01 March 2014

Slow Living Journal - January and February 2014

I'm so glad Christine has decided to continue with her monthly Slow Living diary this year.  It's a great way to look back on the month's achievements and connect with other people doing fabulous things. Having said that, I didn't actually manage to do a Journal for January, so here's my combined Jan/Feb effort.  

Nourish
Our holiday to Tasmania was very nourishing!  We sought out delicious food and wine as well as a spot of fishing and foraging.  I wrote about it all here.

Prepare
The pantry is stocked with many jars of jam (starting with delicious Raspberry Jam in Tasmania during our holiday, then topped up with Apricot Jam when we got home just before the end of the apricot season) and chutney (Blackberry and then a batch with Zucchini to use up an overlooked zucchini that had grown to mammoth proportions).  
The freezer has several batches of tomato sauce and basil pesto, and I hope to get a few more made before the end of the tomato and basil season.

Reduce
My efforts to reduce power consumption took a step forward in January when we bought a new and more efficient fridge.  However several long periods of extreme hot weather saw power consumption rise again as we battled with inadequate fans against the hopeless lack of insulation and poor build quality of the City Garden house.  I've started looking at how best to improve those issues.

Green
After a slightly slow start to summer, the Country Garden produced around 85% of our vegetables in January, and I think I can confidently say that it's just hit 100% for the first time in February!

Grow
Despite the crazy up and down weather this summer, the Country Garden is looking so lush and is probably at its peak production for the year at the moment.
We are currently harvesting rocket, lettuce, sorrel, silverbeet, beetroot, potatoes, onions, carrots, kohl rabi, eggplant, cucumber, green and purple beans, capsicum, zucchini, spaghetti squash, rhubarb, raspberries (which are being treated as a snack bar in the middle of the garden!), tomatoes, basil, sage, parsley, chives and a few other herbs.

Pumpkins have been planted and are just starting to look promising, as is the corn (apart from a small patch of it) along with our one and only very first watermelon, which is slowly but surely growing larger!  The autumn/ winter planting is just starting, with some beetroot, purple-sprouting broccoli and turnip seeds having been planted out, but we are now waiting on some bed space to be freed up before anything else can be planted.
Create
We happened across a Ukelele-making workshop while in Tasmania, so popped in to have a look at what everyone was making.  M played one that had recently been completed and was excited by the quality and sound, so I think a ukelele has been added to the list of things for me to make...!

Discover
I went to an amazing permaculture food forest garden set up on a small urban block a couple of weeks ago as part of an Open-Garden Scheme day.  It was fascinating to see how dense and productive a small space can be, and it was a great example of "beautiful permaculture", something that is important to me in the pursuit of permaculture design.  

Enhance
I led a workshop in the kitchen garden at work, which included harvesting tomatoes, cleaning up the beds and planting more seedlings.  The tomatoes have been prolific and eagerly snapped up when we deliver bowlfuls to the staff kitchen.
My friend E and I have been pondering ways to incorporate permaculture and our interests in urban agriculture and food sustainability into what we do.  We have each been doing little initiatives, but there are the start of some bigger ideas floating around too.  We are currently working on a venture that I'll talk about very soon ;)

Enjoy
Our adventures around Tasmania and the chance to do lots of boating stuff, including getting my little boat Polly out on the water again, going out sailing with Dad for his first time since he had the car accident last year, seeing the Sydney to Hobart yachts come in (OK, that was late December!) and admiring the progress on the beautiful big timber yacht that friends are building, were all part of a great start to the year. 
And back to the very first photo in this post, many many years ago I was given a succulent in a small pot by a friend.  It has survived in various pots and locations over the years, and had bits chopped off it to give to other friends and to bulk up my other succulent beds and pots.  This summer, for the very first time it suddenly and unexpectedly burst into the most beautiful and delicate star-shaped flowers that I have been enjoying very much!

Don't forget to check out Slow Living Essentials to read about what Christine and the gang have been doing.
Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!

19 comments:

  1. Congratulations on growing 100% of your veggies!

    I've had so much trouble in my own garden, so it's good to hear someone is doing well. It gives me hope! And I'm pretty sure that's a moon and stars watermelon. I grew them four years ago and the kids loved them!

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    1. Yes I think you might be right about the watermelon. I got the seeds at a country market ages ago, so I can't actually remember, but it's looking like it. Sadly only one has successfully grown, but I can't wait to try it!

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  2. Your garden looks fantastic. Wow, being able to grow 100% of your own vegetables - an amazing result!! Gives all of us hope. Will be back to have a bit more of a look around :)

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    1. Thanks Sharon, it's the first time, and might not be repeated in a hurry, but nice to achieve it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Your garden looks beautiful. I'm looking forward to getting back into ours and enjoying some fresh home grown produce too. It's good to see green in some parts of the world.

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    1. I guess we are lucky here in that we can garden all year, even if it's less productive over winter. Enjoy Spring!

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  4. Wow, your garden is looking amazing, congratulations on your harvests!! Loving your watermelon..is it a moon and stars? Intrigued to hear more about the ventures in the pipeline. So lovey to have you linking in again. :)

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    1. Thanks Christine, sorry I've been so slack in the last few months, it's good to get back into it! I had to write that little hint about our plans just to force myself to get on with doing it!

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  5. I have a soft spot for succulent flowers. I absolutely love succulents, but they don't love me and never seem to thrive in my garden. I am intrigued about kohlrabi in the summer - don't they just go to seed in the heat? I tried growing them last autumn and got two measly little veggies in the whole bed, so I am doing something wrong. I would love some tips.

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    1. The secret of succulent flowers seems to be lots of sun and REALLY hot weather!

      As for kohl rabi, I planted a few seedlings before Christmas that I grew from seed and they seemed to develop slowly, but didn't go to seed. However they were grown under a shadecloth so perhaps that sheltered them enough. They have been attacked by cabbage moth caterpillars and I harvested the last one because there wasn't a single leaf left on it! It's the first time I've tried to grow them but I'd definitely try again. I love the taste, they are brilliant raw in salads!

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    2. Thanks, feeling inspired to try again.

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  6. I have just watched two videos on Youtube about permaculture food forests and am very inspired, lucky for you that you got to go to one. Well done on your great month.

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    1. I studied them last year in my permaculture course but this was the first really intensely planted one that I'd seen. The owner said once he got it going it only takes 1-2hours work per week, and he has a huge harvest from it, so it was definitely inspiring!

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  7. What a fun month and the 100% mark is awesome - you are right that it may not happen every month at first but now you know it can!!!

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  8. 100% growing your own vegetables - great result!
    Good luck in making a ukelele.

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  9. Wow 100% vegetables from the garden that is fantastic.

    Your other projects sound interesting hope you find the time to peruse them :)

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  10. 100% is certainly impressive and something I aspire to! Over summer, here in Tassie, I have almost achieved it but not for long. Your garden looks so lush and tidy - beautiful pics! I'm still waiting for our tunnel tomatoes to ripen, we planted late and now we are hoping for no frost until April. March is not unheard of here!
    Looking forward to hearing about your new venture!!!

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  11. I am so impressed with the 100%! I'm lucky to get a single thing each week let alone feed us entirely! I bought some organic strawberries at the markets last week end to make jam with. I couldn't carry everything so I said I'd come back. Got distracted by a musician, a man selling goat pies and then a pizza oven. Found the husband, wandered home and well after the markets closed, realised I hadn't picked up the strawberries - so that's less jam on my shelves this winter - you have done really well though! - K xx

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