Sunday, June 29, 2008

Snail Hotels

After a week of horrible winter weather - I mean who'd have thought it bad weather in winter - the sun came out and reminded me I needed to get into the garden and have a bit of a clean up.
After mounding up the potatoes and a quick weed I decided to tackle the last of my pet peve in urban gardens, the horrible, snail sheltering agapanthus. So after a bit of digging and sweating I hauled the last from my vege garden.
Being as I am trying to recycle I did put them aside for my mother in law to recycle into her garden to help retain a bank. She can now go into the snail collecting business.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How does your garden grow

This post is dedicated to my friend Hay, just to show her even in mid winter after only gardening for two months I can still get things to grow.
The broccoli is my tea tonight - yum yum (I can hear squeals of horror from the rest of my family). Lettuce we have been eating for the last month. Silverbeet for rabbits and in preparation for the chickens. Radishes, carrots and spring onions for winter salads. Peas flowering, I can't wait to eat them and even Kathryn looks interested. Early potatoes sprouting, these for Liam to cut into his favourite food - chips. Parsley for good health. Cauliflower to horrify my family with threats of it being for tea tomorrow. And finally the single solitary lemon on my tiny lemon tree. I can't bring myself to pick it and will content myself with stealing (with permission) the lemons from my neighbours tree.
Enjoy the photo's and ignore the weeds, it has rained and been freezing cold for the last week or so.
Please no comments on the bad photography.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gardening again

A beautiful sunny bay of Plenty day once again. After a quick walk to town to look at the Lion's bookfair where I picked up some lovely informative books on herbs and cooking vegetables, I decided to do a little gardening.
I planted my two plum trees I had bought on Sunday from Petal Pushers in Papamoa. This has to be the friendliest garden centre I've come across for a long while. And the prices are lower than anywhere else around this area. I highly recommend dropping in for a look if you are in the area.
Planting the plums was a bit of a challenge as the back lawn is solid clay and after two days rain I have to say it wasn't any easier to dig a hole. After working up a bit of a sweat I tackled the stony corner of the bank in my fruit forest to plant an orange berry (also from petal pushers). This was even more of a mission, first scrap off the layer of weedy grass, the scrape out the gravel only to find a layer of thick foam and polythene. Hack a hole through this and I found some dirt to plant into. I think it is lucky orangeberries are weeds and extremely hardy. If it dies I'll admit defeat for that corner. The Bay tree I traded for some strawberry plants went into the herb garden and the orange tamarillo (also a trade) went in the fruit forest between the fejoia and an apple.
I then set about planting a heap of little lettuce plants from my lettuce bowls that had failed into the garden. The onions I put in last week look great and the peas are starting to flower.
Lots more to do but once again I have run out of money. Off to the markets again on Sunday to see if I can earn some more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More plants in

I found a few minutes this morning to do a little more gardening. I put in two fejoias to screen the compost bin. A dwarf orange/satsuma cross and a lime in the orchard (fruit forest). A Chilean guava to start my hedge and red onions in where ever they fit amongst the other veges.
It's a continuation of my big plan and hopefully I can get some more in tomorrow.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cats can Recycle too!

Here are some cute photos of my kitten Doppelganger helping me to recycle my waste paper into paper mache for making the bowls I grow my lettuces in.
A great activity to keep the hands busy while watching T.V. Although if you don't pay some attention to what you are doing you just might get a claw in the hand. And from Doppel's point of view he is lucky to still have all his whiskers.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The faces of an eleven year old.

Wow my gorgeous girl is eleven and what an action packed eleven years it has been. I have loved you through them all but I know at times I have struggled to understand your point of view.
1997 you were born and spent most of the year crying and refusing to eat or be held and I loved you so much and proudly showed you off.
1998 you started to talk, were running around and then forgot how. We thought we found why and you had your operation. It didn't change a thing.
1999 you hated others being near and would cry if you saw your grandparents outside of their own houses. You had a baby brother who didn't exist to you except in the car when you would scream hysterically until we reached out destination.
2000 you started to babble and we found out that dada was you. At daycare you played alone and had to paint stripes down the paper as you entered the building. You never cried or cared when I left you.
2001 you went to kindy and had a few friends. I figured out that suso meant I love you and cried some more. Your brother was diagnosed with Autism and you became our forgotten child.
2002 you turned five and went to school. Over two months you learnt to talk and never shut up. You read and did maths far in advance of your age. You were strongly independent and hated the fact your brother could read better than you. You finally got your wish and started ballet.
2003 you stared in your first show at Baycourt. You had to change schools so you could attend the same school as your brother. It was hard.
2004 you repeated the year at school because you were immature for your age. You started to retreat again.
2005 you still loved your ballet and brownies.
2006 you got sick and I didn't know what was wrong. I nearly went out of my mind trying to find out why. You got diabetes and had to learn to inject yourself and do finger pricks. I cried at how brave you were. You stayed home with me and started to be happy again.
2007 you homeschooled and grew up so much. I was so proud.
2008 we moved house and you went back to school. You are unhappy again and still I love you my funny child.
I wish you a great future on the brightest sky this winter night.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bags to away the Blues

Due to the fact it is a horrible day the cold I have been ignoring for the past three days has laid me low. Thank you Liam for sharing, I love you too.
I am aiming to go to the Papamoa Markets on Sunday to sell some more stuff. In keeping with my permaculture practices I am trying to earn a small amount of money in a way I can enjoy. So I have been having a clean out and selling off all the surplus stuff we carted out here when we moved five months ago. I have already been twice and the pile is not getting any smaller despite reasonably good sales.
While I am selling my stuff, I have been developing my products to sell. I have been making paper mache bowls, painting them and planting them with leafy lettuces, then growing them to picking size and selling the whole bowls at the market. The theory behind them is I recycle the paper, the paint comes from trade painters, is free, decorates the bowls and provides stability. At the moment I buy in potting mix but I am composting madly so the soil will be sustainable. The seed I am buying from Kings Seeds organic range and they post it in recyclable postage bags. When the lettuces are grown to a height of about 10 to 15 cm you cut the whole bowl about 5cm from the soil and eat the lettuce leaves, then grow and cut again at least three times before planting in your garden or composting the bowl and all.
I have also been making kids costumes (sewing - me - who'd have thought) out of material I get from the Funky Junk Depot, a store of surplus household and business 'rubbish'. It cost $20 per year to join and you can take as much as you like. The only downfall is it is in Tauranga where I only get to about once a month so I have to take the pickings from those who live nearer.
Today while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself I decided to sew some cheap reusable bags from left over material to sell at the markets. My hope is people might stop asking for plastic bags to put their purchases in if they can buy a material bag.
Now it's up to the weather and the mood of the crowd on Sunday to see how my goods sell.

First frost of the year!

I thought it was a bit nippy when I woke yesterday. One look outside informed me to the reason. We had the first frost of the year. Good way to welcome in World Environment Day, at least with a frost the day was lovely. Sent the kids off to school early due to the extremely high levels of fighting and arguing going on. Peace and sunshine followed.
We'd spent the weekend cutting down the only three trees on our section, two camellias and a flowering cherry. I have discovered that the best way to meet the neighbours has to be to start chopping things down. The comments ranged from - How could you, now you can see into my house - to - have you got a minute to cut mine down too. I have to say that Jim is just not that interesting and we now have made some chutney making friends. The mulching pile is still huge, lucky Craig has next week off.
Anyway back to the garden. I had spent the day before stealing strawberry runners from a friends garden and had bought two apple trees on dwarf root stock and a raspberry. I spent the entire morning putting in plants and pulling weeds, planting seeds and planning what to do next.
Today we have no frost only a cold wind from the south and rain. Think I'll stay inside and plan some more.