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The Witches Kitchen Garden

garden in winter

I can’t imagine not having a garden.  From time to time, my life gets so busy that my garden gets neglected, or lack of water makes me scale right back.   But I always go back to it.  Life is such a miracle, such a lucky nexus of so many necessary conditions, and food is so much at the centre of it.

Food is the basis for our own life – the pleasure of it and the keeping of it.  It is also the basis of our relationship with every other species on the planet, either directly in a forage or predator relationship, or indirectly as competitors for the finite planetary resources.

Honouring, respecting, enjoying, being responsible about food seems to me to be basic to loving life. Every witch’s kitchen needs a kitchen garden!

It does not, however, have to be a full permaculture system (fun though that is.) Herbs in pots make a huge difference to culinary style.  Growing sprouts and salad greens in boxes and little doorstep beds is small effort for large reward.  In season vegetables, once you are into the rhythm of it, don’t take a huge amount of time or space.  Backyard fruit trees, well chosen, can earn their keep with side benefits before you even get to the  gluttonous yields.  Chooks make wonderful pets.

I have written about permaculture, on and off, for years.  Here are some articles about the basics, and (more fun for me) my new blog diary of  garden adventures.

Early Spring

Leafy Green Planting in the Long Days of Spring

I used every trick in my arsenal for preventing bolting, but still, just a week or so after planting out, ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Early Spring

Very early spring in fact.  The very first day.  Today and tomorrow are roots and perennials planting days by the ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Early Spring for a Neglectful Gardener

A well designed, established permaculture garden can keep producing with amazingly little time or energy spent on it.  Which is ...
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Roast Goose: Step One

Jackie is sitting on 9 eggs.  At least we think there are nine.  Patrick and Trevor get very upset if ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Early Spring – Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

When I am away from my garden, it is the herbs I miss most.  If I only had pots to ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Spring – The Summer Crops Go Out

Plants know.  Well, mostly they know. They do get it wrong, but a lot of years of evolution have gone ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Early Spring and Teenage Mums

Leafy planting days today and tomorrow. The trick with leafies this time of year is to think about sex. As ...
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Paw Paw and Citrus Fruit Salad

My current favourite breakfast - paw paw and citrus fruit salad with homemade yoghurt and toasted pepitas (and a few ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Early Spring – Planting Asparagus

My asparagus is sprouting, so I think it's telling me that it is time to plant out the baby seedlings ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Spring

I so so so hate it when I lose a variety! For years I have had a variety of snow ...
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Leafy Planting in Early Spring – Advanced Seedlings

Those of you who have visited here before may recognise these.  They are the seedlings I potted on last leafy ...
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Hilling Up the Spuds

Just over a month ago now (a week or so late), I planted this season's seed potatoes. They are already ...
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Mid Spring

Leafy Planting Days in Mid Spring

There's lots of leafies to harvest at the moment.  I've got a bit of an addiction going for Rocket and ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Spring – Beans of Many Kinds

These are the Rattlesnakes planted in July in the shadehouse and planted out in August, the seed a gift from ...
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Leafies in Mid Spring – the Frizzle Weather is Here

Pretty well every year we get some days like this, and we have had them as early as this before ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Mid Spring – just the regulars

I have some perennials in the shadehouse that I am waiting for an opportunity to plant out - some sage ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Spring – the Sweet Corn Goes In

It's dry and windy and hayfever weather here today, and I wonder whether our water supplies will hold out for ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid Spring – Using the Shadehouse

These are the lettuce seeds I planted just on a month ago now, last leafy planting break.  I thought about ...
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Hilling Up the Spuds

These are the spuds I planted back in early August. They grow so fast!  I planted them in a trench ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Mid Spring – Getting Ready for Frizzle Weather

It's cool and damp today, a perfect planting day.  Soooo tempting.  But I know that within a month or so, ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Spring – A Big Planting Day

Everything has lined up beautifully for a planting day today - no bottlenecks for once.  I have old compost and ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid Spring – Heat and Bolt Resistant Varieties, and Low Expectations

There is a reason that Greek salads have no lettuce.  Greece has a Mediterranean climate - cool wet winters and ...
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Roots and Perennials Days in Mid Spring – Avoiding the Bolters

Happy Beltane to southern hemisphere readers (and Halloween to northerners). Today is one of those turning points in the photoperiod ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Spring – Catching Up

Back in March, I wrote a post about A Garden With Stamina - a garden that will keep producing even ...
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Late Spring

Goodbye Brassicas

It's been a great season.  We've eaten cauliflower and cabbage and broccoli and kale and pak choi and daikon pretty ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Spring – Hazpac-ing the Carrots

There's a permaculture principle of designing for disaster.  The same principle applies to big disasters (whoever had the bright idea ...
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Fruiting Annuals Planting Days in Late Spring

It has rained, the best kind of rain - overnight storms, not so heavy as to cause erosion, just heavy ...
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Leafy Planting Days in late Spring – Mustard and Coriander Microgreens

It's a leafy planting day today, but it's 38°C outside (100°F), with a dry northerly wind that has the zucchinis ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Spring and There’s Still Room for Endamame and Sweet Corn

I am really loving tromboncino. Usually by this time of year, my garden is so full that I skimp on ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Spring

We are coming up to the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.  The days have been lengthening rapidly over the ...
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Bringing in the Garlic

I've started bringing in the garlic.  It's a good crop this year, which I'm really pleased about.  I think, like ...
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Eat It or Plant It?

I cleared out the spent snow peas this morning and mulched up where they were ready to plant out some ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Late Spring – Trying Sweet Potatoes Yet Again

Sweet potatoes are one of the most frustrating crops for me.  They need a frost free site and slightly acid ...
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Fruiting Planting in Late Spring – Practicing Restraint

Yesterday's planting.  Note just three zucchini seeds, three tromboncino seeds, three cucumber seeds. I'm being restrained!  They are all fresh ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Spring – Don’t be Afraid of Shade

Today we pass the point on the day-length bell curve where it flattens right out.  The days are now nearly as long ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Spring – Cramming a Bit More into A Garden That Is Full!

I'm running out of room!  Already!  This Cavallo Nero is occupying the spot where I want to plant this baby ...
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Planting Leafy Greens in Late Spring – If You Must

Leafy greens this time of year are hard. Which is a pity, because my foodie dreams are full of  summer ...
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Early Summer

Madagascar beans

Roots and perennials planting days this week, and when I look back over my "Garden" posts,  I find this planting ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Early Summer

It's a roots and perennials planting day today, but it is also a work day, and in the countdown towards ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Summer

The trouble with luffas is that I want them for Christmas, to go with my handmade soap. But I can't ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Early Summer

Last year I planted my brussels sprouts seed in January, in the midsummer leafy planting break, after the solstice.  I ...
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Mid Summer

Surviving the heat wave

I went out and mowed this morning early.  Not as early as I would have liked - the mower is ...
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Midsummer Planting and My New Beans

We bought a second hand washing machine a little while ago, just by chance from a couple who had retired ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Summer – Eggplants at Last!

I'm very proud of these.  Eggplants are one of my difficult crops. In my garden they are prone to attack ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Midsummer

My garden came through the frizzle weather of the last couple of days not too badly, though the dam is ...
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The Turmeric is Flowering

The turmeric is flowering, such gorgeous flowers. They're hidden deep within the foliage, but the plant is very good looking ...
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Fruit Fly

I live smack bang in fruit fly territory.   Bactrocera tryoni - Queensland Fruit Fly.   They seem to be getting, ...
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Snake Beans

The thing I love about snake beans is that you pick all these today, and tomorrow there's the same amount ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid Summer

After the shockers of days this last week, yesterday and today are cool and wet.  It has dropped 12 degrees ...
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41 Degrees (106)

It is tipped to reach 41°C today.  That's 106°F for those of you in USA.  My garden will suffer. There ...
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Surviving the Frizzle Weather

Summer is a much harder gardening season than winter in Australia. Most years there's a set of frizzle days sometime ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Mid Summer – The Mulberry Trees Go In

Remember the mulberry cuttings I took back in late winter? A lot of them failed to take. They grew some ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Summer – Don’t Be Afraid of Shade

Remember the luffa seed I planted last month? It came up (a bit surprisingly - the seed was several years ...
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Tomatoes as Themselves

This post is just skiting really.  Not a recipe at all, just an excuse to show off. Can you see ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid-Summer

One of the best things about planting advanced seedlings is the head start you get.  I think people tend to ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in MidSummer – Next Year’s Strawberries

I'm planting carrots, parsnips, spring onions, and beetroot, all by my standard method.  The floods really knocked all my root ...
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Leafy and Fruiting Planting Days in a very Wet Mid-Summer

My poor garden is soggy.  For the last two decades I've been much more concerned with drought proofing it than ...
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Fruit Tree Shopping

Now if I can only think of a way to wrap a tree! Shopping for fruit trees feels like little ...
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Late Summer

Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Late Summer

Every year a few garlic plants manage to escape harvesting in early summer.  The leaves die off and I lose ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Summer into a Newly Chooked Bed

I've just moved the chooks into a new bed, and they are feasting on broccoli that is well past bearing ...
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Rainy Missed Planting Days in Late Summer

My poor garden is soggy.  I know rural people talk non stop about the weather, but the weather at the ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Summer

It's a nice planting day today and I'm sort of ready - which is just as well because I have ...
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Saving Tromboncino Seed

Tromboncino is my new favourite vegetable.   I got my seed from Diggers and I think they will displace zucchini in my ...
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Roots and Perennials Days in Late Summer

Roots and perennials planting days from today through to Tuesday afternoon. This is a good time of year for planting ...
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Beans for Us and Beans for the Chooks

The bean jars are filling up nicely, but with the wet weather lately, today's pick was this much for us: ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Summer – Beating the Mouse Plague

It's a fruiting planting break by my new lunar calendar, this afternoon through to tomorrow night. We're off to visit ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Summer

I missed this planting break. I was at the beach last week, then yesterday and today catching up at work ...
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Tromboncino Genealogy

This is the first year I've grown tromboncino, so I don't know how normal this is. Most of them have ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Very Late Summer – Planting Spuds

Roots and perennials planting days from tomorrow through to Thursday. It is way too hot today to plant out, but ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Summer

I'm planting: (All well advanced seedlings) Zucchini (Blackjack) Squash (Sunburst) Cucumber (Richmond Valley) Tomatoes (Red and Yellow Cherry) Capsicums (Corno ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Summer Frizzle Weather

The frizzle weather is here.  Usually it is a lot earlier than this - we usually get a few days ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Summer

Today is a roots and perennials planting day, the first of the autumn wet season. I'm planting runners of sweet ...
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Fruiting Planting in the Long Days of Late Summer

According to my lunar planting calendar, it's the last of the fruiting planting days for the real summer crops. I ...
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Leafy Green Planting Days in Late Summer

Today and tomorrow are the first leafy green planting days of the year. Witches are not superstitious, so I'm a ...
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Early Autumn

Roots and Perennials Planting in Early Autumn and Onions

This year, I'm going to grow enough onions. I've never yet grown enough onions. I've got close-ish, with leeks and ...
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Fruiting Planting in Early Autumn and Hedging Bets

I'm naturally not much of a gambler.  I think that's one of the reasons I like permaculture - that focus ...
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What is it about March and Leafy Greens?

I'd never noticed it before I started blogging, but there's a pattern here.  Every year I seem to be thanking ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Early Autumn

My planting calendar is on my case. It's not even up on the wall yet (I told you it's been ...
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Leafy and Fruiting Planting in Early Autumn

The big thing I've learned in 30 years of gardening is that if you have a good design that uses ...
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The Garlic Agrees

After just a few days ago posting about how my garlic seems to like being planted much earlier than conventional ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in early Autumn – Garlic Planting Time

Today, along with the usual round of mixed carrots and spring onions, and half a dozen beetroot seedlings, I'm planting ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Autumn – A Risky Planting

Fruiting planting days today and tomorrow, but this time of year is the risky season for fruiting annuals.  If I ...
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A One Pot Autumn Garden

My mowing meditation this morning - I was thinking about the basil and macadamia pesto post and how much basil ...
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Leafy Planting in Early Autumn

After the heat waves of the last couple of weeks, today is cool and overcast. The soil is moist from ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Very Early Autumn

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are the first of the autumn fruiting planting days, and there is gorgeous planting weather outside ...
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Leafy Green Planting Days in Very Early Autumn

The last three days have been good days by the lumar planting calendar for planting leafy greens - lettuce, parsley, ...
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Mid Autumn

How we plant fruit trees these days

A trip to Daley's fruit tree nursery is always dangerous.  The mission was one tangelo tree.  Ha, sure. So we ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Mid Autumn – Planting Out the Garlic

Remember this garlic? Planted into potting mix a month ago.  Look at it now. I think every single clove sprouted, and ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Autumn – Broad Beans, Peas and Snow Peas

The Broad Bean seeds I planted nearly a month ago are up and looking healthy, and I have a spot ...
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Leafy Planting in Mid Autumn – the first of the Winter Greens Go In

Leafy planting days from Sunday through to tonight, and I meant to post this on Sunday, but I was having ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid Autumn – Onions and Garlic Go In

Onions and garlic are pretty well the only fresh foods that I regularly eat out of season.  I don't preserve ...
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Fruiting Planting in Mid Autumn – Peas, Snow Peas and Broad Beans

Today it's wet and cold.  All of  a sudden the weather has changed and you can really feel the winter ...
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Leafy Planting in Mid Autumn – The Winter Greens Go In

I was out all day yesterday and today I have to go to work, but it's the leafy planting break ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid Autumn – Self Sown Garlic

I've noticed that a couple of corms of garlic that hid in my garden and escaped harvesting have sent up ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Mid Autumn – Peas in Paper Pots

Today and tomorrow are fruiting planting days according  to the lunar calendar, and I've been hanging out for these ones ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid-Autumn

I'm all set up and ready for planting on Tuesday and Wednesday leafy planting days.  I'm planting: The box is ...
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Planting in Mid-Autumn

My perfect storm is at an end, and life is returning to its usual very busy but kinda balanced state ...
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Happy Autumn Equinox!

Happy Mabon everyone! The autumn equinox is early tomorrow morning in the southern hemisphere. (Happy Spring Equinox to my friends ...
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Late Autumn

Leafy and Fruiting Planting in Late Autumn

This is a post from this same day, five years ago.  And here I am again, with even the mice ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Autumn

One of the things I like about planting advanced seedlings is the instant gratification of it.  This is the garden ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Autumn

Late autumn! Already! In just a couple of days it will be Halloween in the southern hemisphere - the traditional ...
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Oceans Eleven in the Garden

I have Oceans Eleven being enacted in my garden.  I've got just nineteen pea seeds up so far this year! ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Autumn – My Carrot Planting Method

This is the May-June carrots.  They were planted as seed back in January.  We had these for lunch in a ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Autumn – Planting Carrots

In fact it is nearly winter, will be by the time this planting break is over.  There are roots and ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Autumn – Peas and Broad Beans

There are fruiting planting days from today clear through till Thursday, and today brought some nice light rain perfect for ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Autumn

The next leafy planting break according to the lunar calendar is Monday-Tuesday, and the weather report says we can expect ...
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Early Winter

Planting in Early Winter

Sequential planting is such a lifesaver!  This whole year seems to have been routines-out-the-window so far.  I love routines.  Once ...
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A Shirt Full of Citrus

I love citrus season here.  I just went up, in my slippers, to check the top tank, and the lime ...
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Fruiting Planting in Early Winter

All this long weekend is fruiting planting days, and all I have ready to go in are these few. I ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Early Winter

This time of year is such a good season up here for leafy greens. We are now eating the first ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Winter – Celebrating the Solstice

(Brett Hamlyn took the photos - they're worth waiting for!)Just a really quick post today, because this weekend we are ...
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Leafy Planting in Early Winter – Thinking Forward

My "mowing meditation" today has been about the nature of time, and living in the moment, and how gardening involves ...
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Mid Winter

Planting Peas

I've had to impose some discipline this month.  I have a whole southside,  two and a half metre tall fence around ...
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On a Roll – Planting in Midwinter

Inspired by my own last post, I've got it together to go out in the rain and plant out a ...
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It Doesn’t Take Much….

My garden has been shamefully, shamefully neglected lately.  Call yourself a gardener.  Lots and lots of other stuff going on ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid-Winter – Globe Artichokes From Seed

Roots and perennials planting days yesterday and today, but they're town work days for me, so most of  it will ...
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Fruiting Planting in Mid-Winter – The Last Of The Peas Go In

Fruiting planting days through until Monday, and it is such perfect garden weather - such a contrast to last weekend ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Mid-winter – Finding the Gaps

It's cold and damp today, not exactly raining but overcast and looking like it intends to drizzle any minute. It's ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid-Winter – The Last of the Onions

Today and tomorrow are the shortest days of the year.  I find it really difficult to appreciate short days, so ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Mid-Winter – Getting Ready for Spuds

If I were at home today I would be planting potatoes.  In my frost free garden, I would be planting ...
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Fruiting Planting Mid Winter

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about time, thinking forward, and how much gardening involves being aware ...
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Leafy planting days in mid-winter – Staggering the Planting

For twenty years I've been trying to decide whether the lunar calendar is a bit of superstition - an old ...
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Jonquils

I'm due for a week at the beach and starting to wake up feeling tired and sorry for myself, and ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid-Winter – Planting Shallots

There is something hugely satisfyng about listening to rain coming down after a good planting day.  Today (and tomorrow) are ...
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Late Winter

Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Winter, and Meditations on Belonging

We had frost this week.  Two nights of it in a row.  Not up to the height of my garden, ...
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Fruiting Planting in Late Winter – Rattlesnake Beans

For one very scary moment I thought we had eaten the last of the beans saved from last summer.  But ...
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Leafy Greens in Late Winter and the Long Slow Infancy of Greens

One of the most important insights that really changed the way I garden was realising just how long plants are ...
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Fruiting Planting Days in Late Winter

It is still late winter isn't it?  I really wanted to name this "Early Spring" - the weather has turned ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting Days after Imbolc

Today in my community we are getting together for a little bit of visioning and stone soup lunch to celebrate the point ...
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Some for Us and Some for the Chooks

I'm loving the selection of greens in my garden this time of year.  There's such an abundance, I pick some ...
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Planting Mulberries from Cuttings

I love mulberries. If you were following my Muesli Bar Challenge recipes this time last year, you'll know why. Besides ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Late Winter – Planting Spuds

This is last year's post at this time.  It seems I am making a habit of it! If I were ...
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Fruiting Planting in Late Winter

I just caught the very end of this fruiting planting break yesterday.  I was determined not to miss it - ...
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Leafy Planting Days in Late Winter – Basil Time

*&*%$# bandicoots!! Tiny little hole in my fence - it took me an hour to find it - and they've ...
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Imbolc in the Garden

In the southern hemisphere, we are about to turn the corner into Spring.  We are about to pass the point ...
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Roots and Perennials Planting in Late Winter – Turmeric

It is actually all but spring here, but a final burst of cold weather is making me a little cautious ...
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Fruiting Planting in Late Winter

This weekend has been a bit dominated by the election.  I handed out how-to-vote for the Greens in my local ...
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Leafy Planting in Late Winter – Making Leaf Pots

It's hard to imagine now, but by the time these babies go out into the garden, we will be into ...
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Some FAQs

Why I don’t Use Chook Domes Any More

Compost, Earthworms, Chickens and Waste

A Quick Guide to Breeding Compost Bacteria

Lunatic Gardening – Using a Lunar Planting Calendar

Day Length and Photoperiodism – Gardening by the Solstices and Equinoxes

Up-Gardening: Gardening in Small Spaces