Saturday, October 17, 2009

How does your garden grow...

Well, mine is just starting out. I've never had a vegetable garden before, and with all this money saving milarky I thought that it would be a logical first step. I also wanted to teach Grace about how things grow and that a garden is like a team — with the dirt, bugs and plants all working together. I think that she is more into the flowers than anything else.

I geeked out a bit with the planning of my garden, but I really want it to be successful so I jumped on the computer and did some research, as like any project, the more research you do the more successful it (should) be.

First: I figured out what I would like to grow and decided on things that we actually eat and would normally buy at the supermarket. There was no point growing masses of Aubergine because we don't eat them and it ends up being a waste. I thought about what I would like to do with the stuff too — so we'll be eating most, but I also wanted to make chutney, relish and jam from my harvests so that comes into play when planning the next step...

Second: Now I have my list I found this AMAZING site, Grow Veg, that you can sign up for a 30 day trial (and they don't spam you so it's all good to try it out) and here you can draw out your garden beds — all to scale — then drag and drop your veges into it from the menu bar above. That doesn't sound all that great, but the best part is that each vege has a coloured circle around it so you can figure out how much space you need! Amazing. It also has tips for companion planting which is mega awesome and very helpful.

Marking out where I will begin digging, almost
a shame to dig up my lovely grass!

Companion planting is when you plant things that like to be next to each other and they sort of help each other out, like what herbs to plant next to the veges so that the bees come along, or so that you're planting the same families together — beans with peas, but away from broccoli. It all gets very confusing but it's really interesting!

Third: ok, so now I know what I need to grow and how big my garden is going to be. Next I needed to find out WHEN to actually plant the stuff. I found this site, Garden Grow, which lets you put in your New Zealand location and it will give you the best times to plant everything based on where you live. You can sign up for reminders too if you're anything like me and life gets busy....

Fourth: This is the fun bit, buying all the stuff you need! I decided to plant my garden out all from seed. I purchased all my seeds from Eco Seeds who sell heirloom/non-hybrid seeds — they're seeds that you can collect seeds from the things you grow and re-grow them, so it makes things even more cost effective. The people that run the nursery are REALLY helpful and so nice, and you can pay by Internet banking which is nice. I purchased Basil, Beans, Broccoli, Capsicum, Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Italian Parsley, Peas, Spring Onion, Sweet Pea, Thyme, Tomato Roma and Cherry Tomato's and including shipping it came to $52NZD which I thought was very good.
I also took a trip to Kings Plant barn for some bamboo poles, sunflower seeds and flowers to attract those bees!

My little seeds sprouting!
CW from Top Left: Peas, Sweet Peas, Beans, Broccoli.

Pest Control: for my pest control, I'm going to try a product called Neem Granules, it's ground up neem tree bark. You add a teaspoon full when planting out your seedlings so that the plant sucks it up as it grows and it makes the plant deter the bugs. We'll see how it goes! I also of course have some pellets and things to get rid of the slugs and snails. I'm trying to keep my garden as natural as possible, so the pellets are where it stops.

Next involved A LOT of digging. I did it all on my own — which was so satisfying! I had my dirt delivered by Central Landscaping Supplies (very cheap, all up $90 including it being delivered on a tipper-truck, much to the delight of Grace). I didn't have a wheel barrow (you really DO need one when gardening...) so had to shift a cubic metre of soil with nothing but 2 buckets and perseverance.

Top: Halfway there!
Bottom: Shifting all the soil, only half was left to go... it took me AGES

I've just planted out my seedlings into the garden after looking after them for around 7 weeks inside, we had a good downpour of rain this week which I think has wiped some of them out, so fingers crossed they don't all die! Now the waiting begins....

Here I have listed some links for the helpful sites that I have found:
NZ Gardener: handy for tips and advice
Ooooby: like facebook for garden people, it's pretty weird but kind of cool
Love to Know: tips and advice on almost anything
Square Foot Gardening: Once you get past his moustache, it's quite helpful
Kings Seeds: Seeds and supplies
Eco Seeds: Heirloom/Non-Hybrid seeds that all come with very helpful packets An article on raised garden beds e.g. how to build them, how they work etc.
Urbanmac: pre-made garden boxes, if you're so inclined
Allotments UK: cool gardening in small spaces, tips, advice etc.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Hey there,

Thanks for stopping by. I thought that I had better pop up a little post about what this blog is going to be about and my high hopes for what it could be...

Money is pretty tight at the moment for most people, and if you're anything like me, you probably live week to week with nothing but the smell of an oily rag left over the day before pay day. Well, I've been practising at keeping as many pennies in my purse before the next pay day as I can. So far it has been going rather well, with the occasional skimming it really does add up and when my next warrant is due or my phone bill is a little scary-big, I don't cry and instead I'm a little better prepared.

Some of the things that I will be posting about are — sewing patterns, recipes, budget tips, ways to change spending habits without it being too painful, gardening, links to great tutorials, my own tutorials and my own experiences with all of these things.

A bit about me and my background — I am a solo Mum of one little girl who is now 4, she has a special lactose and gluten free diet thanks to some allergies, and the special foods I buy can be rather expensive. I am back studying full time after being made redundant earlier this year and I run 2 little craft businesses that aren't (yet) making me millions but are a lot of fun regardless.

I'm not a budget freak, I also sometimes slip up and overspend a bit (usually on my daughter though!), so just so you know, I'm pretty normal with my spending habits. I'm not here to give anyone a golden ticket or a 'get rich quick' remedy, just merely to share a little bit of advice from what I have learnt since having a few life changing financial situations over the years, and hopefully some people out there may find it helpful and use my tips and tricks in their own lives.

Chat soon!
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