Week 6: Yet another update

Hey guys! It’s been a quite uneventful week up on my end of things, so I really don’t have much to blog about today. I’m just gonna update you my vegie garden. So I’ve decided to discard my recyclable pots because my herbs look like they’ve been craving for more space. My basil and rosemary which I planted in the soda bottles grew pretty well and I’m surprised with how well they’ve been surviving. Here’s a picture of the basil, oh my, it makes me so happy to see it’s actually grown. Look at the roots on the bottom of the bottle!

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If you’re wondering what’s growing along the bottom of the photo, they’re radishes which I got about two weeks ago. I had completely forgotten I had bought them for a week before I had planted them in. I thought I had lost them for sure because the leaves were all limp, but surely enough, once I got them in the patch they popped back to life. Phew. If you look at the photo below, I’m growing string beans along the bottom as well. My dad bought them, but had no space in his patch so he gave them to me. Oh and bad news, my tomato plant sort of died (from over watering it). I’ve given it to my dad to see if he can bring it back to life.

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Anyways, so this is my vegie patch at the moment. The gap in the middle is for my carrots once the seeds germinate and are ready to plant. My coriander (right from the basil) didn’t really like being in the milk cartons, as you can see below. All of it’s leaves turned purple-orange colour, but hopefully they’ll turn back to green after planting it in the garden bed. I have still yet to re-plant my mint, but I need to find a pot so it can spread out a bit.
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Week 6

With our document in place and coming into the production stage things are really starting to get exciting. But most exciting of all, our heirloom seeds have arrived!!

I have planted Lettuce and cucumber today and harvested some Beetroot. Now that I have harvested where the old beetroot were I need to work on improving the soil before I go ahead and plant some tomato seedlings. This will start getting easier as I have (Finally) started a compost.
(See Below)

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I have been researching a lot – especially YouTube videos – on what to put in Composts and how to make them.
I have noted a few links below:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbNxPx5JUtM
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZyox5yLiMU
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjnVneEfnSM

I will be sowing the heirloom tomato seeds into the seedling pots I made from recycled water bottles. I’ll be doing this tomorrow as I am running out of daylight today.

More importantly we are preparing to attend a fruit swap in Geelong this weekend at Cloverdale Community Center (http://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/directory/item/8cfacb377d1045f.aspx).

Not only will we be swapping excess produce (Lemons, herbs and maybe some chives), but we will be interacting with the organic community in their comfort zone. This will be an ideal opportunity to surround ourselves with people from the community that we are studying so we can learn from the Pros.

 

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Week 5: My Dad’s Vegie Patch

I still have yet to plant my vegetables in my raised garden bed I bought last week as I have been awaiting the mixed coloured carrot seeds to come in.  So I thought, since I can’t update you on my vegie patch I can tell you about my dads! As you can see down below, my dad has made this shade structure out of stakes and some sort of mesh cloth. He’s really passionate about giving his vegetables the best environment to grow in since the last two years most of our vege didn’t seem to survive that well. This shade just helps prevent frost on cold days and burning on warmer days.

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So in the above photo, he’s also made a trellis for his beans and  bought some stakes to help with the growth of his tomatoes. The reason I’m showing you guys this is to show how easy it is to obtain information about how to help your plants grow. Everything that my dad has made is from idea’s that he’s gotten from the internet. Perhaps more and more people are becoming more self-sustainable is because we have such easy access to websites like Google and YouTube? Just a thought. 

Anyways, I was looking at everything that’s growing in my garden the other day and I just realized I have a huge curry leaf plant and a kaffir lime tree growing. I haven’t taken photos of them, but here’s how the leaves look like.

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Curry Leaves.

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Kaffir Lime Leaves.

These leaves are mainly used in Asian cooking. As you can guess, curry leaves are used in curries, while kaffir lime leaves are used in Thai and Malaysian dishes such as tom-yum and rendang. As we’re attending the ‘Harvest Swap’ in Geelong, I was thinking I could bring some of these babies along to swap.

Week 5: Starting to come together

We are now getting to the stage where our ideas are starting to all make sense. What started as a pretty vague idea, with some influences from many different sources, has started to come together the become a clear picture of where we wish to be at the end of the project. This week we finished our design brief for the entire project, and has helped in many ways to narrow our plans down. Something I personally have learnt a lot about at this stage, is that every little thing benefits the final product. The group has spent a large portion of time brain storming and discussing  what we want to do, and that has evolved into what we can and need to do. For example, with the video portion, we didn’t really have much of a plan for gathering footage and how we can make a useable documentary from it all. Yet by spending some time just talking about how we can gather everything together, what sort of style production we liked, and the types of influences we wished to draw from, we were able to create a pretty detailed idea in our minds of how we can continue. Now we have the basis for, what we think, is a very detailed yet simple video documentary. That has made that portion of the project much more exciting to get started on.

Going into the assignment at the first week, I had no real idea what a mixed media documentary entails. I have done a lot of video production before, so that part came easy. Understanding the concept was the hardest part. In writing the design brief, I realised that I finally understood exactly what was needed, exactly how a professional would complete a task like this. Once I gained that clarity, the stress that I knew would come from this project, has turned to excitement. The sort of stress that is a positive, and can be used. I am more confident than ever that we can produce something we can all be proud of.

Week 5:

Coming up to the production stages we have really started to nail down on the specifics regarding the documentary. One thing we have decided is that we will be attending a harvest swap in Geelong in the coming weeks. (Because Geelong has several each weekend). We will take a large box of lemons as our excess harvest and use them for trading. We are using lemons as I have a large Lemon tree and I have so many lemons that are produced from it that this would really be putting them to good use (see below):
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The swap meets are done on an honesty basis. You leave your excess stock on your table and take some around to other tables, then swap your produce with an equivalent value in another produce. Meanwhile other people do the same for your produce at your own table and we will (hopefully) end up with a wide array of fruits and vegetables.

We have also ordered several packets of heirloom seeds which should arrive this week. We love the idea of sustainability and with truly organic heirloom seeds we can propagate our plants through the seasons. This has been inspired by Geelong Organic Gardeners member, Syama. She has a vegetarian family and hasn’t purchased vegetables in 2 years! This was achieved both through her own large – and very impressive – garden and through attending the produce swap meets.

More information can be found at:

http://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/residents/planning/article/item/8ce62c77d90d9bc.aspx

Getting to know the community.

As we begin to come to the end of the Pre-Production time of our project, I have started to spend more and more time making the connections between our chosen topic, and the main aspect of the assignment, community. The, as I now call it, Self Sustaining Community is a bit of a paradox. For example, at a local farmers market, I was wandering around and found that everyone I talked too, be it the owner of a stall, or another person there to purchase goods, was extremely involved in what they were doing, very passionate.

 

I talked to one vendor, who sold a large selection of Olives that he had grown at home, and sold jars for $15 dollars. After we had been talking for a while, I mentioned that I myself was starting to try and grow my own vegetables, and he proceeded to describe the perfect way to grow olives in a small environment (which would be very handy if I enjoyed them), like he was a salesperson trying to sell me a car. But he didn’t do it to try and sell me his olives, he wasn’t trying to make a sale, he was in fact trying to sell his enthusiasm to me. The look on his face during our conversation showed that he loved the whole self sustaining community and wanted to spread the joy. And this was not confined to one man. Everyone I sparked a conversation with would go with the same gusto, and without even realising it, making me more and more excited to start my own cultivation journey.

 

It was with these few interactions, that I began to see exactly how the community operates. A self fulfilling pastime, that can be shared with anyone. Tips and tricks are shared, used, and passed on. A community of individuals, helping each other become even more individual.

Week 4:

This week I planted my seedlings. Capsicum, spinach, bok choi, chilli and I planted my tomato seedling in the ‘Topsy Turvy’ upside down tomato planter.

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I have been closely monitoring my plants and in just a few days I have found the best spot to place my potted seedlings. The sealed glass wall and the undercover area shown below work together as a green house climate, this has proven fast growth!Photo 27-08-13 2 43 37 PM

Also, I have been using the idea from Mei’s previous blog post to create small seedling pots. I rinsed the bottles out individually then cut them all in half. I still need to drill a few small holes in the bottom of each for drainage then they will be good to go!Photo 31-08-13 12 07 46 PMPhoto 31-08-13 12 06 05 PMPhoto 31-08-13 12 07 30 PM

We are planning on ordering some heirloom seeds this week from

http://greenharvest.com.au/SeedOrganic/OrganicSeedIndex.html

And these recycled-bottle seedling pots will be perfect for growing some organic seedlings. We all love the idea of propagation and have been researching different propagation and seed harvesting techniques.

Example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaPre6-bJpc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qv_P3zz2yo

Week 4: An Update

On Saturday I went out and bought a garden bed from Aldi for $40 (bargain!!). Here it is below.
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I went out early to get it and the rate that they were selling at really surprised me. They were selling like hotcakes! So many people were there to buy them that it was difficult to push through crowd to grab one. People were buying more than one, which was interesting to see. Perhaps they were buying more to give as gifts, or maybe even buying more for themselves so they could have more space to plant their vegies. Either way, it was nice to see that people were getting enthusiastic about getting hold of these garden beds. It just goes to show that growing your own produce is beginning to be a popular thing. I just wish I had a camera with me or thought of the idea of interviewing these people for our documentary.

Anyways, since we’ve all agreed to buy some seeds from: http://greenharvest.com.au/SeedOrganic/OrganicSeedIndex.html, I was thinking getting of carrots to start growing in my vegie patch. To be honest, I’m a little scared of growing them from scratch because I fear that it may not grow. So I’m just gonna play it safe and just get the carrot seeds.

Here’s a little update on my herbs in recyclable objects:

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I’ve got rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, coriander and tomatoes growing in the big can.

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(Close up macro-shot of mint. Macro shots make everything look cooler haha)

I’ve decided to water them once I week since I don’t want to drown them. I think in the future I might move the herbs into bigger containers so they have more room to grow.