Monday, January 26, 2015

A fridge full of worms

Our beautiful old 50s fridge finally gave up the ghost after decades of service (I calculate we are the third owners). We couldn't bear to part with it so thought we'd give it a go as a worm farm!

Well, gotta say the worms love it! Although a relatively milder summer so far this season, the temperature inside stays fairly constant - so much so that we weren't worried heading off for a couple of weeks over the Christmas period.

Only thing is it's a bit tricky to catch the worm juice... a flat container seems to work OK. Best of all I think is being able to grab some of the castings and add to the garden every so often.

Fridge full of worms
 In addition, we also have the standard worm farm (right of picture - prefer the cricular set up to the box style) and we are currently worm sitting for the Pre-primary class (as we'd set up a farm for them last year). Both produce really well and we get a lot of juice from them, so overall the worm farming is going great guns.

If you're on the hunt for worms and are in the Perth area we have plenty to share!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Going native in the Perth Spring

Made the most of the rain today and got some native plants into the front garden.

Via BOM (radar)
 Hoping they'll survive okay over the Summer - it does get pretty harsh!

View on Flickr
 Here's a record of our plantings today, so we can see how they develop (or, if we lose any!)...

1. Grevilleas
'Little Drummer Boy' (grevillea langiera dwarf), 'Mini Marvel' (grevillea thelemanniana):
These are shrubby groundcovers that suit rockeries and underplanting, with showy sprays of flowers that you can expect from Grevilleas. Good also in coastal conditions. The Thelemanniana is endemic to West Aust.

'Robyn Gordon' (grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida) is a showy Grevillea endemic to West Aust with red/pink flowers in the classic Grevillea style of tumbling sprays of flowers. It should flower almost continuously too, and is bird-attracting. We've used it as a bit of a screen for our bins, but it sits under a large Callistemon tree - so, here's hoping it will settle in okay.

2. 'White Wave' (Leptospernum)
This is a small teatree shrub with gorgeous white 'foaming' flowers along the stems. Also bird-attracting and is good around rockeries and for small gardens as it grows to about 50cm high and 1 metre wide. There are so many beautiful teatree varieties too, from white through to deep pinks and mauves and everything inbetween.

3. 'Sea of Purple' Hardenbergia (violacea)
This is one of my favourite spreading native plants, as I grew up with it around the stunning karri bush of my hometown, Pemberton, hanging from the trees and sprawling along the understory, showing of its pea-like purple flowers! We've planted four of these in the hope we'll get a lovely visual feast of purple, plus some cover to minimise the dreadful onion weed and other weeds that spring up.

4. Groundcovers
'Purple fanfare' (scaevola aemula) has a lovely semi-circle, fan-shaped purple flower on creeping stems, with slightly serrated glossy green leaves. It's of the Goodenia family and also found in white.

'Creeping Boobialla' (myoporum parvifolium) is a creeping groundcover that can quickly develop a matting habit (actually been found as a weed in parts of the USA). Ours has pastel pink flowers and tight dense leaves along the length of the stems. Fast growing, so again hoping to keep down the weeds, as it develops. May need to prune of it becomes to invasive for other plants.

There's also a small Dianella (flax lilly) in front of the rock to the left of the path - it has gorgeous little purple-blue flowers on stems that extend above the leaves. It's a lovely native that seems to do well wherever you plant it (here's hoping!).

We'll see how it's all looking this time next year!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend activities - upcycling!

Here's what we got up to this weekend in the sunshine. Perth's winter is definitely over (in fact I'd ask if it came at all!).

Hope your weekend has been just as enjoyable!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Enjoying fruits of our winter labour

OK, last post about our wonderful broccoli, I promise! Had to post this... Simon made a gorgeous dinner tonight with our freshly picked broccoli and kale. Delicious!

Here's the recipe...

Kale and Broccoli Gnocchi

Nob of butter
Splash olive oil
3 cloves garlic sliced (could also use pre-roasted cloves for enriched flavour)
Broccoli flowerettes
Kale, chopped
Basil pesto (homemade if available)
Gnocchi (homemade if available)

Boil salted water for gnocchi. Once boiling, add gnocchi and wait until gnocchi has floated to top of water, then drain and set aside. Keep warm in low oven if needed.

Melt butter and oil in heavy based pan over medium heat. Fry garlic slices until golden, fragrant and soft. Add broccoli and kale and mix through for a few minutes. Turn off heat and cover for a few minutes to steam through.

Add cooked gnocchi to pan and stir through. Add tablespoon of pesto (or more if you prefer).

Season lightly with salt and pepper and serve in warmed bowls immediately!

It's the simple things really... sigh! :o)

Happy gardening!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Worms go on the move

On Monday this week, I went to Clancy's school to help the kids set up a worm farm, as part of their gardening set up. They currently have a large raised garden bed (shown below planted out in February this year), a small rainwater tank (set up by the ever-resourceful Daddy, Simon), and now have a lovely worm farm to complete the cycle!

I grabbed a few set up tips from the Town of Cambridge worm farm fact sheet and draw up a worm-inspired sign, so the kids can be sure they are keeping a good eye on their worms.
So, these are basic facts for keeping your worms happy and healthy:
  1. Worms love sweet, not sour (i.e. not citrus, onions, garlic, etc).
  2. Worms love dark not light (keep in shaded position with lid on and carpet or cardboard as a cover).
  3. Worms love moist not dry (test by squeezing a handful of castings to test for moisture - that's fun!).
  4. Use "worm wee" 1:10 (or 1L to 10L water) for your plants - they'll LOVE you for it!
  5. Feed small amounts frequently to avoid a smelly worm farm (it should smell like a damp forest or fresh earth).
I used coco for the "bed" layer on the first level, then we gave the worms some edible items on the second "kitchen/dining" layer, using some old leaves, soggy cardboard and some green weedy scraps. We covered the layer with wet newspaper and then let them settle in for the week before giving them further food, which the kids will now do on Mondays and Fridays.

The kids loved holding the worms and feeling them wriggling in their hands - they were so keen! They thought the idea of "worm wee" was pretty funny too! Love the happy curiosity of kids!

Happy gardening!