The Garden Weekly - July 2019

While I would have loved to get out amongst the early morning heavy frost to get some amazing photos for you all, I must confess the fireplace was a much more appealing choice and thus the obvious winner in the end.

It’s well and truly winter. You can feel the icy cold evening set in at around 4:30 every afternoon, the temperature dropping like a penny in the arcade. Some days have been fine - beautiful blue skies, light (albeit freezing!) winds, temperatures in the high teens… then BAM! Like a getaway train hurtling over the edge of the ravine, the temperature plummets, and if you have timed your afternoon outdoor tasks poorly you’re battling the deep freeze to get finished and cleaned up before retiring indoors to that lovely fireplace (and a glass of red!).

Some afternoons, though, we have been blessed with absolutely perfect conditions like this... so you can see why one would choose the leisurely life:

While others have looked like this (cue the leisurely indoor life!):

So, one can understand that it takes some time to get back into the swing of winter gardening! It’s either way too tempting to sit back and soak up the majesty of a perfect winter afternoon on the patio, or bitterly awful and absolutely freezing outside with an indoor fireplace beckoning you for red wine and soft cheese and fluffy slippers and a good book.

But with the cold and wet comes life. Green, soft, nourishing life! And it doesn’t take long for the once dry, golden, harsh summer colours to melt into gentle, calming greens of every shade. Maybe the cold/green combination makes us more mellow and reflective, an instinctive hibernation perhaps? I could get out and amongst the garden duties… but then there’s that nice blanket to inspect too…

Anyway, back to the garden. We did, eventually, overcome the distractions and get busy. Our Nature Study walks are always a highlight, and because it’s part of our curriculum we just have to go for a walk amongst the beautiful Australian landscape each week… sigh (we really love it). And of course, Lambette and Tash had to come along too!

*Check out Nature Study Australia for a phenomenal Australian nature study curriculum. We ♥♥LOVE♥♥ it! It’s seasonal, has plenty of extra ideas that cater for all sorts of personalities, abilities, and interests, and includes a bible verse and songs too!

Of course, along our journeys we always pass by the pond and hang out with the flock for a while. The chook I’m holding in the picture below is Polly - she actually loves hugs and will happily rest her head on your shoulder! Statler is the photo bomber… Pip is cuddling (wait for it) Pecky Tookie Number 3, and Dom is cuddling Hattie.

Over in the patch…
Ahh how I love the patch!
A LOT of exciting things are happening! One of the benefits of not actually getting out into the garden too often because of the cold weather is being able to sit and plan all the great and fantastic things you have ever wanted to do in an empty paddock space designated as a “veggie patch”!!
Gee, have I had some fun! So, the development of the preliminary designs is roughly sketched like this:

There’s a greenhouse, a 3-phase compost bin, 12 formal garden beds, a prayer grotto, and space for a natural permaculture-style wild garden throughout. I’m kind of excited… just a little bit… well, maybe a heck of a lot.
It does help, though, to have an almost excessively motivated husband who takes my wacky ideas and brings them to life with impressive precision and determination. I’m very lucky; he’s rather amazing like that! Thank you my dear!
So, as we add bits and pieces to this little corner of paradise, I shall keep you posted. As we learn, make mistakes, and thrive, hopefully a little of what we share here can help someone else embrace their own patch of the earth and make it come to life. Life-giving plants, and soul-feeding soil.

It’s not all food, flowers, and fun though, especially planting in the extremes of weather. The cold managed to wreak havoc with our baby brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauli), and some unknown invader seemed to enjoy a snack in passing too…! We decided to try using bottles as mini-greenhouses to protect the little darlings in their in-between phase; too small for the tray and not yet established in the big wide-open patch!
…And it worked a treat! Check out our results below, and if you’re ever unsure about planting out in winter - simply cut a 1.25L/2L plastic bottle in half and *BOOM* two mini-greenhouses!

**Note - you’ll have to cut some air holes in the bottom half of the bottle, just some slits in the ridges will do!**

Oh, and before I head off I had best make special mention of this greenhouse that keeps coming up - it’s amazing! We’ve put three compost bays off the south wall. This is so we can have one we are adding to, one that is resting and decomposing, and one that is ready to use. The tall windows will face north, and the angled roof will be adjustable to allow airflow on hotter days. 

I’m so excited; there will be plenty happening in the patch over the coming months and, while it is a heck of a lot of hard work, the rewards will far outdo any sore muscles or dirty nails! The goal is never to have the biggest or the best of anything, to be the hardest worker, to do more than others, or be better than others. It is quite simply to take the gifts that God has given us, and use them to our best ability. As parents, our responsibility to help our children identify their God-given gifts and learn to use them to their full potential may seem like a struggle at times (more often than we care to admit!). But when we can see that ALL children are the greatest gift from God, the goal becomes clear; every little action, every little word, every little hug, every little prayer, every little bit of discipline (yep!), every little seed you sow with your children - whether it be in the veggie garden or their soul garden - that brings them closer to God is when we achieve our goal... we all have amazing gifts. Let's work to help others know their God-given gifts (and unleash their gardening prowess!)  ♥♥♥♥♥♥

'Til next time in the patch!
God Bless!!

Em xxx

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