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.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making Friends, Spring prep & Seed Saving

"Choko causes friendship" That's what the headlines should say this morning.....I recently sent Holly a couple of choko's that were sprouting...
(Does anyone else want some choko to plant? I have a few more now - email me)...

In return Holly sent me:
  • some wonderful smelling coffee soap...which I can't wait to try once it dry's out a little more.....
  • some lovely handmade paper which reminds me I should make time to make some more...My frames are gathering dust somewhere in the study....
  • ingenious envelopes made from recycling magazine pages
  • some bright 'save the planet' stickers, which I will want to restock once I use them all.
  • a packet of Rosella seeds

Many thanks to Holly for such a wonderful gift in return for two choko plants.

Spring is definitely here....At least my plans are anyway.....I have recently planted seeds of many different varieties of tomatoes which hopefully will be my best crop yet. I have also been re-potting tomatoes into larger pots, giving them more space to spread their roots, before being transplanted into the garden. A few days before being planted directly into the garden I will move the punnet trays into the planned space to toughen them up a little. The least amount of shock, the better.

I am really pleased with how the Tomato Plants have come along, and even though I have planted out 7 of them; I still have 9 to go. And that isn't including the small varieties I have planted from seed. (above)

When you buy a plant from a store, do you look for the pot that has the most plants in it? Or do you just take which ever one looks the best....I don't! I take the one that has the most plants in it...after all, why would you buy that pot, which has 6 plants in it like the label says.....When you can have this Pot with the same label...and it's got 16 plants in it? Common sense really.....Even if you don't have the space for all of them, you can give some away to a friend or a neighbour.

I have also been scattering marigold and other flower seeds amongst the garden, hopefully some will take and attract more bees to the garden. This years garden will be far more successful as I have learn't so much since, and my garden has also grown so much.

I have the garden course coming up again this Saturday...The first month was amazing, learning so much and putting it all in place once I got home was even better. I had the pleasure of having Richard (now called My Gardener to the family) visit my garden yesterday. We walked around my garden, as I showed him different things I am doing. He was impressed that I was growing my own mushrooms under the unit, and admired all the lovely new growth I had coming on my fruit trees; most being too young to bear fruit yet, but the citrus and the mulberry are going so well....

The two black tubs will be for my little tomatoes this year
I will be adding more mesh for them to climb as well.

Richard advised me to bring the fruit trees into full sun
until they are planted in the front yard.

and an empty bed


can you spot the spider?

Bay Laurel coming along nicely

The Choko is climbing again
I'm not sure I want it there this year,
as I want the  fence for beans.
I may have to move it, but to where?

Lemon or Lime blossoms

Rhubarb is doing well.
Rhubarb champagne will be lovely

Red Currants will need to be netted soon
I was able to give Richard a potted plant of Lemon Balm, as his had died off and needed it for baking the cookies for morning tea for the course. I have employed Richard to help me build the front garden....my trees need a new home and I can't wait to have the extra space. Richard has a very successful business called Illawarra Blooming Gardens. 

Here are some other things happening in my garden, I've been rather busy filling the new garden beds from the black tubs I got at Bunnings.

Water Cress is flowering and
some Water Chestnuts are coming up amongst the Azola and PennyRoyal

Front: Spinach & Ruby Chard bed
Back: Beans to come

These ones are not doing so well.

Perennial Basil from the Community Garden
look at the roots, ready to plant
I recently put a call out on FreeCycle for wanting a cutting from someone who has a Kaffir Lime tree, a lovely lady from Port Kembla came through for me....the little drive was far cheaper in petrol than buying a plant. I will be potting it today. I did have it in water trying to set roots like the Basil (above), but My Gardener, Richard informed me I had to take it out of the water and put it in some soil.

Kaffir Lime Cutting
Richard, It will be planted today.
Corn Salad is growing better now I have stopped harvesting it.

and so has the watercress

I consider my gardening space to be rather limited, unlike the lovely huge gardens I see on many farm blogs that I read....you lucky gals....

Taking into account the space.....or lack of space rather....I always look for the most productive option....

With beetroot, I choose a variety that is long like a carrot, this way I get more slices of beetroot per plant. They are much like a carrot shape.

With the Berry Bed, I am able to take advantage of the unused space in front to plant radishes, also a long variety like a carrot....more slices per plant...Brilliant!

I have planted long radish which will be well finished before harvesting the berries above
PROPAGATING 101 - From the gardening course...
After finding out the secret to propagating from cuttings...having more than ten per pot....I came home and potted away......I saved Perenial Basil, Lavender & Rosemary...they are coming along nicely.

Last year I saved seeds from my own garden....this is very productive, as you can pick the best plant to leave to keep the seed from. Not to mention the fact that you will have free seeds for next season
Here are some instructions I posted on saving some of the seed last season....

This year so far I am saving seeds from.....

Purple Radish - 1 of 3

Purple Radish - 2 of 3

Purple Radish -3 of 3

*Tatsoi lettuce leaf

*Bok Choy

Check out the FREE mulch I got from the Dunmore Tip.....It has to be 12 months old, it smells great....
Best of all, Richard the gardener reckons it is 'soil'....
When I went out to the tip to investigate the mulch, there was a pile of horse manure next to it....So I asked the gentleman who was tipping it into the trailer if he could mix some through the mulch.
Thanks Mr Digger Driver....Oh it cost me $6 for him to tip it.
I think I have taken 8 wheelbarrow loads from this over the last two days.
This is what I have left for the front garden bed, once it is built.
Are you saving seed from your garden this season?


  1. Darling! You did it again. Thank you for another post. Great pictures. Great info. You do, do a lot! Is time for the pen-pals in us to start? Here is my email address. savingsqueen@gmail.com
    Send me your address and I will get a package together and off to your country. I know a ton of your hobbies. Is there some American thing you would like? A candy? Let me know. I will surprise you. I can't wait!

  2. Wowzers! Fabulous work! I am astounded at all that you can do in your "so called" small space. Looks like you have a ton of plants and very good use of space :) Well done, Narelle! Wish I could come over to see it all - it looks just fantastic!

  3. Melissa & Sherrie, you are always so lovely with your words to me....I soooo appreciate what you both have to say and always look forward to hearing from you too. It's such a shame that you both live so far away. I'd give you both a great big hug.

  4. I'm interested in a choko do u still have any left?

  5. Any more chokos? There can never be too many friends. I imagine they're all gone by now. Let me know. I'm a stingy plant counter too, have you noticed them getting stingier? they used to be chockers.

  6. Sorry I have no more for now...they went very quickly.....but I will keep the first ones aside in the next batch to allow them to shoot again if you like.....Keep an eye on my blog, I will let you know when I get more shooting.

  7. Just wanted to stop back by and let you know that while I was writing another post you left me a comment. Thank you for the nice uplifting things you said. The issue for me was actually a long time friend and a family member. Neither of them leave comments. One emailed me and one talked to me over the phone. I just could not believe it. Anyway I used a ton of pictures in my last post and thought of you. Much love, Melissa

  8. gosh you have such a variety - you are a such an inspiration.

  9. I always enjoy going for a 'walk' in your garden :)! Love the camouflage spider.

  10. Thanks for sharing your garden Nellymary. The pics are great. I love seeing what other gardeners are doing. You seem to be making the most of the space you have. I have stated saving seeds too. Although my rocket just self sows. It's such an exciting time of the year in the garden. I will be interested to see the progress of the water chestnuts. These are on my to do one day list. Keep the garden post coming.


  11. The garden looks wonderful, Nelly. It's such a good time of year. I wish you every success with your crops and look forward to seeing how everything progresses.

  12. hi nelly
    your garden looks great. mmh rhubarb i love rhubarb,but i have never made rhubarb champagne...
    maybe next year.
    have a nice weekend,
    love regina

  13. Thanks everyone, I love this time of year, it's so exciting deciding what to grow, I like to keep it interesting by adding something I have never grown before.....always learning.... will keep you posted on how things go. I love sharing the photos.....it's also a great reference for me too.


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