Green and Thrifty

I planted seeds. Many seeds, and now I am the anxious mother of the seed babies, waiting for them to pop up. So far eleven of the twenty five punnets have sprouted. I have the promise of dahlias, cosmos, lettuce, rocket and kale, spinach, globe gillia, asters, lemon balm, and this morning, the first pak choi. Growing from seed is always an anxious exercise I find. Will they? Won't they? Are they warm enough? Is there enough light (actually, seeds that haven't sprouted yet don't need any light. You can stack up the punnets on top of each other in a warm place until the seeds begin to come up). I have transplanted several of the punnets into larger quarters already, and put them out in the sunshine every day. And this week I planted tomatoes and capsicum. Fingers and toes all crossed for their success.

We have had cold and rain and snow in Tasmania this week. Not very much rain, but every little bit counts. No complaints about the cold (well, ok, maybe just a couple of tiny complaints) because half of Queensland is on fire this week, much of Australia is in drought and many places are suffering through heat waves already.

I found some more seed this week - from a great big old fennel bush flourishing in a pub car park. I spotted this while walking the dog. I can't tell you how many times I have come home from a dog walk with the dog poop bags full of seeds and plant cuttings! I always make sure I take spares in case there is something to snaffle. I also picked up two clothes pegs from the pavement while walking the dog. I have spent many odd minutes wondering how clothes pegs get dropped on pavements. I have picked up several over the last year. Who are these people who take their clothes pegs out for a walk?

I inherited a suitcase full of new-to-me clothes and bed linen this week - a friend's daughter is moving to Hobart and decluttering. I am so lucky! I also ended up with a pile of books, a big ball of jute string a wooden bowl and a wire brush from another clean out. I say Yes to everything, and then decide what to do with things later.. often I move them on to someone else. The wheels of the gift economy keep on turning.

This is not thrifty on my behalf, but I wrote an article for the spring edition of Earth Garden which has just come out, about my friends Nic and Tanya, and the sheds they built out of pallets that they collect out the back of our local big box hardware store. They are extremely clever at both scrounging and building, and are making a beautiful garden and food forest at their place, which is endlessly inspiring.

I sent two cartons of homeschooling books to a local homeschooling group where I hope they will find happy new homes. It is eight years since I homeschooled any of the children, so I probably can do without those books now. There is an area in the corner of Rosy's attic bedroom which is full of 'treasures' that need to find new homes. It is all of the things I brought with me from the old house that I couldn't bear to part with, but that have no relevance at all to my current life. I would hate to get run over by a bus and have my children have to deal with getting rid of all of that detritus. It is time for it to go. I have made a start. Onward!

My neighbour brought me eggs and a lamb bone for the dog. I took silverbeet up to his place and shared the eggs with Paul.

Eating this week:
From the garden: Lemons, silverbeet
Weeds: chickweed
Stored food: garlic
Preserved food: lemon verbena tea, dried oregano and basil, fig jam, pear butter, chutney
Gifted food: eggs, lamb bone for the dog, rhubarb from my mum

Tell me about the green and thrifty going on at yours this week..


sustainablemum said…
Most things are coming to end of their growing period here as we head to Autumn. I am still harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves, kale and courgettes. The summer squash, purple sprouting broccoli and cabbages are coming along nicely.

Thrifty? I had an urge to have a clear out here today and now have a big bag of bits that I will take to a home ed group next week to see if anyone else can make use of them. It was only one shelf and there is lots more that I could go through. I was reading about deep clutter this week and it made me realise that I am really good at putting thing away in cupboards and not actually getting it out again, ever. I am going to have a deep de-clutter over the coming months.
Anonymous said…
Hi Jo. Eating the last of the broccoli and leeks, still eating compulsory carrots most days (can't remember when I last bought carrots) and kale. Tomato and capsicum seedlings are thriving in the cold frame and sunroom, and cabbage and spring onions in the garden. I moved many volunteer viola seedlings into better spots, and the calendulas are flowering.

I will be so pleased when the weather warms up, so that I can ditch the dreary old clothes I seem to live in during winter. I look like a grubby old scarecrow half the time, but I seem to attract dirt, paint spots, stains - I sometimes see my neighbour mowing her lawns or weeding in nicely co-ordinated, stylish "gardening clothes", and wonder how on earth she looks so neat and clean at the end of it! So I have been making me some new clothes, and so far it's going quite well. I'm not as confident at the sewing machine as I used to be, but with practice I might get it back. And so much thriftier than clothes shopping!

Well done - another magazine article! You must be chuffed.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Sustainable Mum, ah, deep clutter, there is a new term that makes perfect sense. All of those things lurking under the bed or at the back of cupboards! I think 8yo cartons of homeschooling books might fit into that category. Doesn't it feel good to send things along to someone who will appreciate them?

Linda, ooh, making clothes, I haven't really done that since my first two babies were small. My mother-in-law taught me how to sew little trousers and I sewed the same pattern over and over again in all the sizes, then stopped because I didn't know how to start anything else!! I am excited to hear how your clothes turn out. What have you begun with? I would like to experiment with making new clothes out of old clothes, but that is quite a long way down the list of things to do..
Maudy said…
To be honest, the last couple of months have been the opposite of green and thrifty. It's like someone has stuck a giant siphon onto our bank account and sucked out all the goodness! The Blokes at mine had a blokey weekend away to the snow together (they stayed somewhere with cooking facilities, so ended up only handing over a million bucks for lunch, and organised their own breakfasts and dinners. Which well and truly compensated for the extra bit it cost for the room). And because they were away, I floofed at home for the weekend and I read two whole books from start to finish. I can't remember when I did that last.

I'm growing herbs at the moment. My established herb garden is ticking along nicely. I added some river stones from the Bunnings to make it less of an excellent place to plant bones (thank you, doggie) and more of an excellent place for herbs to grow. This is the longest I've successfully kept my herb garden alive since we've had the dog. I've also got basil, chives and parsley growing from seeds, and I've got three of those little Woolies pots to start sooner or later.
Jo said…
Maudy, I'm going out on a limb here to claim that however many millions were handed over on that snow trip, it was worth it for two days of continuous reading. Am I right??
I like your dog-banishing strategy for the herb garden. It sounds elegant as well as effective. Most herbs would be delighted with that kind heat loving mulch.I have a punnet of chive seeds absolutely refusing to grow right now, but that may be due to the best-before date on the packet being 2010. Still, never hurts to try these things..
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Congrats on the article! Good stuff. It is still a bit cold here to get seeds started and I have to admit to being a bit slack and direct sowing most seeds nowadays. I haven't cracked the secret for capsicum, eggplants and chilli's - mostly because it is too cold for them to germinate here.

The fires up north are horrendous, and the tales of their drought doesn't make for nice reading.

You know, I find clothes pegs in supplies of composted woody mulch too. But the strangest of all finds (apart from the plastic dolphins - who knew there were so many of them being produced?) are the plastic plants which were clearly chucked into green waste bins... Yup, the fall of Western Civilisation, the plastic plant years! :-)

I'm always nervous about whether the sown seeds will germinate too.


Jo said…
Chris, I waver between direct sowing and starting them indoors. Outside they are more likely to get eaten, but those that survive are pretty sturdy.. I have just had my first baby tomato seedling emerge this morning. Wild excitement!! Last year, not a single capsicum seedling emerged. Is it the seed? Or my technique? Very difficult to know..

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