Archive for the ‘General Stuff’ Category

It’s raining…..

June 5, 2010

It may be a miserable and gloomy day ….. but the seedlings are loving this rain!

What a pity that all our tanks are full, as we could really stock up for the summer. I have heard the BoM are predicting a wet winter. Perhaps this also points to a particularly dry and hot summer next season?

Here’s a recipe I cooked up this morning:

I roughly chopped an onion and fried in pan at low flame. I then added chopped zucchini (maybe the last one for the season) and some mushrooms and a chopped spring onion, then seasoned with salt and pepper and oregano. After a few minutes, I added some fresh chopped spinach and olives; let that cook for a bit before adding the egg (3x eggs with a dash of milk, and salt). Turned off the flame, and put in the oven to cook at 180°C. When it looked ready, I brought it out and topped with fresh rocket leaves and sprinkles of grated pecorino cheese.

Serve on toast, with a freshly brewed cup of organic/fairtrade coffee…

We really are using the last of the autumn veg at the moment (except for pumpkins of course)…

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A must visit site.

April 14, 2009

I Love This Site.

http://www.happyearth.com.au/

They have a slide show of what happened over their first year.

A wonderful oasis, makes me crave creating a food garden in at larger block of land.

Duck Update

March 9, 2009

It has been a very busy year and I haven’t the time to do a word blog but we would love to share some photos our newest arrivals to our urban farms.

Our newest arrivals

Day old babies

Day old babies

Saving Water

Saving Water

Nona's bath

Nona's bath

Two momth old indian runner ducks

Two month old indian runner ducks

Late December 2008

December 30, 2008

Too tired to type …… we have been lucky enough to have a number of wwoofas over the last month. Lots of work done, so I thought it was a good time for show and tell, well the telling past might need to wait to the next post, when I have the energy to put thought to keyboard. I have some interesting garden makeover photos to post,  so check back soon.

our garden coming to life

our garden coming to life

a happy wormwood plant for the chicken to help themselves too.

a happy wormwood plant for the chicken to help themselves too.

South Side Makeover Step 2

South Side Makeover Step 2

sunsetting in our garden

sunsetting in our garden

Maya, the urban farm cat.

Maya, the urban farm cat.

Lasagne Gardening

December 8, 2008

I avoid digging at all cost.

Takes too much energy and time, not to mention it breaks up healthy soil, exposing the animal and plant life, upsetting the delicate balance.

I have found the easiest way to garden using the lasagne method.

You can use anything that has once lived, straw, manure, cardboard, paper, lawn clippings, chip bark, even clothes made of natural fibres, autumn leaves, fresh garden prunings.

If you are building a garden on top of invasive grass then you will need to create a deep mulch layer and I would be suggesting also using clothes, cardboard or thick paper.

Here is lasagne gardening in action:

This is the creation of our very first garden bed.

We started by thickly mulching the whole yard with chip bark.

Then we edged the area with logs we found on the side of the road.

Step 1

Step 1

Next we put a layer of cardboard, then horse manure, then more cardboard.

our-1st-nodig3

On top of this we put straw, more manure, another layer of cardboard, then finished it off with some old carpet.

completednodig

Oh, and we put a handful of composting worms in to help along the process. A few months later in early spring the first plants went in . For each seedling I dug down through the layers until I reach the original soil. We backfilled with compost and good quality soil. We had a wonderful crop of zuccini and herbs throughout spring and summer.

the-nodig-spring

Ladybug Ladybug

December 3, 2008

Every urban farmer needs good bugs and Labybugs are some of the best bugs to have around.

When we moved into our home there were no bugs – nothing, not even an ant. One of the first things I did was order packets of Good Bug Mix from Green Harvest in Queensland.

The Good Bug Mix contains a wonderful selection of seeds, all of which are plants that encourage good bugs to come and get rid of the bad bugs.

When we planned the layout of our garden we decided to set the second hand picket fence (thank you Trading Post) back from the foot path. I like to create as many rooms as possible in a garden. By setting the fence back we created an east facing garden bed, a climbing frame and an west facing garden bed – so one space became three.

The area set back from the front foot path was allocated as the good bug garden – for a few reasons, firstly it was right next to the pathway and dogs, so I needed non ediable plants to form a barrier.  Secondly, I like the idea of having a good bug garden in clear view (and reach) of the neighbours as I was hoping to use it to educate then in th importance of attracting good bugs to their gardens but also hope that some would help themselves to seeds – or at least I could easily give seeds away to passer bys.

One of our little friends

One of our little friends

A few pictures of our good bugs!

)

busy bugs 🙂

getting the bad guys!

getting the bad guys!

the good bug garden late winter

the good bug garden late winter

Let’s Get Hoppy

December 2, 2008
golden cluster hops in our garden

golden cluster hops in our garden

Hops are a wonderful plant to grow: as they are a bine (not to be confused with a vine), they grow up and up and across and around, and can provide a fantastic summer-time cover.

Like grapes, they are perfect for the patio or summer deck, where the thick foliage provides a cool, natural shade. In winter, the foliage dies back, allowing the sun to shine through.

And of course, for the home-brewer, the flower cones which bud out in late summer/autumn are one of the fundamental ingredients for beer. Hops provides the bitterness and aroma of beer, and also acts as a natural preservative for the malted barley wort. In old times, the bines were also cut and used for basket weaving.

Hops basically need full sun, water and nutrient, and something to climb up. They need a well-drained soil, that is basically acidic – it is the alpha acids that are sought after in the flowers, which provide their distictive flavours.

There are many different strains that have their own distinctive flavours and aromas. Legend has it that all strains are based upon the English Fuggles variety, which grew wild around England. And just like any bine/vine, these guys will run rampant given the right conditions. They could take over your garden, so perhaps they re best kept confined to a pot or some such vessel. I’m not aware that you can buy seed, but they grow extremely well from rhizomes, which are more-or-less easily available via searches online. Most decent Home-brew shops will also be able to point you in the right direction.

We’re baby-sitting a couple of bines for a friend this season: a golden cluster, and a cascade. Cascade are an American variety, and used in beers such as Mountain Goat’s Hightail Ale. It is particularly nice and earthy. I have used Golden Cluster in one of my earliest brews, but I don’t remember how they smelt or tasted (I used them in conjunction with another strain of hops). Both are in large pots.

As you can see from the photo above, the Golden Cluster is just placed on top of a bed we’re developing, and the bine is working its way up the Jade (money) tree. This is not proving to work that well, so I’ll be setting up some lines so they can work their way upwards easier. Once they  reach a certain height, they then like to spread out horizontally. This particular plant I hope to train along towards a north facing window to provide some shade in the heat of summer.

The other plant (Cascade) I have working its way up a trellis I set up out the front porch. Unfortunately, I don’t have the height here, so I I’m going to have to improvise somehow. Its also not copping the full daytime sun, but gets plenty of the morning light as its east-facing.

The ideal place would be a fence/trellis that gets a lot of sun, and obviously well-drained soil. I have heard that they tend to being quite invasive if planted (a bit like bamboo), so it depends on how much you value the rest of your garden. Oh, and did I mention they really like a lot of height…..?

Come winter, after you’ve picked the flower-cones, the foliage drops, and you cut the bines away and use them to make dream-catchers or baskets (etc). These are cut right down to the root, and the plant then lies dormant until the next spring. The dormant period is when you divide rhizomes to give to other home-brewing friends with gardens.

October 2008

October 6, 2008

Just had to post these photos.

This is a little over 12 months since starting our garden.

This is our front yard October 2008 ……….

And our old driveway at the start of the day …….

and after a lot of hard work ……


Spring 2008 wwoofers nature strip makeover.

October 6, 2008

I was going to write the story of our urban farm as it happen, step by step in order, but I just had to post what we have been able to achieve in the last week.

I have had two wonderful Wwoofers staying with us for a week and they have helped us to get so much work done.

The first job was getting rid of the nature strip lawn …….

I hate lawns ………. I see them as a huge waste of resources, they take fuel and machines to maintain, time, energy, can’t stand them.

I have been wanting to get rid of it since we moved in but had other more important tasks to focus on.

Our goal is to plant out the nature strip with native grasses and wild flowers but first that Kikuyu has to go.

just started

just started

First they used pick and shovels to remove the bulk of the grass, normally I would just mulch over grass but we needed to get below the concret edging so the cardboard and mulch stayed in place.

yippy we are half way

yippy we are half way

Many many wheel borrows of soil and grass are removed, then cardboard and newspaper is thickly laid.

last little bit

last little bit

now that's a nature strip

and here is the finished nature strip, we will start planting out native grasses Autumn 2009.

Sustainable Garden Edging

October 4, 2008

When I started looking at how to design our front yard, the saying of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle was important to me.

I thought about the issue of garden edging and how I would follow this principle whilst making raised garden beds.

I asked around sustainable gardening forums, my local permaculture group, family and friends to work out what I could use.

Someone (I can’t now remember who, but a big thank you) suggested logs. Lots of people cut down trees and since we are in the city fire wood use is fairly low, so this resource is left on the side of the road.

Every week we found a pile of logs, sitting waiting for a new home. Our car boot looked a little bit like a fire wood box but it did the job of carting our garden edging home.

This worked beautifully and we almost have our whole garden edged with a local waste product.

Edging our garden with local waste

Edging our garden with local waste