Category Archives: Garden

Happy-Making: Dirty Hands and Weekend Reads

(Blogger buggarised around and I only just saw that this post never made it up on Friday. So here it is… On Monday!!)

It’s been a funny old week, but it’s ending on a delightfully high note. Not only did Sparky and I start our new exercise routine this morning (waking at 5am six days a week to do either yoga/jog) and it felt goooood, but I’ve also been able to get my hands into the dirt and start working on our garden beds. It’s my favourite domestic thing to do and after an hour or two in the garden, I feel like I’ve been on holidays. Or am flush with that post-exercise endorphin rush.

Plus the sun is shining (it’s as windy as all get-out, but I’m not going to complain) and I got my new issue of frankie in the post today, just in time for the weekend! AND it’s chock-full of awesome things that people make. Win:win:win!

Bonus: Tonight, I’m making caramel popcorn! My teeth are aching with happiness (or is that sugar?) already.

I hope you all have wonderfully content weekends, and much happiness results. xx

Get Out(side)! Plus the Clean-Out Continues…

Ahoy! I hope you all had wonderful long weekends? A pretty wet affair here in Sydney unfortunately. We managed to get one day’s worth of outside work done though, which felt so, so, very good (nothing beats gardening and outdoor work to chill my mind and work my muscles) and we now know exactly where the vege garden will be going in a month or two, as well as the fruit trees, compost bins and chook run. I’m ridiculously excited! I’ll be sure to take some photos of the work as it progresses.

Aside from the garden planning, I managed to have another big clear out of our storage room, and have culled another 4 big garbage bags of clothes and toys that can go to Vinnies. I also finally organised the craft cupboard and went through all my remaining jewellery stock. I only have one crate of it left, so it’s gradually going. I can’t tell you how much better I feel with every cull I do. Just releasing ourselves from the excess stuff we’ve accumulated is seriously liberating.

I estimate that I’ve got about another 6 crates worth of stuff that can go, it’s just a matter of sorting through it all to find what I need to keep, what I really, really want to keep (remember: love it or get rid of it) and what can go.

In the Garden: How to Make Leaf Mould

image via Self Sufficient UK

While today is actually the first day of winter (boo!) the majority of deciduous trees around us have still yet to lose all their leaves, which means two things: Mess and the opportunity to make leaf mould.

Sounds Gross. What is it?

It’s basically the term used for rotted down autumn leaves. The gardening nerd in me knows that this stuff is beeeyootiful for your garden – it can be used as a soil conditioner (to improve the overall health of your soil) or as a gentle, rich mulch to help retain water and keep weeds at bay, and gardeners often refer to it as “precious gold”. It’s perfect for ferns and rainforest plants in particular, but will help enrich any soil in your garden by improving the water retention and overall health of the garden.

How do I Make it?

Super simple. Just rake up all your fallen leaves and give them a spray with the garden hose. You want them to be fairly wet, to help speed up the decomposition. Then fill some heavy-duty black plastic bin bags with your leaves, adding a handful of blood and bone every 30cm or so (this appears to be optional, but I trust the word of Gardening Australia!) Close your bags up, poke some holes in it with a garden fork and leave in a sheltered place, preferably on soil/grass, for at least a year.

So, this isn’t an activity for those who are after instant gratification, but it is worthwhile. If nothing else, it gets me outside in the chilly winter air for a while, and gives me something for my garden for basically no cost.

How do I Know When it’s Ready?

It will be crumbly and sweet-smelling, and resemble the look of regular compost. (Just a side note: you can’t add many autumn leaves to your regular compost bin, as they don’t easily break down in those conditions. Too many and it will slow your pile down.)

Sounds Good. Any Tips?

If you want the process to go a little quicker, try dumping all your leaves on the lawn and mowing over them. This will break them up, meaning they’ll break down quicker. Also, there are special leaf mould compost bins available, which compress the leaves, apparently speeding the process up some more, so perhaps try keeping a weight of some sort on top of your pile. Maybe some timber or corrugated iron would do the trick.

So, if this ridiculous sinus infection goes away some time soon, this is what I plan on doing over the weekend. And, funnily enough, it makes me not dislike winter quite so much!

Happy-Making: Talking Dogs + Sprouts

Yes, I am late. But this was absolutely worth the wait. Saw it posted on Facebook this morning and Sparky, Isy and I watched it about 8 times. Sparky and I laughed the loudest though.

In other happy-making:

– my sweet pea seeds have sprouted and I’m finding a ridiculous amount of joy in those tiny little green shoots. only 10 weeks till they flower(!)

– Isy just sprouted two four-year-old molars and is a different kid, thankfully.

– I had my first 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep in nine months the other night.

– It’s still warm enough to wear no shoes outside during the day, and my toes are digging the new grass.

– Tomorrow is Mothers Day! To all the mamas or soon-to-be mamas or like-mamas out there, have a fabulous one, please!!


Sweet Peas and Sickies

Do you know what’s worse than having a sick kidlet? Having two. Which is where we currently are. Awesome.

But both littlies are currently sleeping off their cold/fever/cough thing so I am going to get in a spot of quickie gardening and a dash quickie crafting. Then some longie ironing.

Quickie gardening first. Hurray for the sunshine!!

source: Muck About

12-14 weeks and I hope to have something like this blooming on our front and back decks. Because in 12-14 weeks, it’s going to be miserable winter to the maximum and some sweet floral tones will be much needed. Enter sweet peas! And if you have 15 minutes and a plant pot spare, you could share in the joy.

It’s traditional to plant your sweet peas on St Patrick’s Day (apparently seeds planted before sundown on St Paddys Day gives you the strongest, most prolific flowering plants) but all around Australia you can plant your seeds any time before Anzac Day, to give a beautiful show of winter/early Spring flowers.

I have a few spare terracotta pots in the backyard that I’m using, but you can grow sweet peas in the ground, as long as the soil is rich and free-draining. They also require full sun (at least 6 hours a day).

I picked up a few packets of seeds at Bunnings – they’re Mr Fothergills – and they were about $3 a pack. One is a dwarf, and the other two grow to around 1.5-2m tall, so obviously need a trellis or some sort of support support.

I bought some 1.5m bamboo posts from the local nursery that I’m making into teepees (check here for instructions) and have a good quality potting mix. Plant your seeds about one knuckle deep (roughly twice the depth of their diameter and water the soil. If the soil is damp when sowing, you won’t really need to water them again until the seedlings emerge in a couple of weeks’ time.

*Gardening Australia suggests gently rubbing your seeds in some sandpaper and soaking them in some water overnight prior to planting, but I need a fix right now, so I’m popping the seeds in straight out of the packet. Tut tut, I know.

As the seedlings emerge and tendrils start to grow, gently wrap the shoots around your trellis, to encourage the plant to grow upwards. And once flowers start blooming in 12-14 weeks, be sure to cut them regularly, as the more you remove the flowers, the more the plant will produce. And that means more beautiful, fragrant, ridiculously pretty blooms for your house. And your friends’ houses. And your nana.

source: Cupcakes and Cashmere

Have you planted anything lately? Got some soil beneath your nails? Sun on the back of your neck? x