Sunday, 3 November 2013

Simple Living Sunday 2

Well, it has been a crazy week back at work and re-establishing my routine back to part-time simple life enthusiast and homemaker. Still, it has been a very rewarding week and the groundwork I did during my break has certainly made a difference to my time and organisation. The challenge now is to keep it all up....but I thrive on challenge :)

I finally got around to seed harvesting. I now have some drying trays on the balcony shelves, and above are some rockmelon seeds to be put away. We have about 30 plants on the go so we don't need anymore this year.

These are dried seeds from a red papaya my husband ate. Not sure if they will grow so have popped a couple in my toilet roll seedling trays to see what happens.

My environmentally friendly recycled shoe box is now my seed box. The purple envelopes were the only ones I had, and leftover from our wedding six years ago.

I called in at another garden produce store in Gympie that I had never visited before. They had the biggest selection of seeds I have seen, and even stock Eden seeds so I will be visiting there again when I plant next year...will save me the cost of postage as they will order in what they don't have. I could not resist trying these two out.

This is the alfalfa seeds soaking in filtered water. A piece of stocking is around the top and I will tip the water out later today, rinse them and repeat for the next few days. Interesting to see what happens.

This is the Macadamia seed, basically a nut with anti-fungal powder. They take 3-6 months to produce a seedling and several years to grow to maturity. I would like to line my driveway with them and know they grow well here as we have a Macadamia farm down the road. A long term project.

My Sour Dough Starter from last week. I fed it once during the week and thought I better feed it again today.

And it actually looks like what it is supposed to...and smells yeasty. Will feed again and it should be ready to use. Now I have to find a recipe for sour dough bread.

I decided to start a ginger beer 'bug'. It is similar to the sour dough starter. The ingredients are: 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of sugar and two cups of filtered water.

Place in a jar and cover with muslin. Keep in a warm place and feed every day with one teaspoon of ginger and one teaspoon of sugar. In a week it should be ready to make fresh ginger beer. Something I have always wanted to try.

Paul asked me to make him some ironing spray. He wears a business shirt every day and goes through a can every couple of weeks. I did some research which was very interesting. Most of the recipes used cornstarch which is not something we have here in Australia. I found out that cornflour is the same thing, but only one that is made from corn (not wheat as some of them are). I filled the spray bottle almost to the top with water and then put the water in a saucepan to boil. In a cup I mixed a small amount of cold water with a desertspoon of cornflour and then added this to the boiling mixture along with a few drops of lime essential oil. Once cooled, I then poured it back into the spray bottle. It works really well and it does not set off my hayfever like the one he was it only cost a few cents and a few minutes to make. A winner!

I picked some Zucchini flowers and experimented with a dish which I will share during the week.

A female Zucchini flower. My Zuchinni's have been flowering but then the flower falls off and they do not grow. Apparently this is due to lack of pollination. We usually have tons of bees here but I have not seen any for a while so the lady who runs our community garden explained what I needed to do.

I opened one of my male flowers to expose the 'pollinator'.

I then stuck a skewer in the end to make it easy to hold onto and gain access to the female flowers.

I then rubbed the male pollinator gently onto the female receptor and around the inside of the flower so that when it closes it will transfer the pollen also.

I did the same with my button squash just in case. The male flower is the one on the left which is on a thin stem and the female is attached to the fruit.

We finally have some progress in the cucumber department. This little guy is about three inches long and is of the 'little bebe' variety so wont grow too big.

This is a tiny newborn Rockmelon! They have gone crazy and flowered everywhere. Not sure about the pollination with these guys but I may have the same problem, so will have to do some more googling on that topic.

This is the Bok Choi I cut off last week. Despite being munched on it is growing very fast, so that was a good tip. Will be interesting to see whether the flavour is the same. I have now given it some of the organic pesticide I made last week.

The bok choi I let 'bolt' has now produced seed pods and I have put these out to dry. When dried I will open the pods and harvest more seeds for my seed box...and plant a few more.

The Kale has taken off since I sprayed it with the homemade pesticide last week. The leaf on the bottom  right is the only one with the wriggly lines so we must have deterred the pest. Yay! One win for me.

Unfortunately my prized tomato has fallen victim to a leaf fungus. I did not know what it was but research reveals that I need to remove all the infected leaves which I have now done. I also need to spray with potassium which I can make from bicarb soda and water. Then I need to make sure that I do not water the leaves which I have been doing...a novice gardeners mistake!

Finally the lettuces that I separated are doing well now. It has been a little too hot here for them so I have been harvesting for salads before they get too bitter-tasting, and will leave growing lettuces until Autumn next year. Our spring is usually mild but this year we have jumped straight into summer which did not help with my garden planning.

Another busy and productive week at Tandur Farm. I have watermelons, beans and capsicums to plant today...and heaps of gardens to weed, plus an afternoon of cooking with my spinach and sour dough starter. I couldn't ask for a more perfect day!

How are you spending your day? Are you having any success with your garden?

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