Tag Archives: veges

The Green Grocer

8 Jul

Shopping Day. Not the supermarket chore it used to be. Now it involves buying up bulk at the peaceful bulk food shop, then popping next door to the family-owned green grocer. The great thing about the green grocer, is that I know their eggs come from happy chickens near Mt Somers in Canterbury. They also give away big bags of fruit and vege scraps – ideal for chickens or to boost your compost. You get to chat about the state of the nation and the weather for free too.



Making the Most of a Warm Autumn Day

26 May


We’ve had a cracker weekend of sunshine. So the garlic went into a horse-poo prepared bed. This was horse poo we bought for .50c from the side of the road on the outskirts of Christchurch. Apparently the moon is not in the best place for planting garlic, but I’m not prepared to wait for the next sunny spell at this time of year. I also sowed silverbeet seeds (for the fickle chickens who have decided they like it for now), parsnips, and bok choy. They’re all sitting snug in my homemade propagation box.

Over the past few years, as I’ve eased my way into vege gardening, I’ve realised just how regularly you need to sow seeds to keep the pantry full. It’s not a matter of sowing over a few weeks in Spring and leaving the garden to do the rest. If I haven’t sown any seeds for a few weeks, I start getting worried, even in the winter.

Other eco-friendly ways we took advantage of the sunny weather were:

  • Raking up the leaves from the cherry tree, loading them onto the compost.
  • Doing as much clothes washing as possible and drying it outside. We have no dryer, so this is important.
  • Cutting back the AkeAke so it lets more sunlight in the window (on sunny days we rely on the sun warming up the house in the afternoons, delaying switching on the heatpump).

While I was on the green roll, I also sprinkled baking soda over all the carpets, had a coffee, then vacuumed it all up. The baking soda acts as a natural deodoriser. Much cheaper and easier than buying some of that carpet shakey-powder stuff that smells like toilet spray. No stupid packaging either.

Obviously it’s now time for a wine and a block of Whittakers chocolate.

Aphids Suck

18 Apr

I was cross to find aphids on my broadbeans this morning. One plant had to be pulled out, it was in such bad condition. I’m not a fan of broadbeans by themselves, but I planted two packs of seeds so I can make broadbean and walnut spread in the winter. This will be perfect for sandwiches for when my relish runs out, and it tastes nothing like boiled broadbeans. I’ve never had an aphid issue in my current vege garden, and have always had a bit of a smug ‘oh, I never get pests!’ kind of attitude. Famous last words.

I know organic, homemade remedies may not be long-lasting, but I couldn’t be bothered going to the shop to buy chemicals, especially since it’s midday and I’m still wearing my pajama pants. So I made this spray. In an old spray bottle, put:

  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil.
  • 1 big tablespoon dishwash detergent.
  • Fill with water. Shake gently to combine.
  • Spray on plants.
  • Wash off an hour later.

So I did all this, then read another recipe that called for laundry soap flakes, NOT dishwash. So I might try that one next. As soon as payday comes round, I’ll hunt out some nasturtiums to plant among them which might also help. Garlic spray is another good remedy, so that might be a project for another day.

Aphid juice

Compost Love

16 Apr

This morning I spent some quality time with the compost.

I started this compost in spring with a roll of chicken wire and some stakes. I’ve put loads of stuff into it that the experts say you shouldn’t. Like weeds, onion skins, more weeds, seeds, dead plants and citrus. My only rules are:

  • No meat.
  • No ivy or¬†convolvulus, and minimise oxalis that goes in (also jasmine and honeysuckle if I had those on my property).
  • Turn it every week with a garden fork.
  • Admire it regularly.

Being picky with the compost is not something I feel like doing when I’m traipsing out in my jim-jams (aka pajamas) in the dark with a bowl of scraps. At that stage I’m just trying not to stand on a hedgehog. When I use the compost on the garden, I’m ok with any seeds being distributed with it. I’m down with weeding.¬†As you can see by the bulging compost-stomach, it seems to relish everything else. Today I gave it a bag of horse poo I picked up on a country drive for .50c. It probably had more weed seeds in it. Sometimes we give it a dose of vermicast, and we give it all the chicken poo. I think a good compost can’t work alone – the chickens, worm farm, vege garden, compost and Christchurch City Council green waste systems all work as a team.


Filling up the Winter Vege Garden

14 Apr

Weekends for our family mean spending time in the garden and not on the housework. It’s a rule we’ve embraced, especially with daylight saving finished. My recommendation is that everyone adopts this rule. More relaxation for all.

This winter is the first year we’ll be utilising the entire vege garden, partly to make sure the chickens (Mumchick and Sons) will have enough food, partly to reduce our food bill, and mostly so that our food tastes better.

Now, historically I’m no vege-fan. Most of them made me gag (in case my parents are reading this, it wasn’t your cooking, it was my tastebuds). Fortunately my tastebuds have matured, just in time for me to exclaim “but this pumpkin soup is delicious!” to my kids when they start gagging.

Today we put in a dozen beetroot (used to loathe them, now I love them roasted) and a couple of dozen leeks alongside the compost. I *accidentally* bought a cheap, decent-sized tamarillo (NZ$3.95) from the nursery bargain section which is a bit of an experiment. Frostcloth required for that soon methinks.

BTW, there are an abundance of massive deals to be had at many garden centres in autumn. I saw apple trees, kaffir limes, peonies, hellebores, coprosmas plus loads more from between NZ$1.00-$3.95. You could easily fill some gaps in your garden to reduce the weeds for just a tenner.