New year, new garden journey!

Since my last post (six months ago, whoops), Tim and I have moved house. And the best bit? The garden!! It was definitely on my list of must haves for our new place. Although I have to admit that I didn’t actually realise it had a proper vege patch until the day we moved in, when Jess discovered it underneath knee-high weeds! I thought it was an extension of the lawn, but thankfully not. So we have a little patch of lawn, a vege patch (about 2mx1m roughly) and a smaller patch by the door with a dis-used pond which I have dubbed the herb garden. The back lawn is also totally out of control, with mostly weeds and horrible lumpy grass gone to seed.

So we have been in the house 2 months now (moved in 1 Nov) and SO MUCH has happened in the garden. While we are renting, our lease says we are responsible for maintaining the gardens. Clearly the last tenants did not do this! There has been a heap of work getting it to the place it is now, with lots more work to go particularly for the lawn.


First I had to prep the garden bed. I had to clear the weeds, clear random rocks and rubbish from the soil, aerate and break up lumps in the soil (it was very compacted and almost a bit mouldy in places, weird).  Then I planted out the sage (after a good prune), the thyme (which has gotten huge), and the rosemary bush. I put pea straw mulch all over the garden to help with weeds and water retention for the hot summer days. Then I decided to get some marigolds, sweet alyssum, strawberry and parsley to plant as well. Sadly most of the parsley didn’t last the first hot day but three of the little plants did (next time I’m told I should plant them in clumps). Finally, I put a bamboo border on to stop people trampling on the garden bed.

Here is the herb garden progress

Not quite an original before photo, but after the first big weeding session when the weeds grew back!



Then during the second big weeding session:



After first plants:

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And finally, after border and other plants put in:

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Here you can see the strawberry planted in between some rocks in the water feature, hopefully this works! The other plant is a diachondra ground cover.



I don’t have as many photos of the vege patch and lawn, but I have planted two tomato plants, a punnet of rainbow beetroot seedlings, five zucchini plants, five eggplant bushes (from seedlings) and a rhubarb cutting from Tim’s grandma. I also have leeks still to plant out, and iceberg lettuce which I have grown from seed. I also created a makeshift compost heap using chicken wire and stakes, and am in the process of digging up the horrible weeds and grasses in order to re-sow it.

Fixing the soil – adding compost, levelling, breaking up clumps

20131125_192116Planting the tomatoes out first:
20131214_125315  Pea straw, rhubarb, tomatoes

20131225_175644  Tomatoes settling in well20131225_175659 Beetroot, eggplant, rhubarb, zucchini20131230_201755  20131230_201827 20131230_201835


Here is the lawn before

20131125_192307and after (from the other side)

20131230_201748Compost heap:

20131230_201800Other photos around the yard: fig not happy to start with but after some settling in and fertiliser, now has 9 huge figs. Frank the lemon has blossomed, literally and figuratively, and there are lots of little lemons growing. Poppy grown from seed doing pretty well, lettuce getting bigger every day. I also PH tested the soil and its neutral meaning I don’t have to added lime or anything into it. I did add some organic compost though.

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Hopefully my next post will be around the end of Jan and will be a TABLE related post! My goal is to have the table built on Australia day. Why not! Here is a selection of table shots to date – cleaning the wood, sanding the wood (using all possible safety gear available), and getting a new power drill for Christmas!!  These photos show the difference between the wood before it was cleaned and after, and the difference sanding makes too. All I really have to do now is finish sanding and assemble the thing!

Left side sanded, right side not sanded

20130728_133402 Sanding progress20130728_133349

Must be protected for sanding!20130728_133322  My new drill20130727_203457  After cleaning, much better20130722_090551  During cleaning – vinegar to kill mould then scrubbed with soap and water20130719_144622 See you next time!


Wow no posts for a while, huh?

I guess there hasn’t been much going on in the garden recently. Work has been pretty busy, as has the rest of life. So here are some photos from the garden Autumn/Winter 2013. I’m not really focussing on the garden so I have only planted silverbeet and broadbeans. I have pruned the lemon tree because in Summer ol’ Frank just shot up without putting out any flowers. The herbs are still going really well except for the mint which has died off. The fig tree is in hibernation. I have also planted some Californian poppies, which came free with a postcard in a cafe.

New thyme plant – which I have been using very liberally in my pasta and stew!

June Garden 11


June Garden 10

Sage and parsley

June Garden 9

Silverbeet sprout

June Garden 6

Frank the lemon, with a haircut (prune). He has actually started flowering again which is great! Sage to his right.

June Garden 7

L-R – Lavender, Thai Chilli, Rosemary (blending in with the bush in the background!), Fig (in hibernatino)

June Garden 3

Celery is still alive but well used in my soups

June Garden 4

One solitary broadbean and one silverbeet sprout

June Garden 5

I have been busy in other ways too. I got myself a pasta machine and learnt how to make ravioli:


These ones were roast chicken, ricotta and orange zest filling served with just plain olive oil and thyme (fresh from the plant above).

I also made Kumquat Marmalade using fruit from one of Tim’s workmates just up the road, and some plum jam made from end of season plums bought for $1 at the local fruit store.

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But what I have really been focusing on at the moment is a bit of indoors DIY! I really wanted some rugs in the house, particularly in winter as the wooden floors downstairs get really cold. My plan was to paint up a rug for the lounge. Below are some photos of my test rug. It was $15 from Kmart and is made of jute. I used regular acrylic paint mixed with textile medium bought for $11 from office works. Now, I like how it turned out but it was a lot of effort, and so even though I have now bought my larger sisal rug from Ikea ($35 I think), I have left it plain. I kind of like the colour and texture of the sisal and am not sure I want to paint it any more.

Step one: tape up mat




Step 2: paint

20130622_174406Step 3: peel tape off

20130622_175822Voila! patterned rug. I had to iron it for a bit to heat set the paint. Its now our new front door mat.

I have also (almost finished) painting a shelf unit I found in the hard rubbish which Tim and I use for shoe storage by the back wall. I found a shade of dark red which matches some artwork I have in the kitchen so fingers crossed it comes out the right colour! As you can see, its a little pink at the moment rather than crimson/red.




20130701_171557 20130701_171610Grey paint is the primer/undercoat. I also had to use some wood sealer to fill some old nail holes and smooth the surface.

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Finally, the red goes on…

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Still one coat to go though. Waiting for it to dry right now.

I have also been planning on building myself a new kitchen table! I have found quite a few online tutorials but this was the one that started it off:

This one has better instructions though:

Although to make things a bit more tricky I have decided to try and use reclaimed wood rather than just get some pine laminate planks from Bunnings like these tutorials have used. I have found some old Kauri floorboards at a local recycled timber yard and I’m going to pick them up next weekend and talk to the owner about hopefully getting them cut to size for me.

Bunnings timber options


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Preferred option: reclaimed timber

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Obviously the reclaimed timber is going to be a lot more work, including gluing the pieces, planing potentially to make it level and sanding. I will do a separate post on the table when I get all the material together!

UPDATE: as I was typing this, one of my wonderful friends told me she had a ton of old floorboards in her shed that I was welcome to have FOR FREE! And she has a sander and jig saw for cutting them to size. This is very exciting news and will make the process a lot cheaper and fun as there will be friends around to help!

Frank the Lemon!

I got an awesome early Christmas present yesterday: Frank the Lemon Tree!



It’s already got a few little lemons growing and some flowers too!



In other news, the fig tree seems to be starting to act20121221_192622

We also have tomatos, chilis, raspberries, beans, beetroot and figs growing!

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the leaves seem to be dying but the tomatoes are growing pretty good













20121221_192901not much else to report on right now in my backyard, update on plenty of noise backyard tomorrow!

now im on holidays i have much more time to garden!!



About time!

Finally Summer seems to be around the corner! It was 27 degrees today and Tim, Jess and I decided to check out our garden of plenty. We had TONS of broad beans, the spinach was ready to harvest and while we thought the potato had simply died off it had actually died off AND produced potatoes!

last time i visited

this time… Broad beans above, potatoes below

Working bee

Broad beans!!

Broccoli, a little bit moth-caterpillar eaten but now it’s been sprayed with pyrethrum it should be ok

Potato digging (forgot our trowels)


Jess planted the potatoes and then dug them up!


and this is what it all became! mmmm delicious

in other garden news…

we did PH testing of the garden of plenty which was exciting but didn’t actually  yield unusual results. the soil was PH6 which is pretty neutral

i also harvested the carrots i grew in a tub and while there were some odd looking ones they were pretty tasty!

Carrot harvest – they got as big as a spoon!

the fig tree is looking great and loving the hot weather

the sage loves its new pot

the lavender is in full bloom

the dill managed to grow back after almost completely dying off

same with the mint