Here's our what did and didn't work, through the garden. The strawbale bed is a good idea for many reasons. The downside is that it does breakdown after a time and the bales need replacing and I guess, it's more to sweep up if you have it on paved area like we do, especially with children riding bikes and crawling. Now, below we have started dismantling the edge ready for the new bed (I wasn't quite quick enough to get the 'before' pic) but you can see just by looking at the right side of the strawbale bed (or what's left of it) that compared to the original pic, it has broken down a lot...
Of course, being a natural material you do expect it to break down... I knew that... I just hadn't thought about how fast it would be, and the cost to replace it... To replace the bales at however many bales we had, would work out to not really be a cost effective option, each year.
So we're trialling one of these colourbond planter tub thingos
(what DO you call them?). So far so good. We chose the 400mm high ones as the 800mm high ones, though better perhaps for keeping things out, meant another $100 on the price, plus harder for the smaller kids to reach to help.
So a couple of courses of bricks laid dry, and the planter on top. Old hay round the 'joins' to stop sand getting out (I was thinking wet newspaper would work too). Filled it with garden sand (we have natural sand here, not soil), stuff from the compost (more on that in a minute) and the worm farm (going great guns but we need about 4 or 5 of them to keep up with our f&v scraps), and a half trailer load of vege soil from the soil place, plus some straw here and there turned in with it all.
on the compost, we're getting rid of our square/tall one and hopefully one day getting one that has lids and you turn because this will hopefully mean (a) no army of cockroaches like that that came out when we tipped the compost into the new vege bed (b) less bugs and fruit fly (note to self: do not set up compost near fruit trees, der yes I know) and (c) more air getting in with it turning.
Oh and our lettuces do very well in part shade - contrary to the 'everything must have full sun' and I find they benefit from it, even if they grow slightly slower, it means they don't cook in the middle of summer. We just plant extra to allow for the slower growth, especially in winter in the part shade.
So that's things that didn't quite work how we planned and the new things we're trying, or will be trying. Any hints and tips on how you made your things work, or what didn't work, appreciated :) oh and one very cool thing - the first plum Quinn ever tasted was from our tree :) nevermind it was the ONLY plum we got (second year of fruiting so not expecting too much + a bit heat when they missed out on water)