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The new kitchen takes shape

October 2, 2011

The last few months have seen next to no work done in the garden. Due to study commitments little more than some weeding and watering has been done. Inside the house, however, is another story. Thanks to the father-in-law, cabinet maker and associated trades the kitchen is well on the way to being transformed.

Here’s the closest we have to a before shot. Though the new kitchen is also visible.

The new and the old #1

From another angle. The big empty space on the left is for the new stove, which is meant to arrive tomorrow (though if it arrives this week I’ll count myself lucky). All the cabinetry etc down the far end in this shot is getting ripped out. The tarp will eventually get replaced with a big glass door.

The new and the old #2

Hopefully this should open the place up quite a bit. Without the tarp in place, it seems like it will work.

Open plan living

And then today, all the old cabinetry is out.

Missing pantry

Looking forward to having this finished and trying everything out.

A small harvest

July 17, 2011

After a bit too long today was spent weeding some of the beds. Had to throw out a few tomatoes that hadn’t ripened or ripened too much.

There was, however, a small harvest as shown in the following photo.

Some output from the garden

The carrot was a bit of a surprise, I didn’t think any had survived. Not that this runt was a significant growth. The tomatoes are from bed #1. The Napoli Paste bush is still producing and actually generating some new shoots. These have been great little producers. Two bushes have kept us in tomatoes (and then some) for at least 6 weeks.

In contrast to the carrot, the bok choy is quite a bit larger than normal. Hiding away under the parsley in bed #2 I only just re-discovered it today. More on bed 2 in the next post.

Missing from the harvest was the first strawberry from bed 2. Sandy ate it almost immediately. Very good apparently.

Kitchen transformation – Step #1

July 17, 2011

While not strictly garden related, I find it hard to distinguish between the garden and the kitchen. They are a part of the same supply chain. The output of the garden is integral to greater enjoyment of the kitchen. So, I’ll document the renovation of our kitchen here.

The first step (not documented in photos) was the cleaning and repainting of the walls. That’s been done. You can see a bit of the white in the photo below. The step that happened while the missus and I were in Canberra, was the installation of the new window shown below.

Kitchen transformation - Step #1

This had to be done first so the kitchen guy could bring in the cabinets etc. Eventually, the door to the left of the window and most of that wall be replaced with a big glass door that opens directly onto the back deck. Already the new window significantly increases the light and views in the kitchen. The new door should significantly expand upon that.

Can’t wait.

Tomatoes and custard apples

June 18, 2011

While the last month has been quiet in terms of blog posts, it’s been a good one in terms of tomatoes. Both the Napoli Paste bushes in my beds and the Blue Ridge Mountain tomatoes in Sandy’s bed have been producing. To such an extent that we’ve been regularly using tomatoes (of both types) for breakfast and dinner. Last night it was a “Greek” pizza with fetta, olives, capsicum and some of the Blue Ridge tomatoes. Very nice.

Tomatoes, tomatoes

The aim for dinner tomorrow night is for a tomato and basil sauce using the Napoli paste tomatoes from the above and basil from the garden.

Not sure when Sandy plans to use the custard apples from the trees in the chook run.

Paste tomatoes and custard apples

The chooks have landed

June 18, 2011

After a long period of debate and discussion, followed by a long period of being to busy, the chooks have landed.

Settling the chooks in

The chook run and “house” were have been in place for at least a month or so, but only today did we have the time to purchase and relocate a set of 6 point-of-lay hens. 3 red and 3 black. Have no idea of type etc, but hopefully they will settle in and start producing over the next couple of months.

The chooks have landed

Apart from the kids getting a lot out of the chooks – the boys reactions to the chooks clucking on the drive home were priceless – this is another step in us producing a lot more of own food. The last few weeks have been really great in terms of using stuff from the garden in our cooking. Hopefully eggs will be added to the ingredients list.

Introducing Sandy’s garden

June 18, 2011

It’s over a month since the last post, sadly study and teaching prac have consumed much of the available time and prevented blogging, social media and most of the gardening. That said, the gardens have been producing well. So some catchup is due.

First, time to introduce Sandy’s part of the le grande potager residing in front of the house. Here’s Sandy hard at work (click on the photos to see more).

Sandy's front vege garden

You can see the remnants of the corn slowly fading away. The corn was a great success.

Amongst the first set of seeds I purchased were some Blue Ridge Mountain climbing, beefsteak tomatoes. Sandy’s bed is close to the front fence and was the perfect place to plant these. My beds don’t currently provide the necessary infrastructure. They grow big.

Green tomatoes, going pink

The also grow pink. A slight tinge of pink can be seen in the following


That was a couple of weeks ago. Most have ripened by now and been eaten. And very nice they are.

In the above photo, you can also see the beans from Sandy’s garden.

Purple beans

Tomatoes, basil and pasta

May 20, 2011

Gardening is currently suffering thanks to my studies to become a teacher. A benefit is that I can see how being a teacher will allow some time for gardening, once I settle in.

The biggest development is that the Napoli tomato bush (actually two) is really starting to produce. The early lots of fruit were taken off a couple of weeks ago and there’s been a slow steady trickle since.

The first crop

That trickle, however, is about to turn into a deluge. There’s probably just enough now to try a simple pasta recipe. In a few weeks should have more than enough for some serious sauce making. Here’s the basil and tomatoes for tonight’s pasta.

Some pasta tonight

All we have to do now is get the garlic well established and get a few olive trees in. I can see the olive trees going in real soon.

Tomato and corn have been produced and consumed

May 1, 2011

Today marked was a landmark day through the production and partial consumption of a single tomato and a couple of cobs of corn. The tomato was the first of the Napoli paste bush from bed #1, and it shouldn’t be the last. As you can just see in the photo below (click on it to see a bigger version), the two bushes have just about taken over bed #1 and have a lot of fruit developing.

Bed #1 and napoli tomatoes

The first tomato appears in the foreground of the next photo, which shows Zeke enjoying some of the first corn cob from Sandy’s front bed.

Kids and vege production

It certainly appears to have started a love affair for both boys with corn.

Fresh corn

So much so that Sandy had to go pick herself another cob, which looks just as good.

The second cob

Sandy’s front garden bed is also the prime location for the climbing tomato plants that were amongst the first seeds purchased for Le Grande Potager. The Blue Ridge Mountain tomatoes have taken off and should be ripening real soon now. They are already quite big.

Blueridge mountain tomato

Sandy’s front bed contains many other goodies as well, which goes to show who has more form in the gardening front between the two of us.

Sandy's front garden bed

My attempts are some more trial and error, informed by a more relaxed approach to gardening. Though bed #2 does seem to be coming on.

Bed #2

It’s fast getting to the stage where we’re going to be adopting and borrowing new recipes to cope with the influx of fresh produce.

Basil into pesto

April 3, 2011

Time to start including some of the end results of all this planting, the cooking.

A couple of months ago the good wife went overboard with the planting of basil. So we have an over-abundance. The first step in a solution to this was to make some pesto.

Pesto in progress.

Pesto underway

And close to the end result.

The complete pesto

Of course, can’t stop there, had to do something with the pesto. Tonight the plan was pizza. Our first pesto pizza looked like this.

Pesto pizza

The pesto is/was good, but the pizza was let down by the cheap mozzarella and some equally cheap and nasty olives.

One of the other pizzas also made use of our extra basil, much more successful. Though it is one of my favourites. Used a new recipe for the base that worked real well. Taken from this book.

Pepperoni pizza a la David

All beds are go

April 3, 2011

Today was a big day, finally have all three original beds planted with something. Not sure how much will produce, but there is stuff growing in all three. It’s quite a while since work started on the beds. Almost 5 months.

Bed #1

This was the first bed planted and the tomatoes are taking over.

Bed #1 - The tomatoes take over

Bed #2

The soil in this bed was significantly more clay like than the other two beds, which is why it was the last bed planted. Last weekend some “declayer” (can’t remember the name) purchased from Bunnings was applied and has made a real difference. So many of the remaining seedlings Sandy had planted were put out. The bed has 7 rows, from left to right the rows are:

Bed #2 - initial plantings

Bed #3

This was planted last week. In terms of soil, this bed has probably turned out the best.

Bed #3 - initial plantings

This one has egg plant in each of the four corners, two Napoli bush tomatoes in the middle and a collection of leeks and shallots in-between.