Tag Archives: coldframe

Doing the Sustainability in the Chaos

26 Jul

With a large contract to work on, blogging has taken a back seat over the past few weeks. It’s also been school holidays, and the entire family came down with the cold and spew bugs in the same week. Messy.

What is interesting is how all the little sustainability projects I’ve been experimenting with have helped me get through the busy times.

The apple cider vinegar drinks helped clear our noses.

The seeds on the mantelpiece and in the cold frame have been germinating well, left to their own devices and squirts of water – giving me a little thrill to look at every time I walked past them on the porch.

Aloe vera masks with a drop of lavender oil helped my stressed skin.

My hand scrub (plus I used it on my feet) was a lovely pamper treat tonight at the end of a very crazy (but successful) work week.

It took no time at all the clean the bath and microwave, and do a quick dusting session with my sustainable solutions. These were chores I had very little time to do.

Homemade greek yoghurt with a teaspoon of homemade lemon curd stirred through has become my fast, easy and deliciously tangy breakfast.

These busy times are when I thought I’d drop the ball on being a Sustainable Wench, but I’m happy to realise that I’ve set some positive habits for myself.  Didn’t stop me from spending the money and treating ourselves to fish and chips tonight however.


Snow Prep

18 Jun

Apparently it’s going to snow lots over the next few days. Christchurch as a city gets a bit panicky in the snow. We’ve had snow in the city every winter for the past few years – not a whole lot – but it’s still a big novelty. Most things shut down. Which must be hugely entertaining for the Canadians I think.

I thought it best to get the garden ready this afternoon. The thing about gardening though, is that weather happens. You can only do so much to help the plants. Sometimes they die. That’s life.  My task list was pretty small:

  • stake all the large broadbeans (a couple of months ago it snowed and they got hammered). They look a bit wonky in the pic below. That’s because I ran out of tights to tie them up. I will have cold legs.
  • pick all the ripe limes, lemons and mandarins
  • tuck the seedlings away in their house
  • put the shovel and secateurs close to the garage entrance
  • admire my winter garden while it still looks good . . . because next week it may all be under water
  • open the doors of the house to give it a big dose of fresh air before we hunker down


What’s quite good about this Sustainability Wench bizzo, is that if the shops shut, I can:

The hardest bit will be keeping the small fry entertained.

Homemade Coldframe for Snuggly Plants

18 May


I’d been wanting to make a coldframe for seeds, seedlings, and cuttings for some time. The benefits of making your own coldframe are:

  • You get to use tools and speak like a builder
  • You can start propogating things earlier and get them into the ground faster
  • You can upcycle stuff that would normally be dumped
  • You can grow plants for free (cuttings) with more success
  • You can grow more from seed, which is far more economical than buying baby plants

Our neighbour (who has an awning-making business) gave me loads of thick clear plastic offcuts the other day. It looks like the stuff that windows in those big 1970s family tents are made from. Perfect for keeping warmth in and frost out. I had seen the stuff in use as an awning during Friday arvo drinks with the School Mums a while back, and specifically asked for any free bits with a coldframe in mind. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

I found an old bookshelf and suitcase at EcoShop yesterday. This morning we (I made this into a family event) flipped the bookshelf on its back, removed the extra slats, repositioned a piece to help keep the plastic up in case of snow, and screwed the plastic onto one side of the case. We used a manual screwdriver as the shelf is just pine. I can fold the plastic back or prop it up at the sides on warm days to keep it ventilated, and cover it back up at night. It’s very heavy, so it won’t blow around.


I haven’t quite figured out how to dismantle the suitcase yet, so in the meantime I’ve chucked my taller cuttings in it and it’s positioned under the porch.

If you don’t have a neighbour who has an awning business, you can use cheap windows from a reclamation yard, although you need to be able to move them aside on hot days. If you Google ‘Coldframe’ images, you can see loads of ideas.