Let the Madness Begin! – Day 19 NaBloPoMo

I had a really good day today.

Because I’m back on schedule for my uni assignments, I decided to make the most of the lovely spring weather and spent most of the day in the yard.

There were rabbit hutches to muck out, chickens to talk to and (at long last!) tomatoes to start planting, and later, I did quite a lot of work in the greenhouse.

Around this time every year, life gets a bit crazy for me with lots of summer vegetables that I start from seed. These either need to be either planted out in garden beds (like tomatoes, beans and salad greens) or potted up for growing in the greenhouse (primarily basil and chillies).

This year is no exception, and this afternoon I potted up one of my favourite summer herbs, Shiso (Perilla frutescens), also known as Beef Steak Plant.


I use it shredded in salads and when the leaves are full size, as a wrap for sashimi and even for pickling and drying. I love it’s spicy, fresh flavour. I have a really good and simple pickling recipe here if you’re interested.

To have enough for fresh and preserving, I usually grow about two dozen plants in small pots and keep them in the greenhouse. I use a weak home made liquid feed once every couple of weeks

There was also a punnet of Bergamot (Monarda didyma) that I’m planning to use to attract bees, and add flowers to salads and for tea that yielded a dozen plants, more tomatoes and a punnet of five very healthy Jam Melons (Citrullus lanatus).


These very old fashioned fruit are a real blast from my childhood, when my mother would use a melon to make autumn fruits go much further for desserts such as pie fillings, tarts and of course, Melon and Lemon Jam. The melon is fiddly to seed but once cooked, the translucent flesh takes up other flavours beautifully. I was given the seed by a lovely woman in northern Tasmania and I’m really pleased these grew. I intend to grow the strongest two but don’t have large enough garden beds left to put them in! So, I’m planning to put them in big tubs and let them spill out across what used to be the corner of shame – now well tended pine bark around the plum tree.

It’s a little bit of forward planning (and maybe wishful thinking) but I’m hoping to have at least a couple of melons to use for making the last of the berries stretch that little bit further at the end of the season ❤

Tomorrow I’m potting up the first of the basil – the official start of “basilapocolypse” – and more tomatoes. Next week, some of the chillies will be ready to go. Then things will get really crazy!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathleen Howell
    Nov 20, 2016 @ 02:03:26

    Gardening is really something I should learn more about. Maybe I’ll do a raised bed next year. I did grow green onions this year. It was neat to go out into the yard and harvest what you need for dinner. Haven’t done that since I was a kid. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Debra Manskey
      Nov 20, 2016 @ 08:41:03

      Hi Kathleen, I grew up with it too. But years of travelling and work meant it got set aside for a long time. Even in really tiny apartments I’ve managed to grow small planters or boxes of veggies and it made such a difference to my state of mind. My advice, start out doing just your raised bed and let it evolve from there. All the best to you 😀



  2. narf7
    Nov 21, 2016 @ 04:49:55

    Ever since it started to warm up I have had this building urge to get out and do EVERYTHING in the garden. We have been sidelined by irrigation projects and after watching a Tino video we saw on Gardening Australia we headed off to Bunnings and bought most of the stores irrigation department and are currently halfway through irrigating Sanctuary. We have decided to irrigate in two runs. One, around the outside with offshoot dripper hose for fruit trees and grape vines and currants/berries and the other run (from a different tap) the central espaliered fruit tree section. We also have to irrigate our small aging orchard outside and we still have to fill the rest of our fridge wickers with soil and create the structure to protect anything that we plant in the wickers from being hoovered down by possums. We have been getting up at 6am to miss that hot Tassie midday sun and had plans of doing the same today but at 4.40am (as I type this) we are in the middle of a massive thunderstorm with accompanying downpour so if it doesn’t cease I doubt we will be in the garden irrigating today. Might let mother nature do it for us ;).

    My mum made melon and lemon jam and her specialty was melon and ginger. It was delicious and I loved those translucent little chunks of melon as much as the ginger bits. I love reading about how you are doing things as it gives me excellent ideas. We have a glasshouse that we enclosed as part of Sanctuary and it hasn’t been used for much other than a semi-failed (I got 1) run of dragon fruit and some pink English gooseberries that grew from some fruit that a local health food shop man gave me and “something” that I think might be Capsicum pubescens that I must have sprinkled on some of the soil in the vacant pots at one time that has just decided to grow. I am going to take your lead and start planting out things that can overwinter in the glasshouse. We have a double layer of ex fish-farm netting over the top so it gets humid, and warm inside but not hot thanks to the netting. We don’t get a lot of frost here either as we are directly on the river so I can keep things growing well all year round. We have a mental pineapple sage that is about 15ft tall growing in Sanctuary that has been there for 3 years straight now.

    Loving your garden exploits 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    • Debra Manskey
      Nov 21, 2016 @ 08:06:56

      Yes, the microclimates we (often unknowingly) live with can be real blessings sometimes. I get frost in the central parts of the yard (quite heavy sometimes) but not around the northern or western edges. Growing things that overwinter do give a head start at this time of the year – I have a few chillies ripening and lots flowering at the moment.
      Keep going!
      PS: I have a Balm of Gilead (kissing cousin of Pineapple Sage) that has turned into a triffid on the southern fence line. I have to cut it back again this week!

      Liked by 1 person


      • narf7
        Nov 22, 2016 @ 05:06:25

        Our pineapple sage is due for a severe haircut but it has been allowed to keep growing as we are caught up with irrigating the rest of the enclosed garden. We were rained out yesteday but today we hope we can get back up into Sanctuary and finish the irrigation inside (not that it needed much irrigation from “us” yesterday, mother nature seemed to do a decent job without our assistance 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

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