How to feed your vegetable garden

how to prepare a vegetable garden

The veggie growing season has well and truly begun here in south-east Queensland and I am running late, as per usual. At least there is one job I can tick off: preparing the soil.

We built a rather large raised garden bed around four years ago and have thus far used the no-dig method, but with the compost bin literally bursting at the seams and three layers of worm farm full, it was time to get digging.

I only had a vague idea about how to prepare a vegetable garden, but luck was on my side. My parents-in-law provided invaluable knowledge and hard labour while I kicked back and took photos. (Not true, honest!)

How to use up excess lemons

when life gives you lemons

Today’s post is about how to use up excess lemons. In most parts of the world, the era of lemon overload is still a few weeks or months away, but for some crazy reason, my lemon tree went BALLISTIC last month, popping out dozens of footy-shaped fruits overnight. Naturally, they all ripened at the same second and we had to get creative.

So with hands still stinging and wrists aching from juicing the buggers, here is a recipe, plus some other ideas on how to use up excess lemons:

Here’s what I think of Aldi

pros and cons of aldi

A few of you have asked how I feel about Aldi, so here goes. Below I have listed the pros and cons of Aldi supermarkets from an environmental and ethical perspective. As you’ll see, there are a lot of pros, and I commend the supermarket chain for putting the environment first (a result, no doubt, or originating in Germany). Then there are few cons but – in my mind – they are big ones, possible deal-breakers.

To state the obvious: this is all my opinion, based on my priorities. We’re all different and have unique situations. At this stage, I have no need to shop at Aldi, but that doesn’t mean I rule it out. I welcome discussion on any of the points below. Please add your thoughts to the comments.

Choose sustainable, ethical Easter eggs

ethical easter eggs

As the great countdown to chocolate splurging begins, take a moment to think about the impact of your Easter celebrations. By choosing quality products, keeping an eye on unnecessary waste and reigning in the madness, it is possible to have an ethical Easter with everything you love and more.

When it comes to buying Easter eggs for family and loved ones, remember less is more. No one really wants stacks of chocolate, even those who think they really, really do. Choose one small, high-quality egg-type thing for each person – they will enjoy it more, I promise! Cheap chocolate tastes like crap and is full of preservatives, soy and other rubbish, so stick to the good stuff.

Ermahgerd. Best. Coffee. Ever.

Byron Beans Collage

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack lately… I had me a lovely holiday with some very special family members. We took off to Byron Bay for a spot of camping by the beach. Gawd, it was heavenly. And then it was a bit Biblical when the rain came. Thank god we were on a blow-up mattress, that’s all I have to say!

On fine day, we headed up to the Bangalow Markets, one of my favourite markets in the whole world where you find things like these:

Saving money beyond the supermarket

grocery shopping

Have you taken the pledge to go supermarket free this month? Even if you’re not quite ready, today’s post looks at how to save money beyond the two-for-ones and spotlight specials.

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I have not shopped at Coles or Woolworths for more than six months and in that time I’ve worked out a few ways to extend my groceries budget, which I will share with you below. But first, I’ve got to let you in on a little secret…

Supermarkets do not save you money

Intellectually, I know you already know this. How can businesses with such enormous profit margins be geared towards saving us, their customers, money? It simply doesn’t make business sense. The big supers use a range of tricks to squeeze a few extra bucks out of you each time you visit their stores. These include:

Six ways to save money… and the planet

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 6.20.58 pm

Pretty excited to be guest contributing to the fabulous Childhood 101. The first in the Easy Green Series gives you six ways to save resources, including cash, with tips on how to get the kids involved…

1. Use less power

I remember Mum complaining about “every light in the house” being on. Now it’s my turn! If there’s no one in the room, there is no need for the light to be on, it’s as simple as that. Other ways to use less electricity include switching off chargers, printers, routers, computers, and televisions when not in use. Turn them off at the wall as they continue to draw power in stand-by mode. A good way to check if your home is “electrically quiet” is to stalk about in the dark looking for telltale red or green lights. When you find one, switch it off.

When it comes to heating and cooling your home, 25 is the magic number – every one degree cooler or warmer adds up to 10 percent to your running costs!

How this saves money: Unless you have an off-the-grid solar power system, you are paying for every kilowatt of power that is used. Less electricity used means less money spent.
How it saves the planet: By only using the power you need, you are saving on precious, dwindling resources such as coal and gas. Most scientists now agree that digging up and burning these resources contributes to climate change, so it makes sense to use electricity sparingly.
For the kids: Let them rise to the challenge of being light monitor for the day. Kids are also very good at reminding you to turn off at the power point… sometimes too good!

To read all six tips, head over to Childhood 101, and be sure to share your thoughts!

April is Supermarket Free Month

supermarket free month

For those of you who are kinda keen on the whole breaking up with the supermarket thing but can’t imagine life beyond Woollies and Coles, why not try it out for just a month?

Everyday-eco-mama Lucy Chan has initiated a campaign designed to get you thinking about how and where you shop: it’s called Supermarket Free Month and it’s happening this April.

I’ll let you think about that for a moment while we chat to Lucy about what inspired her to set up the Supermarket Free Month challenge and website. Her story is very similar to mine and the stories I’ve heard of others who slowly realised the supermarkets weren’t actually the best thing since sliced bread…

Waste Deep: the movie

waste deep

Today I’m sharing with you a lovely short doco about waste. It’s been produced by not -for-profit organisation, The Sustainable Table, and it features the Who’s Who of the sustainability movement here in Australia.

Sarah Wilson, Tim Silverwood from Take3 and Costa all pop up talking about food and packaging waste and what we can do to minimise our share. It’s all very friendly, though. Don’t expect to cop a bollocksing over your wasteful habits!

Some of you may find this video downright annoying, especially if you live somewhere where farmers’ markets are non-existent and the only fresh food comes hermetically sealed in the skin of ancient dinosaurs.

But I urge you to take the message as it is offered: a bit of inspiration, wrapped up with some information and overlayed with a whimsical soundtrack. It’s  nice world that we can all strive for, even if it seems a bit far-fetched… for now.


WASTE DEEP from SustainTable on Vimeo.

 Let me know what you think!

How to choose sustainable tuna

sustainable tuna

Happy Sustainable Seafood Day! To celebrate, I thought we’d take a look at Australia’s favourite tinned fish and how you can make the best choice to ensure its availability in years to come. Sounds like a great party, hey?

Because it’s Friday, I promise not to bang on about overfishing and mercury, instead, I am going to suggest four questions to ask about your tinned tuna so you don’t get bamboozled by the endless options.

Q1: How was this tuna caught?

The best choice for sustainable tuna is that which was caught using a fishing line, as opposed to a trawler or other method that endangers other marine species. Look for “Pole & Line Caught” on the label and /or FAD-free (fish aggregating device).