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.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gardening 101 for October

One month ago 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.

Robyn helping re-pot and thin the Clivea's
The topics we covered were:
  • Annuals
  • Veggies
  • Jobs to do
  • Growing home grown veggies & that no dig bed
  • Espalier
  • What to plant in that wet spot in your garden
  • Fruit trees (Citrus)
  • What to propagate in October
  • Pests & Diseases - Safer spraying
  • Which poo will work for you
  • Plant of the month - Chillies
Afternoon tea was Rosemary Biscuits & Lemon Balm mini muffins which were all made by Richard's niece and were delicious.
Jean helping with cuttings from a
Variegated, Kaleidoscope 
My homework for the month of October is the following: 
  • Items not completed on last months list
  • Plant Zucchini,  Cucumber, Tomatoes, Chard, Silver-beet, Squash, Beans, Potatoes, Celery, Beetroot (different varieties to what I already have)
  • Fertilise the lawn 7 days after the bindii spray (this coming Friday)
  • Rejuvenate tired patches in the garden, with organic matter, manure, and/or Blood & Bone, dig it in well, and wait two weeks before planting.
  • Cut back hedging plants if you have any
  • Study what citrus trees I have and consider espaliating them, if Yes, then begin training them as you prune them. Prune Citrus Trees, & sacrifice any FIRST YEAR FRUIT, to allow the energy to go to establishing a good root ball.
  • Set up DAK Pots about 2 - meters from your fruit trees to deter FruitFly , use soft-drink bottles and add Vegemite, Sugar & Water. The male fly will hang around the DAK pot trap, and get tired and drown....The female can only lay eggs in your fruit if she is mated....So if all the males are hanging out at DAK City....there's no hanky panky and egg laying. OR Molasses, Water & 2 coffee beans..one lady in the class suggested this recipe as the female is attracted to the coffee (Thanks Sonia).....I'm going to try both and watch closely.
  • Grow from seed, some varieties of citrus, and other groups of fruit, using seed fresh from the fruit. Do not let the seed dry out first. This will be preparation for espaliated grafted fruit trees for next year. You can graft up to 8 different varieties of one fruit on one espaliated tree. OMG!!
  • Grow from seed like above, PawPaw, and others (need to check up on these)
  • Trim ANY shoots on ALL root-stock.
  • Make a Blood & Bone soup mix, and spray garden plants, including citrus and fruits & veg.
  • Remove any competition plants from beneath citrus trees.
  • Look for Frangipani seed pods on neighbours tree, and ask for some cuttings to dry and plant. If planting cuttings, don't water. Cuttings will be true colour to parent plant, but seeds may be hybrids. 3 Years from seed to flower.
  • Propagate Fuscia cuttings sacrificing the flowers.
  • Make Natural Pesticides using Pyrethrum, Garlic, Wild tobacco plant, Eucalyptus, Skim Milk, Bi-Carb, Natural Soap, Chilli, Methylated Spirits, Olive Oil, Saw dust, Coffee grinds..SEPARATE POST TO FOLLOW SOON.
  • Fertilise Chilli plant, it is a perennial, so don't cut it back. Chillies don't like Winter but they do come back.
  • Plan more for that wet spot in your garden, using Bog Plants. I need to set up the bath that the neighbour gave me as a water garden, which will be bigger/better than the sink I am using.
         Ideal plants for that wet patch OR pond in your garden are:
  • Water Celery
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Water Parsley
  • Taro
  • Lemon-grass
  • Mint
  • Water Cress
  • Ferny Azola     (All of the above are edible plants which I will use, but you can also add)..
  • Silver Lady Fern
  • Birds Nest Fern
  • NOTE: If you are planning to make a pond, and need a Pond Liner, please buy one that has a high UV Rating. All others will give you grief and need to be replaced, some quicker than others, depending on how cheap they are made.
New Idea: using a divider to minimise root damage when transplanting
using old pot labels
I know, I know.....too many pumpkin and zucchini planted, but when you consider one for the slugs, one for    the slugs, oh....and one for the slugs......I should be able to get a few for the garden....If there are any left, I will either sell them or Freecycle them.

Hope you like reading about my gardening course, I am finding it very rewarding. The information overload is fantastic......Thank-you again Richard for a lovely day.


  1. This is so cool. I wish they had something like this in my area. Great information! Thank you!! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  2. Looks like a huge list to me. And, it appears like you have a greenhouse? Good luck with everything.

  3. I agree with Bobbi Jo. As i started reading i was wishing i had something like this in my area. Thanks for the reminder about the dak pots. Look forward to reading more about your gardening course.

  4. I am appreciating you sharing your garden tips. I started the liquid weed fertilizer from your last class. I especially like tips that help to use "what's on hand", and not waste things I might normally waste. Thank you.

    brenda from arkansas

  5. That course sounds excellent! I wish we had something offered like that in my town. You will be very busy this month! I must write our pt my own list for this very busy month.

  6. Wow! You are obviously a good student! That is a lot to take in. I can see I will be coming back to this post time and time again.

  7. Hi Narelle , what a great afternoon had by all , i am so please with the attendence of all my students and the class keeps on growing maybe i will have to have two classes a month . Well hope you can get most things done in your garden looking forward to seeing you soon better go as i have to start prep's for next class all the best your teacher friend Richard the PRACTICAL GARDENER

  8. This sounds so interesting !! Great way to learn all kinds of things.
    It's so funny to see that your growing season is just starting and mine is slowely stopping, living in The Netherlands ; )
    Have a great day.

  9. Wow, what a lot of great info! What is the blood and bone soup mix? And I'll be reading the natural pesticides post with interest. I love hearing what you're up to, and glad you're sounding in a happier frame of mind than a couple of weeks ago....or at least it 'sounds' like you are, hope the bod is not giving you too much grief either! :)

  10. Hi again, I just posted about some of the things I've tried through blogging advice. I've posted a link to your wonderful citrus cleaner. I use it all the time and have given spray bottles to all my friends. Thank you!!!


  11. Hi Narelle, I have just been catching up on your blog. I think I will start a weed fertilizer too and have some mushroom compost but not sure I am doing the right thing with it. Would love to see you again Oh I potted up some boysenberries - (I think) that I dug out of the wrong spot so you can have one if they grow. You and Rose should get together and do a road trip down here again . ;)

  12. What a lovely response to my gardening and what I am learning from Richard, Thanks again Richard for a wonderful class.
    Cat J B: for the Blood & Bone Soup....add a handful of the B&B powder to your watering can....or even better, one of those bigger pressure spray bottles, the ones usually used for doing bindi.....and spray all the leafy veg....not just the soil, but the leafy parts too....it's a great way to get the fertilizer absorbed into the plant quickly. Richard, I hope I said that right....
    Linda: Thanks for the link-back, if anyone hasn't tried my citrus cleaner, they need to get one started..It's so much cheaper.
    Tammy: It would be lovely to see you again too....Imagine the three of us together...you, me and Rose.....what a lovely time we would have. Good for you with the Boysenberries...Free plants are great, I'm working on a Yarrow border....early days yet though.....
    For anyone who is wishing you had a course like this in your area.....go to your local nursery and ask for one...the more people who ask...the more they will consider it. You never know, and it never hurts to ask.
    Chat soon


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