Tag Archives: veg

Gardening: First Lesson Learned

6 Dec

Firstly some good news: The caterpillar was located. He has been sent to a nice farm in the country where he will happily live out his days*.


SJ and plants

Since my last gardening post we have been very busy! Seven huge plastic containers were purchased and lots more plants, so adding to those we had before we bought celery, strawberries, joi choi, rainbow chard,  lettuces, spring onions, snow peas, zucchini/courgettes, cucumbers, more coriander, mint, thyme and basil and my favourite was a rainbow selection of carrots .. potted them all, arranged them beautifully in the yard and were very proud of ourselves altogether. The weather was awful that week really stormy and wet, I worried about our little plants but they survived.

IMG_5182 IMG_5166 IMG_5155 IMG_5154 IMG_5153 IMG_5151 1375 1373 IMG_5148

Then it got very hot ….. and lots of them died!
What a rookie error on our part not to realise that a 36 degree day would burn the leaves of all but the very toughest. After a quick relocation into the shade some of them came back to life but we had a number of casualties and my dreams of rainbow carrots are fading. Its not just my skin that needs the factor 50!


However there have been some good developments, our chilli plants are weighed down with long green chillies and our courgettes are flying it with flowers bursting out, the capsicums are also doing well and we get about 2 teeny tiny tomatoes each day. The herbs and strawberries also with stood the heat and are thriving. This evening the tomatoes are being relocated as we think the wall behind them is getting too hot and burning their leaves so they too will benefit from a bit more shade. Its the complete opposite to Ireland where we were chasing the sun shine.

I cannot wait to be able to harvest the produce, hopefully neither the caterpillars nor sun will cost us anymore plants .. fingers crossed!

SJ x

*May not be true.

Gardening: An Australian Attempt

13 Nov

I’ve always loved growing vegetables so when we moved into our new little house and it had a yard I was thrilled … off to the hardware store with me to buy pots, compost, tomato and chilli plants and lettuce and herb seeds … spent an hour or so setting it all up and apart from watering them everyday didn’t really take much more notice .. UNTIL .. something ate all the lettuce, basil and coriander seedlings and my beautiful big mint plant (my future mojitos were in danger!) and had started nibbling at some of the leaves on the chilli pepper plant …

Lettuce seedlings. RIP. Taken down in their prime. 

I was suddenly a lot more interested, this was WAR! Nobody messes with my mojitos!

At Subiaco Farmer’s Market we spoke to a lovely lady from Heirloom Farm who diagnosed a case of CATERPILLAR and gave us advice on eco friendly ways to deter caterpillars and other pests, namely encouraging their natural predators by growing flowers!

Laden down with more tomato, chilli, spinach, marigold, petunia & lobellia plants along with a couple more bags of compost and a renewed interest we spent all Saturday afternoon gardening and re-arranging our front and rear yards … (we’re talking 2 square metres here, not hectares..). Its a really relaxing past time and an opportunity to get some Vitamin D.

Here’s some photos of how its all looking now …..

Marigold, coriander, basil, coriander in little colourful pots and predator attracting flowers below .. Area at front door …
Guard Frog is on high alert for caterpillars ….
Tomatoes, spinach and marigold in back yard.

The first fruits of our labour, teeny tiny little tomatoes!

The future is looking tasty …..

However there are a few areas I need some help with….

  • we planted oregano seeds but the seedlings are tiny & don’t seem to be growing at all, any tips?
  • when is the best time to water plants and do they need water more than once a day? this was rarely an issue in Ireland so need some guidance.
  • what other veggies grow well in pots?

Any help at all would be much appreciated,

I’ll be back soon with an update,

SJ x

Station Street Markets, Subiaco

12 Sep

Almost every weekend since I’ve been here I’ve made the trek to Subiaco for these markets .. I love them!
From the outside it looks like nothing, maybe a warehouse or underground carpark but once you get inside its a hive of activity and I adore the buzz! I like to think I am a bit like my hero Darina Allen pottering around the English Market in Cork picking the best of everything … perhaps the sun really is getting to me.

There’s a superb health food shop called The Angry Almond where I buy porrige oats, basmati rice, dried apricots and lentils among other things from huge open metal bins. It is also a great place for spices, oils,  flours, yeast,  hard to find ingredients (just this weekend I got coconut sugar) and some good cheeses!

Angry Almond
There’s a branch of my favourite french patisserie La Galette de France, a florist, juice bar, milk bar, numerous restaurant stalls offering all sorts of delights but the largest part, and my favourite hands down are the fruit and veg stalls!!

The array of fruits and vegetables astound me everytime .. 5 types of melon, 6 types of tomatoes, 4 sizes of avocados (my addiction), fresh herbs in huge bunches, produce I don’t recognise, bright colours, fresh smells, choice, choice, choice!!


Potatoes Royal Blue potatoes are really good, they are white on the inside and sadly don’t keep their bright blue colour when cooked but taste really good!






I have no idea what this is or what to do with it? Anyone??




uglyHow’d you like them (custard) apples??!!


oranges and apples

There is better value to be had here compared with the large supermarkets, these eggs for example are about €6 in our local supermarket and since discovering these markets our food bill has decreased … however we also had to get a larger fridge for the amount I haul home every week.. five a day is no longer the aim but a minimum!

While in Ireland last month I treated myself to this new book from another one of my food heroes Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, I’m hoping to try lots of new vegetable dishes and salads suitable for the warmer weather while taking advantage of the huge array of fresh good quality product available here.


Station Street Markets are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Public Holidays.