Seedhouse, shadehouse, hothouse, nursery, greenhouse, cold frame, planthouse, potting shed – call it what you will but we’re getting one! It’s going to be fantastic to finally have a dedicated space to grow our seedlings and store our tools and garden paraphernalia.
As our site is steep and relatively small, we didn’t want to use up valuable growing space with a garden shed so we decided that converting the underside of our lowest deck into a usable space would be a great option. We’d only ever used that area to store junk in and it wasn’t going to take too much work to make it big enough for a couple of seed trays, benches, a sink and storage racks.
An important part of any Permaculture system is good design and functionality. Essentially we decided this area was perfect for a nursery being smack bang in the middle of our Permaculture Zone 1. It is close to the main food growing beds, nearby tank water and power and faces north so is protected from the summer heat but open to the winter sun.
After giving the design some serious consideration, we’ve decided not to erect walls but instead use the vertical ‘wall’ space to grow edible plants. A passionfruit will help to manage the hottest western sun and a deciduous espalier on the northern side will work well with both summer and winter sun.
We started collecting some good quality second hand materials to use in the nursery and I’m constantly amazed at what people throw out. So far we’ve got some really good pavers, solid wire trellis, hardwood fence palings and seed trays but we’re still looking for a sink and a few other bits and pieces.
Our next Council clean-up is only a couple of weeks away so it won’t be long before we can fossick through our neighbours preloved junk for goodies for the garden. Anyway if we don’t find a sink we’re bound to find plenty of other useful stuff.
This was what the space looked like before we started excavating. Basically a place for junk and spiders.
Chris used a kango-hammer to chip out the sandstone bedrock and shape the floor. (His earmuffs double as a radio and he’s listening to the Cricket – Australia’s winning! I had to made sure he didn’t get carried away and undermine the house foundations).
Our daughter’s boyfriend Jez is a plumber so he gave us a hand to divert our tank overflow and stormwater to the garden below using a sub-floor channel chipped into the bedrock.
We got Uncle Robot (aka Robert) back to do the paving for us last week and for obvious reasons we decided to task a professional to the job. He finished laying and cutting the pavers in a day, the same job that would have taken us weeks and quite possibly ended in divorce.
As the western side of the nursery will be partly open, Robot built in enough slope for drainage in the event rain blows in from time to time.
What do you think? The area has been completely transformed into a really usable space.
Once finished our plant nursery will form an integral part of our Permaculture system not only providing a suitable space for our garden supplies but a place to escape, to explore, to learn and enjoy. In the meantime perhaps I could put it to use for early morning yoga….or perhaps swing a hammock….a beer garden…
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the nursery unfolds but in the meantime stay tuned for my next post….getting ready for winter.