Saturday, October 25, 2008

Growing Challenge #1

I have decided to participate in the Growing Challenge.
Let's see, Rule #1 says to grow one additional fruit or veggie than last year.... well that's easy, I didn't grow any veggies last year :-)
Hang on, the other part of the rule says it has to be from seed.... well I was in a hurry to get the veggie patch underway so I bought a lot of seedlings, but I did grow my beans, radishes, carrots and some of my corn, tomatoes and spring onions from seed.

More recently I've put in some seeds of Watermelon (Sugar Baby), Pumpkin (Butternut & Golden Nugget), Cucumber (Armenian heirloom), Capsicum (Seven Colour Mix heirloom) and mixed Squash (Sweet 'n' Kwik) so I will have to wait and see what comes up and what doesn't. I also put in seed potatoes and sweet potato tubers.

BevB - Zone 4 SE Queensland, Australia

Friday, October 24, 2008

Greening My Insides #1

I’ve just read Melinda's Green Your Insides Challenge and thought this was a timely find as I have been seeing my naturopath over the last two weeks due to my dermatitis getting out of control again. At the moment I’m having Low Level Laser Therapy twice a week, taking Dr Reckeweg R23 homeopathic treatment for skin conditions, zinc and fish oil supplements as well as a detox diet. The detox is definitely greening my insides :-)

A little history.....
My dermatitis started nearly 20 yrs ago under my wedding ring then quickly spread over my hands and up my arms. Doctors and 2 skin specialists prescribed many lotions and potions to no avail. Patch tests didn’t show any allergies. Cortisone creams made my skin weaker. Taking anti-histamines, washing myself with aqueous cream, wearing cotton gloves and avoiding harsh detergents helped. Eventually I was told to learn to live with it, which I did until I washed my hair with a popular brand of shampoo & conditioner. Within 20 minutes my face and neck were itchy, the next morning my face was puffed up like a balloon with slits for eyes and a button nose. One look in the mirror reduced me to tears so mirrors were avoided for awhile ;-)

Hubby insisted on taking me to a doctor. He was determined there must be something they could do, and was then shocked and disgusted when the doctor said there was nothing more to be done than I was already doing. The only thing we did learn was that if I hadn’t been taking my antihistamines regularly I’d have likely ended up in hospital.

During the next couple of weeks I slept a lot (not a good thing when you have a toddler in the house), went through two face peels and lived on antihistamines, then hubby mentioned a naturopath sign he passed every day on his way to work and reckoned it was worth a try seems the doctors couldn’t do anything. The naturopath said the build up of chemicals in and around my body had got to a level I couldn’t cope with anymore. After a detox, supplements that benefit skin conditions and some educating I was on the road to being able to control my dermatitis through diet and trying to live chemical free.

It’s about 12 yrs since I last saw my naturopath. During those years I have been able to keep my dermatitis under control dealing with minor outbreaks when I’ve come into contact with the wrong thing. I’ve improved our home a lot, but I’ve slowly let my diet slide and more recently I unknowingly entered chemical laden environments in the outside world. When the dermatitis was on my face again I realised I couldn’t keep doing this on my own it was time to go back to the naturopath and start at square one.

This time I will be having follow up visits and we will be working out a new diet for me to stick to so my insides stay green forever. In future posts I will write about some of the changes I’ve made over the past 12 years as well as changes I will be making now.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zucchini & Squash....

I picked butter beans and broccolini for this evenings dinner, then found these zucchini and squash ready for picking.


Herbs and more veggies....

We've had storms pass through the area two afternoons this week but they missed us and we've only had 2mm of rain.

I stopped in at a garden center while I was in town yesterday. I bought another punnet of baby spinach and some herbs, parsley, mint, basil and coriander.

We're harvesting broccolini, butter beans and purple king beans daily and still getting a few honeypod peas.

butter beans

purple king beans

The potatoes are starting to come up.... and so are the weeds!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Flowers, veggies and bugs

Checked the rain gauge this morning, we've had another 10ml.

Earlier this year I popped into to see an old friends parents and they gave me some cuttings of a catus which I just stuck in the garden above the retaining wall. I had planned to pot them up but I got slack, and it seems they are happy where they are as I have been rewarded with flowers already!

In the veggie patch the mizuna (an asian green) has gone to flower....

Of 6 broccoli I planted only one has formed a head so far....

The broccolini are producing well....

The first of the squash....

and the first of the green zucchini...

and more yellow zucchini.

I also found a few of these beetles on the zucchini leaves

I hope this is a good beetle, not a pest like the 28 spotted ladybirds that keep attacking my potatoes!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


A few nights go I made an Impossible Quiche for the first time, and we loved it.
There are many versions of this pastryless quiche around. Here is the recipe I used, but see my notes at the bottom for changes I made on the day.


3 eggs (preferably free range :-)
1 1/2 cups milk
125gm melted butter
1 cup grated cheese
3/4 cup Self Raising flour
1 cup ham or bacon (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 cup grated carrot (see note below)

Beat eggs with a fork or whisk, add milk, butter and cheese, give a stir, then add flour, ham and vegetables.
Pour into large quiche dish and bake in mod oven (180C) for 45 mins or until golden and set.
Serves 6 good size portions

I didn't measure the ham, I just used whatever was left over in the fridge from sandwich making.
I didn't use any carrot, instead I chopped up broccolini, silverbeet & spinach from the garden and some shop bought cauli. It was more than the 1/2 cup of carrot but the quiche still turned out great.

The original recipe I'd been given used margarine but we only use butter.
Have you ever compared how butter is made to how margarine is made?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not much happening here.....

It rained in the early hours of last Friday. When I checked the gauge early in the morning we'd had a lovely 45mm, then over the weekend another 11mm, so the gardens had a nice watering and the tanks are topped up. We're in a semi-rural area so the tanks are our water supply. It always feels good to know they're nearly full.

Hubby didn't work today so we went into town. We called into Bunnings to get a few things from the tool section. I decided to grab a punnet of mixed lettuce seems most of mine had bolted to seed the last week and I hadn't started any seedlings. I must get more organised!
While we were in the garden section hubby picked up a compost bin for me. He'd noticed me admiring them each time we saw them :-)

I harvested the first of our butter beans this afternoon. Only 6 but they went into the fried rice along with the freshly picked peas, spring onions and baby broccoli (or broccolini).
While I was in the veggie patch I also noticed some of the potatoes are poking up through the straw.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seeds and Seedlings

Once the decision was made to start the veggie patch I was in a rush to get it going fast. I planted whatever seedlings I could get my hands on at my closest garden centres, and grabbed seeds of everything else. Fortunately a few were organic seeds or heirloom varieties but many were not!

I ordered a copy of Australian Organic Gardening Resource Guide and catalogue from Green Harvest which arrived quickly in the mailbox. Soon I will be putting in an order for some of the heirloom vegetables. The hardest part is deciding which ones to try first :-)

Easy vegetables for beginners - While I was shopping for seeds I saw beetroot, carrots, radish and spring onions available in Yates Seed Tapes and thought what a great idea these are for beginning gardeners or those who hate thinning after seedlings come up.


How Green Am I?

I took an online quiz to find out how green I am living and here is the result....

Your Life is 76% Green

You live a very green life, and you're aware of how your actions help the earth.

Of course, it's hard to be totally green. But when you make a tradeoff, you know why you're making it.

So there's still room for improvement around here, but at least I am 3/4 of the way to being totally green :-)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Early Morning Stroll & more planting

Around 6:00 am this morning I took my ritual stroll around the patch to check for unwanted bugs. I also took the camera.
I have a few large pots in the veggie patch. The 1st one has Spring Onions & Chives....

The Spring Onions were free, well sort of ;-) I planted the bottoms from some supermarket spring onions and haven't had to buy any since. A couple have gone to flower so I will see if they self seed.

The next two pots have potatoes at various stages....

The tallest ones are supermarket potatoes that had begun the sprout in the cupboard. The other pot contains potatoes that had grown in the garden from the veggie peelings I had buried. They were growing where I had other things growing so I transplanted them.

The 4th pot has a white choko in it.....

I noticed the dwarf butter beans and climbing purple kings are beginning to flower....

so I planted more later in the day.

This is the last of the mandarins....

and the first of the zucchini....

I been reading about moon planting so I'm trying to follow the recommended planting phases. As we are in the first quarter today I have direct sown seeds of the following fruiting crops.... Beans (dwarf Butter & climbing Purple King), Sweet Corn (Terrific F1), Watermelon (Sugar Baby), Pumpkin (Butternut & Golden Nugget), Cucumber (Armenian heirloom), Capsicum (Seven Colour Mix heirloom) and mixed Squash (Sweet 'n' Kwik)


Monday, October 6, 2008

Veggie Patch Overview

After the last lot of chickens died hubby said "No more chooks" so we recently converted the chook pen into a veggie patch seems this area is fenced off from animals that may wish to come in for a snack! I'll work on getting chooks again sometime in the future ;-)

An overview of the patch a few days ago....
Bed 1: mixed lettuce, asian greens, spinach, radishes, cauli, brocolli & cabbage....
Bed 2: corn, eggplant, baby brocolli, brussel sprouts, honeypod peas, butter beans, purple king climbing beans, beetroot, onions & tomatoes.... (2 views to show the whole bed)....

Bed 3: Under the straw are Certified Seed Potatoes (sebago, as this was all I could get locally) and a few kipfler from the cupboard....

Bed 4: This is a garden in the middle of the yard as I was running out of room and soil to put anything else in the converted chook pen. Here we have cucumber, squash, zuchini (yellow and green) and golden nugget pumpkin....

there is also an experiment in Bed 4, a bathtub with some sweet potato tubers....

At the moment we are harvesting silverbeet, spinach, beetroot, peas, baby broccoli, spring onions, chives, lettuce and asian greens.