Ms Betterhome

Quick garden update
August 15, 2012, 5:34 am
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It’s late winter here in Sydney, but starting to feel like spring.

The multi-graft fruit-tree is already setting fruit, and the citrus trees are budding like crazy. We’re starting to plan some seedlings, and keeping a watchful eye on the asparagus beds.

The lettuces that have sustained us all winter are starting to succumb to slugs (and high winds), but the broccoli, snow peas and chills are going strong, and we are still harvesting tons of asian greens. It’s all good in the garden!

(Yes, it has been MANY moons since I last posted, but I’m planning to lift my game for spring. New growth all round.)


Quick planting update
October 1, 2011, 5:50 am
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We planted out the herb hedge, the comfrey, and some silverbeet, ruby chard & rocket today. There was also a festival of feeding & mulching, & I sowed more ‘good bug mix’ under the frangipani.

We’re expecting a lot of rain over the next couple of days, so I didn’t plant beans… But they’re on the list for when the weather dries out a bit.

Spring harvest
September 10, 2011, 4:18 am
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We’re getting ready for planting out now, so we did some clearing in the front. Two out of three potato bags seemed to be dying back, so we harvested them as new potatoes.

The sweet potato vines didn’t get much sun over winter, so they had pretty much died off, too. Mr B forked through & got lots of baby sweet potatoes… We’ll keep the greens for re-planting.

I sadly had to pull out my red cabbage – it was hearting, but was so massacred by bugs (and covered in caterpillar eggs) that I decided to sacrifice it for the good of the rest of the brassicas.

In addition to the potatoes & sweet potatoes, we harvested lots of broccoli & silverbeet. I also cleared out most of the rocket (now bolted), though I left some flowering rocket & tatsoi to re-seed. We still have great crops of snow-peas, kavalo nero, lettuce, silverbeet & parsley going strong, and the garlic is coming along nicely too.

My dad is coming for dinner tomorrow night, & we’re looking forward to feeding him a lovely new potato salad. Today’s harvest of greens will be eaten for dinner tonight, but there’s plenty more where that came from.

Opportunistic gardening and a pantry re-stock
August 12, 2011, 4:40 am
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Working at home today, I took advantage of the rain to feed the veggie beds with pelleted chook manure – as I look out the window, I can see it’s being watered in nicely.

Did another bulk shop this week too – 5 kilos of arborio rice, a kilo of fair trade coffee, 2 kilos of tahini and a kilo of quinoa from Honest To Goodness. The quinoa is Australian grown, and has to be washed to prevent bitterness (unlike some imported quinoa). I bought a kilo to try it, and if I like it, I’ll buy 5 kilos next time. It’s not cheap, but it’s organically grown in Australia, and given the current world economic rumblings, I’m very happy to support local farmers.

New plantings!
August 9, 2011, 10:25 am
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In celebration of the approach of Spring, we’ve started 6 Tiny Tim tomato seeds in the mini-greenhouse.

We also cleared out the front beds under the palm trees on the weekend, and dug through some sheep manure.

Like magic, my Green Harvest parcel arrived, and we planted out the galangal & some ginger (plus one experimental cassava cutting) straight away.

The other cassava cuttings will go out back, along with some more ginger. I’ll need to get the turmeric & comfrey potted up this weekend, so we can plant them in a month or so.

I’m especially happy to be starting to work through some of the plantings I planned in my permaculture design course. It really helped me past some of my indecisiveness around planting. It may not all work out perfectly, but we won’t know until we try!

I also fed & mulched the pomegranate & fig tree, & weeded & mucched the asparagus. i’m going to give the whole veggie bed a big sprinkling of pelleted chook poo & some seaweed tonic on the weekend, too.

Mimi’s Limoncello Recipe
June 13, 2011, 5:22 am
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I can’t take credit for this, it comes courtesy of the fabulous Miser Extraordinaire Mimi, from Simple Savings. I’ve copied her instructions below, though I am only using 700mls of vodka and 9 lemons to start off. This was a great way to use up the zest from the batch on lemon cordial I made thanks to our harvest from MrB’s auntie’s prolific lemon tree. I’ll collect an assortment of 250ml bottles between now and Xmas, and give the limoncello as gifts. We’ll drink the cordial.

Recipe for the Limoncello Sensazionale


1 litre vodka…cheap is fine
12 organic or home grown lemons (spray free)

For the sugar syrup used later:

4 cups sugar
6 cups water


Large open mouthed jar with airtight lid. A spaghetti storage jar with a swing top lid is ideal.

Sharp vegetable peeler

Saucepan for making sugar syrup


Peel the yellow peel from the lemons, being careful not to get any of the white pith as it will make the limoncello bitter. Pile these into the jar, and add the vodka. Leave in a cool, dark place for 14 days, giving the mix a swirl every couple of days. The liquid will gradually turn yellow and the peel will fade.

After 14 days, strain the mixture through a clean, damp Chux or some muslin, into a large bowl or jug.

Make the sugar syrup by bringing the 6 cups of water to a simmer and adding the 4 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool.

Add the cooled sugar syrup to the lemon vodka, and mix well.
Rebottle as desired. You can put in a little extra vodka at this point if you like. This will increase your yield, but I would only do it to top up bottles, not to dilute it or you will lose the flavour.

This recipe works equally well with limes, blood orange or valencias.

Make sure you put a tag on it to say how it’s consumed.

“Limoncello should be stored in the freezer, and enjoyed well chilled. It will not freeze. Enjoy as a liqueur or mixed with soda or lemonade”

Chores for the long weekend
June 11, 2011, 10:18 am
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Plant broad beans & radishes
Feed fruit trees

Make lemon cordial with lemon’s from MrB’s auntie’s tree
Start limoncello (steep lemon peels in vodka)
Make chilli black beans from beans I cooked today in the thermal cooker

And… Do my permaculture homework!