Posts Tagged With: plants

Fremantle Markets and Kings Park, Australia

Good Morning Everyone! Today was my last day in Oz. I couldn’t wait to see Andrew! However, seeing as my flight wasn’t scheduled until the evening, I had to fill my day with other activities. I had a nice breakfast at the Terrace B&B [fruit, cereal, krumpets, coffee, tea, juice] and then finished up a few homework assignments and sent off a few emails for work. I then packed up my stuff and headed to my first stop: Fremantle Markets. The original foundation stone for the Fremantle Markets Hall/Building was laid back in 1897. For many years the site was used as a whole foods market and people would arrive with horse and buggy. Overtime, the building morphed into a packing and distribution center until the early 1970s. In 1975, the Fremantle Council gave the building an overhaul, added it to the National Heritage List and thus the present day Fremantle Markets were born. They provide produce, whole foods, indigenous and local products via a number of stalls. There is plenty of seating and an area deemed “the yard” as well with extra seating and a children’s petting zoo that occurs during mid-day. The stalls in the building ranged from jewelry to produce to large sacks of beans and nuts to clothing stalls to food stalls including sushi, cheese, pretzels, juices, and crepes. It doesn’t take too long to walk around and check out the views within the markets, but it is definitely worth the trip! An additional bonus at this time of year was the large flower display entitled, “under the wildflowers”. Wildflowers are very big in Western Australia, especially after a winter like this one with so much rain. The display runs throughout the market building and consists of a bunch after bunch of Australian “Everlasting”… a paper daisy in pinks, whites, yellows, dark pinks, etc. They are special and called “everlasting” because you can dry them out and they won’t lose their shape or color. The Fremantle Markets have the largest upside down wildflower display in Australia. I included some pictures of the “Everlasting” below, but unfortunately, my phone can’t hook up to wifi so I can’t share images from the markets themselves right now. I’ll post some later! By the way, here’s the website for Fremantle Markets:

After the markets, I walked down to the Freo train station and bought my ticket for 2 zones to head back into Perth. Similar to a previous post, I had researched how to get from Freo to Kings Park on Transperth; a great site [yes, another shout out]. I hopped on my train towards Perth-All Stations and road for about 20 minutes or so until the train got to “City West”. This stop is one station before downtown Perth, so I was a little skeptical, but I went with it anyway. I disembarked and walked across the street to find the bus stop I was searching for [Transperth had also provided me with a stop ID number so I could double check]. This bus was a Green Cat. There are several Cats in the city and they run around the downtown areas. They are always free of charge- how cool! I jumped on the bus and road along, waiting for my stop Havelock Street. When we had driven for about 10-15 minutes, I heard the automated bus system say Kings Park Road. I panicked. Did Transperth let me down? I hopped out of my seat and walked up to the bus driver and asked if I needed to get off here to get to Kings Park. He assured me that no, the next stop, Havelock Street, was the best for Kings Park. Ahhh Transperth, thank you! The bus driver pointed out the walk to the Visitor’s Center [straight across the grass to the path] and I went on my merry way.

Kings Park is awesome. It is actually a park and botanical garden that is visited by more than 6 million people a year. The total area of the park is 400.6 hectares, adjacent to Swan River and overlooking Perth [the downtown area is a mere 1.5km away]. It showcases flowers and plants from around Australia, including a special exhibit on Western Australia. In addition, 2/3 of the park is natural bushland with over 300 species of native plants and more than 80 species of birds. Another great part of the park/botanical garden… they have the Lotteryway Federal Walkway. This is a walkway through the park, along the river that has a large glass suspended bridge. When you walk over it, it is as if you are walking in the canopy of the trees. Just amazing.

After a few hours of exploring, I headed through the carpark to the designated bus stop according to my trusty Transperth [of course I double checked with the Visitor’s Center… after all, I come from Washington, DC, and you can’t always trust WMATA, our online public transport system]. I waited about 5 minutes until a bus popped up. I asked the driver if he was headed to the airport. He said he was 37A so no, he stopped short, but the next bus, 37 was headed there [by the way, this is also what Transperth told me]. About 10 minutes later, I was seated on bus 37, having paid the driver $4.20 for a ticket, on my way to the Perth Domestic Airport. There is no real public transportation to the international terminals and in fact, the domestic and international terminals are not together. So, you take a bus to the domestic part of the airport and then hop on a free shuttle to the international terminals. A little while later, I was seated in a chair at the Perth International Airport, international terminals, filling out my proper paperwork.

Cheers, Australia and thanks for a fantastic time! Now it’s off to Bali, Indonesia!









Categories: Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grown Up Projects Edition: Building a Garden Potato Box

Last year, we lived on the fourth floor of medium-sized apartment building. We had a decent sized balcony with decent sun. Naturally, we really wanted to try and grow some veggies! My brother had a lot of luck with container growing in Indiana, so I figured we’d give it a try too. We bought a garden box (one of those large 3.5-4foot by 3.5-4foot squares. We placed it on a tarp and bought a bunch of dirt and planted a few different plants. The cilantro and the strawberries did pretty well and we even got some hot peppers. The tomatoes grew and grew and grew and then we ended up with one plant that had a lot of little orange tomatoes but that was it. Not a huge success, but still fun to try out. We also bought a large pot (think one for a fruit tree) and planted some seed potatoes from our CSA in it. I’ll be the first to admit that we hadn’t really done the proper research on the potatoes (we tend to be wing-it people on our first try with things). So, I read somewhere briefly while skimming that you should let the greens grow and grow and then die. When they die, it’s time to harvest. So, we followed those plans. Guess how many potatoes we harvested last year?

Zero! Not even the seed potatoes were left! 

Oh well. Try again. So this year, I read a bit more about potatoes and spoke with some coworkers about potato boxes. The idea is that you plant potatoes and then you build a box around them with walls that “grow” as the plants grow. The end result is that the potatoes grow up rather than down, so it’s much easier to harvest (and you’ll get potatoes :)). Here’s some more information on potato boxes if you’re interested. So, I was determined. A few weeks ago, we took a side trip to Lowe’s and bought two long 2×2’s each cut in half and then a bunch of 2×6’s cut in 32″ lengths (the measure worked around my plants). We ended up with 24- 32″ 2×6’s. I then grabbed some a wood screws and a more powerful drill (it was a grown up day) and headed home.

This is where I’ll admit, Andrew took over. I was pumped about the project and even more pumped when he seemed interested in helping out… which meant taking over, which I completely appreciate! What we did was take a 2×6 and screw them into the bottom portion of the 2×2 polls. You then screw the other side of this 2×6 into another 2×2. You repeat this process to make a square with one 2×2 post in each corner. It’s hard to explain, so here are some pictures:

Once we created the first, bottom square we realized the plants were taller, so we added a second square of 2x6s. We then added a third. Next, you dump in enough soil to cover the majority of the potato plants (leave enough of the plant above so they keep growing). As they grow above the frame, you add additional square layers and dirt– right now we have enough for 6 squares.. if we need more, we’ll do so! As you can see in the above picture, we need to add another layer of 2x6s this weekend as the plants are all above the third layer.

Apparently, if you are interested in new potatoes, you can actually remove the bottom layer of the box as the potatoes are continuing to grow up and harvest the smaller new potatoes– it won’t harm the plants. We haven’t decided if we want to try that just yet– but we’ll keep you posted. Just another fun project to keep us busy 🙂

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