Vegie Garden with Ollas

16th December 2019

3 weeks ago the following was written in my garden journal. It is the next planting of my summer garden. I had planted tomatoes, beans and corn and pumpkin (known as threes sisters planting) My vegies (vegatables) garden beds are basically square meter beds or about 40″ square raised beds. I do all sorts of plantings at one time I did use the square foot gardening methods and loved the quantity of vegies you could get from a small area. This year I am mixing it up a bit in how I am planting. I do plant closer together than you usually do. I also have plants in containers on my deck and have been adding seeds and seedlings into my normal beds too. (that is for another post I think).

25/11/19 The garden was calling today, blue sky and still for a while.  I was not feeling like spending time in the garden as I was just feeling quite flat.  I looked at my seedlings that remain to be planted out.  The zucchini  and some brassicas were really needing to go out, or at least into a larger pot. As to the lettuce I got at crop swap. I figured that if I was going to transplant them I should put them in the garden and not pot them up.  I gathered my supplies the seedlings with the aim to complete the planting of these and not stop until most were in.  

Not your neat tidy garden.

With the wind dropping off and the sunshine it became easier to do.   It seems to be for me at times that just beginning is often so unbelievably hard.  I have been learning to do a small thing so my aim was to plant these seedlings.  There are more to go out though they need warmer temperatures than we have been having of late.   I looked at the where I have a couple of tomatoes growing and thought that the eggplant I had put in the bed was being exposed to much to the wind so moved it. It and some capsicums seedlings are in the asparagus bed for the time being.

MA tomato with flowers a zucchini and a lettuce seedling.

I then put the zucchinis in the bed and the lettuce on the side where the zucchinis will be discouraged by me in where they wander.  I had planed to trellis them, unfortunately sunshine would have been blocked from other beds.

I decided that the brassicas needed to be put in and as they are heavy feeders, they went in to a bed with aged manure, blood and bone and two Ollas. 

Brassica bed with Ollas

I keep mentioning Ollas. What are they? they are water reservoirs that go into the soil and help with watering and water retention.

a real Olla.

My homemade Ollas are terracotta planters (I have been able to buy some with no hole for drainage in them.)and the saucer becomes the lid.  You can fill the hole with a suitable filler for a terracotta pot ensure that it is a safe product for use in something in your vegie garden.

I put the pot into the bed and just the lip is sticking above fill the pot with water and pop the saucer on for lid.  I mulch over them so to keep them cool. Though it is very easy to check water level by taking top off and adding water, not forgetting to put the top on and cover with mulch. You terracotta planters must not be sealed in any way.

My terracotta pot
Normal way to use the pot
No drainage hole in my pots
water savig pots in situ in brassica bed,
Terracotta pot in the bed with saucer as lid it is now an Olla

Some seedlings are coping better than others. I am trying the Three Sisters method this year. My understanding that Native Americans used to plant corn beans and pumpkins (squash) together. The beans use the corn to grow up on, whilst the squash leaves keep the roots of the plants cool.

The Three sisters bed. Beans corn and pumpkin (squash)

My dogs Treacle and Busby are my family.  Throughout my breakdown and my ongoing mental health illness they are my constant companions.  I would not be here I can honestly admit if it had not been for my animals.  In my worst days (not so distant)  there presence, warmth,  love, companionship and their needing me is why I did not kill myself.  For their presence I am eternally grateful. 

Busby provides shade for treacle

It breaks my heart when I hear or read about people saying how can people on Newstart (unemployment benefit I am on it, in Australia.) or living on the street afford to keep a dog or cat ?   For many the love companionship of their furred buddy is what keeps them going just like me.  Just like me I would go without and have in the past so my dogs are fed and cared for.   Yet these people are often judged. It is amazing how just having another heartbeat near you and the soft fur to pet and a warm body to hug and snuggle with is everything to me and I assume them.

I am appreciative to wake up every day now.   Not all days are great but that is normal the bad days are less but I guess if I don’t leave my home it makes it less likely I will face a trigger.    I find it so very hard to trust people. I can be out and friendly in small groups say at a cafe on an irregular time frame. Being around people for too long or too often, the noise, music, smells perfumes etc. Exhaust me. There are benefits to this I don’t go out much and therefore spend less than in my previous life. This is a very simple life. I can honestly say that as hard and all as it is life after my breakdown, I am thankful for it. I began living a simpler life not as a choice. It is my life. I am so grateful for the  life I lead now. I have realised I am actually happy in my own space on my own. This is a huge change and it is thanks to having a fantastic psychologist who has really heard and is so supportive. It is the thing I believe is the hardest thing for those with any mental illness to find. Support and help that is pertinent to you as an individual and where you are totally heard and feel safe to share what has to be shared to

The wind had knocked over my broad beans and many were broken off.  I cleared the bed and bought the beans in side.  I will think about what I will do with them tomorrow.  I also harvested some garlic even thought I knew it was too early.  It meant the bed was now fairly clear for the next crops to go into.   Silver beet and a leek  were harvested. 

What a feast  I had an omelette with carrot, onion caramalised, capsicum, silver beet, garlic, broad beans, using two eggs and a quarter cup of milk.  Started on the stove top then grated cheese finely on top(grating it finely you dont’t use as much) put into a low oven to bake gently while I had a shower,  Perfectly cooked when I came out. Delicious.  I paid $6.50 for a dozen organic free range eggs from the farm, my milk is Tasmanian, $4.50 for 2 litres not homogenised, the capsicum red was $1.30 and the onion red was 80 cents.  I used a few slices of capsicum, about 1/4 of the onion, the cheese I buy when on special usually about $9 for 1kg (this one is Bega tasty).  with my vegies which have costs involved in setting everything up( I know) these were very cheap, as all were from seeds I had saved last year.

So from being very reluctant to garden I now feel more peaceful, I enjoyed it, and always find having my hands in the soil or just weeding, does improve my mood. I do take vitamin D supplement during winter as I suffer with low to very low vitamin D levels. (common in Southern maybe all of Tasmania.) I do try to get into the sunshine and yes I do feel good for achieving what I planed and more, along with cooking a fresh healthy meal. Along with having a shower, something that embarrasses me to write but it is my truth, has been over a week since I had one. I have put a load of washing on which was very needed too. I am not a domestic goddess. I do like to cook, and bake. Yet like many things I like and enjoy I get so overwhelmed at times. Which is so strange compared to my working life when I was in charge of facilities. These are the things having a mental illness impact for me; along with my inability to fill out documents, read complex things, to organise, to commit to anything or retain some things in my head. I am so grateful for my garden and to be physically able to work in it. To be able to grow some vegetables for myself.

Tazzie.

Just a few days

SATURDAY: What a weird beginning to my day…I slept for 16 + hours and woke at 1pm really strange.  I was meant to be going to a wedding at 4pm.  The wedding was 11/2hours away from where I live.  I had a shower, had brunch, and then dressed ready to leave, allowing enough time to get to the venue.  

I was not feeling good, perhaps due to having slept so long.  I had been anxious about going as I lately my illness has made me more reclusive especially in big groups. I ended up having a major panic attack heart racing, sweating, and realised that as much as I wanted to be there for my friend, it was not going to be possible on this day.   I decided I was not up to driving.  

N

I was surprised that I did not feel a sense of relief having at least made a decision that was logical with what was happening.  Instead I felt guilt and doubt.  I struggle so much with expectations that have been instilled as a child.

Having accepted the invitation,  responded to a note regarding a change in venue due to the weather just a day before saying  thanks see you tomorrow,  the guilt that washes over me for not letting anyone know(not able to contact anyone as the wedding was going to be in an area with no phone coverage), plays havoc on me. 

The ‘norms of how to behave in good society ‘ create more anxiety in me…added to guilt and even more bewilderment as I was ready to go sitting in my car engine running.   It is so hard for me to understand what is going on.  When my heart begins racing, and my face heats up so hot and red, I sweat and feel as if I am going to throw up! One of my legs might begin twitching and I just want to run!   There seems to be no real rhyme or reason when, where or why.  But the need to beat myself up by overthinking my reaction and the feelings overwhelm me leaving me exhausted.  

This sort of thing is what I battle so often.  What I need to do for me, rather than doing the expected thing.  The guilt of feeling a sense of responsibility.  For not letting anyone know I would not be there,  thinking about how I had said yes and was included in catering(thankfully it was family catering not a venue.)  Just writing that makes my heart race.    I will beat myself up about it over thinking it all yet knowing I did for me the right thing.   So bewildering .   At least I can utilise the things I have been learning with my psychologist to help to move past the overthinking.   It helps so much when I can do it.

The river I live close too. @echidna home 2019

It was market day in the town closest to where I live.  I went in to get a few things just a quick trip half an hour.  Three hours later I returned home, and it was a really nice morning.  I caught up with stall holders I know,  chatted.  Had brunch at the bakery with my dogs, and they were petted and loved by so many people. I chatted to some tourists on motorbikes, and a bit later the local group of cyclists stopped for coffee this is enough for me.

Market not my photograph

Here in the roaring forties the wind continues gale force at times.  I generally enjoy windy days, but have been concerned about my garden.  Returning home the dogs and I wondered about the garden my native areas, flowering area and vegie garden. 

In my grove of wattle trees, one of my younger wattle trees has broken in half, and will need to be taken out.   Many small branches and the dead pieces of trees have blown down along with lots of leaves.  It could have been much worse.

Walking around the vegie garden,it was great to see that the beans in their 2 litre plastic milk container protectors I had made kept them safe from the cold night and frost, tomatoes are fine and so to the capsicums I planted out.   I am so happy I did not put anything else out as one of my neighbours lost all his pumpkin seedlings.   

My seedlings are undercover on my deck, sadly they are getting a little knocked about by the wind.  It is supposed to be worse tomorrow, gale winds up to 100km so I have been checking things are relatively secure.   


I also noted that a possum had eaten most of the lemon leaves of one of my trees on my deck.  Little sod must have come in when the protective barrier was down.  I do love the possums just not attacking my poor lemon trees which struggle under my ‘care’ .

Working in the garden I could hear a  mower coming down the road, I was hoping it was another neighbour who mows my grass paddock area.   It was.  Yeah the wind had dried the ground enough that he was coming to mow my paddock area down.  It is usually only cut once a year. However so far this year this is its second cutting as the weird weather has seen the grasses grow so fast since it was mowed four weeks ago that it was seeding up.  Fingers crossed I wont need to have it done again.   Though it means it should be a great year for the guys who mow for stock feed and bales.  

So thankful that I have full rain water tanks when much of my country is in dought and has fires. That I have clean water, air and soil. Thankful that even on a low income I can just make ends meet. For my two dogs who are my constant companions

Welcome to Echidna Home and Life

Living in a rural location on an acre of land is not always easy when you have PTSD complex (fairly recently diagnosed)  It is interesting to discover in today’s world my life style is seen as pretty self sufficient. Not that I am anywhere near that and can never imagine (as much as I dream of it) being anywhere close to it. I guess it is because Echidna Home is a timber home with a metal roof I rely totally on three rain water tanks for all my water. I have a septic system for my black water (sewerage) and grey water is dispersed via a french drain. I don’t use much electricity, the water pump is probably the biggest user. I have wood heater and instant gas for hot water and cooking.

My home is in Tasmania the island state of Australia. I have recently recommenced growing more of my vegetable(vegies), I have some fruit trees and hazelnuts.

The river near my home sadly this was taken in early 2019 when we had severe bush fires for months on end this is the smoke you can see
. @Echidna Home Jan 2019

Life here has changed a lot over the few years.

The death of my partner, who showed me what being loved unconditionally is like and to be able to reciprocate was very special. I loved him so much. I miss him everyday though the grief and sadness are no longer present.

A few years after his death I had a breakdown, that saw me go from earning good money to living on Newstart (Government payment) as my mental health has deteriorated and I am no longer able to work. So there will be posts about finances, living on less than I earn and what might happen if I don’t do this. Living simply and patching mending clothes. Though living rurally I can get away with so much more in what I wear about the place. Some recipes that are great for budgeting and some things that help me to be able to as yet remain debt free.

I have recently been diagnosed with Complex PTSD This has bought some relief for me after many periods of depression and anxiety along with memory gaps through out my life. As I am learning so much from a great psychologist on why and that for what life has thrown my way over the years the way my brain saved me was a coping mechanism and now I am teaching my brain and myself to cope in different ways. Not easy but I am very much a work in progress.

My dogs with me as I tame some of my garden. @Echidna Home November 2019

I am still alive because of my awesome dogs. Who through the really bad times have given me purpose to get up and do things each day. They need me, and I need them. The worst days I hope are behind me I love waking up each day, no matter what the day may bring. Being in my garden with my hands in the soil and feet bare I am connected earthed for me a feeling of bliss. I am not the best veggie grower, gardener. I struggle yet what ever I get from my own garden is just brilliant. Simple things bring me so much pleasure. This year I have finally been able to grow nasturtiums and marigolds! I have struggled for so long to grow them and everyone about has them and says they are like weeds, Not at my place, they are treasured gems.

Photography is also a great delight to me. Living in Tasmania has given me some really wonderful experiences with my photography. I hope to share them on here. All photos on here unless otherwise noted will be my own. They will be copyrighted so please be advised if you wish to share them you need to contact me.

Why Echidna Home? I have so many native animals and birds that visit and live on my acre, (sadly along with rabbits feral cats and domestic ones too.) My faviourite being the Echidna. Such quirky awesome creatures. I love it when I see she/he in and about the garden or near bye. They are so unique. One echidna lives in my garden. I am so lucky!

The echidna that lives in my garden the blue thing is not a fence but a carrying box I use in the garden. One of my dogs scared she/he and it dug in. It is why the quills are full of rots and its face is covered in dirt. It was making its getaway (dog was inside) @Echidna Home December 2019

As this is about me, my dogs and my life, living on a very low income, as my mental illness means I can no longer work. I will be writing about my life, and where PTSD impacts me I do hope you will enjoy my posts, and comment ask questions and I will answer. To the best of my ability.

welcome to my home

Tazzie.

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