Project Pint Bottle Herb Garden 3

A trip to Bunnings (complete with sausage sizzle) = a big bag of potting mix, herbs and one rather excited Asian

Bunnings! Gotta love a weekend trip to Bunnings, made complete only with $2.50 hotdog thats devoured mostly by the time you walk into the store.

We hit the gardening section and I have to try not to get too carried away and grab lots and lots of things to grow. I don’t even know whether I’ve got a green thumb or not. The most vivid gardening based memory I have is sitting outside my old house, rather unsober, whilst my mate decides to kill the weeds in our lawn by putting them on fire “just a little bit”. Perhaps the fact I knew that was a bad idea at the time means I have some sort of gardening prowess.

I almost got pulled in by the great packaging that came with the 3 types of chilli (complete with carry handle) to plant but settled on the original plans of basil and coriander. Oregano to follow (instead of mint because we don’t, sadly, make that many mojitos at home). If I can keep these alive, I’ll go back for the chilli.

Ready for the Transplant!

We throw a bag of potting mix on the trolley, it has written on the front “1. Pot 2. Water 3. Enjoy” and as a list of instructions go, even I can’t stuff that up. I instantly have a smile on my face!

Back at home and the back of the potting mix bag now elaborates on the simple 1,2, 3 method written on the front. Recommend gloves, don’t inhale (duh), pack lightly, water well, dead roots, transplanting plants, more and more … I panic a little and then decide to ignore that and go with the front instructions and just plant my herbs.

Splitting the coriander and basil in two, like some sort of conjoined twins operation, there is dirt and potting mix all over the place now. At this point I am using a plastic shopping bag as a glove just in case those skin recommendations were real (and I’m a bit of a bubble child). So I now have 2 Little Creatures Pint Bottles of coriander and two of basil. I water them, pounce on my boyfriend as he wakes up from an afternoon nap and take him outside to look.

Ta-DA! Now, to keep them alive!

Project Pint Bottle Herb Garden 2

Angle grinding beer bottles to grow herbs? That’s normal, right?

The delightful Jess Shaver put me on to a good video on bottle cutting involving flame and ice – found at Ephrem’s Bottle Works – which we watched this morning. It was good because it was certainly neater than our efforts with the angle grinder however it didn’t look nearly as much fun as it was with the angle grinder! And I am very okay with the bottles being a little crooked, it gives them character (as you have to say about all good things that are not quite right)

This morning it was back to the angle grinder to smooth off the more edgey-edges so we don’t slice our fingers every time we pick some herbs. Blood and basil doesn’t sound particularly appealing.

The Angle Grinder Strikes Again!

With that done it was time to try and put a hole in the base for the water to run out. We used the angle grinder again for pretty decent results!

Next it’s building a little home for the bottles and we have plywood lying around in the shed. There was measuring and double checking, as I am bad with numbers. There was some sawing involved (with the only saw we had around clearly designed for jobs bigger than our little 170mm requirements) and therefore a lot of me learning how to use a saw. The only way my brain got around the process was pretending I was playing pool.

The plan now is:

  1. Drink a few more Little Creatures Pale Ale
  2. Fit all our sawn and sanded pieces together into a box to hold 3 x 2 bottles
  3. Plant 1 row each of coriander, basil and mint.
(cross fingers now)

Project Pint Bottle Herb Garden 1

An idea born from overuse of Spring Onions and a case of Little Creatures Pale Ale

We go through an inhuman amount of spring onions. I used to hate buying them when recipes called for them because I’d buy a bunch, use two and that’d be that. Now, we are buying about 2 bunches a week. They are being used in EVERYTHING from scrambled eggs, stir fry, salad and our “salsa eternal”

Salsa Eternal on Poached Eggs, hiding under some Capel Cheese with Chorizo n' Toast

[“Salsa Eternal” refers to the mix of diced tomatoes, red capsicum, chilli, spring onion, spanish onion, capers, coriander and whatever else we decide to throw in that lives constantly in our fridge. We make it batch by batch and it goes on just about anything. It seems we both have palates begging for punishingly strong flavours]

So, the idea for growing our own spring onions came up … oh, and basil, I’d love to grow chilli … oh, and chilli too …. and you get the idea.

Now, what to grow them in? Don’t want to plant them because we’re in a rental, those babies will be coming with us when it comes time to move! Perhaps we could go to Bunnings, a great excuse to have a sausage sizzle for lunch on Saturday, but that’s not particularly creative.Then today I bought a case of Little Creatures Pale Pint Bottles and the image of a case of pint bottles, tops cut off and beautiful herbs n’ stuff growing out from the top, well, it had to be done.Here’s the start of the project involving me, my boyfriend and an angle grinder (I should mention here that I am in no way, shape or form able to confidently use power tools so the fact I am typing this and no blood loss, that’s a win). Updates, of course, to follow as we progress!

In the words of the the Queen of Hearts ..."Off With Their Heads!"
The First Four LC Pale Pint Bottles
Next Step: Angle Grind the tops so I don't slice my hand open every time I pick some basil!

A Drive Down the Road

Colonial Brewing has a new limited release out – Keutebier – available only off tap and just happens to be a mere 60 minutes from my front door

If I get in the car and drive for just one hour I can be at Colonial Brewing. That small fact makes me very happy.

People Watching at Colonial during Easter

Over Easter, since we had a few days off, it seemed like a great chance to head down to try their latest release. I didn’t know what it was but Mal, the Head Brewer, had told me about it at the South West Beer Festival and he was damn excited about it.

We got there in the afternoon, hit the bar and grabbed two pints of Keutebier. Hanging around on the back verandah, we sat and had a good look around. Plenty of people, another small bar, a kid’s playground, a guy on stilts and Jerry Fraser shucking oysters. We’ve both worked with Jerry in Perth so wandered over for a hug and an hello. About then, the band came on stage. It was an 80s band and the spandex to fluoro ratio was about 50/50 and deliberately over the top. They were, I have to say, ridiculously awesome.

So there we sat, in the south west, a mere hour from home, enjoying our Keutebiers in the sun. It’s an old world style beer and it’s a wheat beer. I’ve always loved wheat beers and it’s normally the first thing I try when I go to a new brewery. But it’s not just any wheat beer, it’s kinda complicated, like it’s got a darker side.

I fetched our two Colonial Growlers from the car and had them filled, one with IPA and the other with Keutebier. 4 litres of beer to go please, it had to be done. We popped the growler of Keutebier when we got home and for a moment it smelled like someone had exploded an orange! It went down sensationally with a couple of home-made pizzas.

Keutebier with Homemade Spicy Chicken Pizza

where to get it

If you’re in the south west, head straight to Colonial Brewing and try it at the source. Be sure to waive to Mal if you see him in the brewery (incidently that’s basically how we met him one day – just looking through the glass and next thing we knew, we were standing in the brewery talking about beer and fermentation …how very rock ‘n’ roll). Also, be sure to read the flyer, it’s bright yellow and hard to miss. It’s also very wordy and I like that.

If you’re in Perth, stop by The Royal in East Perth and try it there.

Either way, don’t forget your growlers!