Category Archives: gardening

Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”

It’s so cold! What is going on here? I live in Qld for criminy’s sake! 6.5 degrees? Blah. In spite of the cold I did do some work in the garden today. Along the border of my property is an ugly garden bed full of what  I think are called Moses basket because the flowers look like little baskets. I don’t like the plant. So I pulled them out. Then I forked in some compost and well-rotted horse manure and planted out my green mignonette lettuces and fordhook giant silverbeet. I was thinking about getting the rainbow ones but I have so many silverbeet seedlings (maybe 30) that I think it would be silly… or maybe not. You can freeze it. But my freezer is tiny. I will also plant my grosse lisse tomatoes here and my black beauty eggplants and a bunch of other stuff that needs to go in the ground or die.

Anyway here are some pictures of some of the stuff growing right now.

Watercress. So easy to grow and so good for you. Mine are growing happily in a container in the shade. No need for running water.

Broadbeans also growing happily in the shade. I have never tried these before so I cant wait to harvest them.

Snow peas or mange toute. I don’t know if mine are growing really slowly or if I am impatient because I love them so much.

Celery – another happy shade dweller.

Row of bok choy. Why are the leaves going funny?

Popping corn. Can I eat it like normal corn or do I have to dry it and pop it? How do I do that?

Radishes – The Unenthusiastic Gardener’s favourite.

I don’t know if this is button squash or Lebanese zucchini. I’ll find out soon as they have many little flower buds on them.

And finally the beautiful marigolds growing in half 2l coke bottles. Upcycling!

That’s just a few bits and pieces from my garden.

XX Brooke

I am a handywoman

Today was fun. My partner and I decided that if we chop down the canopies of our macadamia nut and mulberry trees the veggie patch next to the house would receive much more sunlight. So he climbed the tree and chopped while I pulled the branches towards me so they wouldn’t land on our neighbour’s roof. I cant wait to look at the sky tomorrow.

I made a trellis for my climbing beans and got to use a drill, which was fun. I quite enjoy using a power tool once in a while. It’s nothing fancy but it’s something for the little guys to cling to.

Anyway, I need to clean my blistered hands and make dinner. Fair well, lovelies!

XX Brooke

Garden update

The seeds that I planted on May 19 are coming along nicely. Silverbeet, lettuce, beetroots and tomatoes are a bit leggy. Not too bothered by the silverbeet and lettuce since I’ll just plant them deeper when I put them in the garden, and I kind of like the tomatoes having a long stalk because I can plant them deeper and the stalk will develop more roots, making a stronger plant. That’s my excuse, anyway. I am kind of concerned about the beetroots, though, as I’m not sure if they will develop properly. We’ll see what happens.

Every single plant that had powdery mildew has completely recovered. There is not a sign of mildew or any damage, so this is fabulous.  The tomatoes haven’t completely recovered from the blight but I didn’t really expect them to. They are still growing and producing fruit, and they aren’t getting any worse so I think I may aswell continue to remove badly damaged foliage and spray the plants once a week. There’s no point ripping them out.

The carrot seeds I planted about 3 weeks ago have finally germinated. Lucky for them, too, since I was close to emptying the container and starting from scratch.

I planted some more seeds today, aswell. More broad beans (my first ones have got their first flowers), purple king beans, blue lake beans and rattlesnake beans, strawberry temptation, beam’s yellow pear tomatoes, sweet corn, fennel and some other stuff I cant remember.

Cut worms ate about 80 percent of my capsicums and chillies. I still have about 5 of each so I guess it’s ok. Sort of disheartening that 2 months of love and care can be destroyed in one night by something smaller than my finger, but that’s gardening I suppose.

I shall perservere.

XX Brooke

Slugs and snails and puppy dog tales

For anyone suffering from slugs or snails eating your garden, I suggest trying to mulch it with straw. My bok choy was being absolutely slaughtered by the slimy little buggers and now that I have used straw to mulch them they are looking almost pristine. I don’t know why, but it’s working.

This is the worst plant. The rest is hole-free.

My dogs keep exploring my vegetable beds. I yell at them to get off and they stop, look at me and wag their tails. Then they go and explore the vegetable beds some more, crushing cabbages as they go. Perhaps they are munching on slugs and snails.

XX Brooke

What the heck is going on here?

Look at it! It’s enormous! It looks like it’s EATING ANOTHER FLOWER! Why have all my Rouge De Marmande tomatoes got one enormous flower like this? Does this mean I will get huge tomatoes that eat other tomatoes? Who knows? If you do, let me know. Then we can be in the know together.

In other news, my chilli and capsicum plants are almost ready to go into the ground. This is exciting as it’s taken at least 6 weeks for them to get to this stage. Slightly cold weather means they aren’t growing super fast. Also, I grew them from seeds I nabbed from a capsicum and chilli that I bought at the grocery store so I have no idea what they’ll turn out like. It’s kind of exciting really.

And finally, lookit them, all two of them! My little tigerella tomatoes. OH LOOK AT HOW PRECIOUS THEY ARE!!! Oh joy and rapture! I am going to eat them in a caprese salad. Not right now obviously. They’re only babies, silly.

What veggies have you got to harvest from your garden?

Take care, all.

XX Brooke

Night time creatures

It’s midnight, it’s raining, I have a torch and a camera. Deep within my heart lives a ten-year old tomboy who loves hunting for frogs. So off I went in pursuit of the elusive green tree frog. I did not find him but I found some other creatures along the way.

This is Mr Toad, there are a hundred just like him in my garden. I only took this picture because I have never seen a toad eating before. Gross! If he wasn’t toxic and had bright green skin he’d be kind of cute.

I love this photo. These little snails are on everything apart from my vegetables.. Palm trees must be tastier? I don’t know, funny little guys though. I love them. I hate it when I accidentally step on them. My heart plummets when I hear the tell-tale *Crunch*. Oh the guilt, the shame, the horror.

What kind of night time creatures do you have in your garden?!

XX Brooke

The only good thing about weekend rain

Sparkly raindrops!

*Sigh*

I don’t mind the rain, I suppose. It means I don’t have to water the garden. It also means I get to do things like make seed mats… I made carrot seed mats today. For carrots. Carrots to grow.

I also cleaned my house, which I don’t do very often.

But best of all I discovered my Green Mignonette lettuces have germinated! Hooray!

XX Brookie

Beautiful Basil

I love basil. I love the way it looks and smells and tastes and grows and I love that it comes in so many wonderful varieties and that you can use it in so many different recipes and styles of cooking..

I like to grow my basil from seed in 4 week intervals, and have been growing much more than a normal person probably should, but I have realised that if I had enough basil I would use it in every single meal.  I start my seeds inside because there are some grumpy looking brown caterpillars outside that love to devour my tiny basil seedlings.

I have five different kinds of basil seeds growing at the moment – Thai, lemon, cinnamon, purple and sweet basil.

When they get to the stage where the first true leaves are the same size as the baby leaves I re-pot them into 20cm pots with two per pot. I use a mixture of vermiculite, compost and potting mix.

I like to keep my basil plants with my tomato plants and marigolds. When it rains the smell is incredible. I fertilise them with dynamic lifter and I also add about a teaspoon of coffee grounds and a teaspoon of powdered eggshells once a fortnight. My tomatoes and roses also love this. They also get a liquid fertiliser once a month.

I use pine bark chips as mulch around the base of my pots to keep the soil slightly acidic. If I see any signs of flowers developing I pick them out with my finger and thumb nails. I am lucky enough to live in a climate where I can grow basil all year round to satisfy my hunger for it.

That is all for today.. maybe not. It is raining and I haven’t got anything to do. I am going to go and stare at my seed trays and urge them to grow. Take care, everyone!

XX Brooke

Identity crisis

My garden has broad beans in it.. they are growing well. They are growing fast and they are green and bushy and lovely. But they only get about 2 hours of direct sunlight a day. Should I transplant them into a sunnier position or leave them where they seem quite chipper? I don’t know! It’s all too much. I would like to take to these damn pine trees with a chainsaw and be done with it. Never have to worry about sunlight again. But I can’t. Stupid rental house.

Look! My first eggplant flower. I think it’s one of those purple and white stripey ones.. or it could be a white one. Or a black one. I don’t know. I should have labelled it but I can see that it is an eggplant..plant. So I didn’t think it necessary. Now I am confused. But thrilled. It’s beautiful!

What a sweet little sweetheart.

The only thing that is producing foods is my chilli. I don’t know what kind it is. Some form of wild chilli I believe. I found it in the garden. The chillies are very soft, tiny and EXTREMELY hot. But the flowers are pretty. It doesn’t seem to exist on the internet, any how.

Another thing, can anyone identify this chive? My mum had it for at least 10 years before she gave it to me. It has flat, strappy leaves rather than the straw leaves that I find in nurseries and people’s homes. It’s got a nice oniony, chivey, non-garlicy flavour.

Here are it’s flowers

I really must get some of those chives with the purple clusters of flowers. They are so so so so pretty… Anyway, I have to go hunt down the news papers my partner hid so I can go and weed-proof the leaf vegetables. Take care.

XX Brooke

Seeds, glorious seeds!

So today I planted a large variety of seeds. I made a seed raising mix from compost, cheap potting mix, vermiculite, and dynamic lifter.

I put the mixture minus the vermiculite in the food processor (I’m odd, but I am the naughty gardener after all) to make it a bit finer since the potting mix was quite chunky and so was the compost. This method has served me well in germination rate but I wouldn’t recommend it for any neat freaks or germophobes out there. A time-consuming task that results in dirt all over my kitchen and a cranky partner but a nice mix that will make me some happy little plants.

I planted the following

Lettuce – Green Mignonette

Tomato – Grosse Lisse

Beetroot – Crimson Globe

Onion – Red Rossa

Silverbeet – Fordhook Giant

Okra – Lady’s Fingers

No pictures because who wants to see a photo of a bucket full of dirt? Not I.

Next week I will be taking a visit to the demolition yard to find some materials to make a nice big container for planting carrots and other root vegetables, because I’m cheap and don’t want to spend a fortune on some fancy container from Bunnings. Oh the excitement! I love thrift stores and tip shops and demolition yards.

That’s all for today.

Take care!

XX Brookie