Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Busy as bees...

Having my husband home for the two-week autumn school holiday break has meant we could get in and dedicate a great deal of each day to preparing the garden beds for planting. Admittedly, most of the heavy work has been done by him, but weeding, planting seeds and preparing seedlings for a permanent planting in the garden has kept me busy while he's digging, fertilising, preparing water ways, mulching and building structures for climbing vines.

While Mr E was busy in the front yard last week I harvested the enormous lemongrass plant because it had grown so wide and high that the lemon tree, lime tree (only young trees) and the pineapple plants could not see daylight. I did need my man to dig it up first and then he was called upon again later to saw through the solid root system which looked at lot like the base of a palm tree.

This was a slow and methodical process but wow, the fragrance as I worked on each viable stalk was wonderful!

Once my large bowl was full of lemongrass stalks I was inspired to start a yummy broth in the slow cooker for a Thai-inspired coconut, lemongrass and noodle soup to serve at dinner that night.

Two bruised stalks were used and this soup was SO delicious that it's now been added to our regular menu plan!
The remainder of the lemon grass is in the freezer where I can grab a stalk or two whenever I make this soup or other suitable recipes.

In the garden we've used a mix of purchased seedlings as well as sprouting seeds to plant later.
We've also planted some seeds straight into pots (mostly herbs) and also into the raised garden bed my sweet husband set up for me beside the carport. This area gets the winter sun and is perfect for radishes, rocket, beetroot, bok choy and dill (all of which have been planted in there)...

The radishes sprouted in just 24 hours...

Out front the pumpkins are going crazy and we're praying for a good harvest from the two plants...

On the outskirts of the pumpkins we've planted cucumbers...

...and nearby you'll find French butter beans.

Out back there's more French butter beans planted near the olive tree (and we still haven't done anything with that toilet)...

...as well as peas...

...basil, Thai basil...

...rosemary, chilli, thyme, parsley...

...pots of cucumber and tomato seeds scattered around...

....self seeded tomatoes...

...even around the pool!

Cherry tomatoes are in the garden just in front of the bird feeder...

....but we've planted Roma tomatoes in pots beside the chicken coop. They'll be too high for the chooks to mess with and can be secured to the wire as they grow.

Plenty of flower seeds have been sown in pots, and these beetroot seedlings are now in the raised garden bed, along with beetroot seeds in some seedling pots as this will stagger our harvest in the months ahead.

If you remember, during the wet season we moved the chickens up to the pool enclosure where they had a large undercover area for the coop plus a decent sized area of garden to forage in each day. Well it seems they did a lot of fertilising from the kitchen scraps I gave them because there's a number of tomato plants which sprung up in the past few weeks and they are doing really well, plus there's cucumber plants as well. It's quite exciting to see so many vegetables scattered around the front and back yards, some we planted, some self seeded.

There's even rockmelons growing under the clothesline!

I have a line of herb pots doing well, some old, some new, some still in seed waiting to sprout, plus replanting the ends of spring onions has given me a constant supply of tasty green ends to use in salads.

I only noticed the other day that we've got corn growing under the clothesline as well. Fortunately the black ibis is not interested in it but it's long beak aerates the soil as it hunts for insects under the ground.

There's more I could show you but you might have had enough by now of this journey around the early plantings of our tropical winter garden. I just hope you can hear the excitement in my written words because both Mr E and I gain much joy working our quarter acre and progressing more each week with making it a productive food source in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Last week my task was to clean out the linen cupboard and that's what I finally got to do on Easter Monday. 
The cupboard is a hard one to get in to as it's in the narrow hallway between the kitchen and our bedroom, and is has two double doors with a walled area between so in part of the cupboard you have to bend around the wall to put things in or take them out...this means I think carefully about using that not-so-accessible space for items not used on a daily basis (such as bathmats or tablecloths etc).

I wouldn't normally show you inside my linen cupboard but as I challenge you each week to join me in my tasks I believe there's some accountability on my part.

I'd like to show more but the hallway is so narrow and dim that I struggle to take photos that aren't very close and blurry...however, I think you can see that everything is very neatly stacked and in order along this side (taken from the doorway of the toilet opposite - yeh, more information that you needed, right?), and the other side of the linen cupboard is just as tidy. I'm a very happy homemaker with this task complete.

A new task for the week ahead is to clean out any shelving in your main bedroom.

As we have barely any storage area in our home I use the shelving in my side of the wardrobe for things like large quilts, gift supplies, frames (I have a lot for stitcheries), decorations and miscellaneous items. It's really become a dumping ground for things I don't know where else to put, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and dividing them into three categories - donating, giving (usually to Blossom if she wants any) or keeping. 

Will you join me in this task?

THANK YOU to everyone who bought my Sewing Pantry Kits last night. All eighteen were gone within a few hours and I woke this morning to numerous emails and messages asking if I had more.
Sorry, but I don't...but soon I'll have some project kits for various tutorials which will be shared here on the blog. Not a lot of kits as I'm just a designer working from home, but I will do my best to prepare as many as I can.

Now it's late Tuesday night and my husband is reminding me that sleep is our friend after another big day so I'll sign off for now so I can spend a little while in God's Word before slumber takes over.

May your own day be productive and satisfying, and your sleep be sweet and restful.

Loving hugs,


  1. So many plants!! So much variety!! May God bless you with a rich harvest.
    We have one garden bed that just has beetroot - normal and baby beets. I'll have some fun preserving when they are ready. There are 2 self-seeded pumpkin plants that are running wild and everywhere - even twisting tendrils around a rose bush and climbing up the geranium plants beside the house! So far only 1 pumpkin growing, but we are hoping for more. Mostly it's just putting out massive leaves.

  2. Beautiful yard and gardens..Love all your herbs and veggies and things....Everything looks fabulous. Your cupboards are very clean and tidy too...Glad you are doing so much better Jenny and able to help your husband garden too. I love to garden it is good for the soul. We plant pumpkin here later into the summer months so they are ready to harvest into the fall & early winter. I will bein the garden shortly here this morning planting tomatoes lots and lots of them, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli cucumber yellow squash and zucchini as well and maybe some more beans . Doing a big garden this year. Also have to plant some more lettuce and beets

  3. Wow!you have been busy. I have started planting in my garden too. Sine we are in "shelter in place" because of the virus i am not watching my granddaughter which means I am out in the yard a lot.
    Maybe you could fill that toilet up with dirt and plant some kind of vine in it to hide it some. 😁

  4. Great work in your garden! I love it! Your own food, I think it's fantastic! Hugs

  5. You had a busy and productive day! Nice garden. I can't wait to see those pumpkins. I live in a small town that has a Pumpkin Show every October. Farmers bring in massive pumpkins competing for the biggest one. Pumpkin pie is big here, too. By fact all sorts of pumpkin foods. Harvest time has always been great for home grown stuff here. Farmers markets all summer long. I plan to get plenty from them this year, too. I just have to wait and see how things go between then and now.
    Your sale went great! Happy for you that they all sold. I missed those. I'm pretty sure they were all gone before I got your newsletter. But that's really OK. Because I have a lot of fabric I am trying to get to as it is. But, it sure was pretty.
    Rest is important. Glad you are getting your share of that. Especially by how busy you are in and outside of your house. I know you are enjoying your work there.
    Be well, Jenny. I say that purposely. It is like blessing. To be in health as your soul prospers. And I know your soul prospers! Health comes with that.

  6. Hi Jenny the soup looks absolutely delicious do you have the recipe?? Those kits looked so great!!

    1. There was no actual recipe but I'll try and remember what I did. I'm an intuitive cook, rarely using a recipe...much to the chagrin of family who ask me for recipes. LOL!

  7. Hi Jenny. Its interesting to me here that you seem to plant everything now that I plant in my spring garden. I do a winter plant but mainly brassicas & silverbeeet etc. You have such mild winters that I guess its your best time for planting. You have such a wonderful selection of veggies coming along. I was so sorry to miss your kits but am pleased they went well for you. xx

  8. Jenny, many of those veggies would get frosted here in winter so it is great that you can get such a good harvest. I too have a lemongrass bush which needs to be pulled out. It is the one that is mainly used for mulch. I bought another two which are the ones used for stir fries etc. When I bought the first one from Green Harvest I didn't realise that there are two different types. .

  9. Hi Jenny,
    That's so cool...lemon grass from your own garden! and all the other delicious growing herbs and veg! great garden! and a visiting black Ibis! What a sight! Thanks for sharing the photo's !
    0 C degrees last night. How we got used to 20 C last week! 15 C today...that's more like April weather :) Birds are singing quite early in the morning..such a joy to hear :)

  10. Plant the prettiest flowers you like in that toilet. I think a low growing bushy one, like marigolds, would be pretty. If Mr. E. plants the toilet down in the ground a bit, they might even keep pests out of your favorite spot of vegetables. =) Seeing all the green lemongrass stems on the ground made me wish I had been there to scoop some up. I use lemongrass a lot in herbal teas, and you can also distil a nice lemon fragrance from it, too.

    Your garden looks like a great start, and knowing your climate, it will be huge before you turn around twice! I think you will eat well this winter. =)

  11. So much going on in your garden Jenny - lovely to see. xx

  12. Wow - what a good harvest you will have! If I only had the energy....

  13. Thank you 😊❤️ I enjoyed that so much.i have been weeding and planting sweet peas!!



  15. Your home...I remember when you were searching and searching for your forever on earth home and got so discouraged...God had this home in mind for you and it is so perfect for you to raise your chooks, be close to Blossom and grow so much goodness for your family. I love how the chooks have helped spread the volunteer seeds around your garden. I'm so glad you are coming into your happy season of winter with comfortable temperatures, abundant harvest from your garden, knitting to do and a new grand to look forward to!

  16. Oh my goodness your garden is so lush - what wonderful stewards you two are!


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