Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category
January 24th, 2011
It is an exciting moment when you see the very first seed unfurl! For Christmas this year I received a little mini hot house thingee and my very first seed is emerging. How cute it is! All that squirting was not wasted after all! I welcomed the first seed this morning with a few extra squirts! Can hardly wait for his brothers & sisters to pop up! I could get to like growing seeds!
Further into my garden I notice the little baby figs growing very slowly into large yummy figs! Let us hope that my possum doesn’t like figs too much, maybe a bird net? Last year I attempted to grow eggplants. I had gotten quite good, if I say so myself at the tomatoes & decided to branch out so to speak. The eggplants grew rich and green and lush, all was well. I watered them every evening and I noticed they had beautiful purple, blue coloured flowers, how pretty. Unfortunately the possum thought they looked very tasty as well as pretty and ate every single one! I put out a bird net, but he just went under, over or through. I was a little upset but my children were relieved as they don’t like eggplants even when I hide them in the lasagne. ‘Has this got eggplant in it?’ they ask suspiciously before even eating any. Still, I am hopeful with the figs. So far, so good. Perhaps as autumn draws near you will find me eating figs, ricotta and honey. Bliss!
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is certainly fun as well as good for you. It combines all the requirements for everyone living in these busy times. It gives you exercise as you dig and wheel the barrow full of compost. It brings relief from stress and somewhere cool and welcoming to spend time in, the garden, not the barrow of compost. As a bonus you get good food to eat or at least you can feel you are doing your bit to feed the wildlife.
January 17th, 2011
Watching the garden change with the seasons is a true pleasure in life! Watching the seasons change and small plants grow and become what they are meant to become. Observation – taking note – this is at the heart of successful gardening. Your garden has a lot of lessons for you.
Time spent gardening should be a pleasure. For me it is often done in spurts. Little mini missions out into the garden, the odd 10 minutes, a relaxed wander out into the garden with secateurs and a trowel. I am finding that learning how to garden is a healthy exercise. It helps me to reduce my stress levels and is immensely satisfying. Last year I began to make new plants from old. I think that making new plants is becoming an addictive hobby in itself! You gain a real sense of satisfaction from seeing your own cuttings thrive or watching apparently lifeless seeds develop into healthy plants. If you plant seeds you have a much greater variety of plants to choose from for the vege patch. Things you could never get down at the supermarket. The last visit to one of my many favourite nurseries I came back with seeds for some Asparagus pea, aparently these pods are cooked whole and taste a little like asparagus. I also got some Vegetable spaghetti seeds which when it grows looks like a marrow but when you cook it the strands separate and can be used like spaghetti or noodles. Have to give these a try!
January 5th, 2011
All of a sudden the holidays are over and a new year has begun! I would love to be able to say that my gardening jobs are all done and my garden was looking trim and tidy and well mulched, but, sadly this is not the case. There is still much to do and weeds just about everywhere.
But, on the other hand, over the past 12 months, my garden has taught me many, many lessons and given me a great deal of pleasure. Gardening is one of our oldest and most rewarding hobbies. It knows no age or social barrier, with the humblest little cottage garden being as richly rewarding to its owner as that of the grandest mansion.
To me, one of the great bonuses of gardening is that with care and attention a garden grows and improves with every passing year, whereas no matter how good a housekeeper you might be, which I certainly am not, a house slowly deteriorates over the same period with wear and tear. A garden is a living thing and must be treated as such. If it is mulched and watered regularly it responds so very rewardingly. Even a few weeks later you can still see where you have been working, unlike inside the house, where whatever you have been doing, sweeping, dusting etc it all needs to be done again almost the next day! So, with this in mind, I will stop cleaning the bathroom, and head out the door where the birds are calling and there is a gentle breeze. My garden awaits…
December 21st, 2010
Not long to go now folks! Christmas is nearly here! I have not had a great deal of time to spend in the garden and what time there has been has been spent doing mini missions or cleaning outdoor furniture, sweeping etc. I am hoping that some of my Christmas guests will take a moment to look out my window, now that it is clean enough to do so, and perhaps comment, ‘Gosh, you don’t have any cobwebs under the porch roof and how wonderfully clean all your outdoor furniture is.’ But, of course, they would only comment if I didn’t remove all the cobwebs or if they sat on the outdoor chairs and got dusty bottoms.
Windows I think are for looking through at the garden, not really looking at to see if they are clean. But, when they get to the stage of inhibiting the view from their dust, well, I guess it is time to do something. I did that something yesterday and yes, I am feeling quite pleased with them now that they are done. In Melbourne, at the moment it is much too wet to do much gardening as such, but cleaning windows can be done under the cover and at least it got me outdoors.
So, the tree is up, presents are under, windows washed, cobwebs removed, shortbread cooked, bring it on!!~ Mind you, I think I might have acted just a little hasty with the cooking of the shortbread, it is disapearing quicker than I had planned, might have to make another batch.
Anyway, I am off into the garden before the next lot of rain to plant out some dahlias, happy gardening!
December 14th, 2010
My December garden has been quite a wet place to be this year! So wet some plants have been drowned! Poor wee little things! Rain has come down in bucket-fulls, my sunken garden became a duck pond, much to their delight! The broad beans are almost finished now, although we are still enjoying them with our dinner every other night! No one has complained as yet. But I think it just as well that they are coming to an end. My tomatoe plants are loving the rain almost as much as the ducks! I planted some basil near the tomatoes and tried out some black basil, which looks just super, but doesn’t grow as quickly or as happily.
Once again this is the month the hydrangeas seem to come into their own. I love this month because I can watch the changing flowers. I love the way they begin so very small and delicate, green and furled, then grow large and lustrous. I love the way the colour seeps into the green flowers until the bush is covered with masses of pink. The little baby cuttings I took earlier in the year have tiny baby flowers, I am so proud of them!
Of course, December is a hectic month and I have been running about with umbrellas, christmas shopping, catching up with friends and such. It is such a busy month it is hard to find time for the garden, even my five minute garden bag has been neglected and despite my best intentions, the weeds have won the battle for the moment. But for the most part I have kept up with dead-heading my roses, probably because it is such a pleasant task, a good way to relax in the evening and much more interesting than TV.
December 7th, 2010
Looking outside the window today there is rain! Drenching and heavy, the sky is full of water and the gutters are overflowing. It is still humid. Humid and wet! The ducks are loving it. But it is too wet to be outside. So, I stand and watch life outside the window.
I worked hard in the back garden yesterday and it is looking really pretty. It is a pleasure to go and stand by the back door and look around. I have a great feeling of accomplishment. Yesterday, while I was chopping back I discovered a nest (the blackbirds’) Inside were two tiny baby chicks, only just hatched by the look of them. Small and fluffy. What a magic moment! I have carefully covered up the spot and will leave gardening down there for the time being.
The rosellas are back in the garden as well. So pretty! I love to watch from my kitchen window. It is a magic place out there, just beyond the window. How lovely to have my very special place. My garden.
November 27th, 2010
There are so many good reasons to grow your own food. It guarantees that you have access to the freshest and the most nutritious ingredients right at your very doorstep. Once you have tasted vegetables that have been picked only minutes before your eat them, you will never look back! It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to grow something from scratch, well a seed really, and I know that those broad beans now on my plate are free of chemical residues and are very good for my family. Growing your own food does save money too.
There are many different ways of growing vegetables, in containers, in ‘no-dig’ garden beds, in rotational plots or even just here and there in the garden beds that are in the back yard right now. I made a ‘no-dig’ garden bed a couple of years ago and have built up the soil over the years since. Before that I used pots, I figured to start small as I was short on both time and sunshine. Vegetables do need sun; the more the better. As a general rule, they need a minimum of six hours every day. So when choosing a position to grow your veges try to avoid things that create a shadow. I built a raised bed so the roots of nearby trees wouldn’t be competition for the veges and that has worked well.
But, you don’t have to wait until you have the ‘right’ spot or the time to make a special bed to grow a few veges – just start anyway with containers. It is an ideal option for people who are renting or for people who only have limited space available. Growing plants in containers also helps to overcome the problem of irregular shade, as pots can be moved to follow the sun over the course of the year. Just get on out there and enjoy!
November 24th, 2010
You just can’t go past the humble nasturtium if you want a bang for your buck. This little number will cover ugly tree stumps, climb up [and cover] banks or spill out in a very pretty almost dainty way over the edge of tubs or pots. It can be used as a pretty ground cover for garden beds and gives those tough weeds a bit of a run for their money. Because this pretty little piece is almost as tough as they are! They thrive on neglect, in fact if you overwater them or feed them too much fertiliser they will bolt.
Flowers come in shades of red, yellow, pink, cream and of course orange! Even if you have never planted a seed in your entire life these are the seeds to begin with. You just cannot go wrong. In fact if you have any little children about, planting nasturtium seeds would be a fun introduction to gardening and the joy of planting a tiny seed. These seeds always come up and show their pretty little flat circular leaves.
As a bonus, the flowers and the leaves are edible and look just super in salads with the leaves giving a bit of zing! A very trendy addition to any salad!
November 16th, 2010
The broad bean harvest is in full swing and we are enjoying broad beans with every other dinner at the moment. Yummy! Nothing beats the flavour of freshly harvested, home grown vegetables. Growing your own vegetables gives you far greater control over what is eaten and, in particular, the flavour. I love shelling the beans in their fluffy soft little home. Out they pop. We sometimes make it a family thing, sitting together and shelling the beans. My favourite way to cook them is to steam them just lightly – less than 3 min usually does it, then I drain them and pop in just a little butter, and then on to the plate!
Now, I am busy planting tomatoes, a little late this year because of all the rain, and also, just because, life sometimes gets a little busy. Roma is my favourite but I have a couple of new varieties to try this year as well.
Well, I am off to pick some beans! Happy gardening!
November 13th, 2010
This month I plan to head out to the nursery and buy myself a dahlia or two, some seeds for my vege patch, some mulch for that as well and some tomato plants. I left a couple of dahlias in the ground last year, but this time I think I have remembered where I put them, so I plan to keep an eye on that little patch of soil, keep it moist and at the first sign of little green shoots, scatter a few snail pellets about. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t use snail pellets but for a few little things I do make exceptions. Dahlias are one of the exceptions. The snails love the new shoots and it is a bit of a race between us -last year they won! But, this year I am determined, and I do have the advantage that I put a little stick where they were growing last year – actually to remind me to lift them, but now if I can just find the stick….
Dahlias bloom about ten weeks after planting and remain in full flower until the end of April! What a bonus! They are easy plants and very giving in the flower department. All they need is a sunny, well-drained position protected from strong winds and soil that is rich with compost and manure. Once they start growing they need frequent watering, but they hate to have wet feet. They make a terrific gift, one that keeps on giving! So, potting up a couple to give away for Christmas might be a good move too.
The roses, of course, need to be dead headed and they love a little plant food and I still need to keep up with mulching in and around them. I plan to make an attack on weeds – this is the month, before the ground hardens up, yes, it is raining now, so the soil is good for weeding! Still, I have to admit to finding weeding something I would rather write about than actually do!