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We went away on the weekend, the lad played and played and played and saw animals and was entertained by his cousins while we were in the Yarra Valley for a vineyard wedding. The wedding was late afternoon, the sun was getting low and pink behind the grape vines, there was food and wine and lovely company, all followed by a sleep in and kid-free breakfast. We collected the kid, had a good lunch and visited a relative who plied us with more good wine and cheese before I put the roast on for us and another friend.

But then we had to come home. Back to work and study and childcare. None of us were really excited about it. Blergh.

So when feeling rather uninspired (maybe it’s the effect of the drizzly grey sky) I think it’s good to make a list:

* Sort out the worm farm – take everything out, wash the sludge from the bottom layer, put a new layer of newspaper bedding and stick the worms back in with food and the covering layer of newspaper to keep them warm.

* Plant the rest of the broccoli seedlings

* Plant a few more of the snow peas

* Plant some broad beans in the spot where we had the tomatoes over summer

* Mix up a new compost pile with the food scraps that have been Bokashi-ed the remains of the tomato vines and old mulch

* Buy new straw to keep the ground warm

* Get the balcony hanging things for the window box type pot, so it will hang from the railing by the back steps. We’re looking around to find more and more places we can plant, preferably spots that have some sun and are easy to water (emptying the teapot, washing the veggies and so forth, which I tend to do after dark and it’s best if I can stay as close as possible to the house)

After two weekends taken up with weddings, I think we’re overdue for a few days at home, and it looks like we’ll have plenty to do.

We don’t have room for creatures, at least, no creatures bigger than worms. This means we have to pay for manure, which is essential when you’re trying to grow veggies anywhere but particularly if you’re trying to grow them in sand and builder’s rubble.

A friend has a menagerie in her apartment, and regularly disposes of rabbit and guinea pig waste because she has no garden to put them on. Do you see where I’m headed with this everyone?

Yeah, I’m making her bring her pet’s waste products with her next time she visits.

Edit: She came! Bearing two shopping bags full of bunny waste products (and the newspapers that line the cage) then we made chocolate cake. These two matters are unrelated.

It’s 19.8C. Feels warmer outside in the sun I have to say, but that may be the micro-climate of my garden, where the sun reflects off the windows of the tall building a few doors up.

The no-dig garden bed dried out too much to break down properly. The compost looks dusty. The soil all looks like grey sand. The worms seem happy enough though, and the vermiculite is ready to put on the garden to start the revival. I’ve cracked an egg at one end of the worm farm to attract all the worms to that end. So tomorrow I’ll be distributing the vermiculite. Yay!

The parsley seeds were ready to harvest this morning, so I shook them off into a bag. At the moment all the parsley grows in the front yard, and you can never have too much so I’ll be raising seedlings and planting them in the backyard (and possibly giving some away as presents).

The eggplants still haven’t produced any fruit. This continues to make me sad. The ones down the road in the community garden have, but theirs aren’t growing in almost full shade.

We harvested the corn a few days ago, and ate it all in one evening. I don’t think we’re heading for self-sufficiency on that front, but it tasted good. Again, the shade is a problem, as are earwigs.

The capsicums are looking good. The lad picked one and ate most of it.

Maybe that should read “Garden Centres versus Nurseries”. When I was growing up (which wasn’t that long ago) the place where one bought plants was a nursery. The place where my mother used to take us when she bought plants is still called a nursery. They also still have chooks and a playground, although the whole place is a lot fancier than it was twenty years ago. The chooks are ornamental now and their coop has a sign saying ‘Birdhouse’. I went there today with my Mum and the lad. He’s obviously been watching us when we shop for plants (and perhaps he’s had too many opportunities) because he toddled between plants looking at their tags and turning the tags around. He seemed pretty impressed with all of the trees and was most unimpressed with being put back in the stroller. Anyway, my point is that this nursery has grown over the years to sell lunch, garden furniture and outdoor sculpture and all sorts of other junk that isn’t plants or mulch. It’s what I think of when I hear the term ‘garden centre’, but this place is sticking with ‘nursery’. Yesterday (you’re seeing how our kid has learned so young about plant-buying behaviour?) I went for a walk to my local plant sellers, who have called their business Adjacent Suburb Garden Centre and they don’t sell anything other than plants, basic tools, pots, manure and mulch. They grow veggies in a corner of the carpark. They guerrilla garden the dead space between their land and the road. They inherited an ugly old fence from the site’s previous owners and (rather than building a stark new wall) they planted a grape vine on it. In short, this place is run by people who love plants, who think garden furniture takes up space where their ought to be plants. It’s what I think of as a ‘nursery’. I don’t think this is an earth shattering observation, but it niggles away at me nonetheless.

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