From the Garden and Turning 30!

garden-mine 3
Hello! As the Cantabrian people know our summer is being slightly un-cooperative this year. We have some hot weather but mostly drizzly or overcast. Hense the gardens are a little slow starting up. Mine this year (my first attempt at a vege pot/bucket garden.) is a little slow. Herbs are great, leafy lettuces pretty easy although the wet weather tends to make them a little less pretty looking. Corgettes slightly slower in a pot than in the ground. Pumpkins I won’t bother with in a pot again, they do so well in the dirt and are so little work, its sad to see them in a pot as all the babies prob are not getting enough juice to make all large. Potatoes are fun grown in a sack, mine are going quite well. Beans, i will persevere not really flowering or doing much. Silverbeet, even the large variety is doing really well, so will continue with that. Brassicas, the battle between me and the aphids continues.
garden-alys 5
I have recently been loaned the nicest book to read with a cuppa tea and a banana cupcake. Its called “The Thrifty Gardener” (also sold in USA as “garden anywhere“) I have been EATING it up. I am enjoying so much I will read ahead to get a quick answer but still read it page by page and then re-read what I read before, i have now learnt how to correctly make potting mix (mine not so good apparently), worm farms, composts, pest control and surviving garden shops. Its is written in a friendly, clear cut, up front manner. The design and photography is gritty and feels effortlessly styled, rather than over styled. The writing has not being dumbed down (well according to me anyhows), she tells you WHY one does some things and you can learn why plants do what they do. She assumes your are not afraid to weld a hammer and electric screwdriver and you get right in there to make something. I still have book vouchers in my purse, so might see if the town bookshop has anything by her. Cause I WANT them. She has a blog here. Yet to discover all i want to discover about her. I think by the end of the day i may feel a bit like a stalker.
garden-alys6
As I mentioned in the title I am soon to turn 30! Goodness me. This has made me start looking at what I am doing and take some stock. Am i really happy with what i am doing at the moment? One thing i have recently made ‘peace’ with is my inability to be that happy at a similar task (eg a full time job) ever day for 5 days a week. I start sorta start phasing out and being unable to concentrate on whats at hand. What does this mean right now? Well i am trying to find various different ways to make money, not just web design anymore (see photos for sale). I need something else and maybe something else after that! The more i read about people and talk to friends and family its quite common! So I am going over my ‘skills’, knowledge and passions – trying to moosh together a bunch of interesting money making activities…
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I leave you with some photos from the vege gardens in Hagley Park out the back of the Curators House Restaurant.
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Just uploaded a bunch to flickr too, enjoy!

The new pad, garden and business blatherings

The new “granny flat”, what we call the semi detached houses here in NZ, has spacious rooms, is warm, clean and sports a teny tiny kitchen. We are now happily ensconced in our little home. I took some piccies, its not over designed or crazy pretty, its just home, i have not made it inhumanly tidy for your benefit either… sorry!
The dinning and Lounge area
Due to the lack of any patches to plant our veges and not being able to NOT garden, I have started a “bucket” garden. Tomatoes and a range of veges are now either plants or seedlings.
Tomatoes and Spinach

Business Blatherings were promised in the title, i will provide! I sold quite a few prints last week, more than i expected. Some were through felt, some custom orders. After buying up more supplies I am waiting on one more thing before I do another update to hopefully get more sales.

I have been wanting to “do the figures” for awhile now, yeah kinda did a rough one in my head and went “that’ll work” and went on and put some products up. Silly me! Kylie helped me with the appropriate spreadsheet (not too good at those) and yip, the prices will have to go up. Which left me wondering if people will still buy (i guess we will see!) Also left me really thinking about what would genereate that extra income that would give me some extra padding ontop of the website work I am doing. I have been brainstorming and have some ideas I am really keen to get off the ground, nothing ground breaking or anything, just fun and “creative” (i am beginning to think this word is so small for something so broad, so its hideously over used).

For the marketing side there are lots of things I having going on… for the blog I have made a wee sign up form on the right side of the home page, this will collect email addresses so I can email people updates on shop products, new collections, specials, coupons and stuff like that. Optimistically maybe this will happen once a month, at a guess, the emails will happen as fast as this little side business grows and changes.

So thats it for now, stay tuned.. i have a giveaway coming up as soon as i get some more paper…

Spring, Photography and some Weaving

Magnolia
Well it might not be “officially” spring yet, but the flowers are sure fooled. The unusually warmer weather means more flowers, more walks, more bike rides and less pollution from chimneys! Pretty happy all round really.

Another thing thats got me all excited is my new printer. I fired it up end of week last week and have been busy printing off possible prints to sell. I have all sorts of tentative plans so mostly going to try lots of different shops, ways of marketing and just go from there. I will be selling more than photo prints too. I hope to start selling prints of paintings and illustrations also. There is even the possibility of combo-ing with a friend at lyttleton markets.. maybe.
proofs for photos to sell

The last few weekends i have been attending a weaving course at the arts center. I got to borrow a four shaft loom and generally had a good time playing with different weaves and learning to read the patterns. After being a little disappointed with how i didn’t enjoy using a rigid heddle loom that much through another course i did last year, i was happily surprised that i enjoyed this one so much… we did a “sampler” playing with different patterns to create different effects. Here is a little closeup of the unwashed slightly wrinkly piece:
weaving

I hope everyone has a good week! My guy is coming back for good tonight, he has been working overseas for the last year or so. I have been getting him back for one week every two weeks, but its still not the same. So excited about him coming home for good… so we will be hectic getting ready for our USA holiday in the coming days, followed by coming back home from the US and setting out to move in together and starting to build a house. So grown up! Ha ha.. anyways, here are some more spring photos, heres wishing everyone a fabulous week!

Fruit tree blossoms
Crocus

The Real Dirt

I watched a cool doco last night, called “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” It was cool! Here is the trailer if your interested:

Afterwards I felt lucky for being me, with our wee patch of garden and the chickens in our backyard. I really like the Community Sponsored Agriculture concept though. Its great! I just quickly googled, only two listed farms in NZ are running under that formula. I’d so be there if they had one in the south island and if we didn’t have our own perfect patch… Mmmm…. Do think maybe i should do a quick “blog garden update?”

Garden Goss

Now that we are heading into Autumn the garden has taken a wee turn for the winter vege planting with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower going in. All the pumpkins and tomatoes are being harvested. We are longingly looking at the teny tiny last zucchinis on the plants willing them to get a bit bigger.

We sowed some sugar snaps and radishes near the house that have gone “boof” with life. Radishes being consumed heartily in my lunch time sandwiches and the sugar snaps are just beginning to flower. I had the chickens in their portable cage, (chicken tractor) thats the width of the vege beds, prepping the bed that had all the pumpkins in it, they got three days of scratching, pooping in compost and soil eating up bugs getting all muddy.

We have a small whitefly problem and the seedlings are looking a little battered, I am spraying to get them off everyday (detergent and chilly spray!) but i have been told to try putting garlic cloves just under the soil, apparently this works, with alot less work on my side. So will be trying that soon. Esther brought stacks of flower bulbs and I imagine she will be putting them all around the house in the next few weeks. 

More japan photos to come… Fish markets and Kyoto were the big “moments”

 

Spring is Here with a desktop wallpaper download

Its like someone has flicked a switch and all of a sudden warm weather, blossoms daffodils and magnolias bamboozled us with their colour and ability to make us sneeze, uncontrollably for minutes at a time..

I am loving the warmth and being able to wear a tea shirt and skirt and go for bike rides without wearing layers of smelly polypro.

Last night after sitting in two banana lounges drinking our summer beverage, soaking up the last of the suns rays, I ran around taking photos in the beautiful light. My flatmate wanted a desktop wallpaper from of one of the images, so i thought I would offer it all to you aswell! To remind you of spring if it happens to be the opposite where you are, or to keep you excited for the coming summer months…

The Preview:
Desktop Spring Wallpaper  thumbnail of wallpaper

Download:

800×600

1024×768

1280×1024

Powdery Mildew and Aphids

Well I had a few issues awhile back i consulted the www about, and the first solutions I came across “seem” to be working. Yay!

First it was the aphid infestation:

Brussel Sprouts and Aphids

I applied a recipe of:
1/2 litre of water,
tsp of crushed chillie
1/2 tsp of dish detergent
Grapeseed oil
Strained so the crushed chillie bits didn’t clog up sprayer..

And Voila! 3 days/ 3 sprays later!

Aphid Infestation receding
Still some aphids but nowhere near as bad! (I also planted a tansy in there.. aphids hate that stuff I have heard)

Grapes: The Powdery Mildew

Grapes

I applied:
1/2 litre of water
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of dish detergent

3 sprays / 3 days later :
Grapes : Powdery mildew vanishing...
Powdery mildew seems to be going, to reveal brown splotches.. bugger… will have to wait and see.

Using the seeds off your veges

After reading “You Grow Girl” (more like taking it everywhere and just pulling it out for inspiration every evening for the last month) I have decided to start using the seeds my plants create to be used for next years veges. I wanted to find other reading on this, but decided that I should just go to the website. Yes all info is there and I am ready to experiment. First I am starting with my rocket seeds and corgettes.

Photo from the website

The book is great! So much of the info is also available on the website, which helps my pocket and stops me from spending. However, it doesn’t help that the book is much more portable than my laptop and much prettier..

Thrifting at its best and most delightful

Christchurch has this amazing system to deal with peoples trash. ONE part of it is as you go to “the tip” with your trailer load of “rubbish” you go through/past a recycling area. This recycling area has the usual bottles and paper, they also have a big shed to off load anything that is re-usable; be it electrical, parts out of mower, car or bike, toys, furnitures, kitchen things… anything! So where does this go? THE SUPER SHED!!! Early on a Saturday morning you will find the best deals.

Bring on: 5 wooden backless deckchairs (now fabric hunting) plus two deck loungers (sorry photo to come) $1 EACH!!!
Deck Chair $1

A beautiful old school chalk board $10 (thats expensive for The Super Shed)
Chalk Board

The coffee pot for this set: $8
New old Teaset and Cupcakes

Where does one find the super shed? (Shopping trick: Get in early wknd or during the week) Details here and below:

The SuperShed
220 Pages Rd, between Cowles Stadium and the Marae.

  • Eftpos facilities are available, but credit cards not accepted
  • Cheques are accepted,only with id .eg. drivers license or passport.
  • This central warehouse is for sales only, you may not drop items off here.
  • Trading hours: 9am to 5pm 7 days per week,

Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Anzac Day.

I took my camera so I could give you another montage of yummy old cool stuff!
Super Shed Montage

Ahhh happy *sigh*

Communitiy and Book for Gardening!!

I got this book out from the library in the weekend:

It has some wonderful ideas and funny writing.  In it mentioned the online gardening community www.yougrowgirl.com I am just about to start exploring it.

But as some of you know I am addicted to online communites. However I don’t tend to spend lots of time in them, busy busy busy. But love the concepts! This one looks like a forum and blog.