Ms Betterhome

Spring gardening: it begins
August 24, 2012, 2:46 am
Filed under: budgeting, city life, gardening | Tags: , ,

We had a little frenzy on the weekend, getting the first seeds in for spring/summer.

MrB planted his clumping bamboo seeds (we want it to screen our bedroom window from the street), and I planted 2 kinds of lettuce (Freckles and regular cos), some spinach (for the shady beds), and a punnet each of Tiny Tim and Tommy Toe cherry tomatoes. With our last two overcast/wet Sydney summers, we’ve had trouble getting larger tomatoes to ripen, but we’ve had good luck with cherries, so we’ll go with them again.

We’ve had bad luck with pumpkins, too, but being optimists we’ve started two varieties of non-running pumpkins in pots. We have lots of bees, so their problem isn’t pollination… they just rot on the vine. Maybe our luck will change this year.

I bought new rocket seeds, and some golden purslane for salads; and we’ve just ordered a replacement Fuerte avocado tree. The Hass tree has done well in the ground, but the Fuerte was never happy here… and finally died.

Our other trees are going crazy after nearly two years in the ground. The poor things were hammered by windstorms not long before we moved out of Newtown, and were a bit neglected last summer while I was recovering from my surgery. We gave them a big weed and feed a couple of weeks ago, and have started regular applications of EcoOil to start knocking down the leaf miners on the citrus trees. The multi graft stone fruit tree is starting to set fruit (though it needs some maintenance), and we’ve set out the fruit fly trap.

The multi graft citrus gave us 3 beautiful tangelos over winter, and now one of the other grafts is in flower (limes, I think). And the orange graft that was (accidentally) clobbered by the dog is recovering! The whole tree is looking much, much happier.

We’re still getting HUGE harvests of snow peas, broccoli, herbs, chinese greens and chills, though the lettuces are succumbing to the combined force of slugs and high winds.

And we’ve started our DIY Xmas gifts of mini herb gardens (in sterilised recycled pots). We bought premium potting mix, but very cheap punnets of sage, coriander, parsley, thyme and basil. We’ve added a cutting of our rosemary to each pot, and they’re lined up in the sun. We sound get 5 impressive home-made presents for an outlay of about 35 dollars (it would have been cheaper to start from seed, but we weren’t that organised).




Mid Autumn update
May 6, 2012, 6:59 am
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I’ve been traveling again for work, hence the lull in blogging. However, we have been working in the garden, and an update is long overdue.

Last month we finally bought two half wine barrels and a ute load of compost, and re-potted the dwarf macadamia and lemon myrtle. We also topped up the beds in thefront yard that had become very compacted, and planted lots of mixed greens, beetroot and lettuces.

Today we pulled out the tomatoes in the end front bed, topped it up with more compost, and planted 3 bulbs of Italian garlic. We also cut back theasparagus, and mulched it heavily. I’ll give it a good feed in late winter.

We also did a lot of pruning and feeding on all the backyard fruit trees last week, which Mr B followed up with an overly ( to me) enthusiastic prune of the passion fruit vine. We had lots of fruit, but very little ripened, due to the cool summer.

Long weekend domesticity
April 6, 2012, 11:11 pm
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We had an incident with our seedlings a couple of weeks back – a huge gust of wind knocked the mini greenhouseobverse, and only a fewbabies were saved.

I planted them out last weekend, and will get one more beetroot and fennel seeds in this weekend, and do some general feeding and mulching.

Seedlings, and a timely taro tasting
March 19, 2012, 3:06 am
Filed under: food, gardening | Tags: ,

The weather has been delighful so far this Autumn… much better than our grey, miserable summer. We’ve still had a lot of rain, though, & the black taro is thriving in the back yard (though it doesn’t look quite as good as this stock pic yet!).

Having planted so much taro we thought we’d better try some, so we bought a tuber from the fruit and veg market. We roasted it in our usual pumpkin/potato/sweet potato combo, with olive oil, salt and pepper. It tasted good, & was super fluffy inside, but was very dry… the outside of the cubes toughened up while roasting, rather than crisping or caramelising like the other veggies. We speculate a sauce or gravy might be needed next time – though we’re still a long way off a harvest.

We also planted broccoli, collards, fennel, parsley, beetroot, coriander & leeks in seed trays; and more rocket, turnips & beetroot seed direct in the beds. So far the collards & broccoli are ramapging along, the rest is creeping along.

Autumn garden update
March 4, 2012, 2:27 am
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We sat down yesterday and planned our autumn plantings. We’re going to focus on our past successes, and on things we buy a lot. That means we’ll plant A Lot of beetroot, plus some broccoli, leeks, turnips, collards, taro, silverbeet, beans, snowpeas, and lots & lots of rocket.

This weekend has seen us undertake phase one: clearing out old buggy kale plants & replenishing the beds with lovely rotted soil/compost blend. We bought some beetroot seedlings to get things going, but will start seedlings next weekend.

In the clearout we harvested a couple of leeks, some beans, a ton of kale, some chillis and a pile of green cherry tomatoes (these cooked up beautifully in a veggo shepherd’s pie).

I planted more beans and rocket, and we also pulled out the encroaching grass from under the fruittrees, and mulched them with castings from my sister’s worm farm (we have mountains of her castings, but since her worms process dog poop we’re not putting it in the veg beds).

A wet summer in the garden
January 26, 2012, 5:43 am
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We’ve had a cool grey summer, and the veggies have been struggling a little.

The Tuscan kale is still going nuts, and we have purple king beans just ready to pick. We’re still getting small but regular harvests of jalapenos, cos lettuce and cherry tomatoes; and we finally have flowers and fruit on the red passion fruit vine. We’ll get a few small figs but probably not many.

Last weekend we took advantage of the dark moon to pull out the rest of the broccoli ( which was getting pretty bug infested), and do some major pruning, mulching and feeding.

Today I planted beetroot, radish, baby cos lettuce & some rocket from our seed. The seed is from the astro rocket, which I think is the tastiest rocket we’ve grown. I’ll keep saving seed from it, as it’s really delicious. I also planted a few more ruby chard plants ( aka red veined silverbeet). The leaves are a bit more tender than regular silverbeet… they’re especially good in curries, I think.

Back to work menu plan
January 7, 2012, 3:04 am
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This will be my first week back after 5 weeks of leave (sick leave post surgery, then regular rec leave.

I am a bit daunted, so am pre- planning meals and snacks to help me get on track as painlessly as possible.

Saturday: roast veggie salad and fresh bread
Sunday: bean & veggie wraps (Sunday update: have swapped these meal, but wraps are prepped and in the fridge for tomorrow night)
Monday: veg curry, dal and rice
Tuesday: chickpea cutlets (from the freezer), roast veg, salad
Wednesday: veggie pie and salad
Thursday: stir fry
Friday: pumpkin & walnut risotto

Sunday: leftover paella
Mon- Wed: roast eggplant/cauliflower/quinoa/tofu salad
Thurs: leftover bean wraps or veggie pie
Fri: leftover veggie pie

Breakfasts: smoothie or toast with hummus and tomato

Snacks: almonds, carrot and celery sticks, kale chips.

Saturday: roasted veggies for salads, baked bread.
Sunday: Prep kale chips, bake with bean and veggie wraps, cook quinoa, chop, make hummus and mix salads for lunches.

Sunday update: kale chips too good! All are in my belly 🙂 the rest is on track.