Thursday, 29 September 2016

What's My Gardening Philosophy?

Welcome to this months Garden Share Collective, hosted by Kate from Rosehips and Rhubarb and Krystie from A Fresh Legacy. This months theme is PHILOSOPHY.

My gardening philosophy is to keep things as simple and easy as possible by cutting down on the amount of work that I need to do in the garden, and only growing the vegetables that my family and I enjoy eating.

Growing vegetables can be hard work if you let it be, so here are a few things that I have found that have made it a little easier for me. 

Install a watering system - Watering (especially in summer) takes up a lot of a gardener's time, and I don't know anyone who enjoys standing out in the summer heat watering the gardens to keep plants alive, installing a water system not only cuts down on the amount of time you need to spend in the garden, it also cuts down on water wastage.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch - I cannot stress enough how important mulch is in the vegetable garden or any garden for that matter. It helps keep the soil cool, which creates a good environment for earthworms who in turn help break down the mulch which enriches the garden's soil. It helps to keep the  soil moist, which means less time spent watering, and it suppresses weed growth which is always a good thing. *Gardening Australia's Peter Cundall does advise against mulching onions as they need the warmth of the sun to swell and ripen. 

Invest in insect netting - If you don't like the idea of using pesticides in the veggie garden then you may want to buy yourself some of this, it will not only stop the White Cabbage butterfly laying her eggs on your brassica plants, but it will also prevent a myriad other insects devouring your vegetables. Old net curtains bought from your local op shop will work too, as long as it has a very fine weave.

Only grow what you like to eat - Those glossy purple eggplants might look delicious hanging on the plant, but if no-one eats them, they will only go to waste, the same goes for trying to grow veggies that aren't suited to your local growing conditions, so save yourself the time, money and stress, find out what your family likes and dislikes and do some research on your growing area before you plant anything. 

So, that's my gardening philosophy, I guess it's nothing new, but it works for me, and I hope you find some of it helpful.


Lots of peas, Oregon and Melting Mammoth snowpeas, Purple Podded, Telephone, Early Crop Massey, Blue Bantam and Sugar Snap peas. 
Oregon snowpeas.

Purple Podded peas.

Early Crop Massey and Blue Bantam peas

Harvesting them has been made considerably harder by an unexpected guest.
Mother Blackbird sitting on the nest she made amongst the Telephone pea vines.
And the eggs she is sitting on.
I harvested the last of the cauliflowers which was small but perfect.

Also in the picture is the last of the asparagus. They did not do as well this year as in previous years and I only picked enough for a couple of meals, it could have had something to do with all the rain we've had over the last few months, but I'm not really sure.

My only other harvest for this month wasn't edible, but it did make me very happy.
Sweet peas, so beautiful and their fragrance (especially the white ones) is divine.

 I had forgotten how much pleasure growing your own flowers can bring and I will be making sure that these won't be the last for the year.


The last lot of seeds I sowed was in early August and not one seed germinated, I blame it on the seed raising mix I used, it was a lesser known brand and it dried out very quickly. I have since bought a better quality seed raising mix and on Tuesday I sowed not only this month's seeds, but last months as well. I won't bore you with the names of all of them, there was a lot, I just hope that they germinate this time. I also direct sowed five varieties of bean seed.

Things to do

Lots of waiting happening at the moment. Waiting for seeds to germinate, waiting for the seed pods to form on the broccoli plants, waiting for eggs to hatch and baby birds to fledge, and waiting for peas to finish their growing season, so there isn't a lot I can do in the garden at the moment. As soon as all that happens, I will be able to sow the corn, the pumpkins and the salad greens. I am growing tomatoes, capsicums, chillies in pots again this year, hopefully next year I will be able to start growing them back in the garden again, and as I've never had any luck growing cucumbers in the garden I will be growing them in pots as well. I need to get the chick peas in soon as they need quite a long growing season, hopefully that will happen this weekend.

That's it for this month's Garden Share Collective, If you'd like to know the gardening philosophy of other GSC members drop by Krystie or Kate's blog. See you next month.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Pea Update

The peas are coming on nicely now and over the next two weeks I am expecting a glut of Purple Podded peas,  

but for now I have to content myself with snow peas.

These are Oregon snow peas and after giving them another chance this year I have decided that they're just not for me. They aren't as sweet as Mammoth Melting, the peas develop very quickly and if you're not quick to pick them, you end up with podded peas instead of snow peas.

The Blue Bantam and Early Crop Massey (both podded peas) are doing OK, not producing massive amounts, but enough.
A combination of Blue Bantam and Early Crop Massey.

The Telephone pea vines are covered in flowers and pea pods and should  give a reasonable harvest and I'm hoping the Sugar snaps will too.

My favourite pea by far this year is not even of the edible variety, but their fragrance, and their lovely colours more than make up for it.

I didn't know that sweet peas came in white I will definitely be saving seeds for next year.

My biggest mistake, and one I won't be repeating next year, was planting the rows of peas too close together. They are now all tangled together and trying to separate them is a pain.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Repurpose - Reuse - Recycle

A monthly post to (hopefully) inspire you to look at old things in a new way.

All gardeners have them, they are a necessity in every garden, but what do you do with your hose when it is no longer usable. Below are a few ideas to help keep that old hose out of landfill and turn it into something useful or decorative around the garden.

Mark from Mark Kintzel Design turned his old hose into a door mat after the garbage collectors refused to take it.

Carla from Cosmo Girls Emporium used an old hose and turned it into an outdoor flower wreath.

Use a hose and some artificial leaves and add some whimsy to your front gate.
Source unknown
From HGTV comes a great idea for all of us veggie gardeners.

Kara from Kara Paslay Designs shared this photo on her blog showing how the Mattress Factory used hoses to create a little fence around their vegetable garden.

I don't now that anyone who would have enough different coloured hoses to do this, but what a great way to brighten up the wall of a shed or garage.
Bachman's Summer Idea House via Quirk Madame

And lastly, it might get a bit hot to sit on if left out in the sun, but I think a hose chair could be very comfortable.
Source - Pinterest

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know.

Monday, 29 August 2016


Hello, and welcome to this month's Garden Share Collective, the theme this month is SEEDS.

Seeds, they are natures little power houses. Enclosed within each seed case is all that is needed for a new life to begin, from the tallest of trees to the tiniest of flowering plants it all starts with a seed. 

The largest plant seed belongs to the Coco de Mer, commonly known as the Sea Coconut, it weighs 18kg (40lbs) and is 30cm (12 inches) in length, when fully mature the palm tree which it grows into will be between 25 - 34 metres tall. At the other end of the scale the seeds of the epiphytic orchid which at 85 micrometres (1/300th an inch) is too small to be seen by the human eye. It's seeds are dispersed and carried on the wind coming to rest in the canopy of the rainforest trees where, over time they will sprout and form new orchids.

There's a kind of wonder in growing a plant from seed, you put a dry little capsule in some compost, keep it moist, and in a week or so up pops a tiny sprout that with care in time will provide food for your table. 
A tiny carrot seedling with its first set of true leaves.
I use seeds nearly all the time in my own garden,  they are cheap to buy and readily available in stores or online.
I am very excited to be trying out some new varieties this season.
 Once you start growing your own vegetables a good habit to get into is letting one of each of your favourite variety of plant go to seed, this way you won't need to buy seed the following season and you'll save money. 
Sunflower seeds collected from the only sunflower I managed to grow this year, but one is all I needed, I now have enough seeds for sowing next year.
I've never  seen so many flower buds on a lettuce before. These will eventually provide me with enough seeds for the next few years.
I would love to have picked this sprout of the Italian Sprouting broccoli, but I will let it flower and when it sets seed I will harvest them and keep them for next winter.
Growing from seed is not always the easiest of options, but it is the most rewarding. There is a great sense of personal satisfaction in knowing that you have been involved right from sowing to eating.

So why not give growing from seed a go, you still have time to go out and buy some seeds and get sowing. 


A few peas



Things to do

Remove wnter vegetables as they finish
Add compost and fertiliser to each bed
Sow seeds for chickpeas and beans

That's it for this month's Garden Share Collective, if you would like to see what's been happening in other people's garden pop over and visit our GSC hosts Kyrstie at A Fresh Legacy or Kate from Rosehips and Rhubarb. I will see you again for next month's Garden Share Collective where the topic will be PHILOSOPHY. That is going to take some thinking about.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Two Weeks In The Garden

I seemed to lose my blogging mojo last week, so this week you get two weeks of gardening in one post.

Tuesday August 16th
I harvested three cauliflowers and five heads of broccoli today. I let two of the cauliflower go too long waiting for them to get bigger and then I remembered that they are actually mini cauliflowers, I won't be making that mistake again.

There are now flowers on both plum trees. They always flower a couple of weeks apart, a fact that I seem to forget every year.

Wednesday August 17th
Lots of seed sowing today,  Rosa Bianca and Snowy eggplant, Hungarian Yellow Wax and Californian Wonder Bell capsicum, Honeybee, San Marzano and Rouge De Marmande tomatoes, Lyon Prizetaker leek, bunching shallots (my first time growing both of these), coriander, thyme and another sowing of spinach. 

I also sowed marigolds, zinnias, bergamot, two types of sunflower, alyssum and a bee and butterfly mix.

Thursday August 18th
Sunny and blustery today. It's the same every year, as soon as the fruit trees blossom it gets windy, hopefully there will still be some flowers left on the trees. My seed order arrived today.
Some new varieties to try out.

Saturday August 20th
I harvested three more cauliflowers and four more heads of broccoli today as well as a few side shoots and the first of the Early Crop Massey peas.

 I won't bother with mini cauliflowers again, they take up just as much room as a normal one, but you need three of them to get the same amount of cauliflower. I think both the cauliflower and the broccoli will be finished next week and it will be time to sow the chickpea and bean seeds.

Sunday August 21st
After three applications of the milk/water solution the eggplant is looking much healthier with no signs of powdery mildew at all.

Monday August 22nd
I bought six crowns of Torrey strawberries at Aldi today, I've never heard of them, but according to the packet they are easy to grow, produce an abundance of tasty, large to medium sized fruits. I hope they do.

Thursday August 25th
I spent some time in the garden today as it was too nice of a day to stay indoors. I potted on the two Rouge De Marmande tomato seedlings that I overwintered in the greenhouse, they were looking a bit worse for wear, but hopefully they will pick up now they have more room to grow.  Planted out some more Calendula seedlings and some carnations grown from cuttings taken from a bunch I bought at Aldi. The two borage seedlings I planted last week are not looking too good and I don't hold out much hope for their survival, time to sow some more seed I think. I also sowed some seed of Golden and Red Globe beetroot.
Golden on the right and Red Globe on the right.
So there you go, two weeks in the garden and although there is a lot happening there is also a lot of waiting happening too. All the pea vines are flowering, and I'm waiting for the pods to develop, the garlic is growing well, but I have to wait until at least November to harvest it, and I'm also waiting for seeds to turn into seedlings so they can be planted out into the spring garden.

There may not be a post about the garden next week with all the waiting going, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see. There will be another post on Monday though for this month's Garden Share Collective, the theme this month appropriately is seeds. I hope to see you then.