It has rained non-stop this weekend. Actually, it’s pretty much rained non-stop for about a month now, I’ve never seen anything like it. Sometimes I love being inside for long periods of time, but other times it drives me stir-crazy. Sometimes it just drives me to shop. That’s a lie, I don’t need an excuse to shop. Either way, I was at the shops yesterday. I was walking past a bookstore and decided to go in and look for a little book to send to one of my best friends, Casey, who is spending this year at Wollangarra, an Outdoor Education Camp. I wanted to buy her a book on gardening because I received a letter from her the other day and in it she said she was in charge of the garden this year. Casey and I have always shared a mutual love and excitement of growing things, though I have no green thumb whatsoever. Whilst browsing books on gardening, I came across one called ‘The Little Veggie Patch Co’. I decided to buy it for myself because it looked easy, informative, was Australian, it was about growing food in small spaces and if I’m truthful, it was really pretty.
Sam and I live in a very small unit, but we do have a balcony on the front and back of our unit. I’ve tried growing things on our back balcony, but as my mum pointed out (and the book also said), the sun was too hot because it was afternoon sun. My plants always died. It might have also been because we never go on the back balcony and so we (read: I) forgot to water them. This time, it’s going to be different. I’m going to put them on the front balcony so they have the morning sun and so I see them every time I go through my front door.
Last night, I was reading through the books and picked out some vegetables that I would a) eat, b) could plant in March and c) easy plants that I won’t kill. Seriously, I picked the ones that said ‘you won’t be able to kill, no matter how hard you may try’. So I ordered some organic seeds from Greenpatch Organic Seeds and I read all about what I would need. I ordered: Silverbeet, Bok Choi, Pak Choi, Basil and Spring Onions. I already have heaps of pots from my last attempts at gardening. But, I would need all new potting mix (I think the bag that is sitting on my back stairs would be well and truly depleted of nutrients by now).
The Little Veggie Patch book recommends buying a potting mix that is certified by the BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia) or NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia). They also list how to use and the pros and cons on organic solutions ie. chook manure, compost, seaweed extract, blood and bone etc. There is an A-Z guide to edible plants and how to grow them. For example, under silverbeet it recommends preparing your soil with fresh manure and compost a fortnight before planting and to integrate organic matter to increase its water-holding ability. They also recommend soaking the silverbeet seeds overnight before planting, regularly applying liquid seaweed fertiliser and mulch the ground. Easy, I can do this!
So today I dragged Sam to Bunnings and picked up some Organic Potting Mix, Organic Compost, Organic Chook Manure and some Lucerne (that smell still takes me back to the farm!). Oh, and some gloves because I do not want to get chook manure under my nails. Nasty. Because, I won’t get my seeds for little while. I decided that I should prepare my soil today in preparation. This afternoon I sat in our carport and filled the pots with a mixture of my new purchases, I watered them down and now they are ready for my little seeds to be planted when they arrive!
One day, I would love to have a garden as successful as my mum’s. She blogs at Garden Path Food.
I mentioned in my last post that I bought a Vitamix. It was expensive, but the best purchase ever. I use it at least every day, sometimes multiple times (I think for dinner on Friday I may have used it 4 times). One of the best things to use it for, are green smoothies. Green Smoothies are literally smoothies that are green. They can be made out of anything but must include leafy greens! I’ve been having one a day usually. Mostly for breakfast, but the last couple of days I’ve had them for lunch too. Green smoothies are super nutritious, they increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, they are easy to digest, they increase your energy levels, they are alkalising, they can help you lose weight, and can help you to build a better immune system (there are heaps more benefits, you just need to read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko).
For someone like me, who has always hated greens and up until 2010 didn’t eat them, they are amazing. I can blend them up and not even taste them! They are also filling. I work in an office so most days I really don’t need a huge breakfast. My morning routine usually consists of a small something something (usually a banana, sometimes a piece of toast if my BSLs are a bit low) before going to the gym between 5.30am and 6.00am, I come home shower and get ready for work then make a smoothie just before I leave. A coffee and a green smoothie are my breakfast and I stay full until lunch.
I haven’t quite managed to convert Sam yet, I swear every time I have tried to make one for him they have turned out awful! But in general I only make delicious ones. I have converted my boss, who has requested one every morning he’s in town and a couple of others at work. Here is a little infographic on how to make a great green smoothie.
And this was my lunch today. Grapes, carrot, banana, frozen pineapple, lime juice, silverbeet, coconut oil, oat milk and ice.