Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cloche light

Since my recent obsession with cloches I have been studiously looking around the web for where to buy them. It all started when I was looking for old crab pots to use as light fittings. I then stumbled on the garden cloche and more precisely bamboo ones. I have been looking for them both for the garden and a light fitting! Quite hard to find - even on e-bay. But there I was strolling down our main street in Katoomba and in the window of one of my fave shops - Zuri Homewares.. - an eco designer type shop, was a bamboo cloche. Looking all over the world and there is one right on my back door step! These ones are from a company in Vietnam. It was $36 (AU) - not bad for our new light fitting. If we like it we will get two larger ones for our main living room.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We have a plant in our garden which is doing really well and is quite beautiful.

I went to an open garden in Katoomba on the weekend (Clover Hill) and showed the owner a pic from i-phone. He identified it as the variegated variety of a plant he has, but which I now can't remember the name. However due to Australian breeders Rights (ABR?) - he is not allowed to sell the variegated variety. So the only thing left for me to do is try and propagate the plant! Never having done this before (none the less being full of confidence from my recent seedling success??!) I have now taken two cuttings from the plant, popped a bit of cutting powder on the end and put it in little pots. The small amount of research I have done online has probably not helped. (shade, not sun is about as much as i know). So I have perched them on my gorgeous green ladder, which now finally has a use beyond fetching the kids balls off the studio roof. My mum has said be patient - up to eight weeks. No doubt it will take me several goes, and actually reading the online help carefully before I get this right - but there's nothing like starting.
From various for blog
From various for blog

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The seeedlings grow and grow

It really is the simplest of things that bring me joy these days! I now have 12 beetroot seedlings and about 8 cucumber seedlings coming up....I'm so excited! I stopped the gentle spraying. I now gently pour water in the soil to keep it REALLY moist. (and of course the egg cartons with trays are working really well...seedlings are just starting to show in those) (click here to see the earlier post when they were just popping out of the soil!).

From various for blog
From various for blog

Monday, September 20, 2010


Quick update on our ducks - they now roam around our backyard freely every day. It's so lovely and calming watching them wander around. They stick very close together, when we go out to the back yard they will run up to us, not too close though, expecting bread. Puddleduck (brown one) has started feeding from our hands. Here's a pic...Charlie (big white) and his two wives...bob (white) and puddleduck (brown)
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Verge side garden planting

Here we go - the verge side garden planted.....
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Seedlings update

I thought I would put a quick update in here of the seedlings I started - (read about them here).

Out of the nearly 30 I sowed, I now have 11 healthy baby seedlings, which I have transplanted now directly into their vegetable bed. I am quite pleased and watching them very closely adapt to their new home.

I have since started some new seedlings and am learning more each time. One seemingly obvious point i have picked up, but really neglected in my first lot - is some advice I found online. One gentleman said that he finds 'watering' the seedlings from below in the tray rather than spraying them from top nearly always works so much better. So I have placed an egg carton inside a shallow metal tray, (you can use the lid of the egg carton, but mine had holes) and filled that with water. I also put a small hole in the bottom of the egg carton sections before putting the soil in so the water could go directly in. The egg carton itself is cardboard and will act as a wick soaking up the water. I then just loosely placed plastic wrap over the top. Already I can see the difference in two days. The soil has not yet dried out, the carton is soaked. Before the soil was drying out in a matter of hours. I am also having some success with my heirloom beetroot and cucumber, each with a new seedling appearing. I am loving this. !

From various for blog
From various for blog

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Verge side Vegetable Garden

I built a verge side raised garden bed this weekend. We have a very wide verge and it gets sun most of the day, so I decided last summer that I would take advantage of that space and plant a raised garden bed there for this season. We needed to take into account a few things, including it's council land. We had a 'dial before you dig' plan but couldn't quite tell where the various pipes etc were so decided to put the bed above ground. We also live just across from a very old quarry site (around 100 years ago!), which has since been turned into a cricket oval, but this has resulted in quite a lot of rock under our earth out the front.

I am inspired by the verge side gardens in Sydney inner city, where the residents have little land to work with so use the verge to grow gardens. We have a lot of land compared to them, but I really like the idea of growing vege's out on community land, for locals to help themselves to if they like. It's my small contribution to sustainable living. We ordered a couple of tonnes of vege soil (mixed with mushroom compost) to fill it in. I will be successive planting beetroot, NZ spinach and silver beet over the next few months.

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From various for blog

On another note, while we were working away yesterday, we noticed the dogs agitated with something in our lane way next to the side fence. At some point during the day, our chooks had escaped and we found them enjoying a lovely time in the afternoon sun out and about.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Springtime #3 begins

Well today I planted the first of the spring crops. It will be our third springtime here in Katoomba and I feel as each season passes I am learning more and more. My new favourite things are garden glass cloches. Not that I have any - but instead have used plastic drink bottles cut in half. I can only dream about owning my own vintage French glass cloche.

My garden beds have been prepared over the winter with compost from our bin, along with the odd sprinkle of manure. The soil looks great. It's been turned over a few times as well. I am experimenting with starting off my heritage seeds both indoors and in situ in the garden. I have read both work - so am keen to see what suits our soil/ lifestyle! I am also growing some lettuce seedlings indoors. So today I planted
INDOORS - toms, cucumber, beetroot (with lettuce already as seedlings, having been planted a few weeks ago.
OUTDOORS - tomes, lettuce, beans

I still have my corn, silverbeet and spinach to grow.

I have placed my recycled cloches over the areas of each planting (some with two or three seeds).

Will post some photos soon.