Setting Up A Spring Veggie Patch, Test Driving Ford Kuga Plus Win $500 Temple And Webster Voucher

by | Nov 12, 2014 | 36 comments

Planting A Spring Veggie Garden - Cook Republic
A few months ago I was lucky to be picked by Kidspot and Ford to test drive their Kuga model for 6 weeks as part of their Paint The Town Ford campaign organised by Voices Of Australia 2014. We are a family of Ford enthusiasts. We bought our very first car just shy of ten years ago. It was an electric blue Ford Focus and we called her Aqua. Two years ago when I enrolled at college, we bought our second car. This time it was a fiery little red Ford Fiesta and we called him Prime. So when the big black Ford Kuga arrived, it slipped in seamlessly with the other two like an older, stronger cousin. We didn’t name this one, because if we name something we don’t let it go.
Ford Cars - Cook Republic
Ford Kuga - Cook Republic
Ford Kuga - Cook Republic
We have been wanting to upgrade to a bigger car because as our family grew and our needs changed, we realised that our small cars were not equipped to handle growing bike sizes and camping gear. Our bike outings to far away places reduced and packing and unpacking for camp became an almost comical exercise with limbs stuck amidst sleeping bags, fishing poles poking in strange places, esky precariously perched and threatening to avalanche mid-trip. And then there was that expensive trip to IKEA. You paid $100 for a great flat packed bookcase but then paid an additional $90 for shipping because the darned thing wouldn’t fit in either of your little cars.
The Ford Kuga couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time. We had just moved back in to the house after a 6 month long renovating stint and living like pack rats in the garage. There was heaps we needed to bring home without paying all the hefty delivery charges. We decided to utilise all the beautiful boot space in the car to paint our garden green. We took the Kuga through the meandering gorge down by our house, past the semi-rural suburb of Dural where me made countless stops to pick up local produce from farm stalls and down to Flower Power to pick up supplies and fodder for a big veggie patch or two. We spent an afternoon picking our assemble-in-5-minutes Hexies raised veggie patches, countless combinations of herbs and veggies, seed packets, compost, soil, stakes and tools. We later watched the kids perform a ballet trying to graciously swing their little legs under the back bumper to open the tailgate (something they never got tired of) while we slurped thirstily on cold milkshakes (it was a hot hot day!). On the way back, we cranked open the sun roof and let the breeze in. Again something we all loved doing. This was a smart car with heaps of amazing new features that we loved!
Road Trips And Farm Produce - Cook Republic
Road Trips And Farm Produce - Cook Republic
That week we assembled the two veggie patches and prepped them for planting by layering them with cardboard, hay, compost, soil, more compost and more soil. We planted heirloom tomatoes, zucchinis, chillies, silver beet, eggplants, snow peas, basil, feverfew, red spinach, beetroot cress, cos lettuce, thyme, radish, chamomile, vietnamese mint, oregano, coriander, mint, fig, logan berries, cumquats, feijoas, kale, thai basil. Everyone pitched in. Some of us did the more brute work while some (me!) took pictures, played with the dirt and made lemonade. I took over feeding and watering the newly sown patches everyday, a habit I slipped into very easily. It takes me away from work and is very rewarding and therapeutic.
In just three weeks from sowing, our veggie patches are starting to show a massive growth spurt with tomatoes popping up along with snow peas, zucchini flowers (that I have been pleasuring), chilli flowers and strawberries. Before it was time for the Kuga to leave, we managed to sneak in a couple of bike trips to the park. It was a wonderful experience driving a big car for a change and being able to do the things that a little or medium sized car just won’t let you do.
I hope you enjoy the pictures of our hard work setting up our back garden (heaps of pictures as you scroll down). There is still lots more to do but we are taking it slowly and enjoying the whole process. Some fun things we did was to rescue an old broken wheelbarrow from our renos, patch it up and plant herbs in it. Super pretty! We’ve also stuck garlic cloves in the dirt and already have tens of garlic shoots that we will hopefully harvest next year. We planted nasturtiums everywhere, the flowers are great to eat in salads and also draw in bees. 
To thank you for reading about our Ford adventures, Kidspot and Ford Australia would love to offer one of my readers a $500 Temple & Webster voucher to spend on their gorgeous website full of designer homewares and one off pieces – remember my vintage Indian truck sign? or the rustic French style coat hanger? Thanks Kidspot and Ford Australia for your generosity and for the kind loan which enabled us to set up the scene for many home grown meals over the coming months.
All you have to do is
Have an Australian mailing address AND Leave me a comment below starting with "Beep Beep" and tell me in 25 words or less "What’s the one place you’d like to take a road trip in your car?"
Contest ends 19th November, 2014. Winner picked on 20th November, 2014.
Good Luck!!
**** Winner Announced – Laura ****

Terrariums - Cook Republic 


Kiwiberries - Cook Republic


Planning A Spring Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Spring Flowers At the Nursery - Cook Republic


Tomatoes - Sneh Roy photo


Ceramic Saucers & Planters - Cook Republic


Duck Duck Goose - Cook Republic


Spring Garden - Sneh Roy, photo


Spring Garden - Sneh Roy, photography


Australian Native Lime - Sneh Roy, photo


Garden Tools - Cook Republic


Planning A Spring Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Spring Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Planting A Spring Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Planting A Spring Veggie Patch With The Family - Cook Republic


Urban Gardening - Sneh Roy, photo


Family Gardening - Cook Republic


Planting A Spring Veggie Patch With The Kids - Sneh Roy, photo


Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Planting A Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Veggie Patch - Sneh Roy, photo


Heirloom Tomatoes - Sneh Roy, photo.


Peas - Sneh Roy, photo


Tomato Flowers - Cook Republic


Herbs In Wheelbarrow - Sneh Roy, photo


Chive Flower - Cook Republic


Radish - Cook Republic


Nasturtiums - Cook Republic


Veggie Patch - Cook Republic


Zucchinis And Eggplant - Sneh Roy, photo


Coriander Seeds - Cook Republic


Mulberry - Sneh Roy, photo


Zucchini Flower - Sneh Roy, photo


Herbs In Wheelbarrow - Sneh Roy, photo

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I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Camilla

    Beep beep…a little cheeky perhaps but I would love to road trip to (and tour) your stylish abode!

  2. Anna

    Beep-beep! Hubby and I have been planning a road trip to Melbourne and drive the whole stretch of the Great Ocean Road and leave the kids with the grandparents.

    Sneh! I love that place where you got all the veggies! Is it Flower Power in Dural? And there are ducks! So cute! Love all the gardening photos! We have also done some spring gardening and we are seeing the early signs of French beans and the tomatoes are flowering! Such a thrill when you plant it and you see them growing before your very eyes!

  3. Pat

    “Beep Beep”! To Gympie to meet my FB friend, Wanda. We’ve never met but have so much in common, would be wonderful to actually meet her!

  4. Dhanya Samuel

    Beep beep – I am yet to own a car here in Australia but it has always been a dream to take a road trip and tour regional Victoria. With my two boys, I would love to travel across the countryside and experience the real beauty of this land.

  5. Alex

    Beep beep … I would revisit the Great Ocean Road. I drove it in a couple of days and would love to take a more leisurely trip.

  6. Nat

    Beep beep-I would love to drive on the the Spirit of Tasmania with my family and take a road trip all over the Apple Isle. I have been there only once for 3 days and didn’t even make it to Hobart. Such a beautiful place.

  7. Jasmine

    Beep Beep
    The Amalfi Coast, ITALY – the most scenic stretch of Mediterranean coastline
    It’s on my bucket list

  8. Jenny Swift

    Beep Beep!
    Would love to roadtrip to the Margaret River region… Rolling hills, rambling vineyards and the slight possibility of actually convincing hubby to go horseback riding!

  9. Sharron

    Beep, beep – my ideal road trip with my bestie to meet you in Sydney for some cooking classes using those amazing veggies from your patch

  10. Erin

    Beep beep! I’d definitely throw the kids in the car and drive to the beautiful South Coast of NSW for campfires, marshmallows and fun!

  11. Christine

    Beep beep – road trip to Tasmania and eat our way through the incredible fresh produce and take in the scenery. Heaven 🙂

  12. Lizzy (Good Things)

    Beep, beep. The one place? Eden, again. I’d give anything to see a whale breach just once in my life.

  13. Lisa Alexander

    Beep Beep. I would love to drive this well cool car up to the beautiful South West Rocks when we go camping in January.

    • Lisa Alexander

      Can I just say I don’t know why it states on my comment that I blog posted Just Released? I didn’t!

  14. Eha

    Beep Beep . . . straight down to the Yarra Valley for me – know Melbourne backwards but not its neighbour of great wines, wonderful food and lovely scenery . . .

  15. Michaela

    Beep Beep…..the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Stopping for hikes and cozy pubs along the way.

  16. Francesca

    Beep Beep, I would love to drive this gorgeous car all the way down from Sydney, via the towns of the NSW South Coast, through to the fishin Mecgca of Lakes Entrance, then on via the historic town of Port Albert, before hitting big old Melburne.

  17. Clare

    Beep Beep – I would love to take a trip in the autumn to Orange NSW to attend F.O.O.D week and savor both the food and the stunning autumn hues.

  18. Jennifer

    Beep, beep. A trip to Mt Warning with my husband of 30 years. Something to look forward to, something to do with someone I love!

  19. Sue B

    Beep, beep… I’ve always wanted to traverse that long stretch of highway between Darwin and the rock :). Wide open spaces, I love ’em.

  20. Melissa Darr

    Beep beep – I would love to take a road trip along the great ocean road and into the vineyards around Melbourne.

  21. Rachel K

    Beep, Beep!
    Melbourne, the provenance, tradition, culture and sense of place is perfect! From fish and chips to fine dining, it’s like sending your tastebuds to university!

  22. Shruti

    Beep Beep….I would love to take a road trip from Manali to Leh in the lap of Himalayas. What a thrill it would be!!…

  23. Catherine Maclean

    Beep Beep… the East Coast with my sister and friends. Exploring the beauty this country has to offer.

  24. Bec

    Beep beep! I’d love to drive up to Darwin, then through Kakadu in the dry season, and then across to the Kimberly. Amazing country out there that I’ve only seen in photographs!

  25. Laura

    Beep beep! This week marked 40 years since my parents arrived in Australia as Spanish immigrants. I’d love to drive through Asturias, the northern region of Spain where they are from, and trace my roots (especially after Dad passed away this year). Not only is the countryside stunning (imagine green rolling hills and misty snow-covered mountains) but it would be wonderful to reconnect with my heritage.

    I’m about to plant my own veggie box so thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Karlene

    Beep beep – I love eclectic homewares too so I’d follow the path of the Aussie Pickers boys and travel through country NSW looking for unique finds.

  27. Amanda @ Gourmanda

    Beep Beep – what perfect timing Sneh, to have this big car just as you needed to pick things up to build your garden! Definitely looks like its come in handy!

  28. Sophie

    Beep beep! I would love to road trip from Sydney down the east coast, through Melbourne to the Grampians for my best friends wedding next weekend… Such a wonderful garden!

  29. Andreas Weiss

    Beep Beep! Let’s drive to the red centre. My little one told me he wants to go camping. NOW! With a tent … and a big black Ford!

  30. Amanda@ChewTown

    Oooo, I’ve got a Ford Fiesta… I love it. I also love veggie patches. This is definitely the post for me 😉

  31. sapshu

    “Beep Beep” I have an Australian mailing address and loved all the pictures that you shared especially the veggie patch ones….

  32. Fiona

    BEEP BEEP I’d love to go on a roadtrip to visit a long lost friend in Broome, always wanted to do that!

  33. Theresa

    Beep Beep ….. Seriously !Hop in the car and head straight to the Granite Belt Wine Region in QLD .Stayed overnight there once ,I would love to return !

  34. Theresa K

    Beep Beep….. Hop in the car and head straight to the Granite Belt Wine Region in QLD.Stayed overnight once ! I would love to return and linger !


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