Our winter harvest and Spring planning 

We enjoyed our haul for dinner last night – what satisfaction it is to be eating what we grew!

And then it was into spring planning, I don’t know how you do it but I listed all the seeds I want to grow, noted how many seeds for each variety and then worked out how many pots I’ll need.

I also wrote all the plant labels – I’ll just add the date sown when I get to that.

8 varieties of mainly cherry tomatoes isn’t too much is it? I bought the Diggers Tomato Taste Test Winners Collection in this year’s seeds annual (among many other things)…

Now I just have to get sowing and make sure I have room in the greenhouse for all my babies!

How do you plan your next season plantings? Good old pen and paper like me? Got any tips for me? Please share below!!

Posted in gardening, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

We have results!!

I’ve been keenly watching all the brassicas and peas I’ve planted in the garden this Autumn, especially after the crazy sun/rain/sun/rain we’ve been experiencing the last few weeks.

I’m so happy to share these little beauties I uncovered this week. Time to harvest them soon but as they are our first of each, I kind of hesitate at that thought too!

If we split this broccoli between the three of us it might become more of a tasty garnish than anything else!

Our first cauliflower is a good handful so far- I’ll see if it gets much bigger before I dare pluck it. None of the other cauli’s are close to fruiting yet.

I think I’ll lightly steam this and serve with my mums yummy breadcrumb sauce, I don’t want to hide that flavour!

Purple podded peas galore! The shell is a bit tougher than other varieties but they are still so crunchy and sweet! Definitely can’t bear to cook these, they will become our gardening snacks!

As you can see I’m pretty proud – I feel like a proper gardener now and it’s safe to say that I’m addicted!

Posted in gardening, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pretty Purple Peas

I finally got out into the garden to list all the flowering plants I could find and record them in my new Garden Journal (can you believe there are 20 so far this month!)- and on Friday I was thrilled to spot the very first purple podded pea gracing our Pea Tee Pee!

It was an occasion for the good camera!

IMG_0566 (640x427) (2)

Since the glorious sunshine we had on the weekend, there’s now another 6 flowers out too – I just hope the vines can hold on tight through these winds, they’ve already sustained some damage and I’m worried we might lose a couple of the tallest ones.IMG_0570 (640x427)

Isn’t she magnificent! Hopefully we’ll be plucking some tasty purple peas from our Tee Pee in a few weeks.

Another beauty is the Chocolate Flowered Broad Bean I also sowed in Autumn. Yes – I did choose this one for the flowers and I am not disappointed, the buds appear to be more a strong magenta and the flowers open to a stunning dark chocolate hue. I was thrilled with 100% germination from these seeds and this week they are all flowering tooIMG_0577 (640x427)

Some more happy little pick-me-ups in July’s garden,

IMG_0581 (640x427)

Daphne Odora – cannot do winter without her!

IMG_0587 (640x427)

Nasturtium Peach Melba

IMG_0588 (640x427)

White Alyssum – I kept pinching little plants that were popping up in the front garden and I’ve got quite a nice border growing in the lemon tree garden now. Can’t wait for the bees to come out and play!

IMG_0594 (640x427)

Blue Borage – my friend grew this from seed as a Christmas gift for me. I’m looking forward to it self sowing everywhere! Mum is also waiting for some babies to take home.

IMG_0595 (640x427)

Hellebore – a gift from mum that brightens up the shady garden outside our bedroom window.

IMG_0579 (640x427)

And probably the most suprising of all – a little self-sown marigold actually flowered in a dormant pot, hello sunshine!

Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Herb Cottage delivery

Part two of my birthday present arrived today!

I have had a shopping cart open on Mud Brick Cottage Herb Farm for at least a month and this week I finally hit Purchase.

Bright and early this morning an express post delivery arrived on my doorstep and I couldn’t wait to unpack it- I’ve never received live plants in the mail before and it’s been a mystery to me as to how it’s done.

I unpacked the sturdy cardboard box to reveal my well packed … newspaper!

The tubes were carefully wrapped in newspaper sheets and the tops were taped over to save the soil. I followed the clear instructions inside the lid, carefully unwrapping each revealed my new organic seedlings. From left

  • Vanilla Grass – storing some leaves in a sugar jar imparts a sweet vanilla scent.
  • Citronella Geranium – great for repelling mozzies
  • Corsican mint – gorgeous fragrant groundcover
  • Perennial coriander – not a true coriander scent but I was tempted to try it
  • Lemon balm – attracts bees so a great companion plant for many fruits and vegetables!

A long soak in a seaweed bath woke them up and I hope to plant them out tomorrow with the exception of the vanilla grass which will be an inside plant for now.

I’m conscious of trying my best to purchase organically grown plants wherever possible since discovering the devastating impact that neonics are having on the honey bee populations, I don’t want to contribute further to this problrm, especially when selecting plants that will attract bees and pollinators to my garden.

Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Winter jobs: Seed Catalogue

When it’s dark and blowing a gale outside I’m very happy to find an inside job to do. 

At the start of the year I bought myself this nifty set of metal file drawers, in excellent working condition with a few knocks and scratches for character.

I tentatively ordered my seeds alphabetically within two categories – Flowers & Herbs and Vegetables and then within the four seasons using these coloured index cards for each season – green for spring, yellow for summer, pink for Autumn and blue for winter.

I know there are so many ways to organise your seeds – from month to season, name to variety but having not used my seeds very often this seemed like the most logical way for me – and it still does.

This week though, I finally gathered all my packets, jars and tins and listed them all in a spreadsheet – noting the category, name, seed company, date harvested or expiry date, how many packets, how stored ie Open packet, Sealed packet, Empty packet (for reference), jar or tin and finally which season/s to sow them.

I also wrote the plant name on each index card so I can flip through them and find what I need quickly and easily. I love an organised collection!

Through this exercise I did discover many expired seed packets but have kept them for now as i know I have still had good germination from some recently – they are just printed in red on the sheet. I can now easily share this list with my family and friends for swapping seeds!

I’m sure this system will change as  my collection grows and I use them all more, but for now I know where everything is.

I keep the drawers in the laundry – an unheated room where they will be safe and dry. My growing collection of harvested seeds in jars is on a shelf in the linen cupboard. Seeds need to be stored in a cool dark dry place to keep them viable – it would be no good keeping my metal drawers outside where the sun and rain could compromise them.

How do you organise and store your seeds? Would you like a blank copy of my seed catalogue sheet to get started?

I’d love to hear what works for you in the comments below 

Posted in gardening | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cheat’s Furoshiki

So much has happened around here lately that I’ve had no time to tell you about it! 

The weather is looking pretty bleak this week so hopefully it will keep me inside with the laptop.

I just wanted to show you this cheats furoshiki cloth I grabbed for a friend’s gift this morning – a retro scarf from the op shop – colourful, silly, square and hemmed, what else could you ask for?

Oh ok if I had a few more minutes it could have been ironed but that would defeat the whole purpose of this grab’n’go gift wrap.

Have you been hoarding some old silk scarves? Why not gift them as part of your next present?

Posted in Life, sewing | Tagged | Leave a comment

My new Garden Journal

Imagine my surprise when only a week after I’d given mum her special Furoshiki wrapped birthday gift, the same bundle was returned to me!

IMG_2041 (640x480)

Although this time it held a very special folder Mum had put together for all my gardening notes. Mum can’t bear to throw things out either, and tackled her huge pile of gardening magazines to make this completely unique Garden Journal for me.

IMG_2320 (640x480)Finally a place to scribble all my notes, questions, wins and disappointments (besides here of course!). I’m very inspired by this gorgeous Mumma & Bubba scarecrow!

IMG_2321 (640x480)

The Journal is already brimming with handy articles particularly relevant to my own challenges and garden ideas, as well as lots of blank paper for my own records.IMG_2322 (640x480)

I can see this growing with me as I start to get more knowledgeable and confident out there. Thanks Mum!

IMG_2323 (640x480)

Do you have a garden journal? Is it a grubby notebook or a fancy folder? Please share – I’d love to know how you use yours!

Posted in gardening | Tagged , | Leave a comment