Gardening with kids

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A few months back, we were at the garden shop picking up some herbs to plant when Lulu requested that we also plant some vegetables. I normally shy away from growing anything beyond herbs as I never remember to water them, then they die. It's like throwing away my money. But since Lulu asked and it seemed like a good activity, I said yes. She chose carrots, peas and beetroot. We planted, we watered. I then remembered to water and when I didn't, have been lucky that this has been a very rainy late winter/spring.

Low and behold, vegetables have grown. We have eaten some peas and carrots and there's still more. We're waiting on the beetroot, letting it grow a little bigger. It is terribly exciting. Lulu is so proud of her vegetables. Now for us to get the fruit trees back on track for next year.
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Link Love - parenting, gardening & candid

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Who needs a fancy cupholder?
I love polenta but I tell you what, it certainly does not love me. Each time I make it I end up getting burnt, so Wednesday night I wore long sleeves that covered my hands thinking that I had outsmarted it. But no, I hadn't, I still ended up getting burnt, this time on my face! FU Polenta. Next time I wear a full face helmet and armour!

We spent the week clearing up from the stormageddon that turned Alice Springs upside down last Friday. I've trimmed back the lime tree, pulled out dead plants from my pots and fertilised the soil ready for planting some herbs this weekend. I've missed growing basil, mint, parsley and spring onion. What's on the cards for you this weekend?

Catching my eye on the interwebs:

On celebrating your wedding anniversary by Zo They Say

On co-sleeping by The Grace Tales - we co slept with Lulu - it's such a taboo topic around health professionals but so many people co sleep. You go to do what gets you through, hey?

Have you tried this hangover cure?

5 life lessons from candid photos

Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson (among other roles) died last week at age 96 - I was a huge Jetsons fan!

You may have missed:
The herb garden
Home grown basil and mint
Easy Composting

Happy Weekend!

Adventures in the Front Garden

Last Sunday Lulu & I got stuck into the front garden. Having 'lost' our hideous old mail box a few weekends ago and replaced it with a modern mailbox, the front yard looked ready for a few hearty natives that might thrive in a sunny spot.

Lulu & I arrived at the local plant shop just as it was opening - my goodness how quickly I've forgotten that not everyone has been up since 6am! The shop has a box of toys that Lulu is quite familiar with and she dived into the box after saying hello to the owner's dog, Peggy Sue. I quickly found the plants I was looking for and a set of small desert flowering plants (Portulaca Cocktail) for the front garden. We packed up the toys and walked the plants home in two goes. Luckily our pram is easy to steer with one arm!

Lulu helped dig the holes (ie fill in the holes while I dug them) and she loved watering the plants once they were in. Once all the plants were in the ground I embarked on tidying up the pathways around our garden & pulled out four bins worth of dead leaves and sticks! Lulu will no longer be trapped walking to our tap.

Anyway, please admire our new letterbox below and the concrete stump to the right that remains as a memorial to the old one (I promise it is not staying!). You can read about what happened to the poor old letter box here.
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Kangaroo Paw on the far right & two green spindly bushes to the right of the letterbox (I've forgotten what they are called). The Portulaca Cocktail flowers are out of fame in front of the new letterbox. 

Time to plant

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We had never had a huge garden to look after before buying this house and with a 5 month old, jobs like weeding were easily put off until next week or the week after or the week after that until our back garden had become so overgrown, you couldn't see the fence! Slowly we chipped away at the weeds (with the help of my Dad, whenever he was visiting) and we can now safely say we are in maintenance mode for the majority of the garden. There are still a few areas that need work, but the main parts that we see every day are in maintenance mode.

Maintenance mode means that we can plant a few new plants to fill some of the holes. The garden, particularly the front yard, had mostly been introduced plants. We prefer natives, especially since we have turned off the old dripper system and only replaced it in the lawn area. Turning off the drippers ended up saving us over $300 on our March-June water bill! All the plants are looking ok for it and we put the hose on the fruit trees every so often. Our local gardening place said that natives for our area can survive on only 5 waterings a year. These are the plants that we want in our garden. And today Lulu and I planted one said native. I love the orange and green of the plant & apparently in the summer it turns green and has white flowers. It loves full sun, able to withstand the afternoon sun in our backyard and it grows up to 2m high.  I just wish I remembered it's name!

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Easy Composting

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We've started composting and it turns out that composting is easy. I wish we'd started earlier. All you need is:

1. A bucket/container to collect your kitchen scraps - I suggest you make this small so you empty it more often. They start to smell if left too long.

2. A larger composting bin outside to collect the kitchen scraps and lawn clippings/garden clippings. You can get a big bin like ours from any hardware store.

3. A large garden fork or shovel to turn the mixture
It's that easy.

They say not to add meat or dairy, bread or cake to the compost, but you can add vacuum cleaner dust and moist newspapers. I also keep some of the coffee grounds separate to add to the herb garden weekly. As with most babies, a lot of what we feed Lulu ends up on the floor, so now it can go to help our garden.

You can find out more about composting here.

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Sweet Peas, Music and Dirt

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1. Lulu napping in the cot for the first time. Took an hour of her chatting & tossing her stuffed animals out of the cot before she finally succumbed to sleep.
2. Planting sweet peas. Apparently it is a tradition to plant sweet peas on St Patricks Day. My Pa always planted them, so I want to start this tradition too. I don't normally have success planting anything from seed, so we'll see how it goes.
3. Our little family brunch in town. Nick snapped this photo of me post brunch. 
4. The first Alice Springs Courtyard Session of the year. This year it's moved to Olive Pink Botanical Gardens. It was lovely listening to Irish folk music in such a beautiful location. 
5. Playing in the dirt.

That was our Sunday. Saturday was super busy with exercise, painting, gardening & then a friend's 30th birthday dinner. Too busy to stop & take photos. How was your weekend?

Linking up with Em

The herb garden

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Ok, I have to be super honest with you, everything I planted in the herb garden last spring died over the long hot summer, except the basil and the mint. The coriander died about a month in when we hit the first day over 38C but the parsley kicked on until Christmas. The mint hung in there just barely, every time I thought it was gone, a cool change came and it returned to a luscious green colour.  And the spring onion? Well, that never really took off.  Basil, however, seems to thrive in the heat and is still going strong. A few flowers have come out on it and I should have cut them off but a bee was busily enjoying the flowers and I didn't have the heart. I have since cut them off so the basil won't go to seed.

As for late summer/autumn planting? I'm trying the parsley (curly and flat leaf) and spring onion again. There wasn't any coriander at our garden shop so I'm going to assume that it is the wrong time of year for it. The local garden shop is great like that, only stocks herbs and veggies that it is the right time to plant. 

You may remember my resolution about being a little greener and using coffee grinds in the garden? Well, the coffee grind fertiliser seems to be working ok. I mix the coffee grinds with water and pour them onto the soil. When I water the garden each evening I check that there aren't any big clumps of coffee and if there are I break them down. That way water can still seep through the soil. The basil seems to be thriving on it.

How's your garden going? What are you planting at the moment? I'd love to hear any tips you have on gardening and what to plant for the coming winter.
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Herb Garden Update

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Remember how we planted a herb garden at the beginning of September? Well had I shown you photos of it a few weeks ago it would have looked full of luscious looking herbs, but I waited too long. We've had quite a few days of over 38 degrees and the coriander (cilantro) went to seed. To add insult to injury a small bug or grasshopper has eaten the rest of the coriander and the mint AND the basil. The bug must not like the parsley or the spring onion as they remain untouched. The bug must not like the parsley or the spring onion as they remain untouched.
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Have you had this happen in your garden? What did you do to stop it? I've rigged up a possible solution of a fly net and sticks. Hopefully it keeps the bugs away. I'll keep you posted.

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To prune or not to prune?

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Wow, it's Wednesday already & I feel so tired. I worked the first two days of this week & we've had a few family dinners. Lulu's Saturday night of sleeping through was just that, Saturday night. It's gone from winter to summer within a week. We forgot to call the pool guy to help us with it as we've never owned one before. He can't make it till Monday & there it looms in the backyard just begging us to go for a swim, yet reminding us how grotty it is if we get up close to it. I just popped on here now to look up whether or not I should prune the pomegranate tree & here I am writing a blog post. Oh well. I'll get back to pruning in the front yard now & then I won't even have a chance to think about how tired I am.