So Winter has well and truly come upon is here, with yesterday but extremely chilly and wet! I believe that there’s already snow on the mountains, which will make for a great opening Ski Season this coming long weekend. Most of us like to hibernate in the Winter, and there is nothing nicer than cuddling up in bed under the doona or on the couch under a blanket when it’s so cold and wet outside. We are lucky enough to have a wood burning heater in our house. We also have gas central heating but since the fire has gone in, we hardly use it. You just can’t beat the heat from a wood fire! We love it and I particularly like roasting my bottom in front of it after coming in from the cold.
On another note…has anyone seen or done this celery trick before?! We eat a lot of celery in this house, so it’s a lot of wasted celery bottoms that go into our compost bin. I was Pinterest surfing (and if you haven’t got into Pinterest yet, you are missing out – but be prepared to waste a lot of time!!) and found a tip to grow your own celery. All you have to do is cut off the bottom of the celery, place it into a shallow dish of water, and leave it inside in a sunny spot for a few weeks (and keep the water up to it). Before you know it, the middle will be sprouting new life, and once there’s a good amount of growth there, you just pop it out into the veggie patch! That easy!! We’ve done this a few times before, as has my mum and another family member after I raved about it. It’s worth giving it a go in order to have fresh celery on hand all the time!! Happy planting!!
Celery after 3 weeks
It’s time for an update on Project Veggie Garden. It’s been just over a week now since I planted my garden up, and I was so excited yesterday to see that the seeds are sprouting and they’re looking good!! I planted strawberries as well, even transplanting some from another part of the garden. I wasn’t sure how they would go, but they are doing marvellously in their home, so much so that the fruit on them has ripened and ready for picking…yum!
I’m often a bit sceptical when sowing straight from seed because my experience hasn’t always been good in the past. The first year that we planted from seed we had some mixed results, so last year we decided to try using a mini-greenhouse seedling tray arrangement and we did very poorly!! We decided to go back to sowing directly into the prepared veggie beds and so far it looks like it’s the best option for us.
I also planted some basil which is great for companion planting with the tomatoes. Previous to having a veggie patch I had tried to grow basil with dismal results. Whether it’s the tomatoes or the great composted and fertilised soil, or perhaps both, I have had a bumper crop of basil over the last few years and I love using it in cooking and to make pesto with it! I didn’t bother with seeds for this, I just went straight to the good old seedlings.
My goal for this week is to get in and weed the beds a bit as we are starting to see the dreaded weeds come up, along with the beginnings of the pumpkin plants. We have chosen not to grow pumpkins due to the space that you need to grow them in…we just don’t have it and would rather try other things in our space instead.
One of the most exciting parts about having your own veggie garden is picking the produce once it’s ready to go. This morning I got our first batch of strawberries – something that I haven’t been able to do for a LONG time because of the birds getting to them first! It was a very exciting moment, let me tell you!!
How are you going with your veggie patches this year?! Have you got some tips for natural or organic pest control? I’d love to hear your ideas!
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a veggie garden. I remember my mum, an avid gardener, putting together a herb garden when we were younger, and I was disappointed that there weren’t any planned veggies in there. I say no planned veggies because the odd potato or tomato bush appeared care of the compost soil that mum put into the herb garden. I do remember her quickly ripping them out when she realised, but I was quietly devastated that we didn’t grow our own veggies. I am not sure where the fascination came from, perhaps it was hearing of other kids at schools having them (though I don’t remember anyone saying that they did). Or maybe it was that my grandfather grew his own vegetables, and I loved eating the fruits of his labour – most notably the stewed rhubarb he used to give us that we lashed on top of our ice-cream! When my husband and I moved into our first home we set about making up our vegetable patch, starting with one bed and then working our way to the 5 that we have now. The last 2 summers haven’t seen the most amazing crops; last year I was battling the heat with a 5 month old and the year before that I was pregnant and sick most of the time! This year I am determined to make a good go of it and nurture it so that we can have some delicious summer veggies! My husband was ready to give up on the veggie patch as he’s not consistently around over summer so he was starting to feel like he just wasn’t able to commit the time to it. I on the other hand was keen to get the passion back, and have a project for myself to focus on – because, like seriously, I don’t already have enough to do?!!! Anyway, true to form and just like my mum, I can’t sit still for very long, so Project Veggie Patch is happening for the Summer of 2014/2015!!
On the day that sees most of Victoria glued to a television watching the Melbourne Cup, I got about planning the layout for the veggie patch. I have a notebook dedicated to the task, so I drew up a plan of the veggie patches (I am not an artist so when you see my drawing don’t laugh!!) and where we would put the seeds or seedlings. I also did some research on making my own cover to go over the strawberry plants to keep the birds away! I then set off to the local Bunnings to collect the things that I needed and came back all gung-ho and ready to go! I spent a solid hour with my head down and bum in the air planting the seeds and seedlings, and then laying down the sugar cane mulch to go on top. I was so impressed with my efforts! I particularly love the contraption I have over the strawberries, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it holds up and if it does in fact keep the birds at bay.
So because of my excitement at this little project, and as a sign of my commitment to keep it going throughout the Summer and into the Autumn, I thought that I’d try to regularly blog about it. Feel free to add your comments as I go along, and any advice that you might have for this novice veggie gardener. Any questions are also welcome! I’m not an expert, and I rely on many websites and books to get me through, but I am happy to share to my experience, and even perhaps inspire a few of you to get involved and start your own!! Don’t forget to follow the blog so that you can get the updates. I hope to blog once a week about it, including any photos that I might have – don’t worry, I won’t bother with a photo if I haven’t seen anything sprout!! IF anything exciting happens in between the weekly posts, I might pop something up, but I’ll try not to go over board! I am using this as a means to keep the excitement up and be accountable to making a good go of it this season!
I look forward to sharing the journey with you!