Monday, 18 April 2016

Allotment Adventures With Jean

Thank you for stopping by.  I now blog over at Allotment Adventures with Jean under Wordpress and here is the link

I would love to have you visit.

Monday, 28 December 2015

A Gardener's First Aid Kit … and tick remover

Since I took over my allotment a few years ago I often receive gardening gifts. Always a delight.

I was particularly chuffed with this dinky little first aid kit I received at Christmas. The tin is only a little larger than a match box so it will fit into a trouser pocket, or stored amongst small tools because the tin lid fits snug enough to keep the contents clean and dry.

I love the band-aids with the daisy design, perfect for slapping on a small wound. The tweezers will be really useful to remove a thorn or a splinter.

But the real plus is the gadget for removing ticks.  Funnily enough we were talking about ticks over at the allotments only a couple of weeks ago because it's 'tick season'. Ticks are only tiny little critters, size of a pin head, but they burrow into the skin and if you break them off and leave the head in, you can get a nasty infection.   (I know, sounds gross, but I ended up in hospital once having one dug out!)  Who ever thought gardening was an Elite Sport and not for the feint hearted.

Gardeners first aid kit in tiny tin
So. The magic tick remover is featured below - the gadget to the right of the photograph. And there is a tiny instruction book in the tin on how to use it to remove the tick. You stick the pointy end over the tick, grasp it, twist the gadget which will twist out the little critter! 

L to R  a band-aid, tweezers, and tick remover
All I need now is another gardener, plus tick, to practice on.

Happy Safe Gardening.

Friday, 25 December 2015


Happy Christmas.

My blog posts are pretty thin on the ground, but I still enjoy being able to record some things happening over at the allotment.

The last 'happening' was our community party at Beelarong. We must have had 40 folk turn up, volunteers and allotment holders.

The first job was to lay the tables

Add the decorations

 And I drew the short straw, the ablution block!

Then everybody arrived 

Tucked into the festive food

And gathered for a group photo after much hilarity

We grow more than food at the community garden.  We are pretty good at growing our community too.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Cucumbers …. Bread and Butter Pickles

Sometimes my allotment goes berzerk and I think this is one of those times. The cucumbers are taking over.  I bottled a 2 litre jar of Bread and Butter pickles a couple of days ago. The recipe is here.  They are a tasty addition on a cheese or cold meat sandwich but years ago, during frugal times, the pickles alone were used between (you guessed it) two slices of bread and butter.

I went back to the allotment the next day and picked another five cucumbers, they are presently sitting on the draining board in the glass pyrex dish having been sliced, with onions, and 'brined' in the fridge overnight, ready to bottle this afternoon.

Just went down the allotment again today, and couldn't believe that hiding under the leaves were another 16 beautiful organic cucumbers. I will be going nowhere today until those cuc's are chopped, salted and put in the fridge ready for … you guessed it.  More pickling tomorrow.

Happy Gardening.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sauerkraut, veggies and a thought for the day

Can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Plenty happening over at the allotments. We've just had the AGM at Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment and I've been elected Secretary of the committee. It's great to have the opportunity to share in the running of the farm.

I've started doing workshops at the farm on making sauerkraut. We do lots of preserving of our harvests, jams and pickles, but I'm taking a big interest in fermenting. Sauerkraut is probably the easiest thing to start with and that's why I want to share it with others at the farm.  Here is my first workshop, great fun, shredded cabbage flying everywhere !

I've picked lots of cherry tomatoes. The fruit fly seem to leave them alone.

My lone Italian kale, Cavalo Nero, has kept me in kale for months now.  I harvest a leaf at a time and chop it into my veggie soups.  Despite the weather warming up it is still going strong. Mind you, it has been the most cosseted plant in Brisbane receiving regular liquid feeds and drinks of diluted worm juice.

Silverbeet (or chard as it is also called) is up there with my all time favourite vegetables and my little bed of plants is prolific. I cannot eat it fast enough, even after sharing the spoils I still have enough to blanch and freeze.

And finally. Here is the thought for the day from my favourite little cushion.

Happy Gardening.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

A garden visit - and walking the labyrinth

This week a group of us from Beelarong Community Farm visited horticulturist Linda Brennan's home Ecobotanica.  Linda and her husband moved onto a bushland block on the outskirts of Brisbane   two years ago and they have turned it into a wonderful oasis, complete with labyrinth.

The first of the group arrives at the bushland setting, they look a bit like Lilliput people next to the towering old Australian gum tree. It was a beautiful day.

After a warm welcome from Linda and her husband we started our morning with a labyrinth walk.  Here is the overview.  It is a classic style built to specific measurements.  A labyrinth has spiritual and meditative properties.  This link to the Labyrinth Society will explain it much better than I can.

The entrance, facing East.

With friend Bernice, ready to walk the labyrinth

And then it's over to the vegetable garden, through this entrance. I love the rooster on the roof and the flowerpot man guarding the entrance.

I loved the veggie garden, growing vegetables being my passion, and I spent the most time there. I'm afraid my photograph doesn't do it justice. It was packed with the most interesting and huge variety of vegetables and herbs. In the foreground is the pink bath with water-loving plants and fish (to keep down the mosquitoes, they eat them).

This is the front of the chicken run (or as we say in Australia "the chook house"). The two brown boxes either side of the painted door are the front of the nesting boxes. Just open the top and remove the lovely new-laid eggs.

We had a shower of rain which took us indoors for a delicious, and adventurous, morning tea. This colourful plate is of nasturtium flowers from Linda's garden, stuffed with cream cheese and fresh herbs. They disappeared in no time.

On the plate with the doily is the bunya nut cake. First time I've tasted bunya nuts and the cake was delicious.  You would have a long wait if you planted a bunya nut tree today. It only starts to crop when it reaches 100 years old, and then it only crops every 2 or 3 years. It's a tree native to Australia, the nut is original "bush tucker" and favoured by indigenous Australians - check out this link for more. It has an interesting history.

Finally, we visited the cottage garden and I found this beautiful Australian native hibiscus tree with the flowers a most delicate pink.

Thank you Linda. We had a wonderful time.

Happy Gardening.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Carrots and parsnips - on the straight and narrow

I have grown plenty misshapen, and in some cases X Rated, carrots in the past but with my last planting I decided to spend a bit more time preparing the ground to achieve the 'perfect' carrot.  This time I was also trying for parsnips again which don't grow too well in our hot climate. But I love a challenge.

Before I planted the seeds I spent the morning raking and sifting the soil to bring it to a fine tilth, removing any small stones that could cause 'forking'. Then I added plenty of sand to the earth to make it even easier for them to form in the soil.  It worked, I've been rewarded with some beautiful straight, sweet vegetables.

Pulling parsnips. Gently does it.
Yay, straight.
I was happy with my harvest but I'm not sure I'll be so fussy next time.  I miss the carrots with their individuality. This year no more laughing with allotment neighbours at the carrots with appendages. No more tittering amongst my gardening friends at carrots entwined. No more guffawing.

Just a big bunch of carrots.

Just for the giggle. Here are some parsnips from the past.

And a pair of romancing carrots.

Happy gardening.