Sad Little Garden

February 12, 2011

A New Gardening Book

Filed under: Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 4:38 pm

Home Vegetable Gardener

Some people might say I already have too many books. That’s not true. I don’t think it’s possible to have too many, especially gardening books. I pick them up everywhere: second hand book shops, library book sales, the recycling centre at the dump (which is where the gem above came from*), and occasionally I even get brand new ones.

I’m doubly lucky in that firstly, I had a birthday recently, and secondly, my brother is happy to buy me books without saying things like “But don’t you already have thirty books about growing vegetables?”

I told you. Lucky.

So, after Sharon Astyk’s review I asked for Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener : Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, and I’m so glad I did. I haven’t read much but it’s great. I think the best way to describe it would be dense. I was also lucky enough to get a copy of John Seymour’s classic The New Self-Sufficient Gardener, which I love for it’s retro illustrations and clear diagrams which show you how to actually do things like stringing onions and building a potato clamp.

I’m still looking for a book** that will give me a ready-drawn design for a productive food garden on an odd-shaped, steeply shaped section though. It would be so much easier if I had a flat 1/4 acre…

*It was published in 1953, and should I ever want to know how much DDT to spray on my cauliflowers, or how to sterilise my greenhouse soil with chloropicrin, I’m set. If I ignore the chemical bits though, it’s still a really useful guide.

**Actually, I think the best book I’ve read that tells me how to design this myself is Gaia’s Garden : A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. If only I’d put three books on my birthday wish list…

January 26, 2011

Self-sufficiency vs self-reliance

Filed under: permaculture — nzecoworrier @ 7:30 pm

I’ve just discovered that apparently there’s a difference.

And I’ve just discovered that I’m one who confused the two. One is being completely isolated – trying to provide everything you need , the other is “taking responsibility” for providing the things you need. And permaculture self-reliance is, of course, doing that in a sustainable manner.

This is a great lens. It’s timely in that I’m planning a serious redesign of not only the garden, but of our whole lives.


(Haven’t mentioned that to the rest of the family yet…YES! You will eat my vegetables…)


January 24, 2011

This is not my garden

Filed under: Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 2:21 pm

I just wish it was. This is the Sustainable Backyard at the Hamilton Gardens. A stunning example of how you can grow an astounding amount of organic food on an average sized section.

The baby is mine though.

You know it’s time…

Filed under: Oil Crash, Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 11:35 am

to take peak oil seriously when you can buy a book telling you how to make money from it!

November 30, 2009

Wishful thinking

Filed under: Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 2:42 pm

If I kept my kids at home instead of sending them to school, I’d never have to get out of my gardening clothes! And, of course, every day would be like today – a perfect balance of chores actually done, books read, spontaneous maths, a lot of art and craft, a thoughtful musical appreciation hour and silly movie watching.


November 4, 2009

Before I forget

Filed under: sustainable living in NZ — nzecoworrier @ 10:31 am

There’s a new gardening segment on one of my favourite radio shows. Simon Morton has been keeping bees and chickens in his backyard for a while but now he’s put in a new vege patch. Photos and podcasts from the earlier shows are here.

October 22, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 9:07 pm

I’m so grumpy today.

I’m thinking I might make a t-shirt that says “Consensus among scientists is NOT a conspiracy!”

Or maybe: “When my son is forty there will be NO more oil left” (with a picture of my young, cute, son underneath).


I’m going out to plant more carrots and chase the damn cats off the garden. Honestly, the compost heap rat is more help in the garden than the damn cats. At least it eats snails!

October 19, 2009

Wellington Events

Filed under: Uncategorized — nzecoworrier @ 3:45 pm

This is really lazy blogging but October has some fun and interesting things happening in Wellington. This is copied from the October newsletter of the Sustainability Trust:

Upcoming Events

October 24: International Day of Climate Action

Climate Change Festival – Noon to 5 pm, Food, stalls and live music will keep us going throughout the day, with many opportunities to let our leaders know how you feel and to find out more about what you can do right now.

Come to Wellington Waterfront – Odlins Plaza (near Frank Kitts Lagoon/Mac”s Brewery)

Bike Ride – Come to Queens Wharf in Wellington City at 9.15am as we”ve organised a special ferry to float us across to Days Bay in Eastbourne where we”ll begin the ride round the coast back to Wellington City for the festival. We”ll pick up cyclists in Petone (meet at westernmost pull-off to Petone beach), Ngauranga and then join up with the fabulous Frocks On Bikes at the Railway Station

Please contact Christina for more information:

Public Participation Sculpture – A ”flash mob sculpture” made by the people – yep, that’s you – to celebrate the many ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint and reach the target of 350ppm – the world’s best hope for a stable climate. For more information, visit or e mail:

October 31: Innermost Gardens Creating Healthy Soil Workshop

In a healthy soil there are literally hundreds and hundreds of species of soil bacteria, soil fungi, and many other microscopic soil critters. A single tablespoon of healthy soil might contain over a billion beneficial soil microbes.

This workshop presents number of different microbes and their role in creating better health for your soil, plants and you. For more information on this workshop please email

October 31st 10- 4:30 pm (Rain date Nov 1)

Where: The Old Bandoliers Women’s Bowling Green. Lawson Place, Mt Victoria

Bring: Lunch, good footwear, sun cream, water, something to sit on and laughter. Cost : $15 or what you can afford.

I think I’ll definitely be going to the soil workshop! I love the Sustainability Trust – and not just because they fully insulated my house last year for $500 ;>

September 24, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — nzecoworrier @ 8:52 pm

The good news is that bamboo skewers do keep the cats and the birds out of my garden.

The bad news is that it is now very hard to weed without poking myself. A lot.

September 22, 2009

Week Five

Filed under: independence days challenge — nzecoworrier @ 5:18 pm

Week 5:

I am the stupidest, most disorganised gardener. I have no excuse either – I’ve read enough books that I should have learned something by now. And yet, planting decisions are still being made on impulse when standing in front of the seedlings at the supermarket! And because the planting is so haphazard and unplanned, we’re having trouble finding space to dig the Bokashi bucket in each fortnight. What should be happening is a carefully planned sequence of digging in, resting, then planting – and it should be happening so the whole garden is progressively fertilised (as in the Permaculture Home Garden system but with Bokashi instead of chickens or a compost pile). But it’s not.

I also have to get tough on the cornflowers which have self-seeded throughout the garden. I love them and have a hard time digging them up when I really should.

Plant something: perpetual spinach, onions, flat leaf parsley, coriander, lettuces.

Harvest something: still just rainbow chard and parsley.

Preserve something: nothing this week.

Reduce waste: I’m trying to be more organised with my leftovers so I don’t just end up chucking them in the Bokashi after a week. I did make a pumpkin loaf with some leftover pumpkin but it flopped and now I’m faced with throwing out most of it (so really I made more waste instead of reducing it). I might try some for dessert later heated with some maple syrup and see if I can force it down that way. I think next time I’ll take the time to find a proper recipe rather than just adapting a banana bread recipe!

Preparation and Storage: The house cleaning project is stalling. It seems that I’m failing to organise the chaos; I’m just moving it around.

Build Community Food Systems: Nope!

Eat the Food: My triumph of the week was making a pumpkin and lentil soup out of the lone crown pumpkin I harvested back in May. The best bit is that it was a FREE pumpkin, self seeded from my compost bin.

My husband and I also tried a bottle of my second batch of cider. It’s very different from the first which I cannot explain since I used the same recipe. Maybe it was that the apples were in the freezer for a couple of months, or that I doubled the recipe, or that it was fermenting in winter instead of summer. I’m not sure, but it’s turned out clearer and sweeter than the first brew, just as fizzy, but not very alcoholic – which is probably a good thing!

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