Lorne Street Garden

Self sufficiency and sustainability in Fawkner, Melbourne, Australia, and beyond!

Warm Autumn

This warm Autumn has been really frustrating.   My brassica crop has been nearly wiped out by cabbage whites and the marigolds are still thriving (nice for the bees though).  So we’ve decided to try and adapt to this and plant out something different for winter in the form of lots and lots of beans and peas.   Gardenate seems to think that now is still a fine time for beans and peas,  and this would help replenish the soil after the years of tomatoes and broccoli.   All the trees still have their leaves,  which is going to make pruning a challenge..

Also,  rather than totally give up totally on the front garden,  we are rethinking.   Someone said to me, “don’t plant under a pine tree”,  and we have a massive one.   I’m not sure how true this is,  some sites seem to suggest this too,  but the front garden never seems to do well apart from in isolated beds.   My understanding is pine trees can raise the soil acidity.  Not to be beaten,  I’ve removed all the pine needles and have gone crazy with beans,  which can grow well in slightly acidic soil (hopefully not too slightly acidic).   Rach has decided to build a terraced veg garden with old bricks and bamboo (away from the tree).    Planted within is greenfeast peas (upper) and multi coloured silverbeet (lower).   Being next to the front path is should looks quite attractive if it started to grow.

Also,  surely we can make a veg bed out of an old drum?

And we had our first Olive “harvest”!  Great for a pizza,  in a few months after the brine!

And the nature strip boxes are going fantastically!

Leave a comment »

A very “tomatoey” update

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted.   There is no excuse other than slackness on my part.   I think in general I’ve concluded that there is not a lot to post over the Summer months until the end.   Of course,  Summer is supposed to be over now in Melbourne,  but it certainly does not feel that way right now with our warm and humid weather.

I would say warm and humid has been a good summary for this summer in general.   It’s not been very pleasant here in Melbourne, just my opinion,  but the garden seemed to love it.

After what seemed to be a very disappointing start to Summer we’ve actually ended up doing very well in terms of crops.   We were expected to not perform very well at all with Tomatoes,  but we’ve ended up with a fantastic yield.  I really should have weighed each harvest.  We’ve jarred an amazing amount and frozen lots too.  There is still another large crop to harvest!  This will be revealed in the pictures.  This is all while eating an almost continual supply.  My Lycopene levels will be very high.

The Zucchinis have been as always brilliant,  and for once,  we have beans in the freezer stored.   Also we did exceptionally well with Cucumbers for one.  We’ve not had to buy a single one all summer.

Perhaps most excitingly though has been the capsicums.   All the plants have performed fantastically.  Again,  no need for shopping,  it’s amazing what you can grow at home.

We also found an awesome purchase at the local Bunnings.  Collapsible greenhouses,  2$ reduced from 20$….  We have 10.  These are going to be fantastic for keeping the capsicums alive and boosting the seedlings.    They also fit perfectly over the smaller wooden raised beds.


We started to harvest honey using the honey flow.  I’m not sure if we had as much success as we would have hoped, probably due to my nervousness. We harvested several flow frames,  but did not get as much honey as we would have hoped.   I then investigated internally and discovered that only the front cells opened.   After reading up on this via the honey flow forum,  it seems this is a common issue and I need to have another go.   Still,  I think the product still has merit.  It has not stopped me inspecting the brood etc and all seems well.

I thought I would include a few pictures of the main veg bed and how things have transitioned over the past few months.  Certainly it’s evident that I should have done a lot more weeding,  but that’s OK, once the tomatoes are finally gone I can dig it all in.

I hope this slideshow works…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some random pictures




And when I get organised I will upload a video of the honey flow in action


Leave a comment »

Autumn is here!

We are now a few days into autumn,  which you would not really believe from the weather!

Over the weekend most of the front garden tomatoes have been pulled out,  as well as their nature strip friends.   We’ve done very well out of tomatoes this summer,  and I’m not afraid to say that I am a little sick of them now.  The back garden tomatoes are going strong and I expect they will continue for about another month.  So far we’ve managed to preserve 24 jars of tomato related produce,  eat more than I care to mention, and freeze a stack as well.    Perhaps next year I should consider a road side sale?

In terms of whats coming out of the ground,  so far (aside from tomatoes) we’ve just started to see some early potatoes and cucumbers and the zucchini are still going strong.     The corn was a total failure,  but I’ve got some seeds left over for next year.

The now empty nature strip box will be used to create an attractive display of leafy greens,  rainbow chard, and bloomsdale spinach!

Not many pictures this time,  to be honest everything is looking a little dry and in need of a good rain.

The interesting picture to note is the tough tape (I’m still a fan) around the tomato.  This plant was nearly broken off a few months ago by the thief,  but the tape saved the day!   The plant has been productive until it was pulled up on the weekend!


1 Comment »

Bendigo, Greenhouse, and a new spinning wheel!

It’s been a busy weekend for us, starting Friday we headed up to Bendigo for the Wool and Lamb show.   Rachel is an avid wool spinner and knitter/weaver,  so this was her heaven!    We returned from Bendigo on Sunday with a car full of sheep related goodness and a new spinning wheel.

Rachel has had her eye on the Ashford Joy 2 portable spinning wheel for ages and managed to secure a great deal direct from the company.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of craftsmanship and it’s sure to provide her with a lifetime of spinning.   Hopefully she will also start to populate the craft page on the right side of this blog.

Bendigo was a fantastic place to visit,  we certainly will be returning!

When we got back we decided to put together the greenhouse/poly-tent,   it’s fully erected and currently stable.  It’s bigger than we expected it would be,  so we are going to have to plan out how the interior will look.   The first residents have moved in,  2 Bhut Jolikia chili plants which have been struggling through winter.


Leave a comment »

A bit of a break.

It’s been a while since we last posted, and to be honest,  not a lot has happened.  We’ve be harvesting what seems to be never ending broccoli, and  we are pretty much at the end of our Jerusalem artichoke harvest,   Having been so successful we are planning to give the artichokes their own dedicated raised bed – a considerable real estate upgrade from the potato bags for the past year.

The artichokes have been an enjoyable root to wait for,  and they looked pretty in the garden once in flower as well.

Also,  finally we are starting to pull leeks and parsnips.   I’m not overly convinced it’s worth growing parsnips,   perhaps we are doing something wrong,  but they seem to take up a lot of space and take far too long to grow?

Another addition has been a dedicated strawberry bed,   we were very impressed with our 3 plants last summer,  so we purchased another 22 bare root “Cambridge rival” plants from Diggers for what I considered to be a bargain (~30$).

Oh,  and finally the order is going in for the greenhouse.  Due to financial restrictions,  we are opting for a cheap Ebay temporary plastic tent greenhouse.  We are only expecting it to last a year,  but for 100$ we are not too worried.    A space has been cleared and weed mat laid for around 2 months,  so the dreaded grass should be nicely dead by now.

But whats up with the weather here in Melbourne,  yesterday we hit 17 in the garden,  and a nasty low over night,   and where is the rain?  It’s been pretty much all blue sky for weeks.   I feel odd watering during the winter!

Leave a comment »

A very busy 9 months already

Since moving in December 2011 from North Fitzroy to Fawkner. After the trauma of getting a mortgage approval, packing, dealing with a flea bag letting agent, and allowing everything to settle. We finally moved!

After unpacking boxes and bags,  the realisation of now having a garden sank in.

And the realisation of having a vegetable patch already kindly built (thanks previous owners).

Unfortunately,  it was left to fallow and a serious bit of work was needed.

9 months in,  home vegetable growth has become an obsession and has started to take over,   resulting in this blog.

Leave a comment »