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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

The Summer of the ZucchiniAt the start of summer we planted a number of zucchini seedlings along the back of our yard and it wasn’t long before they’d taken over half our garden and we were reaping over a kilo of zucchinis a day. For months we had so much zucchini we couldn’t even give them away (I am continually amazed by the food we manage to produce with our neglectful gardening style.) In the last month our ‘crop’ began to slow and we think we picked our last zucchini the other day. You know zucchinis have become part of the family’s psyche when your 4-year old son starts to produce artworkΩ involving vegetables.

Roar Sweetly tips for growing zucchinis

  • Plant in full sun.
  • Leave loads of space between seedlings because these babies will grow like you can’t imagine. They’ll produce dinner-plate sized leaves and football sized zucchinis.
  • Water frequently in the early stages…then forget about them.
  • Try to pick the zucchinis when they’re slender, delightful things… before they morph into ginormous marrows (see below).

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The Accidental Gardeners

We’re absent gardeners, forgetful with water and not much is safe around our two toddlers. Yet somehow in the space of a few short months, we have managed to grow ourselves a vegie garden.

A real one.

This year we’ve harvested half a dozen zucchinis, a bunch of baby carrots, a couple of heads of lettuce, a punnet’s worth of cherry tomatoes, a dozen green beans, bucket loads of wildly out-of-control rocket and a crop of 1-metre high basil to keep us in pesto for a year. Our passionfruit vine grew like Jack’s beanstalk and is covered in little green golf ball shaped fruit. In pots we have lemongrass, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, chilli, a bay leaf and kaffir lime tree.

It’s incredibly satisfying to have an edible garden. Forget Fischer Price, our garden provides endless entertainment for the kids. Watering, mulching, caterpiller capturing and handling little yellow lady beetles. The kids have taken to chewing on basil leaves and can identify herbs from their smell and taste.  Given the size of our backyard, I can’t imagine us ever living sustainably, but we can keep ourselves in herbs and teach our kids where food comes from.

In terms of sharing a garden with toddlers, I can’t recommend enough the Birdies raised garden bed, which provides a little protection for our green friends and puts the vegies at a lovely height for our backs. The kids have a little foot stool each which they happily ferry between compost bins and vegie patch. We had our garden bed filled with beautiful soil from Flower Power…which was a fabulous event all on its own (see below).

I don’t know if it’s our Sydney climate, but I’ve come to the view that if we can garden…anyone can.Soil

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I’m a little ambivalent about succulents, but when you plant one in a vintage tin kettle…it’s ooh la la très chic!

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