sarah's own natural garden

updates from our lifestyle block – gardening, chickens, green cleaning and more


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Getting myself organised – monthly goal setting

my kitchen efforts

We’ve been living on our block for a couple of years and I constantly have aspirations of being farm wifey and using my homegrown produce to make pickles, chutneys, jellies etc. I’ve made a few things recently however my red onion chutney was too sweet, the trial jar of mint jelly set (miracle!) but isn’t minty enough and my pickled beetroot isn’t ready to taste yet so I haven’t got any fool proof recipes to write about.  Instead this post is about how to be organised month by month and try and achieve all (well, some) of the things I’d like to.  Setting monthly goals is something I tried several years ago which turned out to be really helpful.  It wasn’t my idea and I can’t remember what the source was but the upshot was: make a list of all the things you’ve been wanting to try and allocate each one to a month.   Continue reading

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Life with chickens

Chino & the chickens

Chino & the chickens

After three years of owning chickens I’d love to say they’re an easy way to keep us in eggs.  While not totally the case I’d still recommend them.  The initial months are spent nervously hovering and checking on them and egg production isn’t consistent but they’re pretty easy to keep really and good fun.

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Seeds from the garden

The veggie garden looks dry and raggedy at this time of the year.  Well, apart from this week when we’ve had much needed rain.  So now it’s looking wet and raggedy.

happy bee

happy bee

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Boysenberry glut

 

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boysenberry goodness

My boysenberry Brulee plants have been in the ground since late 2014 and finally I’ve got some to eat.  Last year I only had a few tasty fruit, then I battled with caterpillars stripping the leaves so it wasn’t a great season.  This year I’ve had a bumper crop.  Apart from loads of kale and maybe a few days where I had more strawberries than we could eat, this is my first real ‘glut’ so it’s quite exciting. Continue reading


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Update on my rusty garlic

garlic

garlic harvest

In November I posted about rust on my garlic plants.  Since I grow enough garlic to last us the year the damage this rust was doing and the potential loss of the whole crop was causing me massive stress. I got some great advice but the short of the story is nothing saved it.  I hate posting about my failed gardening but I guess it’s better than a post about nothing so here’s what I tried to save the garlic.  Hopefully it’ll be helpful to like minded garlic growers out there: Continue reading


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Storing yams, yacon and kumara

At this time of year I’ve been busy getting tomato, chillies, sweetcorn etc going but it’s too early to report on their success or failure so I thought I’d look back over the year of some slightly different tuber vegetables.  I harvested my yams and yacon at the end of May and kumara at the start of June (read about planting the yams and yacon in my earlier posts).  Ideally these would be stored for several months, even until the next harvest so how well did they last?

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Dealing with slugs

In my large garden the thing that causes me the most heartache and time is slugs and snails (pukekos follow close behind).  They have loved the wet weather over winter – I think thousands of them roamed my garden.  It’s warming up but that doesn’t mean the end of them.

The easiest way to deal with slugs and snails is to put down bait but it’s something I try to avoid because of puppies and other wildlife that might eat it or the dead slugs. Also the toxins end up in the soil and in contact with the veggies which can’t be good.  I’ve tried lots of ways to stop them eating my plants and I know I’m not alone in trying to solve this problem.

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