Create your own herb garden

This morning I went to a workshop at Annerley Library “Create your own herb garden”. This workshop is part of the What’s on at Brisbane City Council Libraries program.

It was a great opportunity to create our own mixed potted herb garden to take home and enjoy.  The workshop was presented by ABC Radio gardening presenter, Annette McFarlane.

Annette is a great educator and I’ve attended lots of her gardening workshops in libraries around Brisbane. It was attending my first workshop with her that set me on my path towards renting my allotment and growing my own vegetables.

Today was an opportunity to learn more about herbs. Growing your own herbs has got to be one of the best gardening investments you can make. So often I find that a recipe will call for one, or perhaps two, fresh herbs and if you have to buy a bunch from the supermarket or fruitier you can part with $3 each with no problem. You might only want a sprig or two and you are left with the rest sitting in the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator.  Good enough reason to plant a few of your favourite herbs. If you don’t have a garden – they do well in pots, as was demonstrated at this morning’s workshop.

The first hour was spent indoors as Annette took us through the ins and outs of herb growing answering our questions as she went. We then moved outdoors where morning tea was served – and then onto the practical part when we were able to get ‘down and dirty’ planting up our herb garden.

Everything was set out on tables and under Annette’s instruction we mixed the potting mix, fertiliser and coir peat before planting up our chosen herbs into the troughs provided.

I learned so much. Here are a few pics.

Annette is explaining how to “possum proof” our herbs using a fine net.

Annette McFarlane

Annette McFarlane

This is my trough of herbs. I chose the herbs that enjoy a more mediterranean climate and are happy growing together; oregano, rosemary and garlic chives. We tested the potting mix prior to planting the herbs and found the pH was a bit low.  The white powder you can see is a sprinkling of garden lime to raise the pH.

My trough of herbs

My trough of herbs

And here is the result – a herb garden to take home. All I have to do now is make sure I take that JEAN label off before I go to the shops!

A happy gardener

My herb garden

Thank you Annette. It was great fun and I learned heaps.

Self sufficiency – and a trip to the Farmers Market

For one brief moment in time I have reached the stage when I am eating all my own vegetables.

I have my potatoes stored in a brown paper bag and garlic dried off in the garage from the last season, small but potent. In the freezer I have an abundance of snake beans – I may never get to the bottom of them as I had a bumper harvest.

I’m picking fresh carrots, parsnips, kale, silverbeet, lettuce, and the herbs mint, parsley, garlic chives, rosemary.

Whoops!  I buy onions, but I am told that South Australia is the onion-growing capital of Australia. So perhaps I can be forgiven as our weather is sub-tropical. I havn’t mentioned tomatoes because I am classing that as a fruit – and so does the dreaded fruit fly which has stung every tomato I have ever tried to grow except the tiny cherry tomatoes.

Talking of fruit, that brings me to the reason for my visit to Jan Power’s Farmers Market at the Powerhouse in New Farm Park yesterday morning. We seem to have a glut of strawberries at the moment and I wanted to buy a few kilos for jam making. I also needed a dozen free range eggs. So off I set with my ‘Nanny Trolley’.

It was a beautiful morning and lots of people had turned up. You couldn’t have hurried if you tried (why would you want to?) because there were so many strollers, an amazing variety of shopping trolleys, and dogs of all description on the end of a lead (oh my grammar – they each had a lead of their own!).  Every man and his dog had turned out to enjoy the sunshine.

The first thing that hit me was the smell of frying bacon. Now I had already eaten fruit and yoghurt at home, but suddenly it just wasn’t enough.  So I stopped at Jon’s Delights for breakfast and he cooked me the most amazing bacon and egg burger.

Breakfast at Jon’s Delights, The Barn

Then I got a bit snap-happy. These are only a few of the pics that I took of the wonderful array of stalls.

Beetroot

Lettuce

Oranges

Garlic

Parsnips

You want to get me locked up!?

And finally I picked up my booty. Three kilos of strawberries for $10.

Going home to make jam

“Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up”

I couldn’t resist this quote from Sunset Boulevard.

I have been wanting to take macro photos at the allotment for some time now. I use the camera on my iPhone 4S and splashed out the other day to buy a 3-in-one photo lens. The lens is quite small and clips on to the corner of the phone.

New 3-in-one lens

I am still learning and my hand tends to wobble as I try to zoom in, you need to get really close to the subject, and of course being a leaf or a flower they will Not Stay Still.  Anyway, this is my first attempt which I would like to share with you.

This tiny mauve flower is on my garlic chive and is 7mm across. The garlic chives have been flowering for weeks now and I think they are so pretty.

Flower on Garlic Chives

Flowering Garlic Chive

This is my thyme plant with the shot taken at the tip of a stem which is 6mm across. I see the beauty of the leaf at such close quarters.

Thyme

Here are a couple of shots of the developing flower on my sweet basil plant, taken from the side and from the end of the stalk.

Sweet Basil starting to flower

Sweet Basil at the tip of the developing flower head.

The lens also allows me to take wide-angle and fish-eye. Could be fun trying them out.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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