Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Thrifty Gardening and Troublesome Toddler Puppies

The other day on  All The Blue Day - Green & Thrifty, Jo gave examples of how she had been thrifty thus ensuring a flood of comments and further examples of thriftiness by her followers.  When it came to my turn, the only recent example i could dredge up was the fact that my husband, tradie extraordinaire, had fixed our appliances (hot water service, oven, stove top, washing machines, vacs etc) so many times that i was left hoping that they would finally prove too much or he would give up so i could get new ones.   How sad is that?  Such a first world problem to have. After 18 years, our rather cheap (read property developer installed) hot water service has been replaced.  Too many mornings of laying on the ground at 5.30am (him, not me) because it had gone out overnight had brought the issue to a head.  Hubby was quoted and he paid for a HSW with a 5 star energy efficiency rating and they installed a 4 star.  Bugger!  Back on the phone...(update - it was exchanged today).    Nope Gav, sorry no solar this time.  Just cant afford it and i left the decision up to him.

Hubby has just received from China the electronic components he needs to fix our son's Playstation, so that is another  thrifty task.  Our dining table has seen more electronic components, soldering irons and computer parts than it has cooked meals.  Hence the need for several other dining options.  Plans are afoot for an electronics desk in the garage.       
So, in order to restore the balance of thriftiness in my blog circle (so i can hold my head high) and in this family i set myself the task of finding solutions to a few problems in the garden whilst spending the least amount of money i could.

Problem 1 - Tilly the Terrible, Tilly the Explorer, Tilly the "I want to do what you are doing too", Tilly the "I'm under your feet with every step you take so that I'm not walking but doing a mad swaying dance all over the yard".  By far the worst of her personas is Tilly the Excavator.

Keeping these little paws clean for the carpet is a full time job.  
I have nightmares of coming home from work and finding everything ripped out and her standing there with a piece of root hanging from her tiny mouth with an expression that says "What"?  As it is, I've found the contents of my compost in the middle of the lounge room on the carpet.  She has also discovered that there was a previous dog in residence here and that he had a secret cache of buried bones.  Bonaza!!!  Some of the things i have found under the dining table would make your hair curl including fossilised poo.  I have always said that God made babies and toddlers (including puppies) extra cute so that we are don't try to give them back or do something dastardly to them.

Its a mad scamper to grab her when she first comes in and then its off to the bathroom for a cleanup. This could happen several times a day.
So what's the problem?  I have four veggie beds that are 45cm high and they are very attractive play things for Tilly the Everything is a Game/Toy and Tilly the Excavator.

Tilly chasing her tail so fast she's a blur...
I think I've mentioned before that i had plans to invoke my special powers at work and have built elaborate removable gates for the lower beds but now that i am in thrifty thinking mode and having seen a few of the homemade trellis and wigwams at Shoestring's Learner Garden i have a better idea and more immediate with no lost brownie points.

I think these look more natural being bamboo. 
Total cost - Pkt 20 Bamboo Sticks from Bunnings  @ $1.67 each X 3.  I had the rubber ties already and so it took a total of 20 minutes to make my own fence.  Ive watched her approach it and put her nose through and walk away.  I don't think its particularly strong but the image of a barrier means she's no longer interested.  The pointy tops might also prove a deterrent.

Capsicum Red - it should be a nail polish colour
There are two more beds to do which ill try to complete after work this week.

Problem 2 - I need more growing space.  So....... once again, inspired by the Learner Garden i went in search of pots for more tomatoes.  Cue, another trip to Bunnings.

The new Bunnings Superstore opened in the last few months in Hoppers Crossing.  Its massive.  I avoid most of it but do love their garden section, way way down the other end.  We honestly need shares in this place.  I'm sure i paid for at least a few feet of this building over the years at the old store.
I noted large black plastic tubs with a flimsy 4 stick trellis' about 80cm high (no where near high enough) placed conveniently at the foot of a virtual tower of tomato plants (the commercial kind).  These tubs were selling like hot cakes on Sunday, but at $30 each.   Really?  I can do better than that so i walked around and found these in the cleaning aisle.

These buckets are really tall and on special at  $5 each.   I marched back to the garden centre to ask if they were made from some sort of toxic plastic and their response was "jeepers, that's a good idea" and "yeah, its the same as the tomato tubs over there".   A few drill holes later and we are in business.
Honestly, if you had been within earshot of me on Sunday you would have thought me certifiable.

I was standing near the entrance to the garden area (having been deserted by my husband in favour of tools) right in front of a big stand of tomato plants.  I was directing people to the Diggers Heirloom stand further down the aisle.  Then i followed that up with the "Salad Plate Speech" and advice to get basil, garlic, spring onions and marigold plants as well.  I was nuts.  I was giving impromptu lectures on companion planting to perfect strangers and they were lapping it up.  One woman was filling her trolley with anything i told her.  I even added in a few flowers to bring bees to her garden.  It was a hoot.  Retail therapy on her credit card.  Since i was there for several hours thanks to Hubby, i got to meet lots of people, some of which  i had to reign in and tell them to spend $50 and get Craig from Edible Gardens to come out and do a consult. They had no idea what they wanted, no plans, no graphs (that one was for your Bronwyn - LOL) but were intent on spending up big.  Best to start out right than to fail and have to start again. I Reckon anyway (add southern drawl and hay stalk in corner of mouth).

I was really worried about what the black pots would look like as everything else is terracotta or colourbond but then realised Ive put them right in front of Tom's room with his new black blackout blinds. So i can breathe easy that i haven't introduced a new colour that clashes.  I can hear you laughing from here Jessie!
Not bad if i do say so myself.  The handles will make them easier to move around when it get too hot on the concrete area mid summer.  It's my Mediterranean area (concrete + full sun = blistering radiant heat).  I also need to think about a spacer at the top to keep the three bamboo poles evenly spaced when they get some weight on them.

I'm calling this my Diggers Garden as it contains three varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes from the Diggers Club. I'm hoping that this is the last year ill have to buy them as I'm planning to collect the seeds for next year - more thriftiness.  

For the rest of the season i will be using all the freebies.  I must have left a few on the ground last season as i have tomato seedlings popping up everywhere.   Ive got other seedling coming up that i dont recognise at all.  When they get a bit bigger ill take pics and you can all play the guessing game.  

So that's several thrifty ideas this week and i am going to put my brain to rest.  Enjoy some garden pics.  I'll be  adding more plants next weekend.

My morning chair (when i get a chance).  Half in the pergola but out enough to catch the morning sun on my legs - I'm a red head and i burn.  

Mint ( i love the fragrance when you brush past it), Dill, Lettuces and Corn on its way up.

The herb garden going nuts.
Excuse the washing on the line in the background.  Yes, i do have one, but i don't think I've ever included it in a picture.  I bet you thought the magic fairies did my washing but no, I'm just like you only i wash and hang out at night.  I have a thrifty solar light above the line.   Oh, there is also a garden shed which has become my domain.  Hubby gets the garage.

 Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Love the black tubs, really cool! Love the new tomato plants. I have many Green Zebra's, but those others I'll have to get seed off you one day. I find myself taking any opportunity to collect seed, it's fantastic as its free.

  2. Amazing green thriftiness Lynda - I do hope Bunnings paid you commission and a lecture fee! Brilliant solution with the bamboo fence. Sometimes all it takes is a visual barrier. My cats know from experience not to hop into the garden pots for a nice snooze on the seedlings since I started filling them with pointy bamboo skewers!
    I love your tomato tub solution. They can't bamboozle you into paying $30 for a plastic pot. It's criminal and wicked what garden centres charge for plants that grow like weeds, and garden paraphernalia that is completely unnecessary. Well done you!

    1. I was looking at the prices that they were charging for Clivea and im literally digging them up and throwing them away. No one wants them.

  3. I love your fencing. It's pretty, practical and thrifty. 3 ticks. :)
    Your gardens look amazing too. I know I'm in a much colder climate but I'm sti jealous of how far aong you are in your growing season.

  4. I had to laugh about your foray into Bunnings as we have done the same thing :-)
    A question on a different matter - the purple flowering plant in the third last image, I know its a scaevola but would you happen to know what variety it is?

    1. No, sorry Sue it and the pot was a gift and came with no plant card. Its beautiful and flowers continuously.

  5. Little Miss Tilly looks so innocent.
    Love the Bunnings advice I need you at my Bunnings lol.
    Your vege garden looks fantastic x

    1. Dont be fooled like i was by that innocent face. Im thinking of renaming her Trixie. Mind you, when she is asleep shes an angel.


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