Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gardening 101 for September

Last weekend I attended my first month of a 12 month Gardening Course which I wrote about a while back....Richard the Practical Gardener is the best teacher. I came home with 6 pages of notes, and lots of homework for the following weeks....until we return for another lesson......
Each month we will cover similar topics, but it will be specific to that particular month...I like this, as we get to learn as each month comes around.....a far better way of learning so much information.

The topics we covered were: 
  • Annuals
  • Bed Preparation
  • Compost
  • Vegetable Gardens
  • Soil Preparation
  • Fertilizer
  • Raised Vegetable Gardens
  • Vegetables for containers
  • Companion plants
  • Plants for shade
  • Types of Propagation and how
  • Lawn
  • Plants of the month
Afternoon tea was Fruit Cake, Lavender Biscuits & Zucchini Slice....(I'm not sure if I am allowed to publish the last two recipes, I will need to ask the teacher...But they were very delicious)

A garden scoop from a plastic soda bottle
Thanks for the reminder

Rundown on compost at all different stages...very hands on display

30 students, a full class.

Leaf Propagation using Rex Begonia

Kathy learning to propagate with Stem Cuttings
Philotheca sp

Emily learning to propagate with Stem Cuttings
Hebe Albicans

learning to propagate using the Dividing method.
Flax and Cordylines

My homework for the month of September is the following:
  • Plant more marigolds from seed for companion planting....(spread through-out the veg garden).
  • Plant more Basil from seed for companion planting....(amongst tomatoes)
  • Plant Pyrethrum from seed for companion planting.....(near Brassica's)
  • Keep working on my compost.....
  • Add ash to the compost bin, not directly onto the garden....ooops
  • Plant bean seeds as well as other seeds........
  • Propagate Rosemary.....
  • Propagate Lavender......
  • Buy seed raising mix for better germination.....
  • Divide Aloe Vera & Bromeliads.....
  • Fertilize every fortnight....(I've been very slack with this)
  • Set up a Liquid Weed Fertilizer instead of putting my weeds in the compost.....
  • Finish the new garden bed in the front yard......(My trees need a home)
  • From Hazelton's Hardware in Albion Park...I need to buy Bales of Straw $8, Wood Shavings & Seed Raising Mix.....
  • Gather all the Curl Grubs from soil by watering soil with a Soapy solution.......

Phew!!! That's a lot of work when you put it on one list...But I'm definitely up for the challenge...

What are you doing in your garden this month?


  1. There's a few familiar faces in there! Kathy and Daphne are our neighbours. It sounds like a great course.

  2. Very cool!

    My garden this month......SQUEEE, sooooo excited!! We share a driveway with the house down the back of us and there has always been a largish garden bed filled with box hedge and random stuff alongside the driveway. I have gardened AROUND these things before, but it's awkward and full of roots. Well, our new-ish neighbour (house down the back) suggested we clear that bed and make it a shared veggie garden! Brainwave!! It's now empty and awaiting some TLC and planting, yay!

  3. What a meaningful list of jobs. It is the sort of list I need where someone who knows what they are doing tells me what to do. I am looking forward to reading about how this months goes. What a great idea having: a course that runs for a whole year and takes you through everything season b season.

  4. WOW! What a great sounding class. In one of your posts would you explain the Liquid Weed Fertilizer? I just throw my weeds in the "SLOW" compost pile, but your LWF sounds much more interesting. Thanks.

    brenda from arkansas

  5. Hi Narelle , so pleased you enjoyed your afternoon with me and i am glad you took it all in here are those recipes Lavender Biscuits
    These biscuits are a lovely thing to make with lavender from the garden.

    Makes 12

    150g/5 oz butter plus extra for greasing
    100g/3½ oz caster sugar
    225g/8oz plain flour
    1 egg yolk
    1 tbsp fresh lavender leaves, finely chopped
    1 tsp lavender flowers, removed from the spike
    Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/ Grease two baking trays.


    Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, add the egg yolk and lavender leaves and mix well with a knife. Turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

    Roll out the dough, scatter over the lavender flowers and lightly press them in with a rolling pin. Cut into about 10cm/4 in rounds, place on the prepared trays and bake for about 15-18 minutes until firm. Cool on the trays for about 5 minutes, and then remove on to wire cooling trays
    Zucchini slice
    • 375g zucchini, grated
    • 1 large onion finely chopped
    • 3 rashers bacon finely chopped
    • 1 cup tasty cheese grated
    • 1 cup self-raising flour sifted
    • Half a cup of oil
    • 5 eggs
    • Salt/pepper
    • Parmesan cheese grated for top
    1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
    2. Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs thoroughly in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Pour into a well greased lamington tin (or similar) Grate parmesan over the top.
    3. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and set.
    4. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.
    5. Adjust the amount of oil depending on the fat content of the bacon.

    for afternoon tea
    so looking forward to next month cheers for now Richard the Practical Gardener

  6. Darren, it sure is a great course...it seems there are lots of gardeners at many levels too...which is great.

    Cat JB: A shared veg garden, that's wonderful...get some seeds planting in seedling pots for now, while you are preparing the garden bed...You'll be good to go.

    Bruise Mouse: That is exactly what I have needed since starting a garden...I'm so lucky to be offered this course.

    Brenda: The liquid fertiliser is just made with your weeds....put your weeds in a bucket with a tap and lid...let it ferment in the sun...use this as in a week tea solution...to fertilize your garden...doing this will help add nitrogen to your garden....also neutralise the mix by adding a handful of lime into the water...and about every 3 to 6 months drain the bucket and bury the sludge..the liquid is still good to use...but dilute it.

    Richard: Thanks so much for a great course, looking forward to next month too....thanks for the Lavender biscuit recipe...I hope to make time to bake these tomorrow...now that I have been gifted some lovely Lavender to propagate.
    Thanks again Richard for a wonderful course.

  7. I love the liquid fertilizer idea and an another idea for using the ash is to add it straight to a banana pit. I have done this and the bananas are thriving.


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