Urban Farming


Here’s a shot of the backyard this morning. The fig tree at the back is winding down production, as are the chickens in their run to the right. (Only got 3 eggs today.)

I came across a blog a few days ago that has me all excited with POSSIBILITIES….

Found it from here, which also has his website on it. (It mentions an original article called ‘Magic in Melbourne’ written a year ago, but it’s pretty cheesy.) If you’re at all interested, I’d read this first one I’ve linked to and then go to his website and have a look around. It was fascinating spending a couple of hours watching the progression of his garden. There’s a wealth of information there.

So now I’m thinking… do I really need all this lawn?


In other experimental news: I’m seeing if I can keep basil alive over winter by keeping it inside.


This is the feeder for the chickens after 5 days of being kept away from the pigeons. I found a magpie feather in there earlier today, so maybe the word on how to get in is beginning to spread, but so far so good. If it doesn’t end up working I’ll have to get the feeder that Grandpa makes, which both Rhonda and Fiveandtwo recommend. Still, I’ll see how we go first. Two hundred dollars is a sizeable investment, so if I can get away with not having to buy one, I will!


The gazillions of broccoli sprouts have been thinned out. I used up about 24 of them in slightly bigger seedling pots and threw the rest of the punnet to the chooks. They went crazy for the green leaves on the sprouts. I still have two punnets to give away…


This is a photo of my latest experiment. Remember how I bought lots of heirloom tomatoes so I could save the seeds and never have to buy tomato plants again, thus saving the planet and pleasing my frugal little heart? I saved 5 different sorts of seeds, carefully extracting them and drying them, forgetting what some of them were but still saving them anyway…(it’s the journey, people. Always nice to have a surprise or two along the way…)

Just after I’d hervested the last one (a Tommy Toe) I sat down to watch ‘Gardening Australia’. Imagine my chagrin when the veggie guy blithely said that the only way to harvest tomato seeds is to put them in a glass jar for a few days, let them get mouldy and only THEN can you wash and harvest the seeds. Apparently the seeds have an inhibitor that stops them germinating unless they’ve rotted a bit first. You have to wait till mould grows on the tomato and then you know the inhibitor is dead.

I was flabbergasted. (And pretty pissed off, to tell you the truth.) Who does Mother Nature think she is, to mess me around like this? I nearly stalked to the cupboard and threw out all of my carefully dried seeds, but I didn’t. I decided to run another experiment. I grabbed another Tommy Toe, broke it open and put it in a jar. Then I left it. After about 5 days, I remembered it was there. The jar was full of a white dust, floating above the fuzzy carcass of the tomato. I think it’s rooted. (I actually meant to type ‘rotted’ but I made a typo. It’s funny because it’s true, so I’m leaving it in. Any Americans who don’t know why we laugh when you say you “root” for a team should google Australian slang.)

So far I’ve been too scared to harvest the seeds in case the white cloud of mould spores kills me, but some time today I’ll go and wash and dry them. Then I’ll see which seeds germinate better. Unless I’m dead, in which case my children can take comfort in the fact that I died for Science.


Here’s the inhibited Tommy Toe seeds. They’re cowering in the bottom of the dish.


Simon at work has been giving me chillies that came from a bush that Laura from work gave him. I harvested some seeds and I’ll try to grow my own.

Trouble is, on the same day I harvested some seeds from a red capsicum from Tony’s fruit shop, and now I can’t tell the difference. (It’s all in the journey… this one will be a Magical Mystery Tour. I’ll plant them all and see which plants grow which fruit. Wot fun!)


On the other side of the plate that houses the Scary Mouldy Tomato and the Mystery Chilli Or Capsicum Seeds are some seeds I took from a Kent pumpkin from Aldi. It was easy to cut into, tasted delish AND had plenty of seeds. Ryan3 and I love eating roasted pumpkin seeds, so lots of seeds are good. I haven’t had much luck with pumpkins in the past, both with growing them and with knives and fingers in the kitchen (ouch! Still have the scars), but hope springs eternal.


My potato plants are looking happy. When I harvested from this old recycling pot a few weeks ago we had enough potatoes for 3 meals. Not bad when you think that they were from potatoes that had sprouted in the cupboard. Any that were too small I popped back in again. Now look at them!


My peas have finally sprouted at the back of the cleared veggie garden. Again, I’ve never had much luck with peas, but I still remember when Mum grew peas in the front yard one year. They tasted so GOOD straight from the plant.


Currently the fig and the Mysterious Big Tree in the chook run are moulting, so I’m gathering up the leaves and putting them in the compost and straight onto the ground as mulch in the right hand veggie garden. The leaves from the chicken run are the ones I’m composting, as they’ll be gold once the chook poo is aged a bit. (That sounds weird but you know what I mean.) The plants seem to be doing ok, though something seems to be nibbling at the brussels sprouts.


I can’t blame whatever it is (om nom nom) but I’d better get out there and see if anything needs squashing. Ryan3 and I fancy some brussels sprouts with our winter fare. Personally, I don’t think Bubble and Squeak should even be made unless it has some brussels sprouts in it. Actually, the more I think about it, the more urgent this bug squasing appears to be..


While I was taking those photos, Daphne appeared. She looks slightly feral in this shot, but she was just miaowing companionably. Then she decided to get my attention.


She climbed up the wire and marooned herself on the fence post. How could this be endearing, you ask?


Look. She’s smooching the fence…. awww. She’s a pretty girl. A good mouser too.


These aloe plants were ripped out of the garden nearly a year ago when I had the fences put in for the veggie gardens and the chook pen. They lay on the ground for 3 weeks, getting progressively sadder and more wilted while I’d step over them on my way to the clothesline and say, “I really should plant them.” Finally I did, in these long narrow planters that look good but dry everything out. Except these things. Look at the flower shoot one has put up! Quite a success!


Here’s the sideway just behind the gate. This area is crying out for a 3m X 1m wicking bed for veggies. Don’t you think? In summer it gets full sun nearly all day.


And to finish with, here are some more tomato seeds. I think they’re from a small plum shaped cherry tomato, but I could be wrong.

Label your seeds, people! It might be all about the journey, but at this rate I’ll be travelling all over the place with out a map.

This entry was posted in balance, gardening, vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Urban Farming

  1. pixie says:

    I always love reading your blog!!!
    As for labelling………..I think you may need a guide and a machete on YOUR journey…….

    Daphne looks adorable!!!!!

  2. Bev says:

    Don’t worry about those tomato seeds. I don’t think the guy on the telly was quite right. As I understand it, allowing the seeds to go mouldy in a bit of water, is to eliminate disease, not to wash out germination inhibitors.

    If you took the seed out of a fresh tomato and planted it right away and watered it, the watering would eventually wash out the inhibitors anyway and it would germinate.

    I agree about the bit down the sideway. Just crying out for a half dozen wicking boxes. With a bit of trellis behind them you could grow all the climbing beans you’d want for the summer.

    Am in the process of doing a blogpost about how to set up wicking tubs and boxes, so stay tuned.

    Agreed you don’t need all that lawn especially if the boys are past the football & cricket stage. Would grow a lot of veggies.

    Saw that deep green permaculture site too. Fantastic stuff.

    Where’d you get those wire thingummys over the peas?

  3. Bev says:

    Forgot to say about the basil. Keep pinching out the flowers. Don’t let it set seed and you may keep it through winter.

  4. paige says:

    I had to go look up “bubble and squeak”. Here, I’d call it “clean out the crisper” dinner.

    So happy to see someone who gardens the way I do. My friends who are serious gardeners just look at our attempts and sigh these big, gusty, long-suffering sighs. My veggie gardens tend to be rather chaotic.

    Except for roses. I am wizard at roses and I love them.

  5. Urspo says:

    Once a upon a time I thought I could remember where I put things and what was what in the garden. Ha! Now everything is labeled.

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