SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: January, 2017

In Which I Prove I Might Really Be A Bad Influence. Oh, My Daughter, What Have I done???

So yesterday, I mentioned how I got some topsoil for free.   Obviously, that was before I got home.  When I did arrive, and told Superwife and The Wonderkids about my spoils, there was a bit of a buzz in the air.

Superwife suggested I go get more.  I thought this was a brilliant idea, as did Miss10.  So, off we went with our trowels and buckets.  On the way, I explained that what we were about to do skirted the borders of legality, and that if we were approached by the police, they might not belive my story about having permission, and that I might be charged.  Miss10 thought this was wonderful, and that if I was to be arrested and have to go to court, could she come too?

When I explained that having a minor, especially the one the police might have thought I was endangering – we were crossing the safety tape, after all – the court might take a dimmer view of me than if I were to front up on my ownsome.

Of course, the men and women in blue were nowhere near us (or if they were, they didn’t bother to investigate the scruffy man and his daughter pinching dirt from the roadside,).  So, at least until the work crew have finished the bike path job, I’ve got a free source of topsoil to mix with my compost.  I guess the only real harm done is I may have inadvertantly demonstrated to my daughter that sometimes, it’s okay to break the law.  Oh well, cest la vie.



The Power Of Asking

Ok, so as per last post, I’m doing a bit of a home biz thing with plants, herbs and planters, and I examined the cost structure.  Here’s what has happened in my day so far:

  • This morning on the way to work, I collected a few bottles from a local u-shaped mall. Score 1; free pots.
  • I borrowed the work van and picked up two pallets I saw on the side of the road. Score 2; free wood for planters.
  • I saw some more at a local warehouse, so I pulled in and asked if they were throwing them out.  They said yes, and that I could have them. SCORE 3; more free wood.
  • On the way home with said pallets, I passed a construction site where the local council were renovating the bike path.  I asked about a huge pile of topsoil that had been taped off. They offered to load up their front-end loader and deliver it to my door!  I told them I only needed a bucketful (It was the only container I had with me), but I could come back tonight with my wheelbarrow.  Thay thanked me because it would mean less they would have to schlep to the local landfil. SCORE 4; free potting mix.
  • My local coffee shop, St Zita’s (BIG shout-out to Sonia and the crew there!  Great tucker and even better vibes!), for giving me their used coffee grounds.  Brilliant for the compost!  SCORE 5.

Maybe it’s an age thing.  Maybe it’s necessity trumping pride.  Which or whatever, I don’t care.  There’s a lot to be gained if one just sucks it up and asks.


I’m One Of THOSE Guys. Tha’s Why My Prices Are So Low.

Let’s do the maths together.

The cheapest plastic pots for seedlings I can buy in bulk is $0.162

Potting mix in 10KG bags is $3.95 (which makes up about 50 pots = $0.079

Water etc comes semi-free thanks to our grey water system.

The seeds cost about $1.00 per packet, thanks to The Seed Collection. Each packet holds about 100 seeds, I use about 2 seeds per pot, = $0.2

So, $0.162 + $0.079 + $0.20 = $0.441.

So, if my starting COGS is $0.441, and I want to get a decent return, I need to charge $0.85.  Mind you, some of the plants are totally free.  Tomatoes Of Mystery, Oregano, Mint, & Thyme cost me nothing, as I just dig them up out of my garden.  I’m also collecting Basil and Parsley seeds, and soon will be collecting Corriander.

Now, and this is where I’ve become one of those guys, I collect 75% of my pots by dumpster-diving for plastic drink bottles.  I cut them in half and drill holes in the bottom, and voila, I I have free pots that could have cost at least $0.162.  This makes the sum $0.0405 + $0.079 + $0.2 = $0.3195.

Now let’s also assume a good 25% of my herbs a self-sewn, I’ve propagated for free, the sum becomes $0.0405 + $0.079 + $0.15 = $0.2695. This means I can sell them for $0.50 and still quite well.

So, if anyone has a gripe about my prices, please feel free to take a swing at this calculation, and if you reckon you can beat it, let me know.

Oh, I’ve also got a vertical wall planter made from a recycled forklift pallet ready for sale:


Just $35, and it’s yours.  I can deliver it for an extra $20, anywhere within 20KM of Chadstone.  It’s poly-lined so your plants won’t die of thirst, and looks it and a bit on a wall when filled with your favourite herbs and or flowering plants.  I’ve advertised it on Gumtree, and Facebook here, here, here and here.

Weekdays, I’m open for business between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, and weekends between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM.






So yesterday, I put up an ad in a Facebook group.  The response was pretty overwhelming.  Granted I’m giving away my herbs at ridiculously low prices, but, well, just wow!  Superwife is urging me to put the prices up.  I’m reluctant, but deep down, I think she’s right.  I’ll keep the prices as they are for now, but on the weekend, I’ll have to make a few alterations.

I’m also planting more seedlings.  Let me know if there’s anything you want me to grow.


My Alter Ego… Well One Of Them Anyway

I’ve always had a bit of a green thumb.   I might not be very good with tools or anything electrical, but I can usually get plants to grow.  Combine that with my nature to be a bit of a Womble and composter, and I’ve got a ready supply of herbs and self-sewn tomatoes for sale.









Tomatoes Of Mystery



Herbs and Tomatoes cheap! Mint, Oregano, Sage. Small herb pots $0.25 or 5 for $1.00. Large herb pots $0.5, or 5 for $2.00. Tomatoes just $0.10 each!!!

Pickup only. Weekdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm, Weekends 9:00am – 5:pm.
No holds.

You can also find me on Gumtree:

My facebook page:…/





And Another Thing…

Just two additions to my New Years’ Resolutions:

  • Get more exercise.
  • Blog more.

There.  That’s enough to keep me going.  So far, so good.  I’ve done some scribbling.  I’m reading, (or at least I should say I’m re-reading,) one of my favourite books.  It’s the Samuel Johnson Series by John Connolly.  If you haven’t read it, shame on you!

I’m also gearing up for the weekend.  TGIF, because tomorrow and Sunday, I’m doing my Half Price Sale on Gumtree.  I can’t insert the link here yet because the ad’s not active.  Instead, my weekday ads are here and here.  If you live near me, and want some cheap herbs (Sage, Basil, Oregano, or Mint,), email, reply here or msg me.  Here are just a couple of pics.


Mint (Common) – Weekdays, $0.50.  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $0.25!!!


Oregano, (Greek) – Weekdays, $0.50.  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $0.25!!!

I’m also offering up a wall planter made up from a recycled forklift pallet.


Weekdays, $30.00  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $15.00!!!

(pick-up only.)

Till next week,


Well That Sucked…

I’ll keep this brief, guys.  2016 sucked.  2017 hasn’t got off to a good start either.  I made a right mess of things last year, and continued to do so until yesterday.  No, I’m not going into my various screw-ups.  Those they affected know what they were.  I hope they know I’m sorry, and I am trying to not be such a f#$%-up.

Still, even though it’s probably a bit late for New Years’ Resolutions, I have a few:

  • Live more frugally.  In the last week, quite a bit of plastic from my wallet has bitten the dust.
  • Spend more time with the kids.  They’re growing up so fast.  For someone who gets blues as I do, and they’re a reliable mood-booster, I need ’em now more than ever.  And, even though he’s a complete goose, they need their dad.
  • Write more.  It’s bloody hard with the amount of pharmaceuticals in my veins, but I’ve gotta do it.
  • Read more.
  • Do more wth my little gardening project.  You might have seen my ads on Gumtree.  If not, head on over.  I kid you not, my prices will beat Bunnings every time!

Anyway.  To sum up, the real goal for this year is for it to be better than last year.