Tuesday 17 December 2013

Oh dear...

I have been dreaming about my tomatoes ripening. I think I need a life.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Harvest Monday (+ garden update and pictures) 

It's another small and boring harvest this week I'm afraid! Lettuce, carrots, mint, rosemary, nasturtiums and eggs.

I have been drying the herbs for future use, or to give to family members as Christmas presents.



There are definitely some exciting things happening in the garden though. It's just a matter of time before I am harvesting wonderful Summer veggies!

 My blueberry plant I recently bought from Diggers. I doubt I'll get fruit this year because it's still so small, but who knows? Maybe next year anyway! Blueberries are one of my favourite fruits but I don't usually buy them because organic ones are super expensive, and I hate to think of the chemicals sprayed onto non-organic ones! I often buy frozen organic blueberries though and add them to smoothies, or just eat them as they are! 

Basil plants coming along nicely...


The main veggie patch. The nasturtiums and potatoes are going crazy! And yes, that's a cauliflower plant on the right hand side. I highly doubt it will do very well in the Australian Summer but I'm curious to see what happens. Another experiment!

 Compost pumpkins are going very well

Borage, tomatoes, carrots, nasturtium, lettuce, capsicum, eggplant and a leek...I think that's it! Oh and silverbeet and kale that are getting destroyed by bugs. Not sure what to do about that! I guess they're not really designed for warmer weather anyway. The dish is part of my attempt to attract butterflies to my garden, as I read somewhere that they like wet sand as they drink the minerals from the water.

Zucchinis are getting there...though the flowers seem to keep dropping off and then the zucchini they were attached to dies. No idea why this is happening and it's frustrating!

First pumpkin!

Tomatoes on right hand side are setting lots of fruit. I hope at least one of them is a cherry tomato variety so that I can eat them sooner, though I don't know how to tell so early on. I have no idea what variety any of my tomatoes are because they either self seeded from the garden or came from a mixed pack of Diggers seeds.

And my most recent experiment...growing rice! Not much to report yet, other than that I soaked some brown bio-dynamic rice for a few days then chucked it into here with a whole heap of dirt and water. Will update on progress!

I will be contributing this to Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, so head over there to check out what people are harvesting in other parts of the world!

Thanks for reading and happy gardening,


Monday 9 December 2013

Harvest Monday (on Tuesday again)

This week I harvested a large leek, a few carrots, potatoes, lettuce, mint and Vietnamese mint. 

I'm hoping that soon I will be able to show you...



 and maybe even lemons! 

Also, look at how well my pumpkins I planted where my compost bin used to be are going! They are at least three times the size of those on the other side of the garden which are just planted in the soil that was already here (I haven't added much compost that section of the garden yet). I'm hoping these will be one of the few things that can survive the wrath of my chooks, so I took off their covers today. Not so sure how well the self-seeded tomatoes growing here will fair against the chickens, however!

Head over to Daphne's Dandelions to check out other (much more impressive) harvests from around the world.

Thanks for reading,

Jess :) 

Sunday 1 December 2013

Harvest Monday

Not much to show off this week at all! 

Not surprisingly in the increasing heat, my kale is getting destroyed by bugs.

The culprit (or one of them)!

Three eggs a day, lettuce, carrots and potatoes

I decided to make a quick stew/soup type thing using my carrots, kale and the rest of my broad beans. I basically threw everything in this picture into a pot (in the tubs are frozen kale leftover from juicing and frozen cooked lentils), plus some tomatoes and leftover steamed asparagus, cauliflower and cabbage. 

Coated in cheese, this stew was actually quite nice!

My zucchinis and tomatoes are flowering like crazy, so I'm hoping it won't be too long before I have some more interesting things to show you!


Wednesday 27 November 2013

My first kefir

I strained my first batch this morning! I'm not sure if I should have waited longer as it was quite runny, but I thought that while I'm getting used to it, it would be better for it to be milder rather than stronger. The best way I can describe the taste is that it's a bit like sour yoghurt, but it really is unique. I had a couple of mouthfuls of it on its own, then decided to be a wuss and mix the rest with yoghurt. I don't think it will take me too long to get used to the taste - I'll just gradually switch the ratios of kefir and yoghurt until I can hopefully have it on its own (or mixed with fruit etc.).

Kefir grains in milk on right, and strained kefir on left

It tasted great mixed with this yoghurt!

I'm really looking forward to seeing if this helps my stomach problems - I have Leaky Gut Syndrome and probiotics are meant to be good for it. I don't have any major issues, but I often just feel a bit unwell so I hope this will help.


Monday 25 November 2013

Harvest Monday (on Tuesday...)

I missed my first Harvest Monday! I was out from 9am until 11pm yesterday so as you can imagine, I didn't have a whole lot of time to post! My harvests this week have been pretty small, so there's not a whole lot to write about anyway, but regardless I thought I should show you all what's happening in my little corner of the world! 

All I've really harvested is broad beans, carrots, rosemary, mint, some lettuce and a couple of potatoes, and as usual we are getting three eggs every day.

I have hung up some rosemary to dry (I'm hoping this will work OK!) as well as using it fresh, mostly with roasted vegetables.

 My best carrot so far!

My biggest harvest - carrots (I had to pull several out small as they were starting to go to seed), broad beans, mint and a couple of eggs. I have mostly been steaming the carrots and broad beans, and using the mint in my tea. I also gave some broad beans to a friend as I am getting sick of them! This is the last of them however, and I'm sure I'll probably miss them once they've gone.

Unfortunately I think my harvests for the next few weeks will be pretty small and boring as well. I can't wait for my Summer vegetables to start producing! Thankfully the weather is finally warming up (it has been a cold Spring here in Melbourne!) so that should speed them along a bit.

This week I will be planting out yet more tomato seedlings (I already have about 15 in the garden) and placing an order with Diggers for more seeds. I will write a post on that later! 

Also to come - kefir! I am just about to receive some kefir grains, and I can't wait to start producing my own. I'm particularly excited to use the whey it produces to make fermented vegetables. I'm hoping I will be able to grow lots of tomatoes and preserve a lot of them to use over the cooler months.

I'll submit this post to Harvest Mondays at Daphne's Dandelions, so readers of her wonderful blog can see what's growing in different parts of the world.

Thanks for reading!

Friday 22 November 2013

What's wrong with my carrot? 

I was picking carrots today and discovered that the top of this one was covered in what I'm pretty sure are aphids. I have never experienced this before, and it was only on one carrot which was interesting. The carrot itself and the leaves were fine. 

Are they aphids? What causes them? What can I do to prevent them?

Any advice would be appreciated! 

Aside from that, the garden is doing well, and starting to get a bit more colourful!

My first tomato flowers have appeared. 

The borage is flowering.

Aaaaand the chickens are still just doing their thing.


Monday 18 November 2013


Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you will join me in my ongoing quest to produce my own food in the backyard of my rented house in Melbourne, Australia. My house was once dubbed 'The Chook House' by a visiting friend and the name has kind of stuck since then. I don't have a lot of gardening experience but I am learning as I go, under the watchful eyes of my 3 loyal and curious chickens! 

My approach to gardening is, to be honest, pretty hap-hazard. I don't plant in rows and I like experimenting! Because I am renting, I have to garden around already existing plants so my 'veggie' garden is really a mixture of different plants (and weeds)! My garden looks like a bit of a mess, but I like to think it has character. 

It's a really exciting (and patience testing) time of year at the moment, as summer veggies like tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant and zucchini are growing but are still small! I'm getting pretty sick of broad beans and silver beet so I'm super excited for these veggies to start fruiting! 

As well as sharing my gardening successes and failures, I hope I'll also be motivated enough to share with you some of the meals I create with the food that I harvest - after all, why else do we grow veggies if not to create delicious meals with them? 

I'll start off with a tour around my garden - enjoy! 

Pumpkin and zucchini

My chook dust bathing

Horseradish - never grown this before so if anyone has any tips I'd love to hear them! 

Lemon tree, comfrey, pumpkin and potatoes      

Seedlings galore! (Mostly tomatoes...)

More seedlings, including tomato, capsicum, basil, eggplant, lettuce and broccoli (which I'm pretty sure won't grow at this time of year, but as I said, I like to experiment!)
Tomatoes and mint (which grows like a weed)

Beans...hiding in among the overgrown grasses

Potatoes, nasturtium and coriander that is going to seed (I'm going to try and collect and save the seeds, which I've never done before but it doesn't look too difficult!) 

Potatoes, cucumber, rosemary, tomatoes, nasturtium and a tiny dying eggplant. I don't know if it's OK to plant these things together...?

Broad beans (which have been prolific!) and potatoes

Tomatoes, zucchini, borage, nasturtium, carrots, purple kale and eggplant

My giant leek! Just seeing how big it can get...

Happy gardening!