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More new seedlings

September 29, 2013

This year I have resolved to keep better gardening records of what I planted when, and what works and what doesn’t.

Ok so I know that sowing basil seeds does not work in June, but it does work quite well in September with the aide of some black plastic (recycled from a bag of potting mix) to help keep the soil warm for germination. I have never grown basil from seed before – in fact this is only the second time ever that I’m growing it at home. I know, what kind of Italian am I?! I just had it in my head that herbs are more fussy to grow than fruit or vegetables but I’m slowly getting that out of my head – last night I picked a bunch of thyme, rosemary and oregano to put in some chicken cacciatore I made, the freshness really brought the dish to life. I am hoping I can grow enough basil to make pesto at least once. But I have a long way to go before that happens:

Basil seedlings

I have these in a large terracotta pot, mainly because I wasn’t using it for anything else, and I thought the bright green basil leaves would look “so mediterranean!” in the terracotta.

The other thing I have learned is that the BIRDS (the same BIRDS that drove me to install netting over my veggie patch) love pea seeds so much that they will actually dig out my sweet pea seeds from the ground no less than 10 minutes after being sown. So, I took extreme measures and sowed them in an old 3″ pot and tucked them in my veggie patch for protection. Two weeks later they had sprouted and were ready for transplanting.

Pea sprouts

I wanted to post this photo because when I upended the pot, even though the leaves have barely even started to unfurl, the roots had already reached the bottom of the pot & started circling around looking for some place to go. Seeds will never stop amazing me!

And with the (slightly) warmer weather this has brought out my pear & apple blossoms which I can’t stop taking photos of. Apple blossoms are just so photogenic! No idea what the apples are going to be like, but I’ll try my best to protect them from the birds and codling moth so I can at least get some apples.

Apple blossom

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Another Garden Update

August 31, 2013

Well, its been exactly 8 weeks since these seeds were sown and I must admit I have harvested a bit too, last weekend! The mizuna and rocket have grown enough to harvest for one salad at a time, and are very nice indeed at this time of year, because as of tomorrow (!!!!) its going to be Spring! I don’t think I’ve been as excited about Spring as I am this year, mainly because I have my own garden again after 13 months of renting, and also this is the first garden I’ve ever had in sunny Melbourne. Speaking of sunny, we got up to around 23ยฐC today which was really so restorative after the mostly-rainy week we had, and a wonderful reminder that Spring is literally only one day away.

Anyway. So tomorrow I am planning to make a (healthy) lasagna and have a salad of rocket, mizuna, & radishes on the side. Check them out:

Rocket 2

The rocket is actually starting to look like rocket, with its characteristic lobed leaves. And here’s the mizuna:

Mizuna 2

The red mizuna doesn’t show very well against the dark soil but its definitely there… perhaps if I remember tomorrow I’ll take a photo of the salad on the plate!

The spinach will hopefully be ready for harvesting in the next few weeks too… or I might have to take some microgreens because I seem to have a problem with spacing:

Spinach 2

And the carrots, while still a couple of months away from harvesting, are getting bushy by the day:

Carrots 2

And just for something different, there is some fruit planted in my garden as well, these strawberries are planted along the front edge of where the veggies are growing:

Strawberry leaves

And remember the poppies & snapdragons I planted way back when? The poppies have been loving the rainy weather, and have just started blooming this week:

Poppy

I’m going to save the seeds from these yellow ones, I just love them!

Last weekend, I planted another round of seeds: Mizuna, chives, dill, coriander, mignonette lettuce, baby cos lettuce, and two rows of Italian “Lollo” lettuce which are an especially ruffled variety that comes in both red & green. To my surprise a lot of the lettuce seedlings have already sprouted. Lettuce seedlings really do start out as the tiniest seedlings ever, I can see why many gardenersย  prefer to buy them as seedlings. But I am yet to find a range of lettuce as good as on Diggers or Eden Seeds in any nursery or garden centre. Besides, you buy a packet of seeds for half the price of a punnet of seedlings, they keep for years, and you can grow between 200 & 350 lettuces from each packet! Now that’s what I call value. I’m sure these tiny seedlings will get bigger by next weekend, as its going to be a warm and sunny week if the weather report is not lying to me!

Lettuce seedlings

Yes I do have a problem with spacing. I might try (more experimenting!) to transplant some to elsewhere in the garden once they’ve got their first set of true leaves.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the sun today, my two cats were also thawing out outside with me today. Here is my old lady cat Puss laying next to a pot of Liliums which have also shot up over the last week. Its all starting to happen! So exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

Puddy cat

New house, new garden!

June 16, 2013

Well! Its been a while hasn’t it!!! A lot has happened since I last wrote.

Firstly, I moved house. Not only that, I moved states. And got a job, and bought a house of my very own in the lovely suburb of Seaford in southern Melbourne.

So that was a bit of awesomeness, and I celebrated my first anniversary here last month, and that first 12 months went so fast!

Another pretty lifechanging event was my breakup in early March… not much to say about that really but “onwards & upwards”!

So I bought a house. Its mine. I have an encyclopedia of to-do lists and renovating plans and decorating ideas but this is what I started with:

house before

Neat overall, but does need some work, mainly a lot of painting & some TLC inside.

Since this photo was taken I’ve painted the gutters, fascias, gates & vent grates a rich brick red. I’ve sanded the window frames ready to paint them white. I’ve bought almost everything I need for my luxurious new bathroom, which will be installed in August. And! I’ve got ducted gas heating installed so the place is no longer a fridge!

Also and! Check out my back yard:

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(Scuse the washing on the lines)

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So much space! So much potential!

The trees are one huge and very neglected pear tree, and two neglected but manageable apple trees. I’m going to attempt to prune at least part of the pear tree to hopefully get it productive again, but I’m not going to rule out getting rid of all the fruit trees and planting new ones, with the advantage of knowing what varieties I’d be planting and pruning them to a nice shape from the start.

So, the work on the garden began today with a smallish garden bed against one of the fences:

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The soil here is lovely sandy loam (I’m only 1km from the beach) which I sifted to make sure all the grass roots were removed. Hard work, but well worth it, because now the soil is nicely aerated & smooth, ready for its new inhabitants!

I planted my first flowers, a bulk pack of tall Snapdragons:

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I have learned that Snapdragons take much more time to get big enough to flower, so planting them in Winter means they’ll be ready to bloom in late Spring.

Next weekend I’ll be digging & sifting more of the grass out of the remaining dug-up soil, and maybe think about planting something edible like spinach and herbs.

I have a feeling this Summer will be the best Summer ever!

Autumn & Easter

April 23, 2011

Well, Autumn is well and truly here in South Tasmania, much to my delight as its my second-favourite season after Spring. My family have gone up North to spend Easter so I find myself home alone in the peace and quiet – no nagging! No-one to cook for! I can listen to loud music & have as many lights on as I like! ๐Ÿ˜€ They’re really not that bad. Really.

I went for a stroll in the garden this afternoon. Everything’s still there, albeit covered in a fresh flush of new weeds now that the rainy season has started.

You know its Autumn when the Cyclamens start showing up. The flowers have gone (these ones were bright white) but I love the leaves, they stick around all Winter and are well worth having around.

Next to the Cyclamen is another favourite foliage plant of mine, a Pulmonaria or Lung Wort. They have cute blue & pink flowers in the Spring but the foliage goes on looking good until it dies back for Winter.

More foliage, this time an ornamental grass – Miscanthus sinenses “Zebrinus” – named after the stripes it developed along the leaves as the plant matures. This is only its 3rd year in the garden & already its starting to fill out nicely.

My garden is littered with the remnants of blooms past. I usually prune my roses right after they flower but for some reason this year I did, and I am glad I didn’t because I love how the hips have turned a bright orange as they ripen. I might even pick a few branches of these to brighten up my kitchen table!

I got a great loaf of bread today from the people I work for. They are a family of Greeks, and like to keep a few of their traditions alive whenever they get together for the holidays. They made Tsoureki today – traditional Greek Easter bread. Every family has their own unique recipe; this one is flavoured with cinnamon & lemon juice & topped with almonds. Its a sweet bread, so I’m going to have it toasted with butter & honey. Yum!!

And now I think I’ll relax in my favourite chair with my knitting, enjoying my time alone ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Easter everyone!

Once there was an apple tree…

July 18, 2009

I took the plunge today & cut down my apple tree, all by myself!! It was surprisingly quick & I didn’t even get tired. I really wish I had a mulcher, even though I’d probably only use it once a year. Next job: dig up the nectarine & move it to near where the apple tree was. Still so much work to do but it’s getting there!

Garden Update

April 15, 2009

It’s well & truly Autumn now, and today it’s rainy & dull & gloomy. I was meant to mow the lawns today, I should have done it yesterday when it was nice & sunny! Here’s some photos I took yesterday in the sun:

apples

These apples are nice to look at but are full of codling moth worms. I have tried for 2 years to get decent apples from this tree, and this was it’s last chance so I will be taking it out this winter & moving a nectarine tree in it’s place. Sorry apple tree!

nashis

In contrast to the doomed apple tree is the very well behaved Nashi pear tree, giving me 7 fruits this year. Nashi pears are not actually a cross between apples & pears as some people think, and these don’t seem to be attractive to coddling moth or pear & cherry slug, so I think this tree has earned another year in the garden ๐Ÿ™‚ Behind the nashis are my slightly-chewed cabbage plants, they have had a growth spurt in the last couple of weeks.

squashes

My first time growing winter squash; had great results but the vines (2 of them) ran rampant through the whole veggie patch & onto the lawn, so I will have to grow them on a trellis next time. They have been lined up along the edge of the veggie bed for the last couple of weeks to cure, but since it’s raining today I really should bring them inside. They have a really hard skin so I hope this means they will store well. I will have to investigate recipes for soup & things. Overall I got 17 cute little yellow squashes.

bed

Just for something different, I thought I’d post a photo of my bedroom this morning as we got a tiny moment of sun earlier on. The nights are starting to get colder, so last night I put on my Laura Ashley throw rug for extra warmth. Also, it keeps the Puss fur off my luxurious Laura Ashley sheets so I only need to wash the throw when it gets too furry & not the whole set. Can you tell I like Laura Ashley? One day I will get rid of that ugly lamp & buy a pretty Laura Ashley one, and get two bedside tables that actually match, and some new curtains that aren’t pink. But, that’s for another day. Actually, considering their prices, another year! Anyway, I love opening the curtains & letting the sun come in, and my view of the (too long) green grass & tortured willow in the front yard is so nice ๐Ÿ™‚