Saturday, May 16, 2015

Garden Thyme

My garden  in late 2014 - looking a bit tierd
Late last year I responded to an invitation from Bec at 'Think Big, Live Simply' which has resulted in some big changes for me and my garden. Bec asked if anyone wanted some help in the garden, and I said 'yes please'.

Bec, says this about herself..
One of my passions is to grow food. Another is to take photos of growing food. You’ll find lots of both things here. I want to inspire you to think about your own life, and get curious about how you can make it even better – through growing a garden or choosing to live simply, whatever this might mean for you.
 I have been following Bec for a while now, and her regular posts in my emailbox do exactly as she hopes - inspires me to think about making things better - for me and my garden.

Bec asked me lost of questions about what I like to grow, how I like to grow things, what wasn't working, what I wanted to do better and all sorts of other questions. I told her that I like to grow my own seedlings - but I wasnst having a good success rate. My seeds just weren't germinating.
My babies :)
Becs advice on growing seedlings was really helpful. Firstly she pointed me in the direction of some great books, and advised me to use proper seedling mix (I was trying to make my own). Bec also suggested 'getting your partner involved mid-week with some watering or simple compost turning will make a big different to your time as well - and never know,  you might convert him into even more of a green thumb'. So, I placed the seedlings in a sunny place by the front door. I put a waterbottle with a little watering lid near the front door. So during the week, when I am living in a different city to work, he would see the seedlings and the water bottle and water them.... it worked!

We love pesto - we love Basil - Basil loves the warmth from these rocks!
Bec made a good point - she said herbs like basil, parsley, mint, chives, spring onions and leafy greens like kale, lettuce and rocket are happy to grow in quite a bit of shade, especially if it's dappled. I was trying to grow everything in 'full sun' but was loosing good ground to the shade... by Basil is pretty happy now here in the warmth of a stone wall.

New seedlings wrapped up in their mulch.... happy mustard green
Bec reminded me about the importance of looking after my soil. She ecouraged me to get back to healthy mulching (espcially in summer). She also said 'I've already mentioned the sweet stuff.. Molasses. Its cheap and easy to use in multple ways. use it in the compost, worm farm and new veggies beds to stimulate microbial activity and healthy soil development'.
Bec mentioned the importance of using all the space in my garden - even the verticle spaces. So I found this mesh frame hidden in the shed, and gave it a new home - the beans love it!

Bec encouraged me to use pots more - and I like the colours here. These pots house my favourite herbs.
When my partner and I designed this garden we created this large entrance to the compost corner, with the runner for the wheel barrow to run up. But we dont need the full width of the steps all the time. So I put pots here. I can move them when I have large loads for the compost corner, but other times they recieve water from the auto sprinklers, and they are easy for us to access for food preparation.

Yellow Eggplant - growing in a pot that gets special attention
I decided to try growing some of the eggplants in terracotta pots because I wasnt sure how they would go through the end of summer and autumn - and I thought the terracotta would given them a little bit more heat during the change of season. It seems to have been OK as they are still producing into May.

My purple mini eggplants - happy in the back of the garden with rocks that reflect heat
Beans climbing my 'bean temple'
Guava's (like many fruits and some veggies) attract fruit fly which ruins the fruit before you can harvest it. I've found over the years, if I wrap my tree early enough, the fruit is saved. I've had a bumper crop this year - I'm stewing, bottling, jaming and pie making til the cows come home.....

I know its been a pretty photo heavy post - but here's a couple more to finish the story...

Thank you Bec.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Storm Disaster 2015

Dog bed is ravaged by winds and pot plants have hit the deck!
 I have been drafting two other posts during April, but they haven't been finalised, so I thought I'd post the reason why. I had a family wedding in Adelaide April 18th so I had a couple of days off before that and my husband and I  enjoyed a little RnR in South Australia.

However, that was the end of the RnR... we returned to NSW admist massive wind and rain storms. Our plane circling for more than an hour before getting permission to land in Sydney.

When we did finally return to home base in the Hunter Valley - we found our place had see the impacts of the winds.

Banana plants have blown over

a bed of storm  blown and torn leaves cover my lawns and meditation decks.
 But before long, we had our orange State Emergency Service (SES) uniforms on, and we were out volunteering in our community. Only to discover our blown over banana plants and pot plants were NOTHING.....

 Here, my team assess a large tree leaning on a two story home and the damage done to the roof.

 On another house, we climb up to repair the damage done by tree's to the tiles. Here's we're placing plastic over the problem area by tucking it under the stronger tiles.

Here my team are involved in ferrying isolated community members back to higher ground - which soon became nick-named "mainland".

Since Monday 20th April, We've been volunteering 8 full and long days.

The effects of the massive storm are slowly being cleaned up - while today another massive weather event hits our northern east coast capital, Brisbane. Thoughts and Prayers to everyone already affected by storms this month, and those feeling it come down on them tonight!

News links with stories of the storm are here
Newcastle Herald - the Aftermath
Sydney Morning Herald - Storm of the Century
Sky News - Devestation of the Storms