A gluten free life in the suburbs, heavy on the gardening & peppered with opinion, outbursts, comedy, music, movies, art and self-indulgence

I really love the aesthetics of old TVS. Especially the black and white ones that existed before the days of remote controls…I look at this old thing at my parents and try so hard to find a utilitarian purpose for it…but I can’t and I need to stop hoarding such things just because I like how they look. Function over all else when you’re downsizing.

I really love the aesthetics of old TVS. Especially the black and white ones that existed before the days of remote controls…I look at this old thing at my parents and try so hard to find a utilitarian purpose for it…but I can’t and I need to stop hoarding such things just because I like how they look. Function over all else when you’re downsizing.

Due to circumstances I’d rather not delve into, I’ve had to leave my house & courtyard garden. All of my pot plants (and myself) are now living at my mothers for a couple of months until I find a new place. So in the meantime this will be less about gardens and probably more about food and recipes. But once I do get a new place it will be all about condensing a large courtyard garden into a small balcony garden. 

However, I had this blog almost ready to go - I’ve deleted plans I had for the future (because I’m living in the now) and figured an update on the succulent project I started six months ago was well overdue. As you can see, I’ve been collecting succulent cuttings like mad and they have been thriving in the little tin cans. I’m envisioning that my new place will have an interior full of succulents and a balcony you can barely walk on.

I’ve found the best way to get succulents to grow is to mix some seed raising mix in with normal potting mix. They tend to root a lot faster and have a much higher success rate. 

Life sucks sometimes, but you’ve just got to move on and do the best with what you’ve got and keep cooking and planting. (if that’s what you’re into) 

At the moment my garden is looking close to it’s best. The marigolds are in full bloom giving the garden not only a bit of protection from nasty bugs but also a splash of bright colour. We picked our first white habanero last week (second row, right picture) and I’d love to tell you how it tasted, but we lost it somewhere in the kitchen when we did the big clean up in preparation to chemically bomb the bird mite infestation out of our house…but I’d rather not discuss that any further. The itchy memory is too fresh. 

At the moment we are having the most success with herbs (especially basil and chives), chili plants, silverbeet, kale, lettuce and eggplant. I’m considering investing in a small portable greenhouse to protect my tomato and chili seedlings through winter. I just have to figure out where to put it. I’m starting to think that the purple cabbages I have are ornamental as they’re not producing anything edible. I’ve cut my tomato’s right back again and I’m hoping they give us one more round of fruit before the weather cools down. As you can see we also have limes coming- which is surprising because I wasn’t expecting any this season, I guess the plant was more mature than I thought when I bought it so the $20 I spent is even more of a bargain for a mature patio lime! 

If we are still at this house next summer, I plan on extending the garden along the courtyard wall - there’s 1/2 metre of dirt between the pavers and the wall that I’m just using for junk at the moment and I figure I can use the space much better for anything that requires room to spread out (like cucumber) or grow up (snowpeas/beans etc), maybe even some corn could go there. 

It’s an exciting time of the year for garden lovers, because we get to start preparing for the next phase of gardening. I’m stocking up on cool climate seeds and over the next week will begin sowing them in small seedling pots while it’s still warm and they have time to establish themselves before the frosts hit. 

Propagation: the process of growing new plants from old plants. 

The first year of a new garden is rarely your most productive. Which is very frustrating for people who rent and don’t get the chance to establish a garden for more than a year. Even container gardens need time to adjust to their space and conditions and the first year is just as much about positioning your plants as it is them growing. However, instead of being discouraged by a less than bountiful first year harvest, take comfort in the fact that instead of growing an abundance of food first year plants can help you grow an abundance of new plants. 

The images above show the plants that I have propagated from existing plants that have now formed seedlings. The top image is jalapeno chili’s that come from the seeds from our other jalapeno plants - I made a bunch of jalapeno poppers, collected the seeds, gently washed and soaked them then dried and planted them in some seed raising mix. The second image to the left is strawberries, even easier, I just cut off the runners and planted them. I have several new runners coming as well. The bottom right image is tomato’s and a couple of capsicum. The tomato’s were fun to propagate, I simply planted any tomato’s that got munched on by our friendly local fruit bats in a new pot with a top layer of seed raising mix and within a couple of weeks I had the seedlings you see in that image. 

Just a note- in order to keep your plants going through to the next season, once winter hits make sure they are either put into a greenhouse or an area protected from the cold, wind and frost or else you’ll have to start again come springtime.