Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Gardening Conundrum

It started a few weeks ago, just after the heatwave in October, a branch of my cape mallow bush started to die, I didn't worry about it too much, things die, that's just the way it is. When the branch died completely I cut it off and put it out of my mind. 

Then one morning I went out to water the pot plants and noticed that the lemon balm was dead and that the parsley in the same pot wasn't looking too good either.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Friday, 9 October 2015

Repurpose - Reuse - Recycle

A monthly post to (hopefully) inspire you to look at old things in a new way. 

New Ways to Use Old Bedsprings

Outdoor candle holders
Source

A unique way to display dried/faux flowers
Source

Display family photos
Source

Organize your office using the base from a cot.
Source unknown

One for the sewers in the family
Source

Fun snack holders for a children's party.
Source unknown  

Marie Niemann's wind chimes


Test tube vase
Source

Shabby chic table decor
Source unknown

"Spring" wreath
Source
My favourite way to use them.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Bugs and Blooms


Geraldton Wax

Water drops on an Oregon snow pea flower

The bees are loving the flowers on the "With Love" lavender

Verbena peruviana pink

Spanish Bluebell


Livingstone daisy

Carpet beetles
Lemon scented pelargonium

Scabiosa atropurpurea

Marguerite daisy

I have no idea what species this is but they seem to like the daisies.
Seaside daisy

Rhubarb flower
Kangaroo paw "Little Gem"

Thursday, 1 October 2015

From the Veggie Patch

Pickings from the veggie patch have been a bit thin over the past few months, but now suddenly everything has sprung into life and I'm harvesting once again.

The first asparagus (which I forgot to weigh). It was delicious.

Silverbeet, just over 5 kilos. I gave this lot away as there is still a lot more in the garden for my own use.
It seems that earwigs like silverbeet as much as I do
The first pickings of rhubarb and peas and more asparagus.

More peas, asparagus and a few broccoli sprouts.

So far I have picked just over 1 kilo of peas, 5.15 kilos of spinach, 628 grams of rhubarb and and a little over half a kilo of asparagus.

The broccoli is finished now and it was really disappointing this year. The plants never grew as big and the heads were very small compared to last years, but I have had lots of side shoots which kind of makes up for the smaller heads.

There will be no plums again this year. Honestly, I don't know if growing your own fruit is worth it. Last year I lost all of the fruit to the wind, this year it was the rain, but I persevere because there really is nothing better than fruit from your own trees.

I haven't planted anything new in the garden this month as I'm still waiting on the winter crops to finish. I have sown all my seeds though so when a garden bed empties I can plant straight away.

 I don't like summer, it's my least favourite season and one of the tasks that I don't enjoy doing during the hot weather is watering the garden. To keep veggies alive and thriving, it has to be done often, and it takes up a lot of my time, so next week I will be installing a drip irrigation system in the veggie patch. It is something I should have done years ago, but it looks so complicated that I wasn't sure I could do it, but I am going to give it a go, what's the worse that can happen. It will make my life a little easier and be much better for the plants too.

I was saddened this week to find that one of my favourite bloggers, Daphne from Daphne's Dandelions won't be blogging anymore, I understand her reasons, but she will be missed.

So, that's it from the veggie patch this month, I'll be back next month with another update.




Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Seeds


Seeds, where would we be without them?  They fill our flower beds with colour and fragrance, and allow us to grow tasty, nutritious food to feed ourselves and our family. They are the perfect little capsule, containing everything that is needed to start the next generation of plant life. They lay dormant sometimes for years waiting for the perfect growing conditions and then, they spring into life. 

This year I am trying to grow all my vegetables and flowers from seed.


What I'm growing

Sown 24th September
Melons
Hale's Best 
Sugar Baby
Luscious Red

Tomatoes
Honeybee 
Rouge de Marmande
San Marzano
Unknown truss (seeds were from shop bought tomatoes)

Corn
Kelvedon Glory
Jubilee Bicolour

Cucumber
Lebanese (sprouted today)

Zucchini 
Green Bush

Beans
Windsor Longpod
Brown Beauty
Butter 
Cannelini
Red Kidney
Borlotti

Leafy Greens
Cos lettuce
Green Mignonette
Salad mix which includes
Lolla Rossa
Bionda
Red and green salad bowl and
Great Lakes
Endive
Kale
Medania spinach
Celery

Eggplant
Snowy
Rosa Bianca

Capsicum
Hungarian Yellow Wax Sweet

Basil
Sweet Genovese
Thai

Radicchio
Palla Rossa

And a new one to try this year, chickpeas.

Flowers
Borage
Alyssum Rosie O'Day
Poached Egg Plant
Nasturtium
Zinnia
Candy Tuft
Calendula

So, hopefully not only will my vegetable garden be productive it will look beautiful as well.


This is my contribution to this months Garden Share Collective 
hosted by Lizzie from Strayed from the Table, Krystie from a A Fresh Legacy and Kate from Rhubarbs and Rosehips. To see what they and others have to say click on any of the links above.





Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Garden in August

When I moved into my current home in March 2009, the first thing I wanted to do was get a vegetable garden established. The only usable land was located right down the far left hand corner of the property, not the ideal location for it, but it was the only space that wasn't covered in concrete. The lady who originally owned the house was a tennis coach and although the house sits on a 1/4 acre block, most of the backyard is taken up by a tennis court. 
My back yard, lovely isn't it?
It wasn't much to look at that first year, the soil (for want of a better word) was like talcum powder, and the water didn't soak in, it just ran off, but I still managed to grow some wonderful vegetables. 
April 2009

The garden looks a bit different today, the giant compost/rubbish bin is gone, as are the tiles, and barrow loads of manure, as well as a lot of home made compost have improved the soil, it's also gotten bigger, and now measures 9.2 metres long (30 feet) x 5.5 metres wide (18 feet) in total. I've tried a few different layouts over the years but in the end kept it simple with seven beds either side of a central path. The beds themselves are different lengths but are all 2.1 metres wide.
The vegie patch now
To make it more attractive to beneficial insects I'm in the process of making an insect hotel, I've installed a bird bath (which is already attracting a lot of attention) and there is a shallow dish of water on top of the insect hotel for the bees and butterflies. I've planted two salvias, "Joan" and "Hot Lips", a Marguerite daisy in the pot you can see on the right hand side. I moved my two small plum trees into the garden to shade the bird bath and the insect hotel, and when the ground is warm enough one the rear beds will be sown with a mix of flower seeds, dill and coriander.

I still have to put up a new fence and arbour, finish the insect hotel, and when the winter vegetable are finally finished, dig in more compost and mulch the beds ready for summer planting.  So that's my garden, not the prettiest, and not always the tidiest, and despite the constant attacks by aphids, white fly, caterpillars and a multitude of other pests, and weather that isn't always ideal, I love it, it is my favourite place to be.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Garden Share Collective - August 2015

Not a lot happened in the garden in July, everything is taking its own sweet time about growing and I just have to learn to be patient, I know that everything will get there in the end.


 It has been a colder than normal winter this year, and we have not had the amount of rain we would normally have, but having said that we did have enough rain in July  (42.4mm) that I didn't have to water, which is always a good thing.


After five very fretful weeks of wondering if they had rotted in the ground the potatoes finally decided to start sticking their heads up out of the soil. 
Kestrel

Royal Blue
I lost my first planting of broccoli to aphids, the one time of the year I didn't think I needed to worry about them, but they are everywhere at the moment. I am keeping a very close eye on my second lot and spraying with soapy water when needed.
The peas are making their way up the trellises, and the strawberries are flowering and fruiting.
Red Gauntlet
 The tomatoes that popped up all over the gardens in the front yard, have so far survived any frost we have had, I can't leave them there so in the next week or so I will be potting them up. After last summer's disaster with the tomatoes (Verticillium wilt) I'm not going to risk planting any tomatoes in the vegetable garden for the next couple of years.

Harvesting

Zero, zip, zilch, nada. It looks like the winter crop, will now be a spring crop, as long as I get something I'll be happy.

Planting/Sowing

It will be at least another four, maybe five weeks before I can start planting or sowing seeds.

I'm thinking of adding sheep manure to the vegetable beds as a soil conditioner. Has anybody tried this, or have any advice as to what the best soil conditioner is.
Don't forget that the next GSC will be on 31st August, I will see you all then.



Saturday, 1 August 2015

Colouring In - No Longer Just for the Kids

I'm not one to buy into every new fad or craze that comes along, but this is one craze that I'll quite happily take part in, colouring-in books just for us adults.  It's a craze that is sweeping the world, allowing adults an escape from the hectic pace of their everyday lives, a chance to disconnect from the technological world we live in and get back to basics. By focusing the mind on colouring, it brings calmness and stillness to the mind, almost like a form of meditation. 

There are a wide range of books available, below are just a few examples of what is available.

Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, beautifully illustrated and just waiting to be brought to life with colour.


I love paisley so this one is right up my alley.

Art Therapy Colouring Book, this is one of a series of three books, the other two are Colour Therapy and Creative Therapy.
One of the intricate designs you will find in the Creative Therapy Colouring Book.



From Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta

I couldn't resist buying this one for myself at Big W for only $8.00.

An almost finished page.
If you would like to indulge yourself, but don't want to buy any books, just type free colouring pages for adults into your search engine, there are plenty to choose from. Me, I'm off to do some more colouring.