of silverbeet and spinach that I planted in the dead of winter and is still going strong.) I'll be really interested to see how long it keeps producing.

Now, instead of sitting in the sun digging a hole and filling it with water, I'm more likely to be pulling weeds, tending baby plants and picking food. And of course lots of messing about with mud and water. Still just as much fun. 

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