Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thrifty Gardening: Free seeds and fertiliser

Continuing with the sustainable and thrifty living concept, I've set myself a challenge to establish a garden at our new place without spending any money if possible.

We brought with us our collection of seeds and tools, so that's our starting point. The things we had to leave behind included our fertilisers and pots.

So I've been looking out for possible freecycling options to replenish our stocks. I saw an ad on Gumtree from someone giving away a box of fertiliser and assorted seeds. I replied and on Monday popped into town on my way back from a meeting to pick it up. Talk about a good haul of freebies! I'm so glad I brought my fold-up trolley otherwise I would have really been stuffed trying to get it home on the tram.

Check this out:

The fertiliser etc.. includes:
  • Richgro Premium complete fertiliser plus 5kg bag
  • Naked Farmer Organic Soil Activator sample pack
  • Hortico All purpose compound fertiliser 500g tub (open)
  • Brunnings Tomato & Vegetable Starter fertiliser 1kg tub
  • Jiffy small peat pellets 12
  • Water storage crystals 250g far (1/2 full)
  • Miracle Gro Seafeed 3 in 1 250ml
  • Charlie Carp 500ml
  • Yates Thrive Shake 'n' Feed 700g (1/2 full)
  • Garden ties 15
  • Brunnings Rose Planting Mix coir block (open)
  • Seasol 20ml sachet
  • Eco-cweed 5g sachet
  • Rainsaver crystals 10g sachet
  • Searles Penetraide re-wetting granules 2 x 40g sachets
  • Searles Flourish soluble plant food 3 x 20g sachets
The assorted seeds includes:
  • Cucumber Lebanese (open)
  • Snapdragon
  • Tomato Roma (open)
  • Dwarf snapbean (open)
  • Sunflower
  • Pak Choi (open)
  • Broccoli Royal Dame (open)
  • Beetroot Perfect (open)
  • Spinach Emerald Star (open)
  • Squash Gem
  • Lucerne (open)
  • Eggplant Listada di Gandia
  • Peanut Virginia
  • Okra x 2 (open)
  • Miscellaneous bag that appears to have a mix of coriander, pumpkin and possibly spring onion)
Not bad for free, eh?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bonjour Brunswick!

The move to Melbourne went very well. We arrived last Thursday evening, moved everything in on Friday, and by the end of the weekend were mostly unpacked and ready to start the work week. As of last night, we have finished unpacking all the boxes and have a giant pile of flat packed cardboard boxes to show for it.

Our new place is really a blank slate from the garden perspective. The back yard is a decent size and the only things in it are a shed, a clothesline strung between two concrete posts, and some very bare skinny trees, which I haven't identified yet. The backyard faces north, so gets plenty of sunshine. Right now, in the middle of winter, we're appreciating it, but I'm guessing summer will be another story.
Left: Backyard facing north - Right: Backyard facing south

The front yard is also fairly nondescript. Being on the south side, it's mostly in shade and just has patchy grass.

I can't wait to get started on building new gardens. As we're renting, we just need to check that the landlord is okay with this. We're also thinking about building more of a container garden so that if we move when our lease finishes in 12 months then we'll be able to take most of the garden with us.

We're also going to have to start new compost and worm farms as we left the others behind in Figtree. While we're still waiting to sell the house in Figtree, we're being very conservative with our finances. However, I jumped onto Gumtree and managed to get a second hand compost bin for $20. It's missing one of the side pieces that hold it together (it shouldn't be gaping like that), but that's a fairly easy fix.

I also managed to get a pair of plastic clam shells (kids sand pit/wading pool) for free! This will definitely help keep the pups cool in summer.

I've also found an unused (still in packaging) 2-tier worm farm for $40, but it's about an hours drive from us, so I'm still tossing up whether it's worth a trip that far and when we'd be able to do it.