Saturday, 14 September 2013

Sprouts and Staples

I'm hoping to not have huge gaps between posts here, certainly not the two weeks which seem to have flown by since the previous post!

Since then, our seeds have sprouted, with all but the corn and capsicum actually showing above the soil.

It's very exciting to see them just growing right in front of you every day!  We're planning to build the beds in early November, as we'll likely still have frosts until then.  Given some of the strong winds that we've had recently, it's hard to keep the builders plastic in place to kill off the weeds in the future vegie patch.  I was going to get some tent pegs to  keep them in place, but thought of a cheaper way which repurposes a common household item.
Coat hangers cut and bent with a pair of pliers make big staples to push through the plastic and into the soil underneath.  I'm hoping this will work, and will post how effective it is.  Spring is generally fairly windy here, so there will be lots of opportunity to put it to the test.  It may be hard to see, but this is what a staple looks like when in place.
When we're ready to build the beds, the plastic will be removed.  This should be the only time we need to do this in this spot, but the plastic will be saved for use in other locations.  The area will then be covered in straw and then rows of topsoil and compost will be built on them and more straw over for mulch.  We don't have the topsoil yet, but the beautiful straw bales are already here, being guarded by Nicky dog!

We're needing to renovate our current house in order to sell it and purchase land for the homestead. The wood heater is in need of replacing, and I'd like a heat pump. I'm trying to decide, from a resale point of view, whether it would be more worthwhile to get a slightly underpowered heat pump and a new wood heater, or just get a heat pump by itself. There are a few pros and cons with either idea, but what do you think? Leave a message below about whether the type of heating in a house would make a difference to whether or not you would buy it and how much you'd pay.
Cheers, Emma

Sunday, 1 September 2013

First seeds

Yesterday we planted the first seeds of our vegie patch. We're starting them off in newspaper pots and in 4-6 weeks will build raised rows to transplant them into. We'll also plant seeds directly into the rows at the same time to give us a staggered harvest. Making newspaper pots means that our pots are free, recycled and we can plant them directly into the ground with the seedlings. There are many different ways to make the pots, and YouTube has videos for all of them. This is the one we used

We've planted tomatoes, basil, peas, corn, shallots and capsicum. This should give us a good start on salsa's and pasta sauces, plus some fresh veggies in the summer.

We also planted some seedlings of Italian parsley and spearmint in a soup pot which lost some of it's enamel in dramatic fashion. They will stay as inside plants, providing fresh parsley for cooking and lovely fresh mint to flavour water or make tea.

Without any more advertising than a link on my Facebook, this little blog has already gained 130 page views! It's very exciting. However, it would be a lot more fun if someone would leave a comment! So let us know, are you starting on the path to self-sufficiency? Did you just get your spring planting started? What are your projects for summer? We'd love to hear from you!

Cheers, Emma