Skip to main content

Garden posts 2015

I miss my garden when I'm away during the week.  I have to make an effort to spend a suitable amount of time greeting Pete and Taz before I peek over the garden gate to see how its going each Friday afternoon when I get home.  I really don't spend much time in the garden now, but the time I spent early on building up the soil and letting plants self-seed, now means that only 10-20 minutes a day when I'm home (three nights a week) is enough to keep everything going.  We always have something from the garden in our meals and sometimes all the veges are homegrown.  I would grow even more if I had time, although often time is not actually the limiting factor - our main problem is water.

eight acres: garden and herb posts on the blog in 2015
I'm only watering this half of the garden this summer

Here's a few garden posts from 2015
Is it winter yet? Cold weather preps

Guest post: Is there a place for power tools in the garden
Hydroponics basics

Perennial vegetables and permaculture

Are you saving seeds?

Three essential principles of organic gardening

What you need to know about soil

Weird vegetables in my sub-tropical garden

I'm still getting used to our sub-tropical climate.  Last Spring/Summer we didn't get rain until right at the end of summer.  I had ambitiously planted out the whole garden and we really didn't have enough water to keep everything alive (we don't have townwater, only rainwater collected in three large tanks, we only water the garden with greywater from shower and washing machine, unless the rainwater tanks are completely full, I don't want to have to buy townwater to fill the tanks if we run out!  If it doesn't rain, we start to use up the water in the tanks and then we don't want to waste it on anything, including the garden,unfortunately that's when the garden really needs the water too).  I gradually had to make sacrifices and the watered area got smaller and smaller.

This year I decided early on that I would only be watering one end of the garden (two beds and bits around the outside) and the rest would fend for itself.  I put a cover crop of mustard and mung beans into one bed and left the other one as it was full of self-seeding broccoli.  This year is has rained pretty consistently.  I probably could have planted more, but at least the cover crop is doing well!  The plants that I got established in August and September (button squash and bush beans) are producing already, and a few I put in later (eggplant, capsicum, rosella, climbing beans) are now growing well along with tomatoes and random curcubits that have sprouted from the worm farm compost.

eight acres: garden and herb posts on the blog in 2015
my 'sunken' herb garden

When I first started my series on herbs two years ago (how I grow then and how I use them) I counted 30 different herbs in my garden.  While some have come and gone since then, I think I have even more now.  I have added violet, feverfew, pepino since that last count.  I have really enjoyed researching a herb each month and learning more about it before I post its profile on my blog. 

I still have many of my herbs in pots that are dug into the ground - this keeps the cooler and stops them from drying out, but also prevents them from spreading out and I can move them around if I need to (although that seems to be a good spot year round, sometimes I swap them around to make sure they all get enough sun).  I have also planted out comfrey, violet, gotu kola, lemongrass, yarrow, feverfew and pepino in the garden, in one area where I can water them all together.  In another corner I have aloe vera and soapwort (in a pot) and more "back up" comfrey in a pot.  And I have geranium in another corner.  And lavender, wormwood, tansy and rue outside the garden where they don't get much water, with the arrowroot.

eight acres: garden and herb posts on the blog in 2015
more herbs over here

eight acres: garden and herb posts on the blog in 2015
and more here

Here's all the herbs that I profiled last year, and if you click here you'll find all the them since I started.

How I use herbs - lavender

How I use herbs - Lucerne (Alfalfa)

How I use herbs - Chervil

How I use herbs - Arrowroot

How I use herbs - yarrow

How I use herbs - Brahmi

How I use herbs - Neem oil

How I use herbs - Rue, tansy and wormwood

How I use herbs - chickweed

How I use herbs - purslane

How I use herbs - Herb Robert

Do you find my garden posts useful?  Any questions about how I grow vegetables and our sub-tropical climate?


  1. Liz, our arrowroot is absolutely huge. I really must do something with it soon. No gardening today though as it is raining again. We were in a herb club back in the 1980s and still have some herbs from then plus many more have been added in recent years. I am trying to learn more about incorporating them in infused oils, vinegar etc.

    1. You can feed the arrowroot to chickens or use it as mulch. Lucky you to get some rain :) That herb club sounds like a good idea!

  2. Gotta love a garden that looks after itself so well. I thought my garden would be history when I went away for a week and we had no rain and very high temperatures but I missed it more than it missed me.

    1. Yay! Sometimes mine doesn't look so good after it hasn't been watered. I should have mentioned that while I am away Pete does pump the grey water onto the garden, so it does get water without me!

  3. I really enjoy your garden posts, just as much as I love all of your posts. We live in vastly different areas, but both suffer dry summers and water saving issues. I find your posts useful as I love to glean hints from all gardeners and I'm inspired by the plastic pots sunk into the ground to prevent them drying out so quickly. So simple, why didn't I think of that?


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!

The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

We don't have any cling wrap either

Last week I wrote about how we don't have a microwave and I really don't miss it.  So continuing the theme of "weird things about my kitchen", we also don't have any plastic cling wrap or paper towels.  And we haven't had them for so long I can hardly remember why we ever needed them.

I always thought that cling wrap was wasteful.  Not just from an environmental perspective, but I also didn't like spending money on something that I only used once.  When I was at uni and took sandwiches for lunch, I used to bring home the cling wrap and use it again until it didn't stick anymore.  One year when we did Plastic Free July (I can't remember when exactly - here's what I wrote last year) we decided to stop using cling wrap.  I used up the last of it recently when we were painting (its really hard to renovate without creating waste) - its handy for wrapping up paintbrushes and sealing paint temporarily, however I do not use it in the kitchen.

The pape…