Tuesday, 30 August 2011

There will be chooks!

This is what Enid Blyton would call the bottom of the garden.  Only, in this garden we're fairly certain there are no fairies.  You can see the creative reinventor starting to build a poultry palace.

It'll be a little while yet.

Then and now

This is the back garden in May, when we took possession of Marmalade Cottage.  It had been unrelentingly hot and dry.

We resisted working on the garden for a long time - there was so much that desperately needed doing in the house.  So we focused on the house.  
And the work in the house is pretty tedious - painting, sanding, cleaning...  It got boring.  And it had rained.  We wanted a harvest and a lovely place to relax as spring came.  
This is how things look now.
As well as Lola-cat skulking through the broad beans, you can see kale, garlic, rosemary, mulberries and the tangelo tree.  You can't yet see the potatoes, lettuce, beans, peas, nasturtiums and sunflowers.
Isn't it gorgeously green?

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

One of the first decisions on the Marmalade Cottage kitchen garden was where the herb garden would be built.

This is immediately outside the back door.  It is badly infested with onion grass, oxalis and those little bulbs with indestructible reed-like leaves and pretty, little, pink flowers.  We've dug out huge piles of the weeds, but are sure there are more, just waiting to appear later in spring.  The bay tree seems to appreciate being cut back and freed of the weeds choking its roots.  The grapevine doesn't look at all well. We hope it'll survive.


Gumtree yielded a load of limestone blocks.  The practical reinventor and her screen siren-lookalike friend, D, donned gardening gloves and with much co-ordinated effort loaded them into the ute.  They left the creative reinventor, who is much better built for such donkey work, to unload and put the blocks in place.  With some compost and a load of racehorse poo, courtesy of the stables at Ascot, the bed was ready for planting.


And here it is!  All planted out.  As well as parsley, sage, thyme, stevia, chillis, oregano, chives, and basil gratefully removed from the pots they've been in for years, there will be dill and coriander grown from seed.
Along the back there are four blueberries and an elder.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Digging and planting

The practical one has had a week's holiday between jobs and has tried not to waste any time.  At the end of the week, she has grumblingly submitted to a nasty case of laryngitis (which comes with a crop of razor blades in the throat).  However, this is what was achieved:


This contains  asparagus.  We'll have to be patient as they need 18 months to two years to get established.  There are also heartsease seeds under the plum tree waiting for enough sun and rain to germinate.  They're pretty and edible.

They are bed heads.  Putting them in a garden bed made sense.  They'd be left for us in the shed by the previous owner.  This bed will provide rocket, silverbeet, lettuce, peas, butter beans, purple sprouting broccoli, golden beetroot and, hopefully, purple carrots.  The soil is clay, and carrots don't usually do well in it.

And this is what we're left with - a gigantic pile of weeds.  There are only so many we can throw over the fence to the neighbour's chooks.  Hopefully a healthy dose of racehorse poo will help it compost down quickly.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


This is the inaugural batch of Marmalade Cottage Marmalade. It's the practical one's Great-Nana Blanche's fail-proof recipe, the one that really only works in imperial measures, and always sets to a glorious, rich jelly.
This version uses oranges from Rusty Hollow and limes from Moondyne Park.  The very best marmalade is collaborative.

Spring is starting to spring

There's been some really good rain, and some lovely sunshine.
This is what happens:
The kaffir lime that looked terminally ill decided it liked being in the ground and rewarded us with lovely, glossy black foliage.
The new mulberry tree that arrived as a couple of bare branches has erupted with leaves and baby fruit.

Meanwhile the broadbeans are nearly 10cm tall and vigourous and the cavalo nero (black Tuscan kale) that was roughly dug up from the last garden, dumped into pots, then replanted, has gotten over its shock and is also vigourously growing.

To add to that, the reinventors have planted garlic, artichoke, parsley, sweet peas and assorted herbs.

We will have a harvest this year.