Water shortage

The flooding in Brisbane is affecting our water supply. Who said ‘water water everywhere and not a drop to drink’?

It hasn’t quite come to that.

We are now being urged to immediately limit our water usage as a result of the extreme weather from ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald, forcing the closure of the Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant.

We are being urged to reduce consumption to just the basic needs – drinking water, water required for cooking, water to bathe babies and wash hands, four minute showers once per day for adults and turning the tap off while brushing teeth.

You can read more on this link.

I’m off to the allotment this morning, not sure what I’ll find, but I know it won’t need to be watered.

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Floods and cyclonic winds

You may recall it was only a few days ago that I was rejoicing in our first heavy rainfall for ages.

If you have been watching the news, even as far away as the UK, you will know that Queensland is now in the grip of the most terrible floods. Especially Bundaberg which is experiencing the worst flooding for a century we are told.

Brisbane has been buffeted by winds so strong, the tail end of a cyclone from up north. We already have flooding in suburbs around Brisbane and the Brisbane river is expected to reach it’s peak at lunch time tomorrow (Tuesday) and then again at lunch time on Wednesday.

Many Queenslanders are really suffering from the effects of this severe weather with loss-of-life and many homes and businesses already under water.

In the scheme of things, what I’m going to show you is hardly worth mentioning.

Our front wall blew over.

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your wall down

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your wall down

My neighbour Heather and I were worried about the danger of these bricks spreading over the footpath and perhaps tripping someone over. (Mind you there are trees falling down all over Brisbane.)

Anyway, us two old girls (sorry Heather, I know you can give me 20 years) set to and got stuck into the job. We were happy enough humping the bricks until two strapping young lads who live in one of our units stepped round us and carried on without a backwards glance.

Which brings me to the point  ….. is there anyone out there with a very big soldering iron?  We know which unit they live in and we’ll be welding their mail box SHUT !

Here is the finished job, mail boxes ready for business until we can get the builders out. A bit like those old movies “the mail will get through”.  All we are waiting for now is somebody to pinch our mail boxes. But we’ll know where to track them down. At least the police will know their address begins with “306”.

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If you live in Queensland, or further south – the coastal regions are all being affected – stay safe.

Plant what you eat

Heavy rain overnight, and it’s still pouring down. It’s coming down the coast from a tropical cyclone. My allotment is a ten minute drive away but I swear I can hear those sweet potatoes swelling up in the ground even this far away!

I am SO tempted to go over there and plant a few Bok Choy seeds. I reckon with our hot weather, and this rain, they’ll be growing like topsy. But that is not what I wanted to write about  ……

♦ ♦  ♦

It’s seed catalogue time. In all the excitement, remember to PLANT WHAT YOU EAT!

Seems to me that both ends of the globe us gardeners are looking at our seed catalogues.  I follow a number of allotment blogs from the UK. Allotments are a way of life in old Blighty and I enjoy reading about it as that is where I grew up.  At the moment they are experiencing heavy snow so now is the time to drink a hot toddy and get out the catalogues. Here in Brisbane I’m doing the same thing but in my case it’s an ice cold drink and the Green Harvest Organic Gardening catalogue.

So, in a nutshell, this is the time to plan what you will be growing, and eating, this year.

The question I’m asking myself as I look at this seed catalogue is “what do I really want to eat?”.

As gardeners we put so much energy into growing our veggies that I believe it makes sense to grow what you know will be eaten gleefully rather than “what do I do with this now I’ve grown it?”.

I have grown a wide variety of veggies in my little allotment since I took it over two years ago. Some of it ‘strange stuff’.  Sub-tropical veggies that I had never grown before I emigrated to Queensland came to me thanks to tiny seedlings donated by friends with a glut of seedlings.

(Is there anyone reading this who hasn’t been carried away with the contents of a seed packet?  The agony of a glut of seedlings can only be eased by giving them to a good home, i.e. another allotment holder.)

I am grateful for the opportunity to try new veggies, and for the kindness with which they were given.

However, I have been sitting here thinking “what do I want sitting on my dinner plate?”

After much pondering I have come to the conclusion that I have a very boring palate. Might be because I grew up as a ‘war baby’. WWII – not the Boar war! So I will be growing veggies that I know I’ll be eating.  Carrots, beans, potatoes, silver beet, parsley and kale which I can’t get enough of and beets for pickling. The sweet potatoes are already in the ground and I’ll be eating them with everything!

I can’t wait to get started.

I’d love to hear what you will all be growing this year.

The drought has broken

It’s pouring with rain in Brisbane and it’s beautiful.

A bit different from yesterday. I took my two young grandsons to the allotment and they helped by hosing the community garden compost drums which were bone dry. Won’t be a problem today!

Work is continuing with the building program over at the farm where I keep my allotment. Wheelchair access is completed. Our shed extension will be completed this month, there will be a working bee to paint the timbers before the roof sheeting is installed. Other working bees will follow so that jobs are completed before our Open Day in March.

The new vegetable wash basin has been built and is now linked to the rainwater tank. Water used in this basin drains into a garden bed containing edible plants. The tank will also supply water to a dishwashing sink.

Open Day will be on Sunday the 10th of March to celebrate the building project. I will post more details nearer the time. If you live in the Brisbane area we hope you can join us.

Happy gardening.

Still battling the heat

No longer a green oasis, this heatwave has left the ground hard and dry over at the allotment. Any watering just doesn’t seem to penetrate so I have decided that I will be using no more precious water and I’ve cleared the ground and dug it over.

I’ll be using the next few weeks as an opportunity to feed the soil ready for the beginning of the new sowing season in March.

The only thing left in the ground are three sweet potatoes which were given to me some weeks ago when they were sprouting ready to plant.  Two were gifted from my friend Tatiana at New Farm library and the third was given to me by my little grandson.  They are growing quite well and seem to be coping with the extreme weather.

My allotment neighbour Tim has had great success with sweet potatoes so I live in hope. Not sure if it’s time yet to get the recipe book out however.

♦ ♦ ♦

I have been spending time over at New Farm park recently with nice breezes coming off the Brisbane river and plenty of shady trees.  See how pretty it is.

IMG_1868

STOP PRESS:  The weather forecast on the tele has promised us showers. (I’ve heard that one before!)

High temperatures and bush fires

We are experiencing terrible bush fires here in Australia. My heart goes out to the people who are suffering.

In the past week Tasmania has suffered the worst with raging fires, life-threatening and causing loss of property. They are now battling fires in NSW and Victoria. Some fires started by firebugs – it leaves me speechless!

Queensland is bracing itself for a scorcher today with temperatures over 40c degrees, Brisbane is expecting 36c.

I wonder how anything thrives in this heat, then I went over to the allotment yesterday and here is a pic taken across the allotments and community farm. A green oasis.

IMG_2076

I’m eating my freezer ….

New Year’s Resolution …. I’m eating my freezer contents until I see the bottom.

My tiny allotment has been so productive that I have been blanching and freezing veggies, cooking batches of soups, meat and veggie dishes and pasta sauces all using my fresh produce. The result – my small chest freezer is now full to the top.  Silly to go grocery shopping when I already have my own ‘supermarket’ sitting in the garage.

So that’s the freezer sorted.

Now I just have to look at working my way through the produce that I have pickled – red cabbage, beetroot and cucumber.

This abundance has made me think how lucky we gardeners are with our ability to feed ourselves with lovely fresh food despite battles with weather, pest and all manner of critters.

Here are a couple of pics taken during the year.

Destined for the dinner table

Destined for the dinner table

Happy days at the allotment

Sunny morning at the allotment

Happy Gardening.

No community garden is complete without a paddling pool

Yesterday we had 34c degrees in Brisbane. It was a scorcher down at the community garden where I keep my allotment.

So when the youngest little gardener is a toddler, and the sand pit doesn’t quite cut it on a hot day – you gotta provide water to splash in. Luckily the sand pit lid fitted the bill and a bucket of water did the trick. Here he is sitting in it under the shade.

It’s not all play of course. He had already had a busy morning in the shade house re-organising the plant pots which is his regular job, so he had earned a break.

Take five

Take five

Happy Gardening.

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The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

Nourishing Traditions

The Blog that Challenges Policitally Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

could do worse

adventures in London

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

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My Front Burner

making what matters

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organic, sustainable and self-sufficient hobby farm in the making

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An ongoing chronicle of meeting the expectations of the land...

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