Handy List of Perenial Food Plants (and no, I don’t know what lovage is but it sounds romantic)

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Thank you to Angelo for the great list. Please see his website (deepgreenpermaculture) for more amazing stuff.

 

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Found: old decking boards. Used to make garden beds

I found a huge load of decking boards in hard rubbish a while back. Most decking boards these days are made out of merbau, which is a rainforest timber sourced in nations with lax environmental controls. It’s a sad industry for the world…

The wood is incredibly rot resistant and strong. I guess it grows in rainforests in Malaysia and other south-east Asian countries so only the toughest survive. It is amazing for use in the garden as it takes many years to rot so can be used for stakes, structures and garden beds.

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this is what they looked like when I finished them last year.

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this is them 6 months on, full of green. The little gap between them is now a place to sit and contemplate the freakishness of our scarecrow

I made the boards I found into two garden beds. They are about 240cm by 120cm and about 40cm high. They have a little lip around them to sit on. I really love them. They took quite a while to build but they were easy to do (just a bit time-consuming due to the fact that I was joining lots of different length pieces together). They look really nice and its satisfying to know they came from hard rubbish, they cost nearly $0 to build (just had to buy screws) and that they will probably last 10-15 years or more.

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If you ever see merbau wood lying around, grab it.

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also made this ramp to get our bikes up onto our deck, out of the merbau

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and this step-up into the boxbike

Growing Broccoli & Cauliflowers In The Middle of Summer

I have finally got the hang of “succession planting”. This is where you plant your veggies multiple times to prolong your harvest. I planted cauliflowerimageimageand broccoli every second weekend in winter. So we have been harvesting them right through summer. I managed to plant someimage seedlings in spring too.These photos show the caulis and broccs we are harvesting onimage New Year’s Day 2015!

(also pictured, some Scarlett Runner Beans and one of our Lazy Housewife Beans. They get to about a foot long, and have the best name of any bean- sums up my approach to gardening!)

 

How to get 3 times more indoor plants for your money.

How to split up a Peace Lilly

Buy a Peace Lilly.

This is one that is getting too big for its

This is one that came from a split a few years ago, but is getting too big for its pot

Take it out of the pot.

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Loosen the roots.

Here's my 3 big self

Here’s my 3 big self-watering pots ready to go

Tear the roots upwards (don’t tear down from the green part of the plant as it can snap off the growing bits). I tore mine into thirds but you could tear it into tiny plants and sell them at a school fete or something….

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Repot into the largest self-watering pots you can buy/fit in your house.

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The finished product. They’ll lush-up in a month or two.

 

Can’t keep indoor plants alive? My top 5 unkillable house plants.

I love indoor plants. Mainly because they make me feel more like I’m outdoors.

They clean the air inside and provide habitat for pest eating creatures (yes I want <little> spiders in the house!).

Before you buy the plants, buy the pots. If you are a lazy gardener like me, you will not be watering your plants regularly. You must get large self-watering pots. Non-self-watering pots are useless inside as they dry out very quickly. Small self-watering pots are ok but the smaller they are, the more watering you’ll still need to do.
Also, locate a position. Indoor plants dislike prolonged direct sunlight (they can get heat stress) and complete darkness (umm, if you have a room with complete darkness, you’re weird, open the curtains). Watch out for heater/aircon ducts and they’ll need some outside time every few months. I have half mine outside half inside and I swap them twice a year.

I’ve tried quite a few varieties but the 5 I can’t kill are: peace lillies, dracaena marginata, spider plant, aloe vera and hoya.

Peace Lilly

Peace Lilly

Peace Lillies
They are a beautiful dark green leaved plant which have a pure white flower. You can give them no water, no attention, no love, for weeks at a time. You’ll notice that they start to droop. But give them a good drink and like magic, they spring back to life ready to enjoy another few weeks of cheerful neglect from me. I feel a bit sorry for them leading such a boom/bust existence but I’m lazy remember? (it’s amazing I’ve been allowed to be put in charge of kids, quite frankly…). They do well hanging in pots or on the floor.
You can split the plants after you buy them and they can be put in multiple pots. (See this picture tutorial on how to do this).

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Dracaena marginata

Dracaena Marginata
(Here’s a link to a good website about them-
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1415342.htm)

I’m not sure what it’s common name is but it’s available in most nurseries.
It’s a lovely spiky looking plant (looks spiky but doesn’t feel spiky) and they grow quite tall. I’ve had mine for about 18 years and I’ve given it about 18 minutes of love- it’s been a bit of a one-way relationship but we are still living happily together.

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Peace Lilly and spider plant, planted together.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Another plant that thrives on neglect. I like the variegated (white striped) version. If you are nice to them they will grow lush, hang down and grow little flowers. Great for hanging pots. They can also be split up and spread over multiple pots. Never buy this plant! Steal it from your neighbours: they will never notice.

 

Aloe Vera i

Aloe Vera i

Special mention to Aloe Vera and Hoya.
Aloe Vera looks really cool (some varieties look like a viciously spiked cactus but are really soft). They hardly need watering and are great on a kitchen window-sill as they have high medicinal value (break a ‘branch’ off and smear the gel on cuts and burns to speed up healing). Many succulents make great indoor plants…

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Hoya

Hoyas can’t be killed and actually need to be pot-bound (i.e. get so big in their pots that they are actually overgrowing it). They sometime have an extraordinarily beautiful and aromatic flower too. Many varieties to choose from.

Shout Out to Trombone Zucchinis

We are still growing and harvesting zucchinis in May (that’s getting close to winter here in Melbourne for those Northern hemisphere readers). I put it down to the variety I bought from the Diggers Club, the Trombone Zucchini. I reckon we have got about 10-15 zucchinis from each of our plants and they have fruited since January (that’s 3 months).

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Zucchinis growing still, in late Autumn. And check out the monster pumpkin hanging from the water tank in the background. Im saving that one for Halloween (hopefully!)

Its nice buying a $4 packet of seeds and getting a return of 30 vegies!

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beautiful autumnal tones in our pumpkin crop this year.

How to remember where you planted your seeds: easy & free weatherproof plant labels

I used to always forget where I planted my seeds and even if I remembered where I planted them, I’d forget what type they were.

Until I discovered this cool method. It works well with seeds that come with their own little zip-lock bag but if they don’t, you find zip lock bags being turfed all over the place nowadays. I get mine 2nd hand, from my colleagues at work.

What you do is carefully removed the little zip lock bag from the paper seed packet.

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This method is child’s play! (if that phrase means a kid will mess it up for you. Little miss has ripped the packet)

 

Sprinkle your seeds.

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Fold up the paper seed packet so it fits into the ziplock bag (or another one you scammed off a mate at work). Keep the important details facing out.

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Then I get a tent peg and impale it on that, to keep it off the ground and visible.

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The finished cos lettuce and carrot beds with 2 weatherproof labels ready to go!