Saturday, March 31, 2007

they grew!

Look at that! My first ever Grown In A Seed Tray seeds. They've only been in for five days and some of them are sprouting wildly. OK, maybe *wild* is a bit of an exxageration...but if you click on the picture, you WILL see little green shoots.

There is something about planting some seeds and waiting
that makes me remember
it's me-n-God together.
I'm on His team.
I do my bit and He does His.
Without Him, there is nothing I can do to make that life grow.

And look what else He does:

I love finding the first one...and in a matter of days there will be a veritable little forest of them.

Monday, March 26, 2007


J12, with her interest in all things beautiful, planted flower seeds....her sense of order compelled her to make little lines in the tray and add name cards. A *scarecrow* to keep the birds away may end up attracting them as it is, in reality, a beautiful butterfly.

PS This was the inspiration I needed to get my seeds in a tray lines, but sans identifying markers!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


the teepee structure fell down in the big storm
(I was intending asking Father Bear to help me tie it down at the weekend, but the wind beat me to it)

it squashed a lettuce

never mind

I had an industrious urge and picked up The Permaculture Home Garden
the intention was to find the next thing to make a start on
but I just couldn't decide
there's so much
worm farm
making compost properly
making a pond
raising seeds
seaweed brew

ah well
one thing at a time
maybe I should just stand the teepee up today
and tie it down

Friday, March 16, 2007


Those seeds that were just waiting to be planted......are still waiting. They're not going to germinate in their packets now are they? Better get them into some nice seed-raising mix!

Am I the only blogging gardener who is Full of Good Intentions?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Yesterday my good friend (who thankfully taught me how to do hyperlinks!!!!) emailed me...and even rang me party about the Ultimate Blog Party.....she had the FANTASTIC news I had won a PriZe!!! YIPPEE. This little blog that only started a couple of weeks a blogger who has only been blogging for not even a couple of months!

So a big huge gigantic THANK YOU to Heather of Swank Web Style - for donating a prize that a wee blog in far-off New Zealand could win! It's so exciting.

I spent last night browsing blogs to get ideas (yeah, I went back over lots of the ultimate blog party ones but didn't have time to leave so much as a HI! - sorry).......suddenly blogger's 38 templates (or however many it is) didn't look quite so flash!!!!!!

And I spent a long time at "Heather's place" too - have you been there? Make sure you do. She is one amazing lady who shares her heart openly and we can all learn alot from her and her delightful family. Thanks Heather.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Work Done #1

Well things didn't pan out quite as I've learnt my lesson to just post an entry *after* the work is done!

The potatoes are hiding underneath those poking-out-of-the-ground-sticks, which you can see if you click on the photo. The teepee (which ended up being made out of ti-tree, including one branch a neighbour cut down just as we were looking for some, coz the bamboo had disappeared) will be home to peas and not beans, which apparently don't need a support. The beans got plonked in between the potatoes instead.
There are also half a dozen each of buttercrunch lettuce, sprouting broccoli and dill. Plus an impulse buy (to make up for the absentee-tomatoes) - a cape gooseberry. That, along with the plum, J12's blueberry bushes, the grapevine and round the corner, K8's mandarin, L6's lime, K9's lemon and a passionfruit vine are making this side of the house a real fruit bowl! And at the front is another plum tree and J11's feijoas too.
(not to mention the strawberries in the vege patch and the wild blackberry which is trying to encroach on said patch - although after falling over this morning and ending up with a butt impaled by blackberry barbs, I think I might make more of an effort to convince it to go elsewhere!!)

But right now I've got seeds to plant. Here they are, waiting to be planted into the tray. When they sprout, they'll go and meet the other plants in the garden - I might even be able to follow Woodrow's lunar planting scheme! Right now I'm just lunatic-trying-to-get-seeds-growing-as-fast-as-possible.

PLUS: one exciting discovery. Grass clippings might not be the *best* thing to dump on a patch of bare earth.....but they are better than nothing. The patch in the middle had had more than its fair share of the crop over the year, with diminishing allocations being made the further out one was to go. Underneath the fresh clippings from yesterday, I the outside - rock hard clay that was so dry you couldn't even break into it......and right in the middle - first of a layer of older clippings and then a layer of thick black crumbly compost-imposter. It truly looked just like the compost coming out of the purchased bag! But underneath that was the real treat. The soil was damp, you could dig it, it was crumbly and best of all it was teeming with worms.
Woodrow will be proud of me - I am converted - I believe in mulching.

This gardening thing is almost a spiritual experience huh!

A Bare Patch

Inspired by my little pot-planting with the mosquitos at dusk last night, I'm ready to tackle the "side garden". We dug an outline for it a year or so ago and since then the grass clippings have been piling up there!
I'm really keen on Woodrow's permaculture ideas......I knew I wanted to make a teepee with some bamboo......I discovered a packet of bean seeds in my garden I went to Woodrow's book (my very own brand new copy that arrived last week) to discover what else should go with beans. If I can't do an entire mandala all at once, I can at least make a start with the principles in the little bit of dirt I've got.

So before the forecast rain makes its appearance I'm going to drag the kiddos outside and transform this little patch. We'll have peas and beans with potatoes (good thing they sprouted in their bag eh - all ready to go!) and carrots, lettuce, endive and Chinese cabbage.....then we might just pop up to the organic shop and *cheat* - if they've got some tomato seedlings we'll experiment with one more lot before the end of summer. I'll also get seeds - coriander, parsley, dill, celery and silverbeet. Why am I writing these details? So I can look back and see when I made the switch to organic seeds; so I know which seeds are worth saving. I'll never remember which parts of that garden were *real* seeds and which weren't! I'll be lucky if I remember *what* is planted!!!!
Actually, today's planting shouldn't be too hard - peas, beans and potatoes....the rest I'm going to raise in seedraising mix in a tray to give them a better chance. This is a first for me. I bought two trays years and years ago, but haven't used them for anything other than carrying things round the garden yet!
And we're going to *grow* something to carry things in - J12 wants to plant gourds!
The change gathers momentum!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Few Days in the Life of Mint

Garden Progress:

Yesterday I bought some potting mix and compost. Oh it hurt to *buy* those things!!

Two days ago I had bought a mint seedling and a coriander.

Oh yeah, you know how mint is impossible to kill and it is rampant and will take over your whole garden if you don't put it in a pot? Well I have managed to kill three mint plants so far......and so *that* is why I decided to upgrade the dry crumbly mix in my pots and give this one half a chance at survival. It had better like the potting mix.

Unfortunately by last night, it was still sitting probably-root-bound in its little pot from the shop and had wilted. Totally fallen over. A night in the kitchen sink with water helped it to perk up....but Mr Bear had put the coriander in too, figuring what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and this morning the coriander (which had been looking quite happy thank you very much) had wilted in the mint's place!
Both are content this afternoon, and I might just get them into their new homes when it's a bit cooler this evening.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Sunflower @ Sunset

We plant sunflowers every year ~
how could you go through a summer
without having them to smile at anyone
who takes the time to stop and *appreciate*?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Straight Lines and Circles

(it's an old photo,
but it shows the straight lines
in a way you don't see them at the moment
when the patch is overflowing with green leafy caterpillar homes!)

I'm oscillating between
at turning the straight lines of our current vege patch into circles....
and mounting despair
at the work involved!
It would be a good time
to remind myself of the occasion
after one of the hardest days the kids and I did in the garden,
moving the heavy sleepers into place,
my LazyBoy said
"That was one of the best days of my life Mum"

It would be a good time
to remember I *like* curves.

(see the kiddos all weeding.....
we've gone through a series of plants in this spiral
and none of them have done too well....
we pulled out the latest dead ones
and the next trial is herbs)

Monday, March 5, 2007

It's a Garden Party!

Put on your best gloves and gather your spade and come on over for a garden party weeding my patch!

Check out the invitation in my sidebar and come eat my cherry tomoatoes while you work with me!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Dust and Creativity

Until today I had considered the Yates Garden Guide to be the New Zealand Amateur Home Gardener's Bible.
But I pondered the fact that a seed company is putting out a book that tells you how to use their hybridised seeds...and you have to go back year after year after year to buy *their* seeds. Of course there's nothing wrong per se with them informing us....but I'm keen to save my own seeds and try heirloom the Yates guide just might get dusty on the shelf.

One book that I'll defintely be borrowing from the library again is Jenny Allen's "Smart Permaculture Design". I savoured it for a couple of hours today.......Allen wants you to cultivate not only plants, but also creativity - she discusses this overtly and also uses the layout of her book, the interesting typefaces, the poetry and quotes which are scattered throughout to reinforce this message. It is a creative delight to read and the accompanying photography is a feast for the eyes. She's an Australian with a descriptive memorable style, writing about her garden; what she designed into her garden is truly inspirational. If mine turns out half as good as hers, I'll be delighted! If I take note of all the usefeul information she manages to cram into the pages in lists and diagrams and stories and tables, I'll have every chance to get there.

Friday, March 2, 2007

There is a time...

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot.....that was the uprooting; there we were way back in September getting ready for the spring planting.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

New Beginnings

It's time to get serious about my garden (again).

I have gone from being a total novice to still-a-novice-but-with-wee-bit-of-experience-under-my-belt-and-dirt-under-my-fingernails.
I've gone from total disinterest in anything that gives me hayfever to growing things not only because they feed me, but because they smell nice!
I've grown capsicums on a balcony in Poland, I've raided the in-laws' garden to turn our first clay patch in Nappy Valley GREEN, I've dragged pots of herbs from house to house, I've read books and drawn plans, I've recorded the temperature (well that lasted about a week!), I've saved seeds and I've even snapped an extensor tendon when planting silverbeet (BTW, for your future reference, if you hear a POP and then see the end of your finger *hanging*, that just might be what you've done!)
But mostly I've plonked stuff in the ground and hoped for the best!
After reading Mal Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening" I started plonking even more in a smaller space....
I have just read "The Permaculture Home Garden" by Linda Woodrow and I am **INSPIRED**
She uses similar principles to Bartholomew (ie put lots of plants in a small area)....but she takes the concepts further (or did I just forget lots of what he wrote?) Either way, I ordered her book today so I can write in it and underline it and get it dirty and not have to take it back to the library (all the things I wouldn't do to any other book - but recipe books and gardening books must be different, surely)

I am taking to heart her suggestion to observe and record. In the past I haven't been interested enough to observe beyond deciding whether a plant looks tired enough to relegate to the compost pile, because I'm usually too busy hurrying, but this is AboutToChange.

Hence this blog.
I'm not too good at keeping my notes on scraps of paper in *one place*.
But i AM good at sitting at the pooter
So that makes me hopeful that success will ensue.