A little bit of paradise

It is such a glorious day here in the valley where I live. The sky is blue with puffs and streaks of white cloud blowing over. Its a lovely temperature and being a Saturday many people are out enjoying it. The most enjoyable thing is there is not one mower or chainsaw being used. It is blissful and relatively quiet, except for the birds singing and my neighbours little girl playing and laughing with her daddy.


There is a gentle wind, which will dry my washing out. I use a clothes horse and fencing about my deck to hang it. The pleasure I have when I bring in the clothes smelling of sunshine. Sigh.


I did have three clothes lines but had to have them taken down for my replacement water tank to go in. (I guess that is important information if you are on tank water; ensure access is easy to replace your water tanks.)
The plastic ones are easier as you can roll them into position, I do have one plastic one. Not so with the corrugated metal ones.

Corn flowers continue to flower, and provide seed for next flowering season. A sweet pea is growing in the planter, along with some strawberry plants. Only the strawberry was planted in this particular pot. I love my garden for this it self seeds and brings so much beauty for so little work.



I am watching lots of butterflies and bees flying about, along with some white cabbage moths, I feel I am loosing the battle with them and my brassicas. I am having little luck with broccoli forming heads, and the pick again are also not as I hoped. Perhaps I put them in a bit early. Oh well I am eating them and enjoying what I get. I am also adding the leaves to dogs food and my own too.

I spent a while at the begining of the week cleaning the leaves of all the brasscias on my deck before I put them under the netting. Only to discover that I had left it open so the white cabbage moth had laid eggs and caterpillars have eaten the leaves.

So sitting out on my deck just enjoying the day, I am attempting to shoot photos of butterflies the one below is the only one I captured.

I am not sure what it is but all my butterflies look the same. I am not sure if I can attract some others. I may have to research this. It was lovely to see so many floating about my garden.


Earlier in the morning I was watering the garden. I realised all of a sudden that all the bird life had stopped flying and chatting. I just caught the wedge tail eagle as it flew bye, explaining why it is not a great shot.

Treacle on the wet paw out door mat eating her blackberries



I gave my dogs a squashy blackberry each and how they loved them. So they have had a small feast each of delicious organic blackberries from the bushes that make up my boundary.
Miss Treacle was not too sure about them. I had to feed her several by hand and then she decided she liked the a lot.
Busby on the other hand just tasted and dove into his serve and then ate the leftovers from me. We all had our fill of blackberries this morning.

Oh Yum delicious blackberries!
Busby loves blackberries. Cleaning up the left overs
Thanks for the tasty blackberries

The beautiful days have bought some growth in the veggie garden.


The asparagus bed is still giving me asparagus every so often, I have high hopes for it next season.





Onions in the old wheel barrow. Looking
lush. The peach tree needs a prune.

Whoa so proud of this capsicum plant(above) I planted it in the asparagus bed and it is doing really well. It has 3 capsicums forming well and more flowers. Who knows if they will grow bigger and ripen or not?

Oh my this bed above is a bit of a disaster. The pumpkins are not happy, neither are the cucumbers. Ahh well a big learning curve lots to read up on for next year. The pumpkins that are meant to be growing (unless I confused the names are butternuts. The wee yellow round blobs are not butternuts. Lucky I can laugh at it.

The chili (at least that is what I think it is ) has another fruit on it, and is flowering. It is purple coloured the fruit. Again all I can do is wait and see what develops.

These tomatoes are Suplice and were supposed to be early developers. I have had five small sized tomatoes of the two plants in the garden bed. There are more beginning to change colour and quite a few green ones. The good news is that at least I am getting some ripe tomatoes. Most people who are growing outside this year are having a bad time with tomatoes.

This is my one and only zucchini I have managed to grow so far this summer, and I am nervous to suggest it is going to develop.. As three others have not but they were smaller than this one. It is not for lack of water so I am so uncertain as to why my squash family are doing so poorly.

I have never had this problem in the past. It is not just in one bed three beds have not really done much. The zucchini has a lot of male flowers and few females.

Red vein something the young leaves
can be eaten.

Rocket is beginning to shoot up all
over the place, this is great news.

The Corn is looking good, as are the beans, I have begun harvesting beans though I am fairly certain I have created a bit of bad seed scenario. As I have planted two or 3 varieties of indeterminate and one determinate. So I am not sure if they cross pollinate. I really have forgotten so much and realise I was quite gung ho with my summer crops. It is an adventure.

I am fairly happy with the Three Sister bed, it is the first time I have grown squash, beans and corn together. Below is the only pumpkin I have growing and this is a butternut Waltheim variety from memory. It is only about 9cm/4inches long not including the dead flower. Again I have no idea if it will mature or not.
Previously I shared about my neighbours lovely pumpkins sadly something has got into his and eaten them. Which is really disheartening for him and I do feel for him. As he has worked so hard on his beds and building his trellis.
That is the thing with gardening you can never count your pumpkins or any harvest definitively until it is inside your house, and you taste it and it is delicious.

The beans just keep reaching for the sky, they are now way over my height, probably at about 213cm /7 1/2foot now and flowering and producing beans..Yippe!

Immature waltheim butternut pumpkin 9cm /4inches approx.
brassica bed

Photo above is my brassica bed. It looks like the flash went off, but it didn’t. A very bright light at midday. The kale is the plant on the rear left and is doing really well. I never knew it would just keep on growing.

My broccoli plants are in the foreground. Interestingly the one with the seed heads from my silver beet draped all over it is not as impacted by white cabbage moth caterpillar as the one on the left.
To the right background is the jostaberry bush.

The photograph above show the other two capsicum plants that were put in at the same time as the one in the asparagus bed. In hindsight I should have left all of them in the one bed. This is not the best photo of them, as the smaller plant in front has some wee capsicums on it and lots of flowers. The taller one only has flowers.
The plant to the right is another pumpkin, variety I have no idea but

it has a fruit growing on it. Fingers crossed it matures. If anyone can assist with help as to why I seem to be having more male flowers I would really appreciate it.

Daisy I put into wine barrel at the front of my deck is very happy as it seems the self sown sunflower. I wait to see what happens with it.

Self sown peas, green peas not sweet peas. I love it when things just pop up, and surprise you especially as I dont think green peas are supposed to be growing now.

Two cabbage seedlings, just beginning, I had some others but someone ate them. So I moved these and hope they will be OK. I have to sow some more.

Ive been tidying up my deck plants, just waiting for the lettuce in the background to seed and I will fix that pot up too. Sadly I lost one of my lemon trees this year, it was in the purple pot. I keep meaning to plant one of them out in the ground. I just never know when is the best time. As they seem to be always flowering.

You can see it is still very dry here, pretty normal for summer. We did have some rain (not a lot on Thursday night and it was quite cool) I am fine for water I still have two thirds of a tank in the metal tanks and my plastic tank is full.
I have to work out how to connect it to my others so I can use it on the pump as it is very slow to water the garden on pressure alone. I have also been distracted, forgotten I was watering and emptied the tank. Not good

Actually I know how to do it, it is just purchasing the things I need and doing it. It is just one more thing that is difficult with my CPSTD. Since so many things I have done or had done, have been made worse not so bad when I have done it. Really frustrating when someone you paid has left you worse off than before they came to fix it, and three times came back but made it worse! OK let it go, let it go breathe.

I have a very long list of what I need to do. One list only and no pressure.

Strawberries and brassicas hmm weird.

This is a very healthy eggplant/aubergine and it has flowers, same story as almost all things will any fruit mature? It is the wait and see vegetable garden here.

Busby is hunting gekos, and I love the red geranium it brings such a lovely colour to this part of the garden. There is a curry plant on the left that has seen better days. Soapwort grows under and about the geranium.

Red veined sorrel has seeded and has new young leaves, delicious.

The tomatoes on my deck are getting larger, and flowering still I just wait for them to ripen. I have noticed some I think they are the mortgage lifter appear to have some blossom rot damage. No idea how that happened. As non of the others have it and they have all been roughly where they are all together since I put the seedlings in. I have basil growing in some of the pots the way things are going I will have to harvest the basil and make pesto.

Brassicas on the deck not looking so great.

New leaves on this poor lemon and lots of flowers, I am hoping it will give me a lot of lemons. Lots of new growth on the lemon and lime too in the foreground.

This is really interesting, this little pot has violas in it an two brassicas. It has never been under the netting and up until this point in time, no white cabbage moth damage at all? I wonder if the scent of the violas is deterring the moth?

My attempt to fix a broken limb well part of it is still healthy. Not sure what happened to the broken bit at the bottome of the tape there. I need to check if there is scale on this plant again. I have recently given it some iron water, not sure what is going on withthe older leaf. I need to look that up.

This is a happy lemon look at the new growth yes.

I am so thankful for today. It was lovely just to be able to spend time in the garden. My back is getting better, and I am hoping next week I will be able to begin to stack my wood. I am thankful that I did not hurt my back severely.
I am thankful that I am getting produce from my garden, and that I have been outside for most of the day.
I am constantly tired, and a bit flat, but spending time enjoying nature, watching the birds, bees, butterflies, meditating and just enjoying the sunshine have all been good.

thankyou all for your support
blessings to you all
Tazzie

Frugal Vegetable Gardening

I have been told by some people that it is to expensive to begin growing vegetables. By the time they purchase soil and pots or planters, the seeds or seedlings, fertilisers, it all adds up. They just can not afford it. Or composting is such hard work.

I was able to pick up pots of varying sizes from a gardening shop in Hobart for free. These were just plastic pots that people bought in to recycle and others could take and use. Rather than just throwing them out. Any second hand pots I suggest just a wash in hot water with dish washing detergent and dry in the sun. I have also been able to purchase from my local tip shop chipped and cracked ceramic pots and garage sales you can also pick up cheap pots sometimes with plants in them. (if you dont like the plant give it to someone and keep the pot). Also look out for hard rubbish pick up days.

However you do not have to have plastic pots or lovely ceramic pots to grow plants in. You can use all sorts of things. Tin cans, have been used by many people for a long time to grow veggies. I have used large veggie oil cans and biscuit tins. Drill a few holes in them, they are a pot.
Plastic storage boxes can be used, polystyrene boxes, I can usually get mine for free from seafood shop veggie shops sometimes my local supermarket.

Now for soil, here is a wonderful Youtube Channel Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy. Wonderful for those who want to begin to grow some veggies. Robbie grows veggies in her own soil/compost that she makes from scratch. It is so easy and involves little work. I have been doing it and it is brilliant! She saves all her kitchen scraps puts them in a plastic container, or container with holes drilled in it, uses the weeds she pulls up before they seed, and places them at the bottom of the container. She puts her scraps straight into the container, waters it a bit, and places a lid/cover with a weight on it to stop animals getting into it.

Because you have drilled/put holes in the bottom worms will make their way into the scraps and begin to break down the food scraps into wonderful soil/compost. Add dead or leaves and paper if you wish. Robbie can explain her system here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eSaIEz2rQ

I also compost in place, meaning I will just put any leaves I pull off or that have fallen off I leave there in the area to compost in the bed. I will break up the stems and some plants such as legumes I leave the roots as when they break down they release nitrogen in the soil.

Some advice I will give you about seeds and seedlings. When I first started my vegetable gardening here in southern Tasmania, I was caught out by buying seedlings that were totally inappropriate for my location. The nurseries and gardening centres were selling seedlings, so I assumed they would be fine. Unfortunately no. Some were way to early for planting outside, and were actually for people to grow in hot houses/green houses/poly tunnels situations. Or were just not seedlings that were ever going to do any good down here.

One of the problems with purchasing seedlings from large garden centres and nurseries is that the seedlings may not have even been grown for this area. Same problem can occur with seeds. Some seed do not grow for me so well from big suppliers. I am in the fortunate position that we have a couple of relatively local seed savers who have began businesses that have seeds that they have grown and saved from the fruits, here in the area I live. I see a big difference in how they perform to how the others I have in the past purchased.

Being involved in a seed saving community group, and my local Crop Swap group has been marvelous as I get seeds and seedlings for no financial cost. Where seeds and seedlings as well as produce and anything related to veggie growing and food, can be shared. For the seed saving you grow one variety of say a bean that year, and you try to keep it pure. You can share some of the fresh peas or beans and then the majority you save for seed. Sharing and some will be saved so we have a supply of local seeds available if there is a crisis such as the bush fires here last summer (2018-2019) the crop swap group grew seeds and gave seedlings to the people who had lost their veggie gardens due to be evacuated and their veggie gardens were not watered so died. A simple thing the group did but such a welcome and unexpected thing. Others grew trees to help replace trees for free.

My growing awareness of the importance to monitor flowering of my veggies especially the brassicas, as they will cross pollinate, as will tomatoes, and other vegetables. I am also much more alert as to flowering weeds. Some I am happy to have flower as bees and birds will feast on the seeds Some such as sorrel and dandelions can be eaten. Scotch Thistle I love the flower it is wonderful as the root goes deep, I will let it flower and then take the flower off before it seeds.

Another thing that you can do is if you buy a cos/romaine/butter/iceberg lettuce is sit the base in water to keep fresh and as you use it, it will often keep growing. Cut the top of a pineapple and plant it you just may get a pineapple plant growing, spring onions place the bulb bit in a glass with some water so the roots are in it and it will grow more greens. I have even had a cabbage grow more when I sat it in a bowel with some water,

I recall a farmer saying to someone I knew that if you missed weeding one year it would take you seven to eradicate it. (he did not use weed killer) I have been working hard on a couple of weeds this year that have prickles that get into my dogs coats and my feet.

The other important thing I wish to share is You do not have to grow heaps to start with. I personally began with some garlic, and asparagus. Rather expensive to buy every year, but both really easy to grow. Garlic you can grow in pots. You may be able to grow some asparagus in a large container. I am not sure. Ginger and Tumeric I will bring mine indoors over winter. I have only planted them recently and they may grow may not.

Garlic grows form a clove, each clove will grow into a bulb. I need about 150cloves of garlic a year minimum for myself and my dogs, I also need to plant for the next year so I will be looking at growing about 50 cloves minimum. If each clove produces a bulb with 6 cloves I will have enough for the next year. hmmm Might plant more..lol

Herbs are expensive to buy and fairly easy to grow in pots. Lettuces grow beautifully in polystyrene boxes with holes in the bottom. As do spring onions, and chives. Strawberries too. If you grow lettuce grow an assortment. You can grow carrots in pots.

I really want to encourage people everywhere to be growing their own veggies, to ensure they have fresh and healthy produce.

Which does bring me to one area that can be of concern. If you do have a garden you really need to be aware of what possible sources of contamination may be or have been in your area. I had a flat in Hobart that thankfully I was not growing veggies in the ground, but neighbours in houses were. It turned out the soil in the area had been contaminated by the zinc works. It was never told to you when your were buying property in the area impacted, and the only way most people were alerted to the problem was a flyer that was put in letterboxes, saying that people should be checking for contamination in the soil, and to speak to council. We were on the opposite side and down from the zinc works but the wind blew contaminants over to our area. Apparently it was not common incident but happened several times over the years.

Similarly in Broken Hill in NSW lead levels in some children (and adults) were extreme levels the children were living in houses near the railway line and the BHP trains would go buy spreading lead filled dust as they went past. Peoples had tonnes of soil removed from their yards, their roofs, inside their homes under the roof. Yet people had been growing and eating vegetables in their gardens.

So growing many vegetables, herbs and some fruits in pots is possible, It is only as limited as your own abilities, and finances. Start with just one or two containers, think of something you really love to eat but find it to expensive to buy. Research it online and give it a try.

Please check out the Youtube channel I put above. I am not in anyway involved or gaining anything from promoting it. I just find wonderful and it worked for me.

I had my second tomato ripen and ate it today. I was so thankful to have it as it was delicious and worth the wait.

I will do an update of my Veggie garden soon.

blessings Tazzie

Happiness is…

You know as a gardener you have been waiting, the flowers have come.

The bees pollinate and you slowly watch the little green shape slowly get bigger and rounder expanding.

It seems that you are just waiting and watching for that little touch of colour,

You watch it every day become redder and your mouth starts to salivate as you imagine that flavour of your first home grown tomato the first of summer . You know what I mean.

Oh my today is it, that round red ball of flavour. I know just how I am going to enjoy.

On toast for breakfast.

YUMMO!!!

So this is a very short post cause I am off to eat my first tomato!

I don’t have a green house. Netting is coming!

darn birds

Arrrgh!

blessings Tazzie

Veggie Garden, envy, CPTSD and me !

Do you get veggie garden envy? Do you look at others gardeners around you and compare your veggies to theirs? I do have a bit of a complex about this. Firstly I have an elderly gardener down the road from me whose garden is astounding. He has lived here for over 40 years and he grows amazing produce. Then up from me is a relatively new garden I look at each day and see how his pumpkins are growing (actual pumpkins) whilst my pumpkins are just flowering and tiny balls. Sigh.

The CPTSD part of me gets a bit triggered by this. What am I doing wrong, how can I over come it, beat him. What am I doing wrong? Why cant I grow these like they do? I’m hopeless. What is the point? I am a failure!
I have spent a few hours today and I mean hours just doing that kind of fixated thought processing.

That is until I went for a wee walk in my little veggie garden and looked and saw what I have achieved this year so far. Sure mine is not the pristine, stunning, with all the appropriate structures for each veggie garden as my up the road neighbour. Or the old established garden of my elderly neighbour down the road.

My garden is my garden. It is a reflection of me, of where I have been and am coming from. It shows a hope for harvesting what I have sown. It is a simple display of my illness in so many ways. I started the day of with the what ifs, and have ended it with the wow look at how far you have come Tazzie. My garden shows even how I have been using the treatments to help me and each time I walk through it, my garden, I am filled with hope of a bounty of good produce. I am productive, I am working, I am contributing and I am looking after mother earth.

I did not realise I would be triggered today by such a benign thing such as vegetable gardens. I have a feeling that is possibly why I did not get to the first crop swap of the year, and possibly why I did not make it to the last one for 2019. My feeling of inadequacies. Yet I am not inadequate. My garden is showing that. Things are growing fruiting and ripening.

It is so frustrating to question myself by comparing. I do not have the experience of the older neighbour, and I do not have the money to spend on compost and the right soils or structures. I am not in a competition. I am doing this solely for myself. So how HOW does this become what it did for me today. Isn’t that the million dollar question for anyone with CPTSD. How and why does a trigger trigger you into that down hill spiral. I am so proud of myself that I eventually got up and walked out side, into my own garden.

I have been attempting to remove old growth and rearrange some pots on my deck, I am also making my half wine barrels into more flower space than food space as the wallabies seem to be able to get to almost anything I put in them though I have allowed several brassicas to self seed and hope that they will grow and I can share those with the wild life. I had to fence of my deck area to discourage them from coming up on it and eating everything. It includes the possums who love to denude my lemon and lime trees.

grapes under the leaves, tansy flowers behind almost dead

My fig and grape both have fruit on them, as long as I can keep the birds off them I may get some this year. I need to get more tulle material for next year as the netting can cause smaller birds to get trapped in it. This year it might be some tulle bags I have to attempt to save the grapes. If I can It would be my first harvest.

Fig black genoa I think

The chili I planted last year is looking quite happy and I have a couple of small purple appearing fruit on the one below.

Chili

The three sisters bed is going well the beans and corn are flowering, though I do fear that the squash is overshadowed for flowering. Which means I am extremely doubtful that I will be successful with any squash from this bed. I will wait and see February while a short month is usually the hottest in Australia including down here.

The tomatoes are fruiting and have more flowers which is great finally! The lettuces are doing well I have been picking some, the brassicca that has self seeded in here I have no idea what it is meant to be and has bitter leaves, but I have eaten them. It just seems to go to flower fairly rapidly. There is the self seeded sun flower growing extremely close to the the tomato plant on the left of r side picture. Everyone else’s sunflowers are flowering. My garden is an anathema. Eggplant/aubergine, has flowered though it is not doing as well as the one I had in last year. The marigolds are growing and flowering, yeah! There are also two capsicums in this bed that are tiny but have fruit, I also feel there is a zucchini/courgette or two in this bed that is beginning to take off but no flowers. There is such a schamozzle of vegetables growing in this small bed, it is a wonder any thing is happening really.

Brassicca bed is doing OK the cabbages have vanished, but the kale is holding on and the broccoli is beating the white cabbage moth with my help. Silver beet is seeding so I will let it and spread the seeds about other areas also. Perhaps not in beds as it grows quite well just in the grassy areas of the veggie patch.

these are barlotti beans

My barlotti beans are flowering there are several around the edges of the three sister bed, the climbing beans whose name escapes me has purple flowers and is looking good.

Crab apple
yellow gage plum

The apples on the Crab Apple are getting larger. Down in the paddock the yellow gage (might be the green gage) plum is not ripe but the birds have tried them. I assume it will be a race to see who can get them. I have hardly any leaves on either of my gage plums they seem to have been devoured. Which is really weird, as it is not wallabies as it is more the higher leaves.

green gage plum I think.

Blackberries look abundant, these are wild usually delicious and with the rain we have been having the last few days it should be a good season for them. Like wise apples this is the first time since I planted this apple tree (above right) and the plum( below ) they have fruited. The apple is loaded and the plum is well not so loaded but has some fruit. All the trees in the paddock get no extra water than what nature provides. The gage plums get the run off from the french drain which is the reason I believe they are so much bigger. Where as these two trees are totally reliant on nature.

Apple tree

The apple tree (above left) is on the boundary of my land my neighbours and the road. I prune it every few years and it has helped it fill out more and it gives heaps of apples. It looks like a big harvest from this one this year. On the right photo are Busby and Miss Treacle and looking back over the paddock, You can see my attempt at a Heugle bed,(https://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/) sadly it has been taken over by bracken, and it has not really worked. Instead of creating a soil area it is more a home for weeds, though the smaller birds like it.

A berry off my neighbours vine, I am not certain it may be a mulberry, it was lovely. I had picked it and popped it on the post while I looked for some more. This was the only one.

The Deck. I am growing quite a bit on my deck this year. I have onions, herbs, sage, thyme lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, I have tomatoes in pots and above right shows my first ripening tomato. OH MY I am excited. The basil has been doing well in the photo below left with the other tomato plant which also has fruit. There are two other pots with tomatoes that are flowering. I have lettuces growing in containers. I have Tahitian limes, normal limes, and a couple of types of lemons in pots. I have not as yet put any in the ground. I neglected my citrus trees and spent another few days cleaning aphids and scale off them, making ants very unhappy as I destroyed their farming. I have some strawberries growing but they have not taken off, and I know this is due to me not putting them in a more acidic soil. I have grown potatoes in the past but they take up a lot of space and I can buy them fairly cheaply fresh local produced. I don’t eat a lot of potatoes.

You can see the fencing I have used to keep my produce garden on my deck safe from possums in the left photo above. It is great easy to take away and move about, I can pack it away when not in use.

My garden is all my own work, I make the compost, I bring in manure from local horses, and a friends sells sheep manure. I am proud of what I have achieved this summer so far.

My garden in whole brings me so many blessings, the wild life, the birds, the views, flowers, shade on hot day, wind protection, a place to sit and watch the world go by. A place to earth myself, to get down in the dirt and feel at peace. Connected to Mother Earrth. To see the cycle of seasons, life, death. To plant a small seed and see it grow and provide food for me, for creatures. To have land to just lay down on and watch clouds roll by in the sky. I am so rich, I am so content, and I have all I need.

Mother earth is important to care for and all that lives on her now and in the future.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

Joy

Today I found great joy in a very simple pleasure.

Picking first peaches of my tree.

Juicy, tasty delicious, simple pleasure, Joy.

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