Sunday, 7 December 2008

Back to Basics Challenge Update Week 7.5

This is only my third post on the challenge. Despite my best intentions, I have been slack in providing a weekly update. Oh well! My last post was 10 November, so I'll try to fill in for the past 4 weeks.

1. Sowing seed or planting

Celeriac - Giant Prague; Celery - Cut Celery, Pink, Stringless American; Climbing Bean - Giant of Stuttgart, Mostoller Wild Goose; Edible Chrysanthemum; Lettuce - Australian Yellow, Green Coral, Salad Mix; Michihili (Chinese cabbage); Nasturtium; Pak Choi; Silver Beet - Rainbow Swiss Chard; Sweet Corn - Max hybrid; Watermelon - Sugar Baby; Goji (potted on); Vitex (potted on); Watermelon - "seedless"; Capsicum - Alma Paprika, Jimmy Nardello, Marconi Red; Carrots - Nantes; Chilli - Anaheim, Purple Tiger; Eggplant - Casper, Listada di Gandia; Ginger and Onions that had sprouted in the cupboard.

The blueberry seeds I planted a while ago from some fresh blueberries have so far produced one tiny seedling at the two leaf stage. I'm very excited and hoping it will survive. The seedless watermelons failed to sprout, so they must be sterile. I have been very disappointed with the Sweet White sweet corn I purchased from Digger's. Out of an entire packet of seed, only about eight seedlings emerged. :(

I've had a delivery of lucerne mulch (about a week ago) and am gradually weeding, feeding and mulching all the beds.

2. Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars

Have worked out a mortgage-reduction plan. Since I re-did my mortgage early last year (for renovations), I should have about 23.5 years left to go (groan!). But, if I raise my repayments each fortnight to just over the repayment when interest rates were at their peak, I should be able to pay it off in 12.5 years. That is with the current interest rate and given they are talking about further drops, it may be shorter than that. Woohoo!

We've also been investigating wind up torches and mobile phone chargers and plan to purchase some in the New Year. If anybody has feedback on particular brands, I'd most appreciate it.

3. Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc

The red flowering peas, the snow peas and Greenfeast (shelling) peas have all set seed. I've pulled them out of the ground and they are presently drying so I can harvest the seed.

Following on from the Crone's example, I've started making our own butter. Although it may not work out much cheaper, the taste difference is incredible. I've also blended some with macadamia oil to make an easy spread version.

Haven't had much time to do any preserving, but the Silvanberries are starting to produce and I'm sure I'll be making jam and/or freezing them by the end of the week.

4. Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc

Am currently growing seedlings for friends moving house - they are just about ready for delivery. Helped another friend pack up her belongings for a big move in her life. Have rejoined Australian Conservation Foundation, after being non-financial for a few years.

5. Learning a new Skill

Am about to learn how to thresh the oats - they are still waiting for me to get to them.

Well, that's about it. Will try to post on this more regularly.

love and light


Kez said...

We bought this dynamo torch - - from our local camping store. The torch seems really good - you get heaps of light. The mobile phone charger doesn't have the connections for either of our phones unfortunately - luckily I wasn't buying it for that reason. The FM radio works well BUT you only seem to get a couple of minutes of radio for each minute of winding. Would be fine in an emergency I guess though.

River said...

Yes, seedless watermelons are sterile, as are seedless mandarins, probably seedless versions of anything really. The perennial lifecycle of fruits and vegetables includes the setting of seed to ensure the next generation. Seedless varieties have been specially bred to not contain much seed and the few seeds they do have will never mature. These are not "natural" foods.

naturewitch said...

Hi Kez
Thanks for the tip. Will look into those torches. xx

Hi River
Thanks for explaining the seedless thing. Personally, I prefer the watermelons with seeds, but the rest of my family like seedless. Well, they're giong to get seeded ones from now on! xx