Saturday, 30 July 2011

Smokey Update

For a cat who spent most of his prior life outdoors, Smokey really loves to be involved in whatever we are doing.

My view right now.

This is not typical, usually, he is on our feet or back.

Sorry Sandra, I was trying to practise.

.. and just because I find this insanely cute.

Megan's 21st

Last weekend we visited Newcastle for my cousin's 21st. A lot of my family came down from Qld for the occasion. Matt and I had a great time, hope everyone else did too.

Frustratingly, I forgot to pack a camera - I have to get use to remembering to take it to events again, and both Matt and I forgot our phone chargers. These photos are from Megan's friend, Shan.

Adrian, Megan & Alan

Cousins and partners

Last minute, I was designated the job of MC/make a speech. While it was a bit stressful at the time, I am so glad I was asked to do this. Love you Meegi! 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Garden, garden... not

Matt had to work on Saturday. Sunday, the weather was wet. So we didn't get the veggie planter done - phooey. I did, between rain, purchase and plant out some herbs, purchase and put together our new outdoor bistro set and start attempting to germinate some more seeds.

White planters - herbs, herbs and lettuce (under cloche). Though lettuce is going to live elsewhere as I have now decided  there is too much sun there.
Bistro set with solar powered camping lantern, cat pot - now has grass, mint and nip, and bottle brush (still alive - sort of).
Raising seeds! - I have experimented with a few different ways of doing this, and learning more all the time.
My favourite so far is a DIY self watering container (plastic containers with rolled up old tea towel as a wick and small rocks) holding seed pots made of newspaper, also DIY. This way the seeds don't dry out even if I miss watering them a day or a few and later I can plant out the seeding, in the pots, reducing transplant shock.

Since this picture was taken less then a week ago, the broccoli, cauliflower and carrot have also started sprouting. The onions are just leftover bottoms (not bulbs or seeds) from the kitchen. I am trying a little experiment I found on the internet to coax a new plant from a used onion bottom, new leaves have formed, so far seems to be working. :)
Back to work for me this week and we are off to Newcastle this weekend for my cousin Megan's 21st. Many of my family are coming down from Qld for it. See you there!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

This is not a gardening blog, but...

 ...the garden is my current obsession and I am so excited about how it is starting to take form. I am also concious that once term starts again weekends seem to disappear too fast. The garden will probably go into state of 'growing & maintenance' rather than 'designing & building'.

Last weekend we tackled what is undoubtedly the biggest single job within the wider project. The 'Vegetables - Square Foot Garden - Raised Planter'.

If you are wondering what the hell is Square Foot Gardening, this was new to me only a couple of weeks ago. Google it and/or look here:

After many hours of research on the internet (again) I worked out what I wanted, but, I couldn't find anyone in Australia who stocks this sort of thing and to get something from overseas will take 2-3 months (and goes against the spirit of the project). After discussing (whinging) with Matt we decided to attempt a DIY. Matt and I are both a little crafty, but I was a bit dubious about tackling such a big project ourselves. Below is the outcome, and I am pretty darn proud of it (so far). 

The base - plywood on rails

The ends of the box
and yes... Matt has a red fauxhawk for those who haven't seen it :)
The sides of the box

Supervisor - his new favourite spot, the worm farm ?!?!

Box onto the base... my turn with the drill

Almost finished, sort of.

We couldn't get trestles in the size we wanted and while we knew these ones would be big we thought they might do. Nope. I can barely reach the back and the whole thing looks and feels not secure. We have since drawn more plans and will be back to Bunnings over the weekend for the parts to make legs. I may be on holidays but Matt is not and I would prefer his help with this.


I mentioned before that I have decided to keep the worm farm, here's the long version why. The worm farm was very neglected for a range of reasons including spiders and dark evenings, instead, we have started using a Bokashi bin and I love it! With the Bokashi it stays indoors, for us, next to the main & recycling bins. It doesn't stink!!! and it can take a lot things the worm farm can't (onions, citrus and meat). Once full, the recommendation is to bury the contents into your garden (um...) or into a hot compost, not worms - they don't like it. So... I tried to find a composter small enough for our balcony with no luck. There were a few available, but only overseas and most people complained that they didn't really work. I did find a couple of blogs/people who had tried putting their Bokashi contents into a worm farm with success, so I thought lets give it a go. The bucket was full a couple of weeks ago so had already sat fermenting. I restocked the worm farm (when I looked there was one lonely worm left alive) last Monday and on Friday put in a couple of large scoops from the Bokashi bin. I added some 'worm conditioner', a handful of potting mix scattered over the top and a worm blanket to reduce the acidity and improve the conditions for the worms. This morning (Wednesday) I checked the worm farm and they seem to love it (too!). All the worms are alive and squirming around in the Bokashi contents, not their original bedding. My verdict (so far)... you CAN put Bokashi bin contents into a worm farm. Now, I just need to chat with work as I no longer have a spare worm farm to donate :)


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Balcony Garden - Phase Two

School holidays are here and I have been hanging out for a chunk of time (esp in daylight hours) to get stuck into the garden. After many hours of internet research, the utilities end of the balcony is done. The worm farm has stayed (for now) and been restocked... more about that later perhaps.

Meanwhile the Bottle Brush is still alive and the cat grass is growing - Mister Smokey loves lying in it.