Tag Archives: seeds

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.

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Seeds go Postal

9 Jul

A bit of a thrill today when seeds arrived via courier. The reasons I ordered them online were:

  • I was getting cross at the lack of herbs my local garden shop supplied (they’re great with veges and flowers though). Three times I went there looking for German Chamomile, with no luck for seeds or seedlings.
  • Getting things in the mail that aren’t bills is exciting.
  • It’s inexpensive.

It’s good to know there is no excuse for not planting your favourite herbs. It’s also a lovely winter thing to do so you can get some of the spring planting planned.

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Seedy

2 Jul

More seed planting tonight while the oven heated up for lazy bread. The reasons for this were:

  • So I don’t have to splash out a small fortune on seedlings in the spring
  • To supplement my (so far very lazy) chickens’ feed
  • To provide me with something to trade with over the coming months (esp. for lemons)

I chucked seed raising mix into 3 punnets and planted more basil, silverbeet, and bok choy. These three punnets get the sunny spot on the lounge windowsill. The seedlings that were there go in the cold frame outside, and one of the punnets from the cold frame is now hardening up under the eaves. Bit like musical chairs. One is always left out in the cold.

It helps that all this is done within an eight metre radius. Not too much walking required. Then the bread went into the oven. Whammo. Sustainability Wench-ness achieved, thus cancelling out the takeaways we had for dinner (no actual scientific evidence in this theory).

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Winter Basil Love

29 May

I was intrigued to see little baby basils growing in a pot in a friend’s kitchen last night. I assume that when I use the remains of my pesto in bottled pasta sauce in April, that it’s the last I smell of this summery scent until January.

You’ve got nothing to lose by sowing seeds and trying them at different times of the year. If you try sowing a variety of seeds often, something will germinate. If you sow nothing, nothing will germinate. It’s not an expensive exercise.

This evening I sowed a punnet each of basil and random perennial seeds that an elderly woman from down the road gave us (we have no idea what it’s called, all we know is that it has a purple flower). They’ll stay inside through the winter, then the perennials can move to my homemade propagation box in the early spring.

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Homemade Coldframe for Snuggly Plants

18 May

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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.

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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.

No-Brainer Watering Bottle

17 May

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This Sustainability Wench Tip is a simple one that re-uses rubbish and benefits your garden.

Throughout the year I have seedlings and cuttings in various spots around the house. The number one rule is not to let them dry out. Sometimes I do let them dry out because I am lazy and put off watering until it’s too late – especially in the winter when the cooler weather fools you into thinking the punnets under the porch are damp enough.

Today I made a couple of watering bottles to keep on hand right next to the plants:

  • Grab large empty plastic bottle.
  • Punch holes in the lid with stabby little scissors. I use ones I borrowed from my parent’s medicine cabinet twenty years ago.
  • Fill bottle up with water, put lid on.
  • Water the plants by giving the bottle a bit of a squeeze in their direction.

By watering through little holes, you avoid that tsunami-effect on the little seedlings. If you fill the bottle up to the top, you don’t have to refill it straight away (depending on how many plants you’ve got to water). 

Bok Choy for the Chooks

27 Apr

A couple of weeks ago, we got a Mumma chicken and her four bebe chicks. We call them Mumchick and Sons (though there is some evidence the bebes are all girls).

We feed them chicken food and mash, but I’m keen to supplement their diet with homegrown greens and kitchen scraps. Forking out at The Supermarket for vegetables is ridiculous when many greens can be grown in winter.

Mumchick and Sons enjoy silverbeet, herbs and leftover lazy bread, but their favourite seems to be bok choy (or as we call it, Bok-Bok Choy). So today I transplanted some seedlings into the garden (I’d sown the seeds about three weeks back). It was such a beautiful day, I ended up getting a bit manic and sowing sweet peas, silverbeet (also for the chicks), carrots and broad beans. We mucked out the chook enclosure and moved them to a fresh bit of lawn. They’re growing beautifully, and the cat has left them alone.  The didn’t say thank you, but I know they love us.

Bok Choy Teenage chicks