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Pesky pests in the garden

Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are so cute but not when they are tearing through the leaves of our vegetables. I squash the ones that I am able to catch, but I let the little guy in the photo go though, and released him in a part of the garden that is full of ferns and succulents.¬†¬†They have already done some damage to several of our kale plants but not as much as caterpillars have. There has been a remarkable number of garden pests I’ve had to deal with in these last few weeks and admittedly, it has been causing me some anxiety.

What’s growing in my summer garden

In my last post, I shared that our main veggie bed was looking quite unkempt. All of that has now changed, after some intense weeding, soil preparation, planting and mulching by Dan and I. After a year of experimenting in the garden, we now have a good idea of what we use most in the kitchen and what it makes sense to grow more of, rather than dedicating a lot of room to plants that take a long time to mature. The above would be our priority list, and if we have additional room, we could indulge in some exotic vegetables. What we are planting most of this summer are tomatoes and beans! If you'd read my last post, you would recall...

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Summertime at Moondance!

I’ve been quite quiet of late, that’s because I have been busy with work and I had some internet bandwidth restrictions since I arrived in Australia. As we live in a relatively remote area, we use satellite internet and we have a very low peak-hour quota, so I need to blog during off-peak hours, which means after 11pm up to noon the following day. And we usually max out on that quota too.

It’s officially summer in Australia, which means it’s time to sow lots of tomatoes and yummy vegetables, and it also means beach time! There’s lots to do at this time of the year, although it is getting quite hot, and unfortunately it’s been quite dry too, even in the rainforest. The soil is cracking on parts of the property, and the creek is low. We are awaiting the big rains with eager anticipation, our land needs it.

In the two months that I had been away in Singapore, my boyfriend, Dan had been sending me lovely photos of our potato, tomato and zucchini crops. Upon my return, I realised that our other garden beds had become overgrown with weeds, and some of my beloved plants had died – claimed by the elements, he tells me. Hmmm…

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What a difference a year makes

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When I first got to Moondance, it was full of pretty flowers in bloom, teeming with lots of wildlife, especially birds, but the food garden looked like it had fallen into disrepair, and taken over by all kinds of weeds. It didn’t even have a gate of sorts.

Dan used to have a productive food garden but as a single man, he got busy with his music production business and did what he could with the rest of the house and just let the garden be. We decided that we should move towards living off the land as much as possible and eventually getting off the grid.

We started with one bed before moving to another. Dan’s family friend, Karel helped out a great deal by sifting beds of clumpy soil, and planting several seeds, including chili, radish and carrots. We bought several seedlings, but lost our entire cucumber and kale crop over the summer months to at least one bandicoot. Fortunately some seeds did spill on the ground, so we saved them for the following year’s crop. It was time for Dan to put up a fence, which he did eventually, after much nagging.

A zen nook

This is a must-visit each time I head back to northern NSW. Crystal Castle is a peaceful nook where one can recharge in nature, in the presence of large crystals. Like many places in the Byron shire, Crystal Castle is very conscious about their environmental footprint, where profits of the cafe are invested in sustainable projects. Dan and I love walking in their gardens, sitting on their lawn - either beside their enormous statue of Buddha or the world peace stupa (turning the prayer wheels is a must!), and dining at their cafe, which has yummy gluten-free sweet treats. I especially love walking through their bamboo grove. The world peace stupa was completed by the Gyuto monks in October 2012, and we...

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