Archive for October, 2012


It’s been a month since I started off my seedling experiment (see previous post – breaking the first rule of blogging), but given the small amount of growth I wish I’d started a month earlier. By far, the winner at the moment is the seedling tray that has been kept inside under the window. The seeds germinated over a week earlier than the other two trays (greenhouse and “control” outside) and the seedlings are now visibly larger as well. A few tomatoes have even been large enough to plant out into the garden, which already feels like a success compared to last year.

Tray 1: kept inside under a sunny window

Tray 1: inside

Tray 1: inside

Seedling from tray 1 planted out in the garden

I was surprised that the seeds in the greenhouse tray took so long to germinate, but I think despite watering them daily they were drying out too much. After moving the tray to the middle shelf (rather than top) they seemed to do better. That was until snails found them…. I would have thought this tray would have been the safe one! But alas, having basil seedlings growing in there too – snails devoured the basil and a few of my other seedlings at the same time. Nightly snail checks over a week found a new snail in there each night, so I’ve moved some of the seedlings into the inside tray to keep them safe.  The seeds in the tray left outside (open to the elements) germinated around the same time as the ones in the greenhouse and growth has been at about the same rate. No snail attacks as of yet, but a few seed pots were obliterated by what appears to be a cat attack. Well I did say they were open to all elements…

Tray 2: greenhouse

Tray 3: outside

Tray 3: tomato seedlings (quite small compared to tray 1)

While I will still be updating on the progress of the three trays, I think I have already discovered why I have been struggling with small seeds – I bought a greenhouse. Two years ago I had a lot of success with small seeds, but I didn’t have the greenhouse then so I would move the seedlings outside during the day, and bring them inside (sheltered from the cold and snails) each night. The seedlings loved the attention and thrived. Last year I bought a greenhouse and grew all my seedlings in there. While it made sense to me at the time, the temperature fluctuations (even when keeping the door open on hot days) was obviously enough to stop the success of my small seeds.

Tray 2: greenhouse – eggplant seedling

I won’t be throwing out the greenhouse just yet though, larger seedlings do really well earlier in spring when it’s a bit too cold to be in the garden yet, and some plants can be moved in over winter to help keep them warm. For now though it looks like our house will be turning into a nursery each spring…

A glimpse at a helper

Found this little one helping me out in the garden & thought it was worth a post – thanks little bee!

All of my gardening so far (apart from a couple of pots here and there) has been in our front yard. Our backyard has been, and will continue to be, part of the working space for our renovations. We have talked lightly about what we’d like to put out the back, but haven’t formed anything as of yet (probably because if it was left to me I’d turn the whole thing into one big veggie patch, and we haven’t finished the structural things like carports and paths yet). But when my partner suggested a veggie patch along the side next to the fence – that was all I needed!

Ok, in fairness he did suggest a raised veggie patch, but with the chaos that’s occurring in the rest of the house, it was being left to the backburner as a “non-essential” part of the renovations. Sacrilege! But I am probably one of the few people who would put a veggie patch above half a house (literally, we’re living in half our house at the moment). I decided while waiting that I would make the veggie patch myself, at least without the borders, until we decided what we were going to do (or my negotiation skills got better!).

Yes, we live here….

The soil out the back is actually pretty good as we’ve added a lot of topsoil already to the whole yard. I added a fair amount of my own compost to the section as well to help build it up. So far I’ve planted a couple of tomatoes, a couple of cucumber seedlings and a few flower seedlings to help attract bees (snapdragons, alyssum and linaria). I also planted a zucchini seedling and a couple of pumpkin seedlings which I realise are probably going to grow out of the patch and possibly take over the lawn… but give me an inch and I’ll take a mile! Although the pumpkins are supposed to be a compact variety that you can grow in pots, so I’ll see how it goes… if it gets too much I’ll take them out. Some climbing beans in a pot and a few strawberries have made the patch complete. For now…

The pets have already moved in

Have you ever forgotten about something in the garden? From holidays, to busy work schedules or simply from being distracted? Well this happened to me despite regularly being out in the garden – I completely missed that my broad bean flowers had been fertilized and beans had formed!

It was quite exciting to suddenly have something to harvest! I usually watch and wait for things to ripen similar to watching paint dry. I prefer to pick my broad beans at smaller sizes than you’d ever find in the supermarket as I find they are a lot sweeter, and can usually turn any broad-bean-hater into an instant fan. Only small harvests so far – but when I can have a small harvest every few days, that’s all I need. Now all that’s left is to decide what to cook! If you have any favourite broad bean recipes/ideas let me know.

 

Creative, beautiful and sparkly…

Am I creative, beautiful and sparkly? Three of my fellow bloggers seem to think so! One of the lovely things about blogging is receiving a peer award from other bloggers who have been following your journey. I have been blogging for less than a year and it is a great honour and tremendous support to receive these awards for my work.

Eleeni from denobears nominated me for the “Kreativ Blogger Award”… I’m sorry to say, many months ago. Thank you Eleeni and I’m really sorry how long it’s taken me to accept this award.

This week Greenbenchramblings has also nominated me for the “Beautiful Blogger Award” which is also highly appreciated. Both of these awards ask you to tell seven things about yourself and nominate seven other blogs for the award.

I’m (cheekily) combining the two and giving seven things in total (as it is quite hard to come up with random things about yourself!)

  1. I’m an Audiologist
  2. I would love to own chickens, but I have a dog with a poor reputation for chickens… and in-laws with fewer chickens than they started with…
  3. I love having bare feet
  4. I’ve never broken a bone
  5. I’m obsessed with stationary
  6. I tend to have lucid dreams
  7. When I was in high school, I went on a white water rafting trip and we had to abseil down a 100m cliff to get into the river…. it was awesome.

Yes this is me…

My nominations for the “Beautiful Blogger Award” go to the following blogs which I feel display beautiful photography in their posts

  1. Photo Nature Blog
  2. Free the bird
  3. Orbital Decay
  4. Nature’s gift in photos
  5. 1001 Scribbles
  6. Kinds of Honey
  7. 365 Sparkles

My nominations for the “Kreativ Blogger Award” go to the following:

  1. Putney Farm
  2. Town and Country Gardening
  3. Boozed and Infused
  4. Greenbenchramblings
  5. Clouds of Colour
  6. The stay-at-home scientist
  7. Artepad

 

 

I have also been nominated for the “Mrs Sparkly’s Ten Commandments” award by Orbital Decay. Once again I’m very sorry how long it’s taken me to accept, but still highly appreciated! Thank you for thinking of me as a sparkly influence! This award asks you to answer the following questions and nominate fellow bloggers for the award.

  1. Describe yourself in 7 words? Indecisive, loving, stubborn, loyal, analytical, gentle, honest
  2. What keeps you up at night? –the pets being annoying
  3. Who would you like to be? – I’m usually happy being myself
  4. What am I wearing right now? – How is this relevant?????!!!!
  5. What scares you? – big spiders…. big, big spiders….. 
  6. What are the best and worst things about blogging? – I love the feedback from sharing what I’ve been doing in the garden. Getting compliments and advice from people around the world is wonderful. I find the worst is wanting to write, but often struggling to find the time to do so
  7. If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be? – I’d be taller
  8. Slankets, yes or no? – No. No. No. No. No.
  9. Tell us something about the person who nominated you – The most AMAZING images!! You need to check these out!!
  10. The blogs I nominate for this award are the following blogs which definitely add sparkle to my life:

Once again thank you very much for the recognition of these awards. I hope you can find a minute to take a look at some of these blogs because I know you’ll be hooked!

A touch of magic…

Sometimes without realising it, we capture moments of magic in the garden. It wasn’t until I loaded the following photo onto my computer that I realised I had captured such a moment. I love how little things can surprise you…

The garden at the start of spring ready for an overhaul…

I have to admit… it took me a bit to find the motivation to get out this spring to do my usual half-yearly overhaul. I should be excited and raring to go – spring is here! But I found myself putting it off for a few weeks and procrastinating with bread, blogging and coffee… Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid of hard work – but when all the winter veggies still look so lush and green (although no longer fruiting or ready for final harvests), it seems a pity to pull them out. However once I got going my usual optimism about what the next season of gardening would create returned, and my motivation quickly followed.

I started by pulling out all the spent winter vegetables. There seemed to be an awful lot this year – I filled an entire compost bin! Then I continued by turning over all the soil and adding compost back in. As always I tend to mix up vegetables to add an element of interest (or craziness depending who you’re talking to…I prefer interest). This also helps to confuse pests and prevent spread of diseases. So far this has worked pretty well – except for the snails, they’re not fussy and eat everything…

So far I’ve planted some zucchini, bean and sunflower seedlings that I grew from seed. I’m sorry to say that I did buy a couple of tomato seedlings to put in as well,  but I still have high hopes for my seedling experiment and hope to add more of my own a little later when they are large enough and the weather is warmer.

By the time I finished all this off (a little later) with some straw – the spring flowers were out in full swing and suddenly my garden had been filled with splashes of bright colour, which helps remind me of the changing seasons and that it won’t be long before my garden is full of plants and the promise of harvests again.

Further Spring Colour

For those who enjoyed the previous spring flowers post, here are some more flowers that have been brightening my days. Summer used to always be my favourite season, but with flowers like these spring is quickly becoming my new favourite…

Parrot tulip

Ranunculus

Ranunculus

Parrot tulip

From what I can gather, the main idea of a blog is to demonstrate a passion, projects/ideas and a skill in an area you want to share with and demonstrate to others. Well I’m about to break the first rule of blogging – admit my skill is still growing and ask for help.

Here is my dilemma: apparently I’ve become appallingly bad at growing vegetables from small seeds. I know I can do it – the first year I started gardening I grew dozens of tomato plants all from seed, however over the past couple of years my ability to grow vegetables from seed into full size plants seems to be highly correlated with the size of the seed.

Give me zucchinis, beans, squash, cucumbers – no problem! These easily end up as harvestable plants at the end of the season. However tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums all seem to germinate, but grow so slowly that despite my best efforts they never get large enough to be transplanted out into the garden. I then end up admitting defeat and buy a tray of seedlings.

At first I blamed it on the brand of seeds I was using – but there’s only so long you can keep that up. So help me out – what am I doing wrong???

I’ve set up a “small seed experiment”, which I hope will uncover the solution. I’ve started three trays of seeds – one will be kept inside next to a sunny window, one will be kept in my small greenhouse, and the other will be left outside as a “control” as it will be completely unprotected from the elements…and snails. Each tray has the exact same number and type of seeds growing – a mix of tomatoes (both new and seed saved from my garden), eggplant, capsicum and chilli. I will be updating the progress of each every few weeks, and any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated so that hopefully my skill level continues to grow.

Tray 1 – inside

Tray 2 – greenhouse

Tray 3 – outside