Friday, September 28, 2012

Worms get a feed

I've had my Tumbleweed worm farm for about 2 months now and all seems to be going well. My husband loves to say to our friends - ' Indira has worms'.

The worms have settled in and are now usefully converting our kitchen scraps and garden cuttings into highly nutritious worm juice and castings.

They're fussy eaters though. Mine prefer potato and pumpkin peels, tea bags and egg shells. We can't dispose of all our kitchen waste through the farm but since we're only a two-person household we don't generate that much either.

Keeping them cool on a sunny balcony has been a challenge . Since the sun hits the farm most mornings I've erected an umbrella to provide added shade. I also give them a good wetting down with the hose every week to keep them damp. Worms enjoy a very moist environment.

Most importantly my balcony edibles have never looked so lush. The worm juice is boosting their resistance to pests and diseases and encouraging faster growth.

A happy little ecosystem.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spring plantings at Wayside

Our dedicated group of Wayside Chapel gardening volunteers put in our spring plantings on Thursday. Chillies, tomatoes, basil, corn, sunflowers and lots of delicious compost and worm juice to give everything a kick start.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Palm Beach - Frangipani Cottage

It's the first weekend of Spring and the outdoors is calling.

We're staying at Frangipani Cottage on Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach - the new accommodation
offering from the folks at Barrenjoey House a few doors down the road.

The two-bedroom cottage is perfect for two couples and a stone's throw from the ferry and beach.

The frangipani trees in the front garden aren't in flower yet. Now their branches look like huge chunks of underwater coral.

The cottage draws on similar design elements to the famous Barrenjoey Restaurant and Guesthouse.

.. light, space and air, textured collectibles all to be enjoyed from deep comfortable couches.

 It's a space to relax and unwind in..

.. and with a large flat screen television and foxtel for those who don't want to completely disconnect.

There are piles of books, magazines and travel guides to flip through

... although the outside is always beckoning.

your own private deck to daydream on..

The beds are extremely comfortable and covered with luxurious linens. It will be a sleep you'll always remember.

a dreamy space to dream in...

as the scented spring air sends dappled light across the room
the kitchen is functional with only a microwave oven an obvious omission.

but with Barrenjoey's excellent restaurant and a host of other eateries just around the corner you won't be spending much time doing the dishes.

The cottage only has one bathroom so the sharing couples need to know each other well. We did notice that the hot water was peetering towards the end of our two showers.

After an evening walk on the beach it's an early dinner at Barrenjoey restaurant. 

I've always admired the interesting decorating touches in this wonderful colonial-style space.

We begin with a plate of the most delicious briny oysters and then onto a crab pasta and a fillet
  steak - all cooked perfectly.
a sundowner and then a tipsy stroll back to our cottage for a deep, deep sleep surrounded by crisp fresh linen, soft pillows and that hypnotic sea breeze.

Saucy Onion stayed and dined as a guest of Barrenjoey House.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sydney - James St Reserve Community Garden

This is a story about how neighbours can come together - despite the odds - to build a better community. And there's no better way of building community than with a garden.
In 2010 a group of locals in Redfern had spotted a dusty corner of the James St Reserve that was crying out to be transformed. It was a pedestrian thoroughfare to the local supermarket and a drug-users haunt.
But they saw the potential. So they applied for a matching grant from the City of Sydney.
 ... et viola -  after much hard work - a luscious vegetable garden was born.
 The garden is planted in raised beds
 The vegetable and herb plantings are seasonal so there's always something in the garden to enjoy
 The garden is surrounded by a low fence with unlocked gates. Residents are divided into groups which are assigned their own beds to look after - but everyone is welcome to enjoy the harvests. Of course there's a bit of pilfering and vandalism that goes on. But they're developing ways of managing this and encouraging all residents to have some ownership of the garden. And it's working.
There was such a strong sense of collaboration and 'pulling together' when I visited.
Hope this inspires you to get your community to come together to transform a bit of neglected space in your suburb into a thriving veggie patch. It is possible.