Footnote Frivolity***, Gardening on a Budget, Going Green, mustbethrifty house, Second-hand Scavengers

Planning, planting, & waiting for the harvest

While home improvements have limped along at the rate of our mortgage-handicapped savings accounts, the garden around our new home has flourished. Water-tanks are the main bit of hardscaping. However, we have also put in some Colourbond-and-rescued-cypress garden beds, constructed by a local up in Hurstbridge.

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And I’ve saved the neighbour’s broken pavers, turning them into a garden path.

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More importantly, I’ve been adding as many perennial edibles as I can. It started with turning an ivy-infested patch into a herb garden and ended with me feverishly researching every and any edible plant that might survive in Melbourne. Quandong, anyone?

The plants we have so far includes:

 …almond, apple, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, basil (perennial), beans (runner, and butter), blackberry (thornless), blueberries, cape gooseberry, caper bush, celery (wild), Chilean guava, chives, choko, cranberry, elderberry, fennel, fig, garlic, greenfeast peas, horseradish, kiwiberry, lemon verbena, lemon, lemongrass, lettuce, lime, marjoram, midyim berry, mint (Vietnamese fish, Vietnamese hot, common, and apple), native ginger, nectareze, onion (spring, Egyptian walking), orange, oregano, parsley (curly-leaf), passionfruit, pepino, pepperberry, pomegranate, potato, radishes, rhubarb, rosemary, sage (pineapple, common), salad burnett, samphire, strawberries (alpine and normal), summer squash, tea camellia, thyme, tomatoes…

 Most of these plants are nursery-bought*, a few have come from veggie-swaps. The fig is one of Dad’s strikings.

I’ve tried positioning plants based on their needs. For instance, the orange and the lime has been placed against a north-facing fence**, whilst the cranberry is partly shaded and receiving the occasional deluge from a downpipe. Working with nature, instead of against it, means less watering, fertilising, and need for pest-control. In other words, a garden that is less resource-hungry.

Years will pass before we bring in a decent harvest: the antithesis of today’s have-it-now culture. It’s definitely a bit of wishin’ and hopin’ in a My Best Friends’ WeddingVeggie Garden kind of way.


*Note to self: must learn how to strike cuttings, etc.

*We had to remove a unruly neighbours-be-gone hedge first. I’m looking forward to planting out the rest of our food hedge.

Dress to Impress (for Less), Money Matters, Second-hand Scavengers

My shop on Etsy

My interview with Grace has inspired me to sell some of my vintage collection on Etsy. Back in the days of pov-uni-studentdom, I used to sell unwanted books and CDs on eBay (I even made a profit when I sold my Death Cab for Cutie and Tamora Pierce to some European buyers) but I thought I’d give Etsy a go since it seems to be the online marketplace for all things vintage and quirky.

The shop I’ve opened up is called ‘mustbethrifty’ (naturally) and over the next few months, I will be slowly uploading some vintage pieces that I love but no longer wear or have room for. So please drop by if you’re a size 10-12 in need of some retro/vintage flavour.

Going Green, Second-hand Scavengers

For sale, sale, sale…

For sale. Image courtesy of Tony (note: Tony does not endorse the author or the contents of mustbethrifty.com)After a year of living out of her backpack, my friend Grace has been doing some ‘severe decluttering’. When I asked her how her long weekend went, she told me that she had just sold everything she had put up on Gumtree to some ‘really lovely people’. I was so impressed by her success, I started asking questions.

Mustbethrifty: What made you decide to sell your stuff?

Grace: After coming back from working in the slum regions overseas I felt overwhelmed and confronted by my storage container…Where did all this stuff come from? Did I really own that many pairs of shoes? And that large suitcase of clothes? Continue reading

Gardening on a Budget, Gen DIY-er, Going Green, Reviews, Second-hand Scavengers

Localism’s the new black: Millie Ross’ The Thrifty Gardener

Millie Ross' The Thrifty GardenerGardening books are either aspirational or educational. With its brightly coloured pages and photos, Millie Ross’ The Thrifty Gardener comes across as aspirational but unlike other aspirational gardening books, striking architectural plants and stunning aspects do not feature. Instead, The Thrifty Gardener’s aesthetics lean towards the ‘nanna-chic garden’: there’s fruit and vegetables amongst the flowers and the structural elements of the garden such as walls, paths and water features are DIY-ed from salvaged items.

Aimed at the beginner to intermediate gardener, the book starts with planning and design, before moving into specific tutorials that range from propagation to small and large projects such as newspaper pots and clay fire pits. Continue reading

Buy Nothing New October, Reviews, Second-hand Scavengers

A stylish lesson in how to make do: Flea Market Style

Most books on interiors encourage readers to buy in on a certain trend. Flea Market Style is no exception with its double-page spreads of what could only be described as Frankie chic.

For most of the book, stylist Emily Chalmers, interiors writer Ali Hanan and photographer Debi Treloar focus on how to recreate ‘flea market style’; after all ‘there are guidelines and quiet rules that any decorator wanting to attain that shabby-chic look must follow to avoid falling into the dreaded “anything goes” trap’ (Andrew Ritchie from Martha Moments). There’s sections like ‘Furniture’, ‘Pattern and colour’, ‘Lighting’, and ‘Collections and display’. Pictures and words are also grouped according to space: living, dining, sleeping, etc., making the book more user-friendly for those needing help with a particular room. Continue reading

Buy Nothing New October, Gardening on a Budget, My Suburb is My Gym, Second-hand Scavengers, Thrills without frills

Frugal thrills: spring in Melbourne

It’s past the midway mark for spring and the weather is finally warming up in Melbourne. Time to try 5 outdoorsy activities:

1) Bike it, hike it

Grab your bike, a mate or a date and pedal along the Capital City Trail, the Merri Creek Trail, or any other of Melbourne’s dedicated bike and pedestrian trails. For details on specific routes in and around the city, check out The Bicycle Network’s Melbourne’s Metro Trail Network page.

If you prefer a slower travelling pace, put on the hiking boots and explore one of the region’s many walks. I haven’t done Werribee Gorge yet, but apparently it’s a stunner.

Bike it, hike it, whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to take drinks and food so that you’re not spending a fortune on lunch along the way. Continue reading