Happy Ramblings: February 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

A third vegetable patch!

The plan to create a third vegetable patch began by accident while turning the compost heap next to our other two vege patches.

Dad and I had been piling up grass cuttings and vegetable clippings and it was time to turn the heap. We were amazed to find that the clay soil underneath was very moist and full of worms in a very short time. So dad moved the compost heap over and dug the exposed soil by a spade depth.

Work progressed at lightning speed under the supervision of our cat Oscar, from a high vantage point, so he wouldn't miss anything that was or wasn't being done!

The newly turned heap was then left for a week until the soil underneath was soft enough to dig. This process was repeated until we had our vege patch dug completely.

Then potatoes were planted and seeds sown, including radishes, courgettes, beetroot, bok choy, cos lettuce, snow peas and dwarf French beans.

It took just over a week for the plant life to start showing through the soil.

Then everything started growing at tremendous speed in this hot and humid weather.

I took these photos this morning, a month and a half after the vege patch was completed. The potato plants have got tiny flower buds on and the courgettes have even started flowering!

I can't wait until it is time to harvest the snow peas. Yum! I am still picking snow peas from the first vegetable patch that I planted in Spring, but I am only getting about 5 pea pods a day. I can't bring myself to pull the old plants out because amazingly they have started to flower again.

The mulched area at the front of this photo is going to be planted out with winter veges including leeks. I haven't quite yet decided what else to plant here.

See you next time.

Lots of smile,

Rose x
Garden Diary

Weeded vegetable patch number one. Found some bindweed in it...eeeks!...but managed to pull all the roots out.

Trimmed the Upland cress down to 3 cm as the leaves were large and tough due to the heat and not enough water. I will have to water it every day in this weather.

Pulled out all of the mizuna. Some looked as if it had wilted, but on closer inspection the roots looked mushy. When I pulled up a plant there were hundreds of tiny 2-3 mm long white creepy crawly maggot/centipede? creatures all over the tap root. Yuck :(

I am not sure what or when to plant anything in the mizuna space just in case the horrid white creatures eat whatever I plant there. I will have to do some research on the net.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Really happy about my vegetable patch

I took these photos in December. Everything carried on growing really well and my wildflowers started to open which made me very happy :)

There was only one problem with white powdery mildew on my sprouting broccoli which I fixed quickly:

Powdery mildew fix

Spray the affected pants with a mixture of 1 litre of water and 1 cup of milk.

I sprayed the broccoli leaves on top and underneath in the evening and by the next day there was no sign of the mildew and it hasn't come back on those plants!

Wonderful and easy! The milky solution changes the pH of the leaf surface making it unfriendly to mildew...plus it is a good organic solution to the problem. I wish that I could find an easy fix for tomato leaf blight, apart from picking the affected leaves off.

The rainbow chard continues to grow quickly which is so good because I am able to harvest the leaves when they are small, tender and full of flavour. Much nicer than old tough leaves.

I love the lemon yellow and dark blue combination of the French marigolds and lobelia. I bought the seedlings from a local garden centre and all the French marigolds were supposed to be this shade of yellow. However they had mislabelled a punnet of 12 plants and when the flowers opened I was surprised that they turned out to be all mixed shades of orange and rust and burgundy.

When I next went back to the garden centre I mentioned this and they had a look at the punnets they still had. By this time the flowers were open and definately not matching the photo on the label. So I was given another punnet of 12 yellow plants for free!

Then I treated myself and bought a sage plant which I planted near the mizuna.

This evening I need to spray my rainbow chard and silverbeet with milk and water because they have now got powdery mildew. I didn't think that they were susceptible to it, but the weather is so hot an humid at the moment.

I am also going to put some more coffee grounds around the borders of the vegetable patches because I found a snail when I was weeding today. Mind you, that is the first snail that I have found since I started the vege garden in October and there's been no sign of any slugs!

Thanks for stopping by. See you soon.


Rose x
Garden Diary

Weeded a patch of soil near the tomatoes. Dug it over with a trowel. Added a bucket of potting mix and worked it in.

Scattered some "Fancy Leaf Mix" lettuce (McGregor's Seeds) over the prepared area and covered the seeds with 5 mm of potting mix.

Then Ginger walked across my seed bed...Arrrrrrrrgh!...he had snuck into the vege patch and has very big paws!

Friday, February 7, 2014

My thrifty bedroom makeover continues

Here are a few more vignettes of my thrifty bedroom transformation.

I found this lovely picture frame in my favourite thrift shop for $2. I thought it would be perfect in my room. It was quite funny because when my mother saw it in the shop she didn't like it as it had an awful picture in. However when I showed the frame to mum again with the picture of the butterfly in she loved it :) The butterfly picture only cost me in ink and paper as I printed it from the internet.

The tiny fishbowl vase was half price at $6 from a local shop, and I picked the beautiful blue cornflowers from my wildflower bed.

I already had the little ceramic sea urchin tealight candle holder which had been put away as it was broken. Just a bit of super glue and it is like new again.

I am very happy with how this little scene turned out :)

Then I hung a pretty night dress on a padded coathanger behind my door to finish off that corner. They were both presents.

I found this auricula painting on the internet and printed a copy to fit a frame that I already had. I think this picture is gorgeous.

Here it is, my new picture, hung on the wall.

On my wardrobe door handle I hung a pyjama case which my sister gave to me with some gorgeous pyjamas from Wallace cotton. My sister said that the pyjama case was free!

Then I added a little white metal bird ornament, which is really a Christmas tree decoration, that I bought for $5.

And the thrifty makeover continues...

See you soon.


Rose x

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The photo tour of my sister's New Zealand Country house continues (Part 2)

My sister's study, located at the top of the stairs, is a lovely place to sit and read. The over-stuffed armchair is so comfortable.

While sitting there, contemplating the world, I like to watch the birds perched, on the pergola covered in roses, just outside the window.

My sister got a fright one evening to see a possum staring in at her from there!

It is also lovely to sit and write at the antique desk in the study.

The smaller of the two guest bedrooms has single beds with duvets covered with rust and mustard coloured toile de jouy fabric and has botanical pictures on the walls.

The guest bedrooms both have stunning views across the garden to the New Zealand native bush (woodland) which is green all year round.

This is the second guest bedroom decorated in light green, pinks and cream. Very pretty and restful.

Another view of the New Zealand native bush through the window.

This is the master bedroom which is decorated with fabrics in the light blues and yellows that I also love.

I always have a great time when I visit my sister.

Until next time,

Lots of smiles,

Rose x

Monday, February 3, 2014

My sister's New Zealand country house (Part 1)

Here is part one of two photo tours of my sister's country house in New Zealand. It is in a lovely peaceful location on 2.5 acres of land. Her house is so beautiful.

The sitting room although huge feels warm and cosy with the colour scheme that my sister chose. The walls are painted in a warm terracotta colour.

My sister uses the large ficus tree in the corner as a Christmas tree each year. When all the family goes there for Christmas dinner we all put our Christmas presents underneath it, to be opened after dinner, it is great fun.

The hallway, dining room, laundry and kitchen all have beautiful solid oak floors. It hasn't been known until now that I sometimes slide along the hall with my socks on when nobody is looking :) Hopefully my sister won't read this, hehe!

The dining room walls are painted in a deep burgundy colour and is only lit by a side lamp and candles on the table. Very snug.

I hope that you enjoyed the photos. There will be more coming soon.


Rose x

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Another successful wildflower garden!

I am so happy. My no-dig wildflower garden plan worked :)

Everything has grown so well that the taller plants, which should have come up much later, have dwarfed the smaller ones. But it still looks pretty.

The honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies are certainly not complaining! The place is alive with insects flying from flower to flower. And it is lovely to hear the humming of the bees with the cicadas chirruping.

The cornflowers did really well, they have grown to mid chest height. The packet of seeds that I chose did say that they were tall cornflowers, but I have never seen anything like it before. The cornflowers I have grown in the past in flower beds only grew to thigh height at the most.

I found that Toadflax is brilliant to grow in a wildflower patch. It is the first to germinate and the first to flower and provides shelter for the other seeds and plants which will eventually grow taller.

These little red Coreopsis flowers are gorgeous and they look and feel like velvet. So sumptuous.

Here you can see the cornflowers starting to grow higher than the toadflax. Amazingly the toadflax is still flowering in amongst the taller flowers even though they have almost been smothered by them

I think that this flower is vipers bugloss? A few of them have grown from a mixed seed pack which didn't list the plants included in it. Any ideas?

The Shirley poppies are definately the favourites with the bees. It is quite funny watching the very large fuzzy bumble bees landing on the smaller poppy flowers. The flowers bend almost down to the ground under the weight of the bees.

I am waiting for all of the yellow cosmos to open now. Hopefully the blue cornflowers and red coreopsis will still be flowering then :)

(you can look here to read about the beginnings of my wildflower garden).

Looking forward to seeing you again soon.


Rose x