A Random Pawpaw

We were down in the garden the other day when hubby pointed out to me that there was a pawpaw tree growing in the garden.   This pawpaw tree was not planted by us and is in a part of the garden that has not been prepared for planting.  In fact the soil that it’s growing is actually from underneath a concrete slab that we had removed and replaced underneath our house a while back.  Actually I don’t even think it’s soil.  It looks more like clay. Once hubby pointed out this random pawpaw growing our garden, I’m instantly thinking this is excellent, we can transplant it into some better soil and we’ll be growing our own pawpaws.

Thanks to an awesome website that I frequent often, Tropical Permaculture, I was able to find out all I needed to know about growing pawpaws.  The good thing is that pawpaws are quick to grow fruit and fruit all year round.  They grow well in a frost free climate and enjoy lots of sunlight and water.  Perfect for a hot tropical climate like North Queensland.

Pawpaws can be male, female or bisexual.  Males don’t grow fruit however they are required for pollination.  So in order to actually grow pawpaws, you need a female and a male plant.  My first bit of bad news – I only have one plant.  The other thing is, they don’t transplant well, so moving it to another part of the garden is really not a good option.

I’m still puzzled as to how the pawpaw tree came to grow in my garden and as it’s not likely to grow fruit, I’m just going to enjoy watching it grow.

A random pawpaw tree in our garden

A little something about Christmas

Since Christmas is less than 2 months away, this is just a little something that I wanted to share with my fans and give you something to think about.

My first major challenge….

Recently we upgraded from a queen bed to a king bed.  Finding bed linen that is eco friendly has proven to be a major challenge.  Obviously, my first step was to jump on google and see what I could find.  I was very excited about the first website I came across. They had an Eco-friendly range.  Awesome!  This is exactly what I’m looking for.  Further investigation proves me wrong though.  Their eco-friendly range is made from bamboo, ingeo natural fibres and tencel.

Bamboo

At first bamboo seems like an excellent option.  It grows naturally without assistance from man.  It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world reaching maturity in about three to four years so it’s easily renewable.  It is also excellent for allergy suffers.  The downside is that because the fibres of bamboo are so small, they can not be naturally turned into yarn.  The only way to turn bamboo into yarn is through the use of chemicals.  So that rules out bamboo.

Ingeo natural fibres

Ingeo man-made fibres are derived from renewable materials such as corn. Ingeo can apparently be easily reproduced with little impact on the environment.  Thanks to wikipedia i found this description of how ingeo is made:

The process to create Ingeo makes use of the carbon stored in plants by photosynthesis in the form of dextrose sugar. The carbon and other elements in these sugars are then used to make a bio-polymer through a process of fermentation and separation.  The resulting resin, called ingeo biopolymer can then be extruded for use in textile applications.

Tencel

Tencel is claimed to be a new 100% organic fibre that is made from natural wood cellulose.  It is also 100% biodegradable.  To produce tencel, hardwood logs a chipped and chemically treated to create a pulp which is used to make fibres.  Not really sure how this constitutes 100% organic though.

The main problem with both Tencel and Ingeo is that they are produced by a petrochemical company.  So even if in fact they are eco friendly (which is questionable when you consider the info above), the money spent on these products goes straight to a company that produces petrochemicals, which to me defeats the purpose of buying them.

Wool

It was suggested to me by my good friend The Rabid Little Hippy to consider wool.  I wasn’t overly sure that wool would be suitable given the hot climate that I live in and the fact that even in winter the overnight temperature rarely drops below 15 degrees.  However, after some research, it appears that wool might be an option.  I have found a company called Aussie Wool Quilts who are producers of Australian made, chemical free wool bedding.  They use wool produced on their own farm and source some wool from nearby farms, but all wool used is produced organically. They also make quilts in different thicknesses to suit different climates, so I would be able to get a light weight one to suit this climate.  However, after emailing them to find out what the outer layer of the quilt is, I have discovered that it is non-organic cotton from China.  Although they did tell me that they make organic products for another company called Blessed Earth.  The fabric they use for Blessed Earth is certified bio-dynamic, but it is sourced from India.  It does however carry Fair Trade Certification.

I have discovered though that there is always a tradeoff to be made when it comes to Eco-friendliness. I’m thinking at this stage that I will be going with the Blessed Earth option because at least i know that the wool is grown in Australia under organic conditions and the cotton fabric, while sourced from India does carry a fair trade certification and is certified bio-dynamic.  I realise there are carbon miles involved in getting the products here but that is the tradeoff.  It seems near impossible to source a product that is made in Australia, is bio-dynamic and doesn’t incur carbon miles.

Growing Veges from Veges

I have been reading a lot lately about growing fruit and vegetables from fruit and vegetables that you already have.  So I decided to give it a go.  I am only just starting my vege gardens now so I thought what better way to start than by using what I’ve already got.

Growing fruit and vege from existing fruit and vege is really quite easy, although some are easier than others.  Celery for example, is one of the easiest and so that is what I have started with.

To grow your own celery:

  1. Cut your celery about one to two inches from the bottom. Use the stems like normal (I used mine to make stock but that’s for another post)
  2.  Submerge this in water and let it grow. After about a week you will end up with something that looks like this…..3.  You will also start to see some roots growing…..4.  Plant this in your garden covering the old stalks with soil, leaving just the new shoots above the ground.  Don’t forget to water regularly.

It’s really that simple.  It’s also a great project for the kids to do.  The celery actually starts to sprout new shoots with days of putting it in water so the kids can see it growing.  My three year old is fascinated by the celery and is really loving helping Mum grow things in the garden.

I also have a sweet potato sitting in water that i plan to plant into my garden as well.  Once I have that in I will post some photos of that too.  As my celery grows I will also post photos to show you it’s progress.

A little about me…..

The environment is something I have always been conscious of, however I’ve never really seriously thought about how big my carbon footprint is.  Until now that is.  Over the past few months I have been following the blog of a very good friend of mine, Rabid Little Hippy(aka Jessie).  Jessie and her family are in the process of making a tree change to country Victoria and becoming as self sustainable as possible.  Jessie has inspired me more than she knows, to take a serious look at my life and the impact it is having on the environment.


Most of the blogs and websites that I have come across are all about going green and self sustainability in cooler climates.  Living in tropical North Queensland, the climate is dramatically different and poses some difficulty in growing produce.  I have been doing a lot of research into growing in the tropics and have discovered it can be done, you just have to know what to grow when.


So here begins my journey into environmentally friendly living and self sustainability in a tropical environment.

theroadtoserendipity

Trying to find order in all of this chaos

Rabid Little Hippy

My journey into self sustainability, eco awareness and living in country Victoria.

thetropicalhippy

A blog about going green in the tropics!

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