Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Have a wonderful Christmas

Having reviewed my schedule over the coming weeks is it unlikely that I will be able to post on the blog again before the New Year.

I would like to thank you all for supporting this blog.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. May all of your gardening dreams come true in 2013.

Best wishes


PS Have a look at the Christmas Blog too: crackerofachristmasblog.blogspot.com.au

Saturday, December 8, 2012

More Christmas preparations

The weather is still going from hot to cold and the veg is not sure what it is doing.  The fruit looks good and I will net the apples as soon as my net arrives in the post.  Still mainly concentrating on pre-Christmas preparation.  Catch up soon.  Sarah

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1st of December!

With Christmas fast approaching my time in the garden is going to more restricted than usual.  From now until the end of the year the order of the day is maintenance rather than new work.  I spend my time trimming and shaping the plants, ensuring that the vegetables get enough water and food, and generally tiding up the garden furniture, cleaning the BBQ and oiling the deck.  Not very exciting I know, but it is far to late for anything more complex than cosmetic touches.  I am hoping for a sunny Christmas day so that I may utilise my outdoor spaces for the pre and post lunch festivities.  Also my nieces will be very keen to pick any berries, vegetables (and pull potatoes - their favourite for some reason) and pick flowers.  With this in mind I have spent some time removing spiders from around the shed and deck.  I get red back spiders at my place and have found a couple of nice big fat ones lurking about (When I say big, I mean big for a red back.  They are not actually very large spiders - although if the red splotch is large and bright they can be quite attractive - in a spider way). I usually don't kill spiders, after all they do have a place in the garden, but with small hands poking at everything I can't take the risk.  Better stop typing and get tidying.  Sarah

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas is coming and the deck is still not oiled

Apples galore!

The clock is ticking and Christmas is way to close for my liking.  I still haven't managed to oil the deck and the furniture, lay the paving stones and bricks, or put down some more bark.  The weeds seem well under control but I think that this is because of the recent dry weather rather than my diligence.  Some of the plants are going wild - the parsley seems to be going to seed, the nastrusums seem to be taking over every bed and path and the berries are starting to get out of hand.  I am very pleased to announce that there are loads of apples on the go and the strawberries and raspberries are putting in an early appearance. My lemon tree is looking rather unwell, and I can't seem to get enough moisture into the hydranga - I will try and think of something but now is a bad time to transplant either.  A lot of work to do and very few weekends to do it in.   

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Typical Melbourne weather

It was pouring rain this morning and by mid day it was sunny and cool.  Go figure.  But this is typical November Melbourne weather.  I am desperately trying to find a fine weekend in which to oil my deck and deck furniture before Christmas.  It will happen - if you have been following my blog since the start you will know that this "deck oil" panic is a feature of every year.  I like to have the garden looking perfect for Christmas, but as my dear partner says to me, everyone else sees the lovely flowers, the great spaces, and cute touches, only I see everything which isn't finished, a bit scrubby and a bit weedy.  So the message is to enjoy your garden, no matter what state it is in!  See you next week, Sarah

Saturday, November 10, 2012

On going mixed weather

With the Cup day holiday this week I have had a short working week - the four day weekend really suits me and is certainly something to aim for.  I have done a little more work on the paving, and have been frantically planting pansies and begonias to make up for my lack of Summer floral planning.  We have had loads of rain, but the temperature has been going up and down 10 degrees from one day to the next.  I am still a little worried about the Summer seedlings (tomatoes, zucchini and egg plant) but hopefully they will all pull through.  Better get back to it.  Sarah

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Melbourne Cup Weekend Gardening

We have had some lovely weather this week, and the bonus warm weather has really perked up the fruit an veg growth.  There have been some colder days, but over all a positive week.  I have been able to do a reasonable amount in the garden and have progressed work on the paving and paths, and I am even winning the "war on weeds" in some areas of the garden.  I have some amazing flowers at the moment (check photo) but I have no idea what they are.  I received some bonus seeds from the Diggers' Club and just chucked them into the garden.  I will go through my catalogue collection and work out what they are.  Anyway, as a result of my "surprise" flowers and general lack of planning in terms of the flower part of the garden, I thought that I had better make a resolution to plan out the seasons a little better next year.  I usually get late Winter and Spring right, thanks to the wonderful displays and suggestions for Spring bulbs at the Melbourne Garden Show, and I usually get sweet peas through late Summer and Autumn, but everything else is pot luck.  To make up for my lack of planning I have rushed in a bunch of marigolds and petunias, just so that my Summer flowers won't consist only of salvia (my pineapple sage is growing so veraciously that I regret not buying a topiary frame and shaping into a baby elephant or something cute and imaginative - at the moment it is looking like an ever expanding Cousin It). Better get back out into the garden. Sarah

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Crazy Weather

This week has been another strange week weather wise – warm one minute, cold the next, calm, windy, raining, the only thing that it hasn’t been is extremely hot.  I have become very worried about my tomato seedlings, they are looking a little yellow, and it isn’t from a lack of soil care, nutrients or water.  I received a very nice email from the Diggers Club (two in fact), indicating that their seedlings weren’t ready for dispatch as they were having a tough time achieving suitable growth in the fluctuating weather conditions – I was rather relived as it meant that my apparent garden failures are shared, and the fault of the environment, rather than a result of any neglect or lack of skill on my part – at least that is my story and I am sticking to it.  The relative lack of success is in the veg department only as the flowers and weeds are going gang busters.  Anyway I guess the point of this is that if your fruit and veg are a bit off colour at the moment, it may not be you.  Apparently the odd weather is affected most parts of Australia so we all have an excuse for a less than super successful October in the garden.  More next week.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Loads of work to do

We have had a lovely day today, and the warm weather has inspired me to get cracking on the garden work.  I went to the local nursery, got a few more pavers, some petunias to perk up the summer colour, and some ground cover plants for the side garden area.  Still fighting a losing battle with the weeds - a few hours on the weekend just isn;t enough time to make a real difference - very close to poisoning the suckers.  Tomorrow I am going to give everything a feed of Seasol, clear some weeds and keep it all moving.
More soon.  Sarah

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A really cold week

Well after a really cold week I am looking forward to a nice warm Sunday and week ahead - and so are the weeds.  I have managed to do a little work on the paths, a little weeding and have pulled in some more beets, cos lettuce, and peas. Daylight savings always brings extra opportunity to do a little garden work every day and that is what I am hoping to do.  It will make a real difference in terms of keeping the weed population down.  Sarah

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A rainy start to October

As the title of the post suggests, it has been pretty much raining all weekend - so no garden work for me, aside from picking some lettuce and peas.

Blog wise, I am in the process of tidying up some of the pages, expanding a few areas and making some minor changes.  I have added more flower pictures to my flower page and have decided to put them into "seasonal sets".

It looks like next weekend will be fine and sunny so I am hoping to get in lots of weeding, paving and general garden maintenance. Until next time.  Sarah.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Not such a good weekend this weekend - windy, cold and rainy. It is the football grand final weekend - both AFL and NRL so it is pretty quiet out there.  I can't get into the garden so I am bottling up my dried herbs.  The irises are looking great and I have decided that next year I will plant them all along the side fence - should look nice against the green fence.  More next week. Sarah

Saturday, September 22, 2012

More beautiful Spring flowers

Another lovely weekend! The garden is growing well and the jasmine, daphne and assorted bulbs are adding cheerful colour and wonderful scent.  I have put up the garden clock (better photos soon) and done a little (and I mean a little) weeding.  I have added some extra flowers to the flower photo page and have started a new page "Calendar" which is a what to plant, what to harvest and what to do every month of the year.  Under constructions - hopefully it will be a useful page.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Spring is bringing a continual supply of beautiful and fragrant flowers this year.  I have a bad feeling that the Jasmine and Daphne (left) will totally over power the house by the end of the day. This weekend and I am putting in some new herbs - Tarragon, another lemon Thyme and a variety of Majoram I haven't tried yet.  I am using them as border plants for the veg garden area.  I am also potting my tomato seedlings and starting the hardening off process so that they are ready to go in when the broccoli is finished. And yes I still have loads of weeding and paving work to do.  No luck with the video yet, but I will keep trying.  More next week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Windy weekend

Wow! What a windy and wet weekend.  I am pleased to say that it doesn't look there has been any damage to the garden (or roof for that matter).  I have done a little work on the blog - you will notice some changes on the "craft" page and that the other pages have been tidied up a bit.  Still no luck on getting the video set up, but I am sure that I will work it out soon.  Have a great week1  Back to work for me I'm afraid.  More next weekend.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

September Site Update 2012

 I am in the process of updating all of the Blog pages, so hopefully it will be in much better shape by the end of the week.  I have a week of holiday and I am hoping to spend at least 2 days on the garden - tidying the garden beds, pulling the weeds, and working on the paving.  Too much to do in the time I have set, but I am hoping to make a start.  More soon.  Sarah

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Change of season?

I can't believe how quickly the year is flying by.  I was out in the garden this morning trimming back a few things and I couldn't get over how much it has all grown in the last week.  I can see that the yellow climbing rose and the creeper at the back are about to explode into flower, and the cherry is about to break out in blooms any day now (actually I should have cut the cherry back by a third during winter).  So the explosion of growth of plants I want, combined with the weed carpet and fantastic bulb display indicates that the change of season has begun, even though the calendar is still saying Winter.  The Nasturtiums (see photo) have decided that they have been polite for long enough and have decided that they are entitled to grow where ever they fancy (and the Borage - the one with the purple/blue flower - is taking its lead). As part of the garden pruning today I cut loads of Rosemary and Bay.  It is currently drying in the laundry, which now smells like a kitchen in a Greek restaurant - significantly nicer than dirty laundry!  My holiday starts next week and I am looking forward to getting loads of gardening done and updating this blog.  Until next week.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

I have actually done some garden work!

Yes that is correct - I have done some work in the garden - a little much needed weeding (it is a good thing that I have a week's holiday coming up, as I will need a few days to really shift them) and I have finished one side of the brick path around the veg garden beds.  It is a long side too - not the little stubby short ones. I am rather pleased with how it looks, and I am looking forward to Spring so that I can plant the border plants.  On the veg side of things, the lettuce and Asian greens are doing well, the beans seem to be happy, but the peas are being eaten by something, the broccoli is making slow progress and the beets should be ready to harvest in the next week or two.
I am still planning to update the whole blog site and do a video walk through of the garden when I am on leave.
Catch up next week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mid August

Well the Winter is already over and I am rather pleased.  I am not sure if it has been cold enough to ensure that I get reasonable fruit on the berries and apples over the Summer but we will wait and see. The bulbs are doing really well and there is a wonderful mix of snow drops, freshias, daffodils, erlicheer, hyacinths and grapes hyacinths.  I will take some more photos once the rain has stopped for a decent length of time.
I am very excited to say that I have a whole week of leave planned for the first week of September, and I am planning to get those garden paths in order, get the summer seeds on the go,  get that weeding under control, and do some work updating the blog.  I am planning to do a video walk through of the garden for the blog too.

Better go


Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Progress

Well the weeds are so lush that they look like a carpet of turf - sad I know, and I will need to work very hard to shift all of the weeds before Spring strikes.  As you can see from the hyacinth photo, the late winter bulbs are providing some much needed colour to the garden.  I planted all of these bulbs together.  I wonder why they are growing at different rates seeing as how they are in the exact same environment. On a produce note, the potatoes are growing nicely, beetroot is growing like a weed (which is just as well as I need something to compete with those weeds), lettuces and herbs are doing well and the broccolli is looking healthy.  Anyway, hopefully when I post next weekend I will have done some real work on the weeds and paving.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

First post in a while

Yes I know, I have been really slack and haven't posted in two weeks.  I have been really sick with the flu so I haven't done any gardening at all.  I can see the weeds springing forth with gusto.  I am hoping that the veg are fending for themselves - I will check tomorrow.  I can see the winter bulbs coming out, and the Spring bulbs are starting to sprout - I am really looking forward to seeing the hyacinths.
More soon (I promise).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July -2012

Potato plants
New seedlings
Although it has been mighty cold, the sun is out and it has been great gardening weather.  I have done a little more work on the paving, and have decided to brave it and plant out my seedling - again.  Hopefully they will do a little better this time.  I have covered the bed with the broccoli seedlings with a perspex cover - so hopefully the frost won't be a problem.  Have a great week and stay warm


Saturday, June 30, 2012

End of June

Hi all
My apologies for not posting last week - I have been busy with work, family and the rest.  The garden is moving along nicely and I am pleased to say that I have done a little more paving work (if I could do a bit every day I would be finished in a week!) and the Winter bulbs and larger Spring bulbs are poking through the dirt.  I am hoping to get in some winter greens in the next week or two.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More Winter Work

I have finally been able to spend some rain free time in the garden.  It is not looking the best, but then again winter growth is always slow.  I have managed to do a little more work on the brick path, and cut back some of the dead summer growth. A few more weekends like this and the backyard will be looking great.

Until next week


Monday, June 11, 2012

Queen's Birthday Long weekend

Monday afternoon and we finally have some sunshine - no gardening to report on this weekend I'm afraid. It has been far too wet.  I am hoping for some garden time next weekend as I need to do some work on the brick paths around the veg beds.

More soon


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Winter is here!

We are in June already!  Scary stuff.  The garden is not exactly doing brilliantly at the moment.  I have one bean, two pea and no broccoli or cabbage seedlings left.  I had them protected in upside drink bottles so that the changing weather wouldn't kill them, but no luck I'm afraid.  I will try and by some seedlings next time I am at the plant nursery.  Next weekend is the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend so hopefully it will be fine enough to put some real effort into the garden.
More next week

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More rain! Really more rain!

It has certainly been a wet week in Melbourne this week.  Apparently the rain yesterday was greater than the usual May average.  It was mighty cold too.  I have attempted to do some weeding, raking of leave, and preparing the ground around the veg beds for the brick paths - but it has all been a bit fruitless with the constant rain interruptions.  Still, it is better than drought, and the garden does look pretty.  Rainy weather gives me extra time to make preserves and breads and alike, so the spare time I have is certainly not wasted.  I have added some more flower pictures and put an update on the crafts page this week so that there is something new to look at.
Have a great week

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mid May and more rain

Another wet weekend - good for the plants but not so good for the gardener.  I dread to think what the weeds will be like next week.  Jiffy pot update - worked really well for the peas and beans but not so well for the cabbages and broccoli.  I am going to give up on those two and just buy some seedlings.
My snowflakes have started to come out too - I am a little surprised as I am sure that these don't usually make a showing until late June - could be wrong.  Still it is lovely to see them.  The cordial recipes are up on the blog today too, so be sure to give it a go.  More next week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day weekend

Things are going well in the garden.  Autumn is a great time to catch up on weeding and the landscaping work.  I have planted all of my jiffy pot seedlings.  Only three broccoli seedlings and three peas worked out, so I will watch the progress of the young plants carefully in case I need to buy some established seedlings later in the season.  I am making both a raspberry and lemon cordial this weekend (it is an overnight process) so I will put up some photos next week.
Happy Mothers Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden preparation is underway

 Hi all,  well another week has flown by.  Luckily I have had some time in the garden and finished all of my pruning, soil preparation, sugar cane mulching, bulb planting and winter seed preparation.  The Jiffy pots are working well, and I have transferred the larger seedlings into the beds.  Only half of the peas sprouted so I am doing a few more.  I am not expecting the cabbage or broccoli seedlings to be ready to harden off for a few weeks yet, so I will keep an eye on the jiffy pots.  Got loads of lemons this week, so I will be making lemon cordial in the next week of two (and a raspberry cordial).  Check out the "Preserves" page for my Green Tomato Chutney recipe.

More next week!  Sarah
Jiffy pots - week 3

Loads of lemons!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Yes! I actually got some real time in the garden this weekend.  I have transplanted the strawberry runners, fertilised the whole garden, put down the sugar cane mulch, planted the bulbs and cut back the pineapple sage. The jiffy pots are working well, most of the seeds have germinated and are growing nicely. I will make an effort to put some more recipes on next week - I have to make a green tomato chutney, and I am hoping to do a lemon cordial and a raspberry cordial! Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Well things didn't quite turn out like I had planned.  As you can see from the photo it rained heavily pretty much all day.  Still I didn't waste the day.  I cleaned out the potting shed (a bit), and I potted and planted half of the bulbs, and I did make sure that I killed every snail, slug and other free-loader I could see. Hoping for better luck this weekend.  Enjoy the rest of your week.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Busy April

Jiffy pots - not attractive

Another week has passed and still the garden is no further progressed.  I did spend the morning at the local hardware and nursery getting more Seasol, sugar cane mulch and pavers in preparation for my ANZAC day gardening.  I am also trying "jiffy pots" instead of cultivating my seeds in propagting mix (in the tray).  They were not too expensive and you plant the pot straight into the ground when they are ready, so if it works out I will let you know.

Have a great week


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Autumn 2012

Hi all, well it was a short work week thanks to Easter, and I have actually done some garden work today.  I have finally cleared the last of the summer produce and will be making tomato relish, green tomato chutney and loads of spinach and ricotta cannelloni, filo and anything else I can think of - so expect more recipes soon.

Have a great week


Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

 I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter.  We had a wonderful time with the whole family here for Easter Sunday - however - you guessed it!  I have done very little gardening and the whole place is still a mass of weeds, I haven't finished building that garden bed, summer veg hasn't been cleared out, and I haven't fertilised the soil and started on the winter veg.  Oh well, I guess I have a few weekends of work ahead of me :)

Have a great week


Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 4 -2012

It has been an odd week with lots of rain and mostly cool weather.  I am always amazed by the definitions between seasons in Victoria.  This is not the case in Queensland where Autumn and Spring are barely non-existent.  The thing that interests me is how quickly the cool weather slows down plant growth - a good thing for weed control and a firm reminder that I need to properly propagate my winter seeds to ensure timely growth.  Last year I planted my winter vegies too late, and by the time they were ready to harvest, the cabbage moth had helped itself.

I am off to the garden show next weekend so hopefully I will get plenty of inspiration, and maybe some new plants.

Have a great week


Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 3 -2012

Well another week has passed and I haven't managed to do half of the work I said I would on the garden.  I am having the whole extended family over for Easter Sunday and I really need to get the garden looking good before then - with all of the things I have planned, I have one day per weekend for the next two weekends and then the two public holidays before Easter Sunday to get it in shape.  I think that I will keep it simple and just doing the weeding and tidying up rather than embark on any lansdscaping.  I will see how it goes.
Have a great week!


Monday, March 12, 2012

March 2 -2012

We are into the second week of Autumn and the weather is already becoming a little cooler.  The Spinach is going crazy, the raspberries and figs are still producing loads of fruit, and the other Summer veg is in the process of producing its last for the season.  I am planning on getting loads more landscaping done over the next two months, but I will see how it goes.  I am in the process of changes jobs so hopefully I will get a little more time to fill out the extra pages soon.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Autumn already

Weed City
Yes I know that I shouldn't be so surprised by how quickly the year goes by - same every year - but none the less I am surprised.  I need to book my tickets for the garden show, plan my Winter garden, and plan what bulbs to get for the Spring.  After last week's heat we have had loads of rain, so I spent the entire weekend pulling weeds!  Nearly have enough spare raspberries (I freeze what we don't eat) so the raspberry cordial recipe will be up soon.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February heat

We have had a scorcher of a weekend here in Melbourne - three days of temperatures over 36 degrees.  We have been promised afternoon rain, but seeing that it is now three o'clock and the sun is shining brightly I think that the chances are looking rather slim indeed.  Not much in the way of produce this weekend - just raspberries and figs.  I will get more tomatoes before the weather turns cold, and maybe more eggplants and zucchini if I can get enough water to them.
More next week.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February - more figs

Hi all

I have put my fig paste recipe up in the Preserves section - picture to come. I have spent most of the week (garden time) weeding and watering, sorting out the dried herbs and keeping the wild life from the figs.

More soon