autumn, explore growing

Looking forward

You also need to look back, see where you’ve come from to make sense of the forward journey. So on my way back from the market garden,heading south  this is what I check out…..

Feels a little like structured chaos.IMG_0795.jpg

As of a few days ago, when I pause for a cuppa, looking north is a whole new adventure…..


That ply sheeting (which thankfully was sealed before the rain came) is the base layer for a whole new ecosystem. A roof to grow which if the engineering and the headspace required are anything to go by, is going to be absolutely incredible. Amongst the treasures going up, 50 m2 of no dig garden beds. An increase of 10% on the market garden ON THE ROOF.

Right now it feels like a helicopter will land any moment.

As I look up the hill and see little no dig beds, seedlings, figs trees huddling together, I have to think of far the garden has grown instead of how much work there still lies ahead. Such a humble start –  a dozen pots hugging a northern wall 6 years ago and enough grass slashed to make a human sized nest for the whole family.

At least the roof top is clear and tidy.

explore growing, produce

Summer Daze

So far there’s been a few  consistent elements to our summer.

Watering  – heat – humidity – cucumbers – my desire to read – watering  – afternoon naps (so decadent !)

Tricky trying to get back into the rhythm of working outdoors in the heat of summer. My brain goes a little mushy and my family are all too aware of the adverse effect of elevated temperatures on my sense of humour. So the trick – get up early, do the essential stuff and celebrate the small wins.

Like cucumbers. It’s like watching the beanstalk Jack planted reaching for the sky. Good food, daylight, water and away they go.IMG_0521.jpg

These gorgeous cucurbits have superpowers ! They can hide from the untrained eye remarkably well. They take on colourbond fencing an mold themselves to available space. They are beautiful when cut on the cross section.

Best of all – they of all the good things of summer. Refrigerate before eating and even more refreshing.

Drink it – chop one up, throw it in the blender with ice cubes, a little water, mint and a smidge of honey – best summer drink.

Pickle it – using 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, 1/2 part sugar (combine all and heat until sugar dissolves.) Whilst you’re waiting for the liquid to cool, slice up your cucumber, pop in a sterilized jar. Then pour the liquid over pop the lid on, let it cool a bit on the bench and stick it in the fridge. A great sharp flavour to wake up the tastebuds in a salad or on a sambo.

Transfrom it – into tzatziki with a beautiful plain creamy yoghurt and a drizzle of olive oil. The key here is to make sure you strain the grated cucumber for a fair while as you don’t want your dip being watery.

Go out and enjoy these elongated gems of summer, just try not to water the plant in the evening as powdery mildew could set in on the leaves.

Make a teepee from several plants and enjoy their shade and fruit.

community, everyday, explore growing

Oh hello, New Year !

We’ve slid into the summery bliss of 2018 with heat, humidity, cucumbers and zucchinis.

We harvested just before Christmas, our two colonies have been busy indeed. For this they have our gratitude.


There’s been time for reflections and daydreams, making time to water before the garden turns into a crisp, making time for family, reading, reading some more, the occasional nap and feeling revitalized for the adventures ahead.

Growing your own food can be incredibly rewarding. Knowing people love what you do, are on the same values page and continue to support you with their hard earned dollars is humbling and great encouragement you’re on the right path.

I read a fair bit. More and more so about food politics, how to grow stuff, how trees talk, the interconnection of everything and how we’ve got a lot to learn about so much. Seems small scale urban agriculture can play a massive role in establishing food security, reconnecting neighbourhoods with real nutritional food and give people a sense of place.

There’s a lot that could be perceived as overwhelming. There’s also a lot to be optimistic about.  I’ve chosen just to start / continue)where I am with what I’ve got and learn from my environment. Small steps in my own backyard.

My word of the year is EDUCATION. The more we’re curious, we ask questions. We feel empowered to try new stuff and and know it’s a learning curve. More fun than standing still.


This is the foundation of what one day will be our demonstration site. Turf roof covered, north facing, super snug studio. Volunteers are helping us get this out of the ground – energy exchanges make a rich currency around here.

So our focus is educating ourselves, sharing knowledge (volunteering is a great way to see/ experience/ contribute/ learn at large without spending a cent), growing, eating and sharing beautiful produce and regularly taking time to appreciate where we are.

Join us on the ride.

explore growing, observe

The space in between

Years ago, my sister introduced my to the concept of ‘negative space’. Really hard to grasp this art talk at the time, as I thought how can any space be negative if you know it’s there ? Little did I realise then how important this concept really is.

In our daily lives, I think of it as ‘breathing space’,  this space in between is imperative to our daily ways. There is a pause in between doing – think of it as an exhale in between all  the activies in constant motion.


When you feel like you’re in perpetual motion, it’s tricky to see what direction you’re travelling in. You need to pause and check for markers now and again, landmarks to give us some direction.

It’s true in business and personal life. My in between space is reading. And walking. And soon again it will be drawing.  Today it was having a chat with a friend I haven’t seen for ages & random gifting to a new friend. These are little acts that I find joy in and help add context to the bigger picture.

So easy to get caught up in our little bubbles, remember to cut yourself some slack every now and again, admire the fleeting cherry blossoms,  the days warming up, where the sun is at and go for a walk.


biodiversity in the garden, explore growing, produce, salad days

Salad days

Last day of winter, and there’s markers of the seasonal change all around.last day of winter

Brassicas (broccoli here) flower merrily, days are longer minute by minute, grass is growing a little quicker. Rainbow colours planted to stir fry, salads in next level for diversity, grab & go meals, shallots for skinny places….

The tip of this garden gets the most sun, so quick greens were planted. As days grow longer, the other planting will catch up. It’s all a bit of a dance, weaving time, space, light and flavours.

Have you ever tried broccoli leaves ? They were my go to green last night – cut the stem out, chop & pan fry – remarkably yummo !

Going for garden domination on the right there is our beloved rhubarb. Originally divided from the school garden, this one can have it’s roots traces back at least 35 years.

The possibility of small spaces requires a firstly a little imagination and observation – good strong starting blocks. What do you want to pop into your salad bowl ? What can you start from seed ? What do you let flower ? Can you eat the flower and which ones do the bees love ? What to snack on as you check the pulse of the outdoors ?

Time to explore and have fun.

explore growing, harvesting the yield

Bowl of Gratitude

So this is lunch – and with it I think of everyone I have to thank for my journey to here and all the awesome opportunities presented along the way.

Those little veggie tadpoles – mung beans sprouted with seed from our local Flametree co op. Green dip is radish top pesto made from thinning the radishes growing a little too closely to their neighbours. Red one is beetroot ‘dip’ made from beetroot we grew & blended with awesome other stuff. Then we’ve got hummus, again made from scratch made with chickpeas from our local independant co op, giving us an option for our food purchases rather than the standard duopoly.

Best thing about buying dried goods like legumes and seed, you’ve got them on hand to sprout when you like. Salad underneath is from a few metres away in the backyard, providing a base for last nights left-overs. salad bowl - home madeThis bowl also represents skills I’ve learnt over the last few years, building a little self reliance into our household and local food economy. Yay for food activism !! These skills aren’t tricky, but now people are starting to realise they’re well worth having and practicing regularly for their own health, their financial independance and cultural knowledge.

I’ve had amazing suport from my family putting up with my experiments for the most part (“…you love the garden more than you love us ! – ask spoken by our younger child when 1st bitten by the gardening bug. )

Mentors, peers, community in the real world and online. First rule – be brave and ask loads of questions – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Most people are super happy to share their knowledge to the curious and for that I’m forever grateful.

community, explore growing

Give a little

It really does make the world of difference. Lately I’ve been training with a great group of people Young Sustainability Ambassadors with the aim being to empower a younger generation to take action. Starting discussions with school students, encouraging them to get proactive. The work is all tied to the Sustainable Development Goals crafted by the United Nations. Basically – a set of goals to achieve by 2030 to give people basic human needs, rights and protection of our ecosystem – the planet.

That one is a biggie & really really exciting.

school garden with new tools

We’ve been gifted opportunities along the way and it’s really lovely to be able to give back. Building that feeling of generosity and collaboration instead of competition.

A lovely lovely local guy – has his own set up Farmers By Choice and STILL manages to find time each week to help me out ! How – I’ve no idea, but I surely appreciate the support. Some days there’s just too much to do on your own. Sometimes just acknowledging this is enough and sometimes it’s wise to ask for help.

So paying it forward, I volunteer at my son’s school – ‘teaching’ gardening (or at the very least encouraging!) on a weekly basis with the support of one dedicated teacher in particular and encouragingly – a greater percentage of the school population. The garden group was recently gifted new tools to support our lo fi efforts, making the weekly tasks easier to work in groups.

If you’re feeling like you need a bit of dirt time – I’m happy to assist! We’re hosting a volunteer morning Saturday 2 September, 9.30 -11.30. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out – there’s activities to involve everyone !

So at the end of the day – it’s all about helping to craft the place you like being. Some people have time/ skills/ resources to make these things happen and some people make great cheer squads for those getting out there. It’s just really great to see how our communities are enhanced by people living and sharing.