5 things: to plant this Autumn

5 things: to plant this Autumn


A few years ago, if you asked me, I would have said that once summer was over, my vegetable growing season was also over. But thankfully I have seen the light, and now my garden continues year round. Autumn is a great time to finish harvesting those summer crops, and also preparing for winter. There are many things that you can still plant in Autumn – especially in the warmer parts of NZ; like leafy greens, beans, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower etc.), radishes, wintery herbs.

But here are my top 5 things right now to plant in your garden this Autumn:

  1. Spinach, silverbeet and kale – I’ve grouped these together because to me they are fairly similar in terms of the way that I grow them. They are very easy to grow and make great additions to curries, smoothies and as side dishes. They are packed full of yummy nutrients. Planting these in succession means you will have homegrown green veggies throughout winter. Just plant the seeds in good soil straight in the garden or in seed pots making sure to keep the soil nice and moist – and after a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting.
  2. Snow Peas – These are gorgeous to grow and so tasty to eat. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are ready to harvest around three months after being sown. Sow these straight into your garden – supporting their growth with a trellis for the tendrils to grow up. I like to assist my pea plants by tying them gently to the trellis with some garden twine.
  3. Pak Choi and other Chinese greens – I am obsessed with Pack Choi. I love adding it to chicken soups, noodle soups, wonton soups and stirfrys. It is seriously easy to grow these guys and they look impressive too. I pick as I go and only take a few leaves at a time – leaving the rest of the plant to keep growing. As with all leafy greens, the hardest part about growing them is keeping the slugs off them – so make sure to use a natural deterrent such as recycled coffee grounds or egg shells to keep your greens safe. After about a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting your Pak Choi.
  4. Beetroot – If you don’t like beetroot then I’m sorry but you are crazy. I recently discovered Chocolate Beetroot Cake, however I was already in love with beetroot after having enjoyed it in juices and roasted. If your only experience of beetroot is canned beetroot then you have been living a lie – make sure you try real beetroot because it is a million times better than the stuff you find in burgers from the takeaway store. Beetroot seeds should be sown straight into the garden and will start sprouting quickly but make sure you thin the beetroot so that they have room to grow. They will be ready for harvest within two months of planting and I like to plant beetroot in a few goes throughout autumn so that I have fresh beetroot available all winter, however they will keep longer than two months in the ground. They are so tasty!
  5. Brussels sprouts – I may lose a few of you here, but Brussels sprouts are actually delicious. Just don’t boil the living daylights out of them and then you can actually enjoy them. Have you ever had steamed Brussels sprouts which have been finished off with a quick fry in some free-range bacon with all those yummy bacon fats. Because if you have, you will understand what I say when I say – Brussels sprouts are seriously good. Brussels sprouts I think are one of those plants that you have to see to believe how they grow, cos they look weird. As a kid I always just imagined they grew like cabbages, just really miniature. Luckily they don’t because how inefficient would that be?? Plant your Brussels sprouts seeds in seed trays and after about a month move the seedlings to your garden. After about 3 months from when the seeds were planted you should be able to harvest small, golf ball sized Brussels sprouts – and then cook them with bacon. Nom nom nom.

What are you favourites or must-haves for Autumn? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Instagram (@victoria.makes).

Happy Autumn gardening my Southern Hemisphere friends.



5 things: cute gardening accessories

Gardening is seriously my favourite. And what’s better than cute gardening accessories? The answer: not much.

Here are 5 things I’d love to have in my garden right now:

  1. Ingrid Starnes Bar Soap – $19.95 (buy it online from Alex & Corban)

Made with organic goat’s milk, shea butter and organic manuka honey this would be such a treat for gardening hands – and it doubles as a body soap as well – so perfect for that post garden shower!


2. Redcurrent Natural Scissors – $19.50 (buy it from Redcurrent)

Although not technically for the garden, these wooden handled scissors would be perfect for cutting those herbs or any other gardening job that requires easy cutting (seed packets, twine etc.). I love the look of natural wood – and these add a Scandinavian touch to your gardening accessories that is very on trend.


3. Sophie Conran Fork – $59.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

These garden forks are so beautiful, Sophie Conran also has other gardening accessories in this range – like a trowel, secateur, potting sieve, hand rake and compost scoop. Made from waxed FSC Beechwood, brass and stainless steel, these tools are specifically and ergonomically designed for woman’s hands to help make gardening tasks easier and more pleasurable. Hence why the tines on the fork are shaped and sharpened.


4. Watering Can – $135.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

This is super clever! The handle is designed so that as the watering can gets emptier and emptier your hand slips further back down the handle, so that the can tips further forward – pouring out the last of the water. Genius! As it’s designed by Burgon & Ball it’s no surprise really!



5. Herb Drying Rack – $19.95 (USD) (buy it online from Williams-Sonoma)

This is such a sweet herb drying rack – and would make drying those spring and summer herbs very easy with its circular design and included S hooks for hanging your herb bundles. Preserving your extra produce is the best way to make the most of your garden, so any that makes that task easier – and cuter – is a winner for me.


Lemon and Apple Sponge Cake

Lemon and Apple Sponge Cake

Do you ever want to bake something delicious but not covered in icing or chocolate, but still make it look interesting? I know that I do. And this cake was definitely a winner in my house. This sponge cake has a beautiful, light texture with a slight lemon taste which compliments the sweet apples nicely.

Lemon and Apple Sponge Cake


  • 25g butter
  • 3 medium apples
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 Tablespoon water


  1. Preheat your fan bake oven to 160C (325F) and grease a cake tin (23 – 26cm diameter).
  2. Melt 25g of butter slowly in a small saucepan. While the butter is melting, peel, quarter and core the apples for the top of the cake.
  3. Using a small knife, cut some long lines into the apple to create some decoration on the apple (or you can skip this decorative step if you wish! and slice the apple into thin, lengthways slices instead to decorate the top.)
  4. Once the apples are prepared, in a medium sized bowl, beat the butter with a whisk or hand beater until soft and fluffy.
  5. Then slowly add the sugar and cream the sugar and butter well so that the sugar is incorporated well into the butter.
  6. Then add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat well until all smooth.
  7. Whisk in one egg at a time, whisking really well before adding in the next egg. Whisking the eggs in really well not only helps to add more air to the sponge, but it also will help prevent the batter from separating.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
  9. Then slowly add this into the butter and egg mixture, whisking really well between each addition, adding the milk slowly as you need to. I added about a quarter of the flour mixture, then a quarter of the milk and so on until it was all incorporated.
  10. Once the batter is smooth, transfer this to the prepared cake tin, and gently smooth out the top of the cake. Then start arranging the apple on top and place in the oven once the top of the cake is covered in apple.
  11. Bake for around 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Around the 35 minute mark, have a peek to see how it is going, and remove if necessary.
  12. While the cake is baking, place the apricot jam in a small saucepan with the water, and heat until the jam starts to boil. You will need to stir this constantly so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  13. Remove the cake from the oven when it is cooked inside, and then immediately pour the hot jam over the cake. I used a pastry brush to help spread out the jam over the cake. This adds a beautiful glossy finish to the cake, and adds a beautiful, subtle apricot flavor.
  14. After about 10 minutes, transfer the cake to a cake rack so that it can finish cooling.
  15. Serve a generous slice with natural yoghurt for a delicious, home baked treat!

Let me know what you think of the recipe and if you have any variations or tips at all!

Egg Shells and Slugs

Egg Shells and Slugs

The problem with growing vegetables, is that we humans aren’t the only creatures that thinks the veggies are tasty. Unfortunately one of the creatures that often frequents my garden is the slimy, old slug. I don’t know about you, but I like to avoid using chemicals and nasty things in my garden if I can. So what can you do if you don’t want to use slug pellets but get stop slugs from eating your plants? Egg shells!! It is super, super easy too!

How to use egg shells to stop slugs from eating your plants:

What you need:

  • A garden with vegetables or delicious plants
  • Egg shells, washed and dried (I wash mine in warm water, and then leave them to air dry over night in a colander)

What to do:

  1. Smash up your egg shells into tiny pieces. It can hurt your fingers if you do it with your hands, so using a rolling pin, mortar and pestle, food processor or something alone those lines is a great idea. You don’t want the egg shells too small, and not too big either! About the size of an M&M or Skittle (thats a universal measurement right?)

2. Place the egg shells around the base of each plant, or if you have a lot, then sprinkle all over your soil.

Not only do the sharp edges of the shells stop the slugs or snails from making a meal out of your vegetables, the shells are also beneficial for your soil. Egg shells have a lot of calcium in them, and this is a great nutrient for plants such as tomatoes and cabbage. My great-uncle used to put a heap of milk powder in the hole he had dug for his tomatoes (calcium) so this same concept can be transferred to egg shells too! So even if you aren’t adding them to your garden to control slugs, you can chuck them in your compost bin – and they decompose quickly too.

If you often have an abundance of eggs shells, you can store the clean and dried eggs shells in a jar and save them up for a time when you need them

I have found that the eggs shells work for keeping the slugs off my garden, although you do need to keep sprinkling them over the garden as the rain can move them around. Let me know if egg shells work for you or if you have any clever, natural pest deterrents!

Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub

Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub

You’ve all been there. You’ve had a great day out in the garden, and then you take off your gloves (if you wear them…) and somehow the dirt and smell from the soil and compost has made its way to your hands. The worst is the compost smell! And that really likes to linger. So my new favorite thing to use after after a day in the garden is my homemade Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub (made with homegrown lemons and rosemary!).

Homemade Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary


  1. Chop the rosemary and lemon zest, and then put all the ingredients in a bowl. I used chopped lemon zest, rather than grated lemon zest, but you can grate it if you prefer!
  2. Mix all the ingredients together, until combined and the rosemary and lemon is spread evenly throughout.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a jar or other container. I like to keep mine in the fridge!
  4.  Then use the scrub on your hands, and rinse off after exfoliating.This scrub is my new favorite thing. The lemon smells amazing, and helps to clean your hands. The rosemary also smells wonderful, helps to improve circulation and helps to kill bacteria (perfect for post gardening!). The olive oil helps to moisturize and relieve itchy skin. And the sugar, is a great exfoliator!

I love that I know what is in the scrub, and that it makes my hands smell and feel amazing!  If you have any other post gardening tips for keeping your hands looking and smelling nice, I would love to know!

Hanging Pictures with Bulldog Clips

Hanging Pictures with Bulldog Clips

Our home office is pretty much our “man cave” in our house. My husband is freelancing at the moment, so the home office is pretty much just his domain. Over the past few years, he has collected different flash prints that he didn’t want framed or damaged with pins, but he wanted hung. So we hung them using bulldog clips, which created a really cool look which tied in really well with the rest of the “modern man cave” look.

Tools needed

  • A hammer
  • Small nails
  • Bulldog clips
  • Blu-tak (or equivalent)
  • A pencil
  • A tape measure/ruler
  • Prints to hang

Heres how we did it:

1. Plan out where you want to put the prints by sticking them on the wall using your Blu-tak. This is the best time to play around with positioning. We didn’t want it to look perfect, just nicely balanced.

2. Mark out where you will put your nails. Once you have the positioning of your prints sorted, measure the distance between the hole for the nail in the bulldog clip, and the end of the bulldog clip. Then measure this distance up from the top, middle of your print, so that you get the spot where you will put your nail.

3. Hammer in your nails. Just do it. You’ve planned it out, you’ve measured it out. Now commit. I used small nails that weren’t super garish, and then banged them into the wall until their was about 5mm (or less) between the head of the nail and the wall. You don’t need the nail to poke out too much, but leave some space for the clip.

4. Hang up your prints. Clip the bulldog clip in the middle of the print, or on either side (if you are using two clips per print), and then hang up the bulldog clip on the nail. I adjusted ours a little bit once they were up so that they hung straight. And then stand back, and take in your masterpiece.🙂