Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The beginnings of some lettuce

Our beautiful sunflowers in all their glory. I feel happy every time I see them. Kurtis believes they are still growing and he checks on their progress regularly, 4 or 5 times a day at least.

We have visible growth from our lettuce seeds! It happened just four days after sowing. I'm blown away.
So, I should have documented this earlier but my six year old laptop walks with a limp. That is, it seems to take an eternity to upload a photo to this blog amongst other things. A minor issue I guess but it kinda takes some of the fun out of posting. Hence the infrequency to date.

Things should be a lot better soon.  I have a brand new Sony notebook right here beside me. I got it on Monday after my hubby nagging me for the last twelve months to upgrade. And I kept ignoring him. Hang on that is sounding strangely and embarrassingly familiar.
I had been resisting because it just seemed too hard. To say I am technologically challenged doesn't even begin to describe the situation.
So I thought I had finally done it and was feeling quite proud. Until I tried to load the software or whatever for the modem and the printer. It turns out neither are compatible with Windows 7.   FUCK.
 I should have stuck with XP but I was trying to be cool and move with the times. So now I need to buy a new modem and printer. Not happy.

Anyway, about the garden. It is still devoid of plants or seeds but we have filled it with composting soil or something so it really is ready to go. We are going to buy some seedlings on Friday. Apparently there is still a lot of stuff I can plant now.
And the lettuces are growing, in punnets for now. Please don't comment on our planting technique.(Or my photography skills this is a gardening blog remember) I know they are waaaaay too close together but the seeds are sooooooooo tiny and combine that fact with the fine motor skills of a 3 year old, and you may see where I'm coming from.
I really had to reign in my inner control freak here and let the boy do his thing.
I want him feel ownership over this garden. This project is more for him to learn and connect with the earth than it is too feed us. Although if it feeds us I will be ecstatic. And I thought it would help us fill in the sometimes seemingly endless days at home. There is only so long one can discuss at length the differences and similarities between some 99 matchbox cars!  
Now a couple of questions. How much do worms eat? I realise their mouths are tiny so I haven't been giving them much. Probably something every five days or so but they seem to eat so very slowly. I kind of thought they were going to help us get rid of our kitchen scraps but to be honest I don't think that they're doing their fair share. I have been chopping up their veggies in the Thermomix so they don't need to chew too much but so far they're efforts have been pretty disappointing.
The other question is, when I plant the seedlings into the dirt should I put a layer of Lucerne hay or something around them to try and keep the soil from drying out too much?

I would love to know what you think.

Georgia xx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

my beautiful boy

Just some photos of my oldest child for some one out here in blog land. Hi Sarah.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

baby steps

Well I hoped I would have had more to report by now.
The garden beds are still empty and awaiting a bit more soil to be filled.
But progress has been made. Today Kurtis and I met some beautiful friends at Heronswood. We chatted, we snacked and we wandered the beautiful gardens. I got some inspiration and we brought some seeds at last.
I was however slightly disappointed. I had imagined buying quite a variety of vegies but when I asked the lady in the shop what  to plant now she told me that it was really too late for most things other than lettuces and boc choy type things. She said we could try tomatoes but if we didn't get a long Summer then we would be left with green tomatoes that wouldn't ripen.
I have looked at a few websites and they all say that there are quite a lot of things you can plant in January where I live. Beetroot, Asparagus, carrots, radish, silverbeet, turnips and zuccini for example. So I'm a bit confused.

Anyway Kurtis was very eager to get planting so we planted 2 types of lettuce seeds in to punnets. I hope they grow so we can transplant them into our garden.
He has been very excited lately as some sunflower seeds that he planted into egg cartons at playgroup last year have finally started to flower. He is beaming with pride at his achievement (although not in photos!). I'm really glad we did this now as he realises how long things can take to grow. Four months is ALONG time when your 3 and a half, but he seems to have the patience for our new venture, I think I can learn from him in that department!
I would love to hear from you with regards to what if anything you are planting now. Surely lettuce isn't our only option, its possibly the only vegetable Kurtis doesn't really like.
I have some ironing that will wait no longer, its been in the lounge room for about a week, so I must go but tomorrow I want to talk about the worms, curious little creatures they are.    

Saturday, January 15, 2011

slow and steady

So it took 15 months to start this project you didn't think we would finish it in one weekend did you?

So we stapled black plastic around the sides (a tip from my friend's dad).
Turns out the mulch in the park did belong to someone. Why they think its ok to dump it in our local park and leave it there for over 6 months is a mystery to me. So I raked up all the leaves in our garden today and added them to the plots then my husband shovelled in the mushroom compost. One bed is as good as filled and we should get another metre and a half of the mushroom stuff tomorrow with any luck. I have then planned a trip to Heronswood next Wednesday to buy some seeds.
I also found this site today which should be helpful.
The book I have been reading "Fabulous food from every small garden" by Mary Horsfall, published by CSIRO while informative is a bit off putting. If I followed every step in this book tending to my vegie patch will be a full time job! This is the sort of thing that has put me off in the past. I like to do things properly, "by the book" no pun intended and it just all seems so hard. But then real people not books keep telling me that really it is very simple so I hope they are right.
I'm sure it won't be the last time I ask but short of building a fence (which would be another 12 months in the making I'm sure) how am I going to keep my very sniffy beagle cross off my vegie garden? He loves to jump up and in to it already and we haven't even planted anything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What we've done so far...

We had 22 adults, one child, one baby and two very spoiled dogs for Christmas lunch 2010. A prospect I  found daunting to say the least since I don't enjoy cooking AT ALL (something I hope will change with the arrival of my Christmas present combined with growing my own food). And the most catering I had ever done was a BBQ for 6.
The man said he would finish work on the 23rd so he would be around to help me get ready.  Great I thought.
 I need all the help I can get for tomorrow.  As it turns out this is what happened.

Turns out his idea of helping was spending the day in the garden starting the project I had been nagging him for for the last 12 months! I could hardly complain, I was FINALLY getting my vegie garden and didn't see  my 3 year old all day.
I must say I was slightly alarmed when I went to check on the progress and found my 3 year old sanding, with an orbital sander. An orbital sander that was plugged in!! Thats right folks my 3 year old was using a power tool unaided. Am I the only one who is horrified?
But I have to say the look on his face was priceless. I have NEVER seen him happier and that's saying something for a child who is happy 90% of the time. Needless to say I went straight back inside before I tried to take over the situation, something I am prone to doing where my boy is concerned and I don't particularly like what I am seeing. Oh well, at least he wasn't using the drop saw.

n.b. The above photos are from early January as I was too busy getting ready for Christmas day to take photos on the 24th. 

So since the 24th we have dug out the grass laid out cardboard and some grass clipping and leaves. Hopefully with the help of a neighbour who has a small digger we will collect some mulch that has been lying in the park oppisite our house for months now  (I saw a chipper truck dump it there one day so I know it doesn't belong to any of our neighbours). Then some Lucerne straw, not sure if 2 bales will be enough, but at $25 a bale I hope so. We also ordered a big pile (thats the official amount) of mushroom compost. So hopefully we have enough to fill both plots.
Just after Christmas I also brought a worm cafe and a Tumbleweed compost bin but it will be awhile before we can use those goodies. 

$800 worth of timber (The man wanted to use treated pine but I refused so we got hardwood of some sort).
$400 worth of composting stuff.
$50 worth of straw

$150 worth of mushroom compost
$50 for a membership to The Diggers Club, going there this week
$???? for seeds and/or seedlings

So its not shaping up to be the budget version of a vegetable patch. I just hope it can pay for itself over time.
I do spend a lot of cash on fruit and vegies. I try to buy organic when possible and my 3 year old seems to eat more than me or my husband. But after all these expenses I'm feeling the pressure to grow some food. Money matters aside I think it will be a great activity for myself and my boy who both love to be outside.

The reason we went for raised beds is that our soil here in beautiful Shoreham, less than 1km from the beach is the hardest clay soil I have ever seen. When it rains our backyard becomes a large puddle for quite a long time. We also have a very healthy wild rabbit population. At the moment they seem to sustain themselves on plants from our front garden.

 Anyway, I now have 2 plots, one is 1.3m x 5m, the other 1.3m x 3m.
Hmmmmm, what to plant.............

I don't even know what you CAN plant in Summer! Any suggestions? 

p.s. If you know any keen gardeners who read blogs send them my link, I need all the help I can get!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 10, 2011


This is the first time that I have tried to grow food (apart from some herbs in pots) and I don't really know what I'm doing. It is also my first blog, again, don't really know what I'm doing.
Computers and I have never been friends. Come to think of it plants and I have never been friends either so one wonders how I even find myself sitting here writing what I hope will be a blog about gardening!
My hope is that by way of this blog I will get lots of advice from people that know more about gardening than I do. Not hard.
In October 2010 we moved into a newly built home, while the build was taking place we talked a lot about the vegie garden we would have, I even bought and read a book on the subject.
Now 15 months later and after lots of discussion ranging from subtle hints to full blown nagging (nothing happens too quickly round here) I finally have two plots out the back read for action. The pressure is on.

There shouldn't be pressure as I have heard gardening described as therapeutic, rewarding and even relaxing but when I try something new I always want to be good at it right away.
I constantly need to remind myself that "you learn from your mistakes" and that "its the journey not the destination that's important".