Saturday, 24 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th July 2021

 Well,  we are in lockdown again in Melbourne but thankfully we are coping well.  I'm still allowed to work although Darren's hours have been cut.  Our well stocked fridge,  freezers and pantry are keeping us well fed.    Just as lockdown was being rumoured,  Darren ducked into the supermarket to buy a few treats to see us through.  

 I couldn't post anything here last week due to being super busy with work,  a catering job and a sewing job.  By the time the weekend came,  I needed to catch up on the housework,  then rest.

So this frugal list spans two weeks.

*  Darren picked broccoli,  spinach,  kale and lettuce from the garden to have with our meals.

*  I baked choc chip biscuits using dough from the freezer.  Our grandson Luka was over at the time ( before lockdown ) and helped squash the dough on the trays.  He also helped eat the dough too ( sneaky little boy ).

*  Used a $20 voucher from The Good Guys to buy another slow cooker.  The voucher arrived on my phone just hours before lockdown so I raced up to the shops to pick something out.  The slow cooker I bought ended up costing me just $19.95.  

*  Made a bottle of shower cleaner using kitchen detergent.  The ratio is one part detergent to one part water.

*  Hemmed some new curtains for a friend as a paying job.

*  I was in need of some new kitchen cannisters for my tea,  sugar and biscuits.  The ones I'd been using for at least 10 years had become loose around the lids and I needed air tight containers.  I had a few spare Moccona coffee jars on hand and was inspired by Mary from the White Cottage Company to paint them white. Once I painted the jars,  the utensil holder looked out of place so I painted that white as well.   I'm loving the new look and it only cost me about $13 for the can of spray paint.

*  Cooked 31 single serve meals for a friend's grandmother as a paying job and learnt a new soup recipe along the way.

*  Made a batch of pita chips using pita bread from the freezer.

*  Out of an urgent need,  Darren gave me a haircut.  My hair was getting too long and a bit dry on the ends so he cut a couple of inches off.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.  Darren says one bin is now ready to use in the garden.  Just waiting on good weather to empty the bin.

*  Extended the life of my eyeliner by pulling up the contents in the retractable part.  I'll now get another 8 weeks of use.

*  Made a surface spray cleaner for benches,  toilets and sinks etc by diluting kitchen detergent one part detergent to twenty parts cooled boiled water.

*  Made a slow cooker bread pudding using the  saved crusts from my homemade bread. 

*  Sold a set of men's greeting cards.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

Newly painted ' cannisters '

Newly painted utensil holder

Pita chips for snacks

Freshly baked bread.

Bulk cooking for an order

 

Father's Day is just around the corner.  If you are looking to buy a card to send to a loved one I have a few sets still available.  Each set of four cards comes with numbers that can be added to customise the cards for other occasions too.  

Here is one of the sets available for sale on my Facebook pages

 My Abundant Life Facebook





   How have you saved time,  money or energy this week ?    


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Free Alternatives In The Garden

 Reusing,  recycling and upcycling is a wonderful way to save money and help reduce waste.  With more than half of Australians in lockdown right now and many more people around the world,  now is the time to use what you already have on hand at home.

Here are some great ideas for growing a garden without going out to buy things.

*  Dig up the ground you have to make a garden bed.  Raised garden beds are wonderful but not necessary for growing flowers and veggies.

*  Save your own seeds.  Have a look at the veggies you have in your fridge crisper.  Seeds can easily be saved from tomatoes,  cucumbers,  pumpkins and  zucchinis ( if large enough to have seeds ).  Even the wrinkly potatoes in the pantry can be planted if they have sprouted.  If you have flowers in the garden,  wait for them to form seed pods then save the seeds for next season.

*  Take cuttings from your plants,  shrubs and trees in the garden.

*  Cut up  icecream or yoghurt containers to make garden markers for your newly planted seeds and seedlings.

*  Use cut up  old socks to tie up wayward plants.

*  Use pruned,  straight branches as garden stakes for your plants.

*  Use your kitchen scraps to start a compost heap.  If you don't have room for a compost heap then dig the kitchen scraps straight into the garden.

*  Old buckets,  icecream containers, foam boxes,  heavy duty plastic bags / enviro shopping bags ,  milk crates ( lined ) and old plant pots make excellent little gardens.

*  Use toilet rolls to plant your seeds in.  When the seeds have grown tall enough,  plant the toilet roll with the plant to reduce transplant shock.

*  Grass clippings and weeds can be turned into fertiliser.  Place then in a bucket and cover with water.  Let it stand for a week or two and drain the liquid into another container.  Dilute it right down with water before using ( do a Google search for correct ratios ).

*  Need a mini greenhouse to start your seeds ?  Use the plastic cover from a  doona / sheet  set.

*  Poke holes in a water bottle lid to make a seedling watering can ( of sorts ).    

Recycled bricks for the path

Cutting up old socks

Bedding packaging greenhouse.

What items do you recycle for use in the garden ?


Saturday, 10 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th July 2021

 This week I've been keeping busy on a wide variety of tasks.  Life is never dull or mundane when money,  time and energy can be saved in so many ways.

Here's what I've been up to -


*  Bought 2 metal trays from Savers for $5.19 in total.   The plan is to use them on my coffee table and dining table.  They were a creamy color that looked yellow in spots so I spray painted them with white  Rustoleum paint I already had on hand.  For just a few minutes of work they came up looking fabulous.

*  Saved a cereal bag and cut it up into squares to use as go between when freezing crumpets and hamburger patties.

*  Baked lots of ANZAC biscuits for this week's morning / afternoon tea treats.  The dough came from the freezer from when I last made a bulk batch of dough a few months ago.

*  Picked some daisy greenery ( leaves ) from the garden to add to my dining table display.  There are not many flowers in the garden at the moment due to the cold weather.  The greenery is truly appreciated.

*  Turned the heater down to 19 degrees Celsius or turned it off all together when the sun was shining.  It has been a cold Winter so far so a few hours without the heater on feels like a major achievement.

*  I have been watching a YouTube channel called White Cottage Company.  Mary likes to make old,  op shop,  antique and everyday items look like new by painting them ( amongst her many talents ).  I was inspired to do a mini makeover of our home which included a frame with wedding pictures and calligraphy in it.  The frame was a dark timber which now doesn't go with our home colors and the mat and photos were faded.  A quick spray paint of the frame and mat with white Rustoleum and photocopying the photos,  it came up looking fabulous and oh so ' on trend '.

*  Wrote out a menu plan for the next 5 weeks.  I've added soup,  eggs on toast and fried rice as cheap meals to keep our costs down.

*  Dried most of the washing on the line ( in Winter ).  Only a few things were finished off in the dryer.

*  I filled the thermos with boiling water in the morning to use for cuppas during the day.  This saves me boiling the kettle twice.

*  Picked more lemons from our tree and juiced the ones I picked over a week ago.  Leaving them for a couple of weeks relaxes the lemons and you get more juice from them.

*  Pruned the plum tree in the hope we get more fruit next Summer.  I also put snail bait out around the veggie seedlings and fed them all with Seasol.


New tray for the coffee table


New tray and greenery for the dining table


Renovated frame and insert

More lemons from our tree.

How thrifty were you this week ?

Are you finding ways to save on your heating bills this Winter ? Or cooling bills if you are in Summer ?


Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Free Alternatives For Around The Home

 We live in a world that likes to replace items on a whim.  If things look a little tired or out of date - just go and buy a new one.  You only have to watch tv ads or look at the latest department store catalogues.

Over the last 18 months or so many incomes have been slashed and having spare cash can be a luxury.

Here are some free alternatives you can easily source with little effort -

*  Need a new kitchen sponge ?  Raid your linen cupboard for unwanted or faded face washers.  They are very durable,  can be washed in the washing machine and are also great for wiping kitchen benches.

*  Need some pantry storage ?  Use glass Moccona coffee jars.  They come in different sizes and can be easily sourced on social media pages.  Any glass jar will do the job including jam,  pasta sauce, tomato paste and pickle jars.

*  Need new cushion covers ?  Tables cloths,  pillow cases and bed sheets can easily be sewn into cushion covers with minimal effort,  skill  and equipment.

*  Need a new vase or don't like the look of the ones you have ?  Use glass jars as is or paint them a neutral color like white for a classic look.

*  Think you need a new rice cooker ?  A saucepan will do the job and did so for hundreds of years before the sudden urge to use one.  Just wash your rice before cooking and put a timer on for accurate cooking.

*  Need to update your old picture frames ?   Paint them with a more modern color.  Check your garage for leftover paint from your last painting project.  If your frame has a matted picture in it,  the mat can be painted too.

*  Need new tea towels ?  Cut and hem old cotton doona covers or pillow cases.


Jam jars for herb storage

Free Moccona coffee jars from Facebook
Painted frame and matting

What free alternatives do you use around the home ?


Saturday, 3 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd July 2021

 Each week my goal is to complete 2 frugal tasks each day with a total of 14 by the time Saturday comes around.  My week started really well and I was on track for a record amount of frugal tasks.  Then I woke up with a really sore throat and the rest of the week was spent resting when I wasn't at work.  Oh well,  I had good intentions.

Here's what I did complete earlier in the week -

*  Picked,  blanched and froze three heads of broccoli from our garden.

*  We've started using loose leaf tea in our cuppas.  Although we still have about 2 years worth of tea bags,  loose leaf tea works out cheaper than the teabags.

*  Donated a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received 2 x 20% discount vouchers.

*  Refilled the dishwashing liquid pump bottle and diluted it by 30%.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps with homemade liquid ( diluted shower gel ).  Mostly we are trying to use up our bars of soap stash but the main bathroom ( guest bathroom ) has a pump bottle.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I've found a way to fit all four bread tins into one oven which is saving 1/2 an hour of electricity.  After 12 years of using two ovens,  this was a lightbulb moment.  I guess we never stop learning new ways to do things.

*  Darren desperately needed a new pair of jeans for work and volunteering because he's lost so much weight.  Thankfully he was able to get a decent pair from Savers and used a 20% off discount voucher.

*  Defrosted and iced a small whole orange cake from the freezer when we had a visitor over one night.  Having baking in the freezer is such a time and money saver.

*  Saved water where possible,  kept light off and turned the heater off when the Sun was shining.

Sharing a pot of tea.

Picking bonus broccoli florets

Penstemon flowers in our garden.

One of our potato plants growing.

We still have some flowers in our Winter garden

How did you save time,  money or energy this week ?


Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Getting The Most Out Of Lemons

During Winter there always seems to be an abundance of lemons on offer.   Lemons are such a versatile fruit with many many uses.  The key is knowing how to process them quickly before they spoil.  Here are the tips I use to guarantee year round lemon abundance.  

*  To get more juice from your lemons roll them over the kitchen bench while pushing down.  This releases the juices inside.  Another tip is to put an uncut lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds.  

*  Freeze them whole.  This is a great tip if you have an abundance of lemons and don't have time to juice them all.  They will defrost a little soft but can still be used. Also great for baking whole lemon cake.

*  Zest them.  Zest can be used in slices,  cakes and muffins as well as savoury dishes.  Zest can also be frozen.  Just make sure you use a glass container to freeze it in as the zest scent is very hard to remove from plastic. 

*  Juice them and keep the juice in the fridge ( for a few days ) to make refreshing drinks.

*  Make lemon butter.  This is a wonderful spread to have on toast and scones.

*  Freeze the juice in icecube trays to keep a good supply all  year round.  Juice can be used on fish,  to make lemon chicken.  soothing drinks for sore throats,  baking and of course - lemon butter 

*  Freeze the zest of both lemons and oranges.  Then juice them and add to a snap lock bag or container to make 50 / 50 cordial in Summer.

*  Clean and freshen chopping boards with a lemon cut in half.





Lemon chicken

Ready for juicing

Lemon butter

Cooking fish in foil.

How do you process an abundance of lemons ?

How do you like to use lemons ?

    

Saturday, 26 June 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 26th June 2021

 Due to the cold wet weather this week our gardening time has been limited.  We duck outside in between showers to get quick jobs done then head back inside to enjoy our beautifully heated home.  We are very grateful for ducted heating that keeps our home evenly heated and for blankets that give us extra comfort.

Here's what we got up to this week -

*  I poked some small holes in a plastic water bottle lid to make it easy to water seeds and seedlings.

*  Made a bottle of surface spray from kitchen detergent and cooled boiled water.  I use this to clean the kitchen stove,  benches,  sinks and cupboards.  In the bathrooms I use it to clean the toilets,  sinks and bath.

*  Dried 95% of the washing on clothes horses in the main bathroom.  We have a ducted heating vent in the floor so the washing is dried overnight.  Only work uniforms and tea towels from the cafe were dried in the dryer because they were needed the next day.

*  Juiced lots and lots of lemons I'd picked from our tree over a week ago.  The juice was frozen into ice cube trays.

*  Froze leftover tomato paste into an ice cube tray.

*  Planted lots of sprouting potatoes from our pantry.  I know it's not quite the right time of the year but the potatoes were too soft to peel or eat.

*  Baked shortbread biscuits to have with cuppas this week.  With just the two of us at home we don't go through as much baking.  I still have scones,  chocolate brownies and small whole orange cakes in the freezer that we eat every now and then.

*  We had roast lamb for a combined birthday dinner for Darren and Jessica last weekend.   This week I used the little bits of leftover sliced meat and meat off the shank to make a lamb stew in the slow cooker.  I was able to get another 7 single serves taking the total to 12 for a very small roast.  Lamb is very expensive so this was a very rare treat for us.  The stew went into the freezer for future easy dinners.

*  We picked lettuce and kale from the garden.

*  Darren found some heavy duty clear plastic we could use to cover the newly planted potatoes.  We are hoping this will help keep the soil temperature from getting too cold.  It will also protect against frosts and heavy rains.

*  Ate leftovers from the freezer a few nights.  I quite enjoy cooking once and eating 3 or 4 times type of meals.  Most weeks I only need to cook about 3 nights a week and getting dinners from the freezer for other nights.  We still eat a good variety and a menu plan helps with this.

*  Fed the outside compost bin with kitchen and garden scraps.

*  Saved water in the bathroom,  kitchen and laundry as per usual and reused it where we could.

*  I picked oranges and mandarins from the trees at Megan's place.  There is probably another 5oo + mandarins to pick.

From Megan's trees.

In the veggie garden

Covering newly planted potatoes

Shortbread biscuits

How have you saved time,  money or energy this week ?


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Save On Takeaway With These Tips

 We all have our moments when takeaway is enjoyed at home as a quick option on a crazy busy day. Later on you look at your bank statement and wonder why it cost so much.    Here are a few tips for reducing the total spend on your treat -

*  Don't buy the garlic bread on the menu.  While someone picks up your order ( or getting it delivered ),  grab a few slices of bread or a bread roll ( sliced in half ),  butter it,  add some herbs and pop it in the oven under the grill.

*  Soft drinks, bottled water and juices are incredibly expensive from takeaway shops.  Just offer the family a glass of water and save your sugar intake for a piece of chocolate or a biscuit after dinner.

*  When you are about to eat your takeaway,  if possible serve what you know you can eat onto dinner plates and portion the leftovers into containers.  Place them in the fridge and when dinner is over,  pop it in the freezer for future eating.  Placing picked over,  leftover food in the fridge might seem like a great option but the food deteriorates at a faster rate due to the bacteria introduced from the cutlery. 

*  If ordering Asian food,  cook your own rice to save money.  White rice takes 10 minutes to cook which can be done while the takeaway food is being delivered or picked up.

*  Try to only order what you know you can eat.  Over ordering is a common mistake many people make.  If this happens,  freeze the rest.

*  Meal deals are not really deals.  They are marketed so you spend more than you intend.  Just order the basics.  For example,  pizza without the dessert,  garlic bread and drinks.

*  Check your phone apps to see if there are any discount coupons or codes.

*  As a cheaper alternative,  keep leftovers in the freezer to avoid the temptation to spend.  



How do you save on takeaway ( other than not buying it ) ?

     

Saturday, 19 June 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 19th June 2021

 Due to the cold,  wet weather we've been experiencing in Melbourne my frugal tasks have mostly been inside.  We were blessed with mild weather on Sunday so you can imagine we made to most of it to get a few gardening jobs done.

Here's what we got up to -

*  Planted quite a few strawberry runners that were growing in one of our garden beds.  Strawberry plants only last a few years before you need to replace them.  Runners are the free option.

*  Planted about 25 broccoli and 4 mini cauliflower seedlings  I'd grown from seed.  I also planted lots of sugar snap peas in one of the other garden beds.

*  Fed the outside compost bin every second day with kitchen scraps.  Old broccoli plants were also added to the bins.

*  Made a few more apron cards using supplies I already had.

*  Defrosted one of our 120 litre freezers.  This helps it run more efficiently  While I was putting all the food back in I made a note of what we have and what needs to be used shortly.  No waste in our house.

*  Wrote out another 28 day menu plan and included a few cheap meals.

*  Used the steamer insert on the stove to cook all our veggies.  Usually I cook the potatoes or rice on the stove and steam the veggies in a microwave container.

*  Donated a bag on unwanted items to Savers and received 2 x 20% off vouchers.

*  Picked kale and silverbeet to add to our dinners

*  Emptied the last of a moisturiser bottle into the next one.  I used a connector that my Dad invented and made up.  He's made them in a few different sizes to fit just about any bottle opening.

*  Darren has enjoyed eating an orange every day that was picked from Megan's tree.  They are still a little too sour for me.  I'll wait until we pick more fruit in July.

Free oranges in abundance

Darren's birthday card I made

Saving the last of the moisturiser

Using the steamer to cook the veggies

How did you save time,  money or energy this week ?


Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Super Cheap 28 Day Menu Plan

 There's no doubt that meat prices have sky rocketed over the last couple of years.  It doesn't seem that long ago that Coles supermarkets ran a big advertising campaign highlighting their 1 kilo trays of beef mince for $5.  That same tray now costs $12.  Lamb prices have doubled now making it a luxury piece of meat.  Roast legs of lamb and roast beef are now off our menu and we can forget about steak.  Not that we had steak on a plate for a meal but now cooking a beef stew is too expensive.  I just can't justify paying close to $20 a kilo for the cheapest steak no matter how far I stretch it in a stew -  and yes,  I can stretch it far.

The main meats we have been eating are chicken drumsticks,  chicken fillets,  beef sausages,  frozen fish fillets,  tinned tuna and salmon and beef mince.  Last year when meat was hard to come by I did manage to buy one corned beef ( silverside ) and one tray of cheap steak.  Over the last 14 months I've rationed that steak out to make Massaman beef curry and beef stew.  I think I now have one 300 g piece of steak left in the freezer.  Unless beef prices drop I will not be buying steak in the foreseeable future.

So with all this in mind,  it's been a real challenge writing a menu plan with variety yet keeping to our $100 - $120 a month food budget.  This budget includes food and kitty litter for Princess ( our cat ) and food,  basic toiletries and cleaning ingredients for Darren and I.

I was blessed a few months ago with a large amount of TVP  ( textured vegetable protein ) for free from a friend.  When I first heard about it years ago I vowed I'd never use it.  But desperate times call for desperate measures and TVP has been a real blessing for stretching beef mince without really noticing a difference in texture.

Below is the latest menu plan I have been using.  Keep in mind it's just the two of us but I still cook for 4 - 6 people as per the recipe and freeze all leftovers.  It's very rare that leftovers are eaten as lunches.  They end up being dearer than a toasted sandwich and we don't need to eat meat twice a day.  

 From memory,  all recipes for the meals below are in the recipe section.

My Abundant Life: Recipes (myabundantlife07.blogspot.com)


Day 1  -  Chunky Chicken Soup made from slow cooker stock.

Day 2  -  Meatloaf,  potato mash and steamed veg.  Leftover meatloaf frozen

Day 3  -  Leftover Chunky Chicken Soup with crusty bread

Day 4  -  Salmon Patties ( bulk cooked and in the freezer ) with rice and steamed veg

Day 5  -  Honey Mustard Chicken with rice

Day 6  -  Sausages,  potato mash and steamed veg

Day7  -   Get Your Own - maybe toasted sandwiches,  eggs on toast,  leftovers


Day 8  -   Lasagne ( made in bulk and frozen ) with steamed broccoli and silverbeet from the garden

Day 9  -   Chicken Drumsticks Lemon Flavoured with potato mash and steamed veg

Day 10 -  Massaman Beef made in the slow cooker served with rice.  Leftovers frozen in single serves

Day 11 -  Tuna Casserole served with steamed green veg.  

Day 12 -  Chop Suey served with rice.  Leftovers frozen into single serves

Day 13 -  Curried Sausage Casserole in slow cooker served with mashed potato.  Leftovers frozen 

Day 14 -  Leftovers of some description


Day 15 -  Tuna Pasta Bake ( bulk cooked and from the freezer )

Day 16 -  Cottage Pie ( I call it shepherd's pie )

Day 17 -  Chunky Chicken Soup from the freezer

Day 18 -  Beef Stew in slow cooker served with potato mash

Day 19 -   Homemade Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

Day 20 -   Silverside with potato mash and steamed veg

Day 21 -   Spag Bol ( sauce made in bulk and in the freezer )


Day 22 -  Chicken,  potato and veggie bake. Kale and broccoli used in bake came from our garden

Day 23 -   Freezer meals or eggs on toast 

Day 24 -   Fried rice with small amount of chicken added. 

Day 25 -   Family Meat Pie ( portions from the freezer ) served with steamed green veg  

Day 26 -   Leftover fried rice

Day 27 -  Fish portions ( from Aldi ) cooked in foil with lemons, served with potato mash and steamed veg

Day 28 -  Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks served with rice and steamed veg

   

Chop suey in the making.

Slow cooker Massaman Beef Curry

Homemade pizza


Bulk Chunky Chicken Soup for the freezer

Honey Mustard Chicken

How are you fighting rising meat prices ?

Do you have any super cheap meal ideas ?


Saturday, 12 June 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 12th June 2021

 It's been way too cold here in Melbourne over the last week or two.  Too cold to spend much time outside.  We did manage to get the bare essentials done like watering pot plants, feeding the chickens and picking broccoli.

Our lockdown ended yesterday and although we can now travel 25 km from home,  the weather is too cold and we are not allowed to visit anyone.  So home it is,  with the heater on and at times under a blanket.  Maybe I could do a little tidying in the craft room or here's a thought - start crafting again.

Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Picked lots of lemons.  I like to bring them inside and let them rest for a week before juicing.  I do tend to get more juice by doing this.  I did juice lemons that were a few weeks old and froze the juice.  Darren and I also pruned the tree after discovering a few small patches of gall wasp.

*  A couple of silverbeet seeds finally germinated after weeks of waiting.  To protect them from snails,  pests and the wild storm Melbourne experience this week,  I placed a plastic drink bottle over the seedlings.

*  While in the city with my parents last week I made quite a few apron cards.  It was a wonderful way to spend all the spare hours I had on Wednesday.  It also kept my mind off the news and further lockdown announcements.

*  Made homemade pizza for dinner one night.  Leftovers were eaten for lunch the next day.  Although we rarely eat takeaway,  I'll be honest,  I've been craving it during lockdown.  I'm only human  !!

*  Gratefully received a cooked chicken from a family member.  From the chicken I made enough stock to make 16 single serves of chunky chicken soup.  I also made potato, chicken and veg pasta bake that serves 4.  There was enough meat to go into the freezer for another 3 meals that will give us another 6 - 8 serves.

*  My mascara was getting a little dry.  So I put one drop of water in the bottle ( is that what they call it ? ) and gave the brush a good swish around.  I've done this two weeks running and it's like the mascara has been given a new lease on life.

*  Baked ANZAC biscuits from dough I had in the freezer.  I baked them while I was cooking a chicken, potato pasta bake one night.

*  Darren picked kale to put in the chicken potato pasta bake.  Our silverbeet needs a little rest and time to regrow more leaves.

*  Gave the washing machine a deep clean with Epsom salts and very hot water.  It's amazing how much gunk comes out.

*  Saved shower water and washing machine water as per usual.

*  I only opened the curtains a small amount on the cold days to keep the house warmer.

*  Got 6 serves from the family meat pie I made the other night.  Usually I get 4 - 5 serves but we've reduced our serving sizes just a little and added more veg to the plate. 

  

Here are the apron cards I made.  I'm hoping to make gardening and bbq ones soon.





Lemons from the garden.



Are you still thrifty even when the weather is cold ? 

If you are in Summer,  do you keep up your money saving ways ?


Wednesday, 9 June 2021

My Best Broccoli Growing Tips

 Broccoli is one of the few vegetables we grow during the Winter months.  On the occasional year our broccoli plants have bolted and gone to flower before we can pick the heads.  Other than that,  broccoli is so cheap to grow,  fairly easy to maintain and a super food to boot.

Here are some of the tips and tricks Darren and I have learnt along the way.  We hope this helps you grow a bountiful crop to enjoy. 

*  Broccoli is generally a Winter vegetable that tolerates colder weather.  There are newer varieties that  can be grown all year round but we stick to growing in Winter.

*  I plant seeds in punnets during late Summer / early Autumn.  If the seeds fail to germinate I have been known to buy a punnet of seedlings from Bunnings.  With 8 - 10 plants per punnet,  it still works out to be more economical than buying broccoli from the supermarket.

 *  We've found if we plant out broccoli seedlings too early in Autumn we run the risk of a cabbage moth invasion.  Cabbage moths lay their eggs on the underside of the plant leaves.  Once the eggs hatch you have a hungry family of caterpillars who will eat the leaves and decimate the plant.

*  Daily inspection of the plants is necessary if you see white butterflies ( cabbage moth ) fluttering around the garden.  Squishing the cabbage moth eggs or caterpillars is a natural way to keep them under control.

*  This year we planted our first crop of broccoli plants a little too early.  To combat the cabbage moth invasion, Darren made his own cabbage moths out of icecream container lids and attached them to wire.  They have been placed at random heights in the garden.  Cabbage moths are territorial so when they see the artificial ones they soon fly away without landing on the plants.

*  Broccoli plants grow much better in well composted soil.  Darren adds our own compost to the bed about a week or two before planting.  Once the plants are growing I feed them with liquid seaweed fertiliser every week to top up the nutrients.

*  Once the main broccoli head has been picked,  smaller broccoli florets appear on the plant that can be picked and eaten.


Smaller florets from the plant.

Artificial cabbage moths

Made from icecream container lids.

Do you have any broccoli growing tips to share ?