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!

Broccoli success

Well, it seems we can grow broccoli in Perth! At least in the winter months. I last tried around spring last year and the white cabbage moth was everywhere. I had experimented using moth shaped white plastic decoys, but I'm not convinced they worked.

We planted some dwarf broccoli in a small bed which gets a lot of sun throughout the day and we've had success! The magpies and crows thought they were pretty nice too - so we draped a bit of bird netting over the broccoli to protect the small heads.

We didn't get too many slugs or snails either - in general, all quiet on the bug front!

I'll be monitoring the change in seasons more closely in future, to really capitalise on the relatively mild winter and the absence of the cabbage moth more so!

Happy gardening!