Sunday, September 26, 2010

Starting a new patch: Seed raising

Today I took advantage of the fine weather to get started on some seed raising for what will be the new vegie patch here in Brunswick. I'd nabbed some free shallow punnets at CERES the other weekend and had also saved a couple of other containers. I also decided to try the coir pellets that came in the bundle of gardening stuff I got via Gumtree.
While I was getting to work on the seed raising the Cunning Plans Dept asked the rather pertinent question of "where are you going to put them?". I had initially thought down the side of the house, but that may not get enough sun to keep them warm. The backyard would be better, but required puppy-proofing. The CPD came up with the solution of attaching a shelf to the back wall of the house so I could put my punnets and trays up out of reach of the dogs, but still getting the warmth of the sun.
Voila! Planted in the coir pellets are spaghetti squash, butternut pumpkin and gem squash. In the punnets I've planted another spaghetti squash (I really want to grow these!), some mini capsicums, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, red Russian kale, apple cucumbers, Lebanese cucumbers and garlic chives. To my dismay I found about half the spaghetti squash seeds I'd saved had gone moldy. I'm airing them to see if I can dry them out a bit more. I think I may need to get some of those moisture absorbing sachets to put in my seed box.

I also potted out the continental parsley and mint I picked up a month ago. The parsley punnet actually had 3 plants in it, so I've planted them out separately and hopefully they'll grow nice and bushy.
There is also movement on the small strip of garden by the side of the house that I'd dug over and planted a month or so ago. The row of marigolds have sprouted, as have 4 of the lettuce, one of the dwarf snow peas, and some of the spring onions (and a bunch of weeds, but I'll get to those soon).

It may be getting close to the end of September, but it is finally starting to feel like Spring is arriving. Buds are bursting on trees and we're starting to see the sun for more than a fleeting moment. After having just experienced my first Melbourne winter, I really appreciate the coming of Spring :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thrifty Gardening: Urban pots and herbs

While we were walking up to the local primary school to vote a few weeks ago, we saw a good size plastic pot abandoned amongst other rubbish near the pedestrian bridge over the freeway. I made a note to pick it up on our way back home as I need pots. At the school, post-voting, we noticed that CERES had set up a little stall selling seedlings and potted herbs. I picked up a mint and a continental parsley for $5, which I thought was a bargain (granted the parsley was cheap because it looked a bit straggly).

I also discovered that CERES have a free pot recycling bin at their nursery, where you can nab used pots and then bring back any you aren't using anymore. And their shop sells a number of bulk goods (food and cleaning products) by weight. You can BYO container or use some of the recycled containers or paper bags they have at the store.

We popped in on the weekend to stock up on some eco-friendly dishwasher powder (is anyone else disappointed that it is hard to get eco-friendly dishwasher powder in the major supermarkets? My local Coles stocks eco-friendly dishwasher tablets, but our little dishwasher drawer doesn't need much). And since I'm now on the exclusion diet from hell, I also grabbed a paper bag and stocked up on some quinoa, before heading to the cafe to get a soy dandy. I also love that the market has "Puppy Parking" (i.e. a place just outside the market where you can tether your pooch while you shop), though I'm not sure I'd trust our dynamic duo not to wreak havoc. We exited via the nursery and pot bin to get a few medium pots to pot on my herbs and some small trays to get some seed raising going.

I love Brunswick :)