Sunday, April 19, 2020

Planning the Plant Stall in Autumn

Buddleja unknown XL plant from mum and dads
Helichrysum italicum(curry plant)
Spirea catonienesis(tip cuttings worked best on heat bed)
Spirea unkonown(from mum and dads-28C)
Weigela Eva Rathke(heat bed 2 sets of nodes - 28C)
Silver Santolina(grit)
Green satolina, (grit)
Various Herbaceous Sedums

Potted up:
heaps of tubes into 140mm pots ready for spring sales at the stall :-)

Plectranthus argentatus
Helichrysum petiolare(might do some cuttings tomorrow !)
Leucaphyta brownii (ditto!)
also do Leucaphyta borwnii nana

Arthropodium cirratum(15C-20C)
Beschoneria yuccoides (25C on heat bed and plastic over)

...also took fresh walnuts from off mum and dads tree and took them carefully out of shell to get the whole seed and put them in a takeaway contained filled with recycled paper kitty litter and a bit of water to keep moist and put the lid on top. No idea if this will work but if it does I might have 12 new walnut trees for mum and dads place( walnuts seeds are a mega long term project!)

unknown fern., (most likely native to Tasmania)
climbing fig,
Plectranthus ciliatus,
Dendrobium - Apple Blossom to sell as they are with roots or to pot up and sell?

Planted out:
Garlic Tasmanian Purple (1kg) and also a really massive 2 clove bulb I got from the supermarket that had a purple skin as I would love to just have huge garlic like this!

Planted out kale grown from seed.
need to buy myself some seed potatoes to put aside till late July when I will plant them out!

Monday, March 2, 2020

DIY semi-recycled Poly tunnel

Dad and I made this poly tunnel for them up at their place. To be fair dad and mum did a lot of the work manually on their own levelling the site by hand with a shovel! The tin was a recycled commercial chicken shed that was gifted to us. A lot of the other timber was recycled from the deck my partner and I demolished at our house and the rest of the center poles were cut down a few metre away in the bush. We eventually laid down woodchip for the path to keep the weeds down. it was about 12m long so a fairly good size all up!

Just wanted to show you what we've been up to :-)

Monday, February 24, 2020

$5 plant stall- Roadside honesty box system

We have started selling from our little roadside plant stall! it is so exciting when we hear the coins drop into the box on the fence and the gentle thud of the car doors closing and the grind of the gravel as the tyres pull our of the drive. QUICK! QUICK! out to the box and see what has been sold....and with such enormous sense of self satisfaction.

I can tell you now that growing tuberous begonias has been a winner! we bought the tubers when they had died back for the year and were just pots of nobbly bits! we spent hardly anything buying punnets of 4 little begonias and then potted them up into 140mm plastic pots(free recycled ones of course)when they started to grow in spring. We are charging $5 AUD per plant

Red was by far the favourite colour and the whites have not sold so well, although they are pretty just not as eye catching, perhaps I might plant the leftovers into a hanging basket before they die down for the year and try and sell them like that.

next on my plant stall is WEIGELA this variety is an unknown from my parents garden that I propagated over winter. No flower yet  which is a bugger as EVERYTHING sell 10 x better when it is flowering. Next year I will know to water things with liquid potash to get it all blooming as soon as possible! is there a cheap way to get  liquid potash? (must look into it!)

Soon to be ready are Cestrum, Viburnum( must try and ID this variety as it grows so well), Chamomile, Comfrey, Buddleja globosa

Monday, February 17, 2020

Recycling Rootstock and Grafting Citrus

Sometimes you come across a plant that hasn't had a successful graft. I have access to trees that have been exchanged due to this reason and then nobody really wants them. I finally had the courage and time to give re-grafting a citrus a go.

Here I am trying to graft some eureka lemons onto an unknown variety of lemon rootstock. I followed free videos on you tube and din't have any grafting tape to hand so I cut up a used bread bag into one long strip and used that! (cut about 1" wide)

No idea if this will work but one has to fail several times at the beginning, but the important part is to just begin anyway!

I used the rest of the plastic bread bag to cover the whole thing and then a paper bag over that.

apparently I can take the tape off at the 3-4 week mark and I will update then!

Friday, March 1, 2019

REAL Annual Living Costs in a Tiny House

(32sqm / 344sqft)

Water:  $480 (hopefully a lot less this year as we have a new way of getting fresh water to our tank for a fraction of the price!) The water delivery is $120 per load and you have to buy a whole literal truckload of water and as our tank is small at the moment significant amounts of water were wasted and we filled our water pond and watered our trees with the extra water. (guilt!) keep this in mind if you are getting a load of water delivered to your tiny house!

Electricity :  $1598 this includes a 2400kw wall heater and a external water heater that is bigger than we require but came with the house when we bought it! When it comes time to replace our water heater I will be looking carefully at a heat on demand water system to reduce electricity costs.

Total electricity for the year was  5041 k/w(We had a 6 week holiday when we were not at home but there is a daily connection cost) works out 5041 k/w div. 323 days we were home in 2018 =15.61 K/w per day.  I am going to look at several measures to reduce this in 2019!

Petrol:  $2340 for one person! (unleaded petrol as I drive 1 hour per day on my commute to/from work 4-5 days a week) I hate having to drive as far as I do to get to work, but unfortunately the local real estate market is getting beyond ridiculous. The prices are completely unattainable for us in the areas where we work so this is the next best option. My partner drives twice as much as I do to get to work.

EDIT 2020: both myself and my partner now work at the same place and 80% of the time car share, so petrol usage has approved

Sewage: NIL Costs this year as we are on a septic system, but this 10+ year old system will need maintenance in the future if it stops working efficiently. It is working well at the moment with no problems.

Groceries: $6795 Changed to a vegan diet from a vegetarian one mid way through the year. And our grocery bill also covers our household pet food, kitty litter etc.

Laundromat: $520  2/3 loads at $8-$12 per week at our local laundromat as we have no washing machine facilities at home. We usually air dry our clothes on our clothes line and this seems to be working out ok! takes me 30 minutes to do all the washing at once.

EDIT 2020: struck a deal with my mum and I do one load of washing at her place and in return buy the septic/grey water friendly laundry powder for us both to use. I still do one load of washing at laundromat so that's $4 p/w

Sunday, October 7, 2018

7 Free 1930's Cordial Recipes.



1.9 L of water.
900 grams of sugar(3.8 cups)
14 grams of citric acid (I used a little bit less than 3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon of cloves (I used 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves, but the residue was leftover so whole cloves are probably better)
1 tablespoon of ginger(I put in 1 1/2 table spoons of finely cut up fresh ginger)
1 tablespoon of chillies cut in half.
(I probably put closer to 1 1/2 tablespoons of small inch long
fresh chillies)
(This presumably refers to dried bird’s eye chillies
and you would have to experiment a little to determine
the quantity of fresh chillies.)
Boil all ingredients for 5 minutes, strain,cool, bottle.
colour with burnt sugar.
To make caramel put a heaped tablespoon of sugar
into a frying pan, and heat with constant stirring until;
the sugar has turned to a clear brown liquid.
Use at once be fore it hardens in the pan. 
Testers note: this packs a punch! 
I really liked this recipe, it was nice cutting up the ginger for the smell experience, and if you love spicy chilli ginger beer..than you’ll love this recipe. Not sure how long this keeps.

All of these recipes are from Australian 1930's newspaper articles!

I have only tried this first recipe, but I plan on trying them all this summer! Let me know if you give any of these ago before I get to them. 


Following is a good recipe for the
making of blackberry cordial :— Sim-
mer the blackberries till they break.
strain, and to each pint of juice put
1lb. of white sugar 1/2 oz. cinnamon
1/4 oz. mace, and 2 teaspoonful extract
of cloves. Boil for 15 minutes, and
bottle when cold.


Method: Take the required
quantity of black or red cur-
rants. Clean and wash fruit
without breaking. Place in jam
pan and just cover with water,
then allow to simmer for half
an hour. Strain through jelly
bag, and add 1/2 cup sugar to 1
cup of juice.

Dissolve sugar in juice,
fill bottles and either seal
or top with metal cordial
bottle tops.

Place filled and topped bot-
tles in preserving outfit and
sterilise at 200 degrees for about
20 minutes.

The drink, which keeps
indefinitely while sealed,
should be served with water. It
costs about 6d. to make enough
to fill a 1 1/2 pint bottle


Grate the rind and squeeze the juice
of 8 oranges and 2 lemons,
add 1oz. of citric acid, 1oz,
of tartaric acid, 1oz. of Epsom salts.
Pour over these 1 cup of boiling water.
and let stand for 24 hours, in an
earthenware vessel. Make a syrup of
5lb. of sugar and 3 pints of boiling
water, and add to the above ingre-

When cool strain and bottle.
To prepare for drinking, pour a little
cordial in glass and fill up with



3 large lemons
6 breakfast cupfuls of cold water( 300ml per cup full so 1.8L total)
3lb.(1.3 kg) sugar.
1oz. citric acid. (1  1/2 tsp)
Pare the rind thinly off the
lemons or limes, put it in a saucepan with the
water, bring to the boil, and simmer
gently for quarter of an hour.

 Add the juice of the lemons or limes
and boil for another quarter of an hour
with the lid on.
Strain; then add the sugar and acid and
boil gently for five minutes.



Boil 1 lb. bruised whole ginger in
water for one hour, strain, make up to
1 pint with fresh water and bring to
the boil again. Have ready in a basin
2 lb sugar, 1 tablespoon tartaric acid,
pour on the boiling liquid and stir till
dissolved. When cool add 1 tablespoon
essence of lemon, then bottle. A table
spoon in a glass of water makes a de-
licious drink.


4 cups strawberries (fully ripe), 1
lemon, 1 orange, 3 pints water, 1 lb.
sugar. Mash berries through a sieve,
add lemon juice and oranges, then wa
ter, and work together. Stand two
hours. Put sugar in a bowl and strain
the juice over it, stirring till sugar
is dissolved. Stand in cool place be
fore serving. A delicious and easily
made drink. Raspberries could be used
in the same way.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Frugal Friday- Free Coffee Ground

I'd like to claim that this was my idea but my partner has somehow managed to get a 10 gallon bucket of used ground coffee everyday from now on. The local cafe near where he works was happy to have a one-in-one-out bucket type of system.

I have been researching all the garden plants that will love this and it seems the acid loving varieties will be particularity happy! (azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries etc.) don't spread directly around plants ! But it also seems that it needs to be no more than 20% of the total volume of your compost.

here is a great article on the subject : Coffee Grounds in the Garden 

Along with the used coffee grindings I usually get a large stack of used flattened cardboard boxes from my work ever few weeks to use as a base layer for our new garden beds( sticky tape removed!)My best tip is to leave it out in the rain for a few days to soften the cardboard and then remove the tape and labels.  We then layer small branches on the cardboard as well as leaf mulch, grass clippings, compost.

We also collect seaweed from the beach which a wheel barrow walk away from us! This is legal where we live and I would suggest you check your areas regulations before you go ahead and start collecting.  We do not wash the seaweed or anything just use it as a thin layer in your garden beds as you build them up.

I will try and do some more research on the coffee grindings front!

Planning the Plant Stall in Autumn

Propagation: Buddleja unknown XL plant from mum and dads Helichrysum italicum(curry plant) Spirea catonienesis(tip cuttings worked best o...