Tag Archives: vegetables

Planting our babies

28 May

We had another clear sky sunny autumn weekend.  No rain to complain about, a bit of a chill in the air, but perfect weather for vegetable garden creation.  While we’re waiting out my garden design and construction procrastination phase, I’ve been creating little bits of gardens, filling in some gaps with herbs and vegetables, and the odd flower.  The rest of the time the garden is pretty well occupied by weeds and whatever opportunistic plant species decide they need a new home.  Without the rain (take a look here) I had no excuse left to put it off, it was time to find a permanent home for the Drama Queen’s seedlings.

While I always dream about gardening in style, the reality is that we put on the daggiest clothes we could find, collected our tools and equipment and hit the courtyard.  I had assembled my rag tag team of three.  Two of them wanted to be there, and the other one just wanted to avoid too much carnage.  The Daredevil got to put his new birthday garden tools to the test and the Drama Queen helped him while I got stuck into the hard work of turning the soil and preparing the beds, and Mr Perfect supervised to make sure that no one and nothing came to too much harm.

Before we started

We had built some trellises for the pea plants to trail over, and the Drama Queen was so proud of them when they actually stood up in the newly prepared beds.

Pea trellises are in

The Peas ready to plant on their new trellises

Small plants and small children are not always a great combination, but as the Daredevil bored of the fiddly work, the Drama Queen took over and started giving the plants names and calling them her “babies”.

The Drama Queen and Daredevil hard at work

Everything is in the ground

We planted three kinds of Peas – Sweet Peas, Snow Peas and normal peas, broccoli and gourds.  All the peas should do well, we had a pretty good result from the snow peas last winter, so I’m pretty optimistic.  The gourds already look like they’re about to jump out of their skin, so I’m hoping they don’t take over completely.  The broccoli I’m not so optimistic about.  We planted some last year, and it didn’t survive the insects or creatures who feasted on its new shoots, and to be honest we didn’t give it the most delicate planting into the ground – they were the last, and the attention span was waning.  Plus they probably should have been a little bit bigger before we put them in the ground, but you never know your luck in the big city, fingers are crossed.

Finished pea trellises

Sweet pea plants ready to take on their trellis

After a covering of sugar cane mulch and a drink of seaweed fertiliser, it was time to pack up, clean up and let our babies get used to their new home.

The Drama Queen and her dirty behind!

I checked on them today, and everything is still alive, the broccoli is even looking happy.  I’m looking forward to our harvest!

Sam

The rain washed away our garden!

24 May

Well, OK, there’s not much of a garden there to start with.  Every time we begin to think about making a good start something, and by that I mean rain, gets in the way.  Sydney had an exceptionally wet summer, and while we have made a start, a lot of the hard clearing stuff out kind of work is done, we haven’t quite gotten around to the fun constructing bit.  So really the rain has washed away our garden dreams!

The cleared front garden with makeshift pathway waiting for the new design to take shape… yes it’s still waiting!  Though we have mulched it to prevent weed growth.

the mountain of weeds and unwanted plants cleared out of the garden.

After we mulched this garden ready for the plants and new pavers it rained, rained some more and when we thought it had finished it kept right on raining.  Throw in there a hospital visit, a few birthdays, a bad back and a run of sniffles and the end result is that we still have a mulch garden without the schmick new pavers.

The Munchkins and I have propagated a whole lot of plants ready for our winter vegetable garden.  We have broccoli, snow peas, sweet peas and normal peas as well as gourds and strawberries.  They’re all ready to have a go at growing on their own in the big bad garden, but just as we had set aside today to make their new home, it has started raining.  After one of the driest Mays on record, the one day we want to go out and get out hands dirty it pours!  I had planned on blogging about our gardening successes for today, so damn you unpredictable weather patterns!

A plethora of peas

Beautiful broccoli

Gorgeous gourds

The seedlings are stacking up next to the pavers ready to go into the front yard, the 2 Kangaroo Paws that have been waiting way to long to let their roots run free and the tomato stakes that just completely missed their opportunity for last seasons tomatoes.  The Drama Queen has been so proud of them, she carefully planted them (check that out here) and has been watching them sprout and grow.  The Daredevil has been my chief watering can manager, and so far as a team we’ve done a good job.  We just need the weather to come to the party and not rain on our parade.

So far my gardening activities have added up to a lot of weed pulling, a bit tomato taming and a bucket full of thinking and planning, basically not much doing.

For this weekend, rain rain go away, its time our garden had a play!

Sam

Are you speaking my language?

3 Jun

The Daredevil is starting to talk.  I’m not certain what he’s saying, but I’m sure he thinks it’s really important.  He has a very determined tone, and there’s definitely a message he’s trying to get across, and when we work it out he’s really happy. It might just be that he wants the drink just out of reach on the table, or that the Drama Queen has just eaten his piece of banana bread, but when we decipher the babble, you can see a clear sense of satisfaction fall over his little face.  I’m just hoping that he doesn’t talk as much as his big sister!

A garden is a little bit the same.  It doesn’t speak english, french or german, but it definitely has a language all its own.  A beautifully planned and designed garden will speak to you on a number of levels.  It will awaken and enlighten most of your senses, though I generally don’t recommend nibbling on random gardens, a good vege patch will get your taste buds jumping.

A garden can tell a story.  Sometimes it will tell the history of a place through layers of design and construction.  It can tell the story of a gardener, and reflect their personality.  It might just simply tell a story of the seasons.

The landscape architect’s job is to become the story teller.  Instead of words and paper, plants and pavers become the vocabulary, and the more skilful the designer, the better the story.

When you have taken the time to plan, design and build your garden it will start to talk to you, sometimes sending very subtle messages, trying to tell you that you need to add a bit of fertilizer, spread a bit of mulch.  Or it can be a bit more in your face – I normally get the “we really need some more water” message a bit too late.

Winter is normally a quieter time in the garden, but it’s a good time to take stock, clear out and plan ready for spring.  Take some time out this weekend, sit out in your garden and try and work out what it’s saying – I hope you hear the water message before it’s too late!

Sam

If it’s winter, it must be soup time!

1 Jun

It’s the first day of winter, and it’s been chilly! Today it’s been a bit rainy and overcast in Sydney, and it really feels like winter, so we need a good winter warmer for dinner.  I grew up with the world’s best soup cook.  Mum’s soups are the thing of legend.  They’re nothing fancy, she’ll be winning no Michelin stars, but they are good, wholesome, tasty and heart warming.  I learnt from the best.

Soups are the best way to empty the vegetable crisper, or to use up all those home grown vegetables.  You can make a soup out of anything, add some stock, maybe some meat and there you have a fantastic and easy winter meal.  Tonight we’ll be having lamb, barley and vegetable soup with crusty bread rolls.  Here’s my recipe if you want to try… though bear in mind that I am a very instinctual cook, and many of these quantities and times may be wild guesstimates, just do it for the love if you’re game.

Bubbling away on the stove

2 lamb forequarter,  chops
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
half a cup of barley (prepare it in accordance with the instructions on the packet.  I’m either forgetful or lazy so I always end up doing the quick boil it up method)
2 carrots, chopped
half a butternut pumpkin, chopped
1 x tin of tomatoes
1 x carton of beef stock
water

Brown chops and onion (OK, so you’d better add oil to the ingredients list).

Add stock, the equal amount of water, barley and all the veges (including the tomatoes) and bring to the boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover and simmer until meat and veges are cooked (about an hour?).  If the liquid level gets a little low, just add a bit more.

Remove the meat from the bone and chop or break up into small pieces and return to the soup. Season to taste.

Serve it up with bread rolls

Eat and enjoy – the most important bit!

The happy result!

Sam

One, two, miss a few…

30 May

I was doing so well with my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule, but slipped up on Friday.  I have a really good reason, and I can get a note from my Mum if you’d like.  I had my post planned, had taken the photos and was generally ready to go, had even started a little bit of it, but other things were more of a priority.  Friday was Pop’s funeral.  I thought I might have caught a few spare quiet moments to get a quick reflective post up, but with my extended family around, there is never a spare quiet moment.  Who was I kidding?

Pop had 3 daughters, 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and too many friends that felt like family to count.  The funeral was standing room only, and the party continued at his place until very early in the morning.  Unfortunately we had to get the Drama Queen and the Daredevil to bed, so we missed the Tequila shots, Zumba and planking (or plonking as Mr Perfect calls it) that will be the things of legend.

So today you get to see, what I though might be a fitting final tribute to Pop, a tour of his garden.  It’s a perfect example of embracing what was left behind by the previous owner and adding things you love.  As Pop’s dementia was taking hold, Barb, his wife would catch moments while Pop was in the garden, raking and weeding, to do her day to day things like having a shower.  She knew Pop would be OK in his garden, providing nothing caught his eye that needed a ladder!

The wombat at home in Pop's garden

The front pathway

The front garden is more formal than the back

water feature statue and constructed formal garden beds adopted from the previous owners

The swaggie keeping watch by the stairs

The possum proof vegetable garden

Pop planted the beetroot with my Mum just weeks before he died

herbs in pots

the view looking up is just as impressive

Pop was such an avid vege gardener, that the floral tribute on his casket was a mountain of vegetables.  I bet the florist loved that job!

The vegetable tribute - looking a little wilted at the end of a very long day!

I think Pop may have left his green thumb behind for someone, the Drama Queen’s seeds have sprouted – she is so proud of her baby broccoli and snow pea plants.

Sam

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