Friday, October 13, 2017

New venture - playing with recycled materials

At this time of year the gardening slows down.  The things that grow during the wet season just manage on their own, and I often turn my attention to doing things inside the house. - with the aircon going!  As I mentioned previously I discovered a wonderful organization in Jacksonville that trains and prepares survivors of the sex trade to enter the business world.  You can read more about my adventure into making necklaces and see the first necklaces I made, or the company re-threaded here.

Last Saturday I invited some friends over for a crafternoon and afternoon tea. I showed them how to make the necklaces and they each took their creations home with them. I had quite a colorful assortment of fabrics for them to choose from. 

 I had also made a few clay polymer beads.

 Hubby thought I had some new plant decorations when I had them drying on skewers in the most convenient location!

All in all I am building up quite a collection for my market stall, but I get bored, and want to try new things ..... 

After spending about twenty years sailing the world on my sailboat I do have a love for knots.  Nautical knots, celtic knots, whatever.  I began to wonder if I could use the t shirt fabric for knotting, and spent a wonderful day exploring different knots.  My gosh - it is so much easier to follow a video than when we first tried to tie a turks head on board Vemvaan following the numbered instructions in a book!  Look at this cute little bead that I wove - they are going to be awesome on the sensory necklaces.  I have one ready to package and send off to my daughter so she can try it  out with my little granddaughter!

I will post a selection on the blog in case anyone wants to order them from afar!  I do live in  the back of beyond so our little market stall is quite far for everyone to travel to.
Is anyone else selling items from their blog?  Is it best to go with a company like selz or etsy?  I love blogging - it is a way for me to connect with others around the world with similar interests, and I dont want it to just become a commercial venture.  I do slack off with blogging though when there is nothing going on in the garden, so thought I would share what I do at these times.  What do you think? Is it a good idea to diversify and include other aspects of my life?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Costa came to see my little garden!

We had a local garden competition and our council managed to negotiate Costa from Gardening Australia to be one of our judges!  My gosh - heart palpitations!!!   I knew I had to enter, but was away just before that, leaving the garden in the hands of my non gardening hubby.  Added to that we were in a drought when I returned, and the bandicoots were wreaking havoc in the garden.
I got stuck in, and tidied up, mulched, and planted new seeds in the wicking boxes (which were just microgreens when he arrived!)

The first thing you see when you enter my garden is fruit salad alley and we began to chat about getting kids interested in gardening.  The volunteer tomatoes in the mulberry pot have had a wonderful side effect.  I tied the stakes up into a teepee and this protected the mulberries from the birds., plus it is also fun to go scouting around looking for a plump ripe mulberry.

 The strawberries were also just starting to ripen, since then I have enjoyed a few little garden treats.

Everyone commented how much cooler it was once you got into the side garden and could enjoy the shade of the lychee tree.    I think Costa would like to come back in lychee season and climb that tree!  (he is a bundle of energy) I notice there are a few little lychees plumping up, it has taken a while since we lopped the top off the tree, but at least now we will be able to reach the harvest.
 He commented that the pathway around the tree was a great idea, and I do like that I can reach into all of the garden beds from the pathways.  I also like the fact that he noticed I was growing the same kind of plants as my neighbour, therefore making my garden seem larger.

One big advantage of cutting the tree back is that we now have much more light into the garden which means more flowers. Of course as soon as Costa left we got a night of good soaking rain and suddenly the garden looked lovely and colourful once again.  That is the nature of gardening though.

 I explained that we were right between seasons,  I showed him the worm buckets, but forgot to mention that this area is cleared because I am getting ready to grow ginger here. I explained about how well the wicking beds work, and that the barbadoes cherry provides shade for the veggies. I forgot to mention that I throw weeds onto the weed mat path, and then once in a while (just before a visit from a special gardener!) I will turn over the weed mat, smothering the weeds, and leaving a clean path.

 I forgot to mention that this straggly lemon is one that I keep to practice my grafting.  Hopefully next time he comes back one of my grafts will have taken.

 I also gave him a bit of my peppercorn vine as he wants to try to grow it in his garden in Sydney.  It will have to be in a hothouse I reckon!

My gosh what an exciting time this has been.
What you do if Costa came to see your garden?

Thursday, September 21, 2017


As you know I grow most of my veggie garden from seed.  That can be a slow and frustrating process, but when it works, can be so very rewarding. I do like growing greens in broccoli boxes as it keeps them contained and the soil seems to stay moist.  I had a bunch of black seeded lettuce seedlings, and potted them up fairly close together into a broccoli box, filled with potting soil mixed with five in one, and they did very well, I will buy those seeds again.  My little wicking bed of mint just keeps going, through drought and wet.

One thing I added this year was a little greenhouse, and I think that has made all the difference.  I often read on the seed packets that certain seeds need to be planted in situ, but I struggle with that - I am often not able to water the garden as I leave in the dark and often arrive home in the dark.  The greenhouse has been a huge asset because the plants in there stay warm and moist with a spray of water a couple of times a week.
I had some little seedlings of beetroot, silverbeet and broccoli raab just bursting out of the ground when a bandicoot found its way into the garden...  I tried supporting the little plants back up again, but they have struggled.  I am not sure if I should just raise seedlings since the greenhouse does give the plants a better chance of surviving. How important is it to\plant seeds directly?  I am going to try again with seedlings raised in the greenhouse and see if that makes a difference. Of course keeping out the bandicoots will help as well.  we set up our trap and then re-locate them far away(and find and block the hole in the fence where they got through in the first place!)  This area has been good for greens as there is a bit of shade form the barbados cherry.  I had ginger growing here last wet season, but this year I think I will do sweet potato here and have the shoots climbing up the fence for easy harvesting.

We had quite a chilly start to winter, and the tomatoes did not start out with abandon, but are now doing better. Lots of volunteer cherry tomatoes have popped up everywhere and every day we get enough to add to our salads.  I have a few yellow cherry tomatoes plants and those are all in pots.
Cherry tomatoes volunteered in the mulberry tree pot and I staked them up into a teepee.  One huge advantage is that the birds now cannot find the ripening mulberries - yeah!

This area is starting to be cleared as the winter veggies die off.  I am thinking I will grow ginger in this area.  Sweet potato are starting to pop up as I grew them here last year, but those will be moved to the fence bed.  

The moringa in the herb spiral grew straight up and started flowering.  I was interested to see what the pods looked like, and tasted, but I have not seen any pods so will chop it off down to the first outward branch so the leaves are easier to harvest and it provides some nice leafy shade. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

My hubby did a great job with the garden!

I arrived back after more than four weeks overseas to discover that my garden had done just fine without me, thank you very much!  The peppercorn vine is full of little bunches of peppercorns.  Last year I pickled some, but might do some research on drying them instead.  I made a lovely pepper sauce to go with our pork chops last night.
 The lady slipper orchid has made its way into the veggie patch, so I now have flowers and fruit intermingling.
This bed required lots of weeding, and then I quickly planted some seeds to make the most of whatever growing season we still have.  Tatsoi, rocket and whatever else was left in the packets. The asian greens in the one box were pulled out to make way for bok choy.  Mizuna was my clear favourite, so I will plant that again.
 For the first time ever I have been able to grow rainbow chard - isnt it pretty?
 I never grow huge leaves of kale - think it is still too hot here, even in our winter.
 I love these little teardrop yellow tomatoes. It is reaching to the sky!
 This is where the lady slipper orchid originates - soon this walkway will be dripping with colour.  The honeyeaters sure do love the nectar they produce.
It sure feels good to be out in my own garden once more.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fruit salad alley update

Fruit salad alley had a makeover!  I had been thinking that the fruit trees needed a little bit of loving care, and when yet another lovely long weekend came around I set to it.  I cut back the passionfruit vine so that it can shoot out some new shoots and produce more passionfruit.  I removed the strawberry pots a while back as they were being swamped by the passionfruit.  They are now in the veggie patch.

I wrote about the process and the seed collection has published it on their blog - you can see it here.  I get paid in free seeds, so it is a win-win situation.  Here you can see my lime tree re-potted (and straightened up).

All the plants seem happy and there are lots of little green leaves shooting out which makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter weekend spent in the garden

Happy Easter to all - a little late, but I was out in the garden!  Four whole days doing gardening related activities.  Can life get any better?
On Saturday we went shopping and I spent my birthday coupons - what fun!  I decided to incorporate a couple of plants inside and have a row of terracotta planters with aloe vera on on the kitchen counter.

Then I also found an amazing stand and pot that now has a spathiphyllum in it.  Bringing the outdoors inside a little bit!

A lot of work was done in the veggie patch.  I laid out another soaker hose as my old ones perished.  Chook poo (chicken manure) was spread out over the main bed where I added lime a couple of weeks ago.  This was then covered over with a few layers of wet newspaper and some sugar cane mulch.
 Some things have done well in the greenhouse - my tomato seedlings have done well - I planted a few out into the garden.  Red cherry and yellow pear, the rest of the tomato plants were transferred into deeper pots and remain in the greenhouse.  The tatsoi has just grown long and leggy as well as the lettuces, so think I will plant seeds direct.  The corn out in the garden has either been eaten or has suffered from dieback, so there are only four plants remaining.  Against this trellis in the above photo I planted cucumber and against the back fence I planted snow peas.   I cant always grow snow peas, but on the way into work this morning the temperature was 22* C so I count that as a good sign.
I want to start some silverbeet, and more kale -  already there is some doing well in the greenhouse along with the peppers and moneymaker tomatoes and I will be planting those out into the garden in early May.

The cactus rose along the front path were all tidied up and some of them re-potted.  I added a white gravel mulch.

I bought some more big pots and then the fruit trees in fruit salad alley were re-pottted as well. Home made compost and five in one were added to the potting soil.  The mondo grass at the back was trimmed right back and the passion-fruit vine was also trimmed.  The strawberries were moved into the veggie garden as they were being covered over by the passion-fruit.  I see lots of delicious tasty fruit and veg in my future.

Did you also spend your time over the long weekend working in the garden?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Getting ready for the new season

I have spent time out in the garden the last two weekends, and everything is looking much tidier now. .  The asian greens I planted in the boxes seem to be doing ok and in fact are just loving all the rain.  The taller box is waiting to have tomatoes planted in there.  Since I have bacterial wilt in the soil regular tomatoes have to be planted in potting mix.

The coffee tree came out a couple of weeks ago since it was getting diseases  and generally taking up too much room.  The green peppercorn vine has been happily taking over the whole area during the wet season while nobody was watching, so that got a very severe cutting back.  It supposedly only fruits on new growth and I see a few peppercorns, so once those are harvested it will get even more of a prune.

That opened up this area quite a bit and I have planted corn behind the compost bin (the soil is lovely there!) and trombocino squash against the fence.  Cucumbers against the trellis.
The little greenhouse has some seedlings I have started. - yellow cherry tomatoes, tatsoi.

 I then cleared out the center bed, and added compost and lime.  I have not limed for quite a few seasons, and assume it probably needs lime since compost is my main soil amendment.   The soil looks lovely and loose and friable and filled with earthworms.   In a couple of weeks I will direct plant beetroot, silverbeet and kale into this space.  The turmeric can stay there and only be dug up if I need the space for something else.
 I planted out a few assorted greens into the empty boxes. Parsley and warrigal greens.

 My ginger didn't really do so well this year and I think I should plant something else there, but it is a bit shady.  I might try some cherry tomatoes anyway just because that area has never had tomatoes. I have pruned the barbadoes cherry down so that it is just one branch thickness so that might give the area enough light.
I love this time of year, with all the planning and planting, and best of all the temperature has dropped ever so slightly and it is downright pleasant out in the garden these days!


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