06 April 2014

Slow Living Journal - March 2014

Time to reflect back on the happenings in March with Christine and the gang at Slow Living Essentials.
Meals this month have been inspired by whatever has been harvested from the Country Garden.  And with a variety of tomato types, purple congo potatoes, green and purple beans, and many other yummy vegies, the dishes have generally been very colourful as well!

Masses of tomatoes and capsicums has seen many portions of Slow Roasted Tomato and Capsicum Sauce produced for the freezer, as well as some Melanzane (pickled eggplant); Beetroot and Walnut Pesto; Basil and Cashew Pesto; Liz's Sambal Oelek; and some Sweet Chilli Jam.
The latest electricity bill for the City Garden revealed a stunning 66% reduction in power usage compared to last year!  I'm looking forward to continuing to work on it over winter.

Another month of 100% of vegies eaten being grown in the Country Garden!

We have been harvesting potato, leek, capsicum, lettuce, rocket, sorrel, tomatoes, eggplant, silverbeet, beetroot, carrots, cucumber, green and purple beans, rhubarb, raspberries, a few blueberries, a watermelon, a pumpkin, the last of the zucchini, spaghetti squash, corn and lots of herbs.
 With three garden beds emptied and moved to a better location, there was lots of space to start planting the autumn/winter crop.  We have now planted broad beans, peas, purple-sprouting broccoli, silverbeet, kale (cavelo nero), beetroot, turnip and celery, and there are still lots of things still producing from the list above.
In the City Garden I hadn't planted anything over summer, while I built up the organic matter and height of the garden bed, and let the chickens in to do their thing to help to try to reduce the lead levels in the soil.  While I know this will be a slow process, I was happy enough that there is now enough organic matter on top of the original soil level to plant vegetables in a couple of areas, so I've just put in purple-sprouting broccoli, kale, pak choy and lettuce.  The challenge now will be to keep them secure from the local possums.

I held a "mini exhibition" for my workmates of a work-in-progress photography project I've been working on over the last few months.  My commute to work has been huge, and so I took to keeping my camera out, and while stuck in heavy traffic, often in early morning or late afternoon when the light is at its most beautiful, I started to look up and photograph the sky and interesting images such as hot-air balloons going over.  I realised that there's a lot going on above those endless traffic jams!

I've been slowly reading Germaine Greer's book "White Beech" about her experience trying to rejuvenate a property in southern Queensland with some important remnant rainforest.  And for lighter moments I've been reading Sally Wise's "A Year on the Farm", a journal-style book packed with preserving recipes and tips for just about every possible thing you might ever consider preserving.

Not much on this one this month, but I did find a copy of my all-time favourite gardening book, Lolo Houbein's "One Magic Square" in a second-hand bookshop that I'm currently doing a Giveaway for here if you'd like to join in.  

Several fantastic gigs were very much enjoyed in March.  And some of the people from our Permaculture PDC group caught up to discuss what we'd all been up to since the course last year.  It stimulated some great passionate conversations.

I hope you had a great March.  Don't forget to click on the link below to check out what everyone else has been up to.

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!


  1. Congratulations on the electricity reduction! Feels good, doesn't it? Love the photo of the tomatoes, so yummy. And I wish I knew how to put up the button for the monthly nine. I've tried to do buttons several times but I've never been successful. Have a great month!

  2. I love your sky picture. What a lovely reminder to look up and beyond the traffic of life.

    1. Thanks Cath. It is really easy to forget to look up!

  3. Congratulations on reducing your electricity bill.
    Love those garden beds. I do a garden with my f.i.l - very traditional style - and he won't try anything new like raised beds. He's always saying that the ground is too low down, maybe I can tempt him with these...

    1. It's so much easier to garden in raised beds, both due to not needing to bend down to work and also, with imported soil in them there are far less weeds to deal with. I'd definitely recommend them :)

  4. Wow such a harvest - keeps me going since we are on the beginning edge of growing season, I will have to wait a little. I like the raised beds - so neat and clean looking.

  5. Your raised beds are very near, I bet they are easier to garden being higher up!

    It's a great feeling when you reduce your electricity bill isn't it, ours is very low but we are always looking for ways to reduce it further :)