Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

I am going to be busy today!

I know the garden is producing well at the moment, but WOW!

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So, my to do list for the day is now:
1. Basil pesto for freezing
2. Roasted tomato sauce
3. Tomatillo salsa
4. Japanese pickled cucumber salad
5. Grate and freeze Zucchini
6. Tidy up and store onions
7. Dehydrate tomatoes

So if you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen!

In which I harvest like a crazy woman

March has been a big month for harvesting in the garden. My kitchen bench seems to be permanently covered in produce which needs to be dealt with urgently. Some days it seems to take all day! Cucumbers have been compulsory at every meal, and lots is being put aside for leaner days.

Other than a hand of bananas for some lovely guests, we didn’t buy any fruit or vegetables in March. We have eaten watermelon, rockmelon, apples and pears – two kinds of each. There are also grapefruit on the tree, but they will wait until the apples are all done. On occasion, the kids still look blankly into the crisper of the fridge and have to be told that the apples are still on the trees; such is the power of habit. I try to get them to bring in an armful when they go down to get one.

For this month’s blog, I thought I’d do a tour of the vegetable beds, and look at what I’m harvesting, what I’m planting, and what I need to do. It is quite long, sorry, as I have a lot of beds. At least looking at them all doesn’t take as long as weeding them! The first bed pictured here has some blueberries and artichoke at the back, and has had potatoes and zucchini this year. I took a before photo…

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Then went through and harvested the zucchinis and potatoes and took an after photo. I’ll plant some peas in here I think, because the soil looks a bit tired, and I think it could do with some extra nitrogen.

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Here’s the harvest. The potatoes, mostly kippflers, and some desiree came to the level top of my basket, and the zucchini, including the one that got away are on the top. We had a great meal of the potatoes last night. We picked up a BBQ with a lid for $40 at a garage sale, so I wrapped the spuds in alfoil with butter, chilli and rosemary, and roasted them in the BBQ. Very nice indeed.

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The next bed along has had beans, eggplant and capsicums and chillies. The eggplant is nearly all done, the capsicums are still going strong – just hitting their straps really, but the beans have all died really suddenly. The leaves went yellow and mottled, and they just stopped producing. I found quite a few juvenile vegetable bugs on the beans, but I suspect that wasn’t the whole story. Anyway, I grabbed what I could and pulled them all out. I think that I’ve neglected the soil a bit this year, and that could be the cause of my issues. I’m predicting a big manure week.
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Still, the view as the Aunty Collector and I worked, and the lovely weather this weekend made for a pleasant afternoon. When we had finished our work, the Aunty Collector grabbed the stakes and corn stalks, and had a great time making a tepee of sorts, and then trying to keep the dog out of it.(Unsuccessfully)

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The strawberry patch is a weedy disaster. I left the netting on too long so instead of grabbing a weed or two, or throwing on some mulch as I went past, things just grew like topsy under the netting. It’s a mess of runners, weeds, and I don’t know what else. Last year, I pulled everything up at the start of winter and just replaced the strawberry plants, and I got kilos of strawberries, so I think I’ll do the same again this year. Only with more mulch. And with remembering to take the netting off. And with more vigilance.

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This next bed is mostly clover since I pulled the onions and leeks. There are a few eggplants at the back, but although they have flowers, I may have put them in too late to get fruit. We’ll see.
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The corn and beans at the back are all done. Same bean problem here too. The silverbeet in the middle is THRIVING, and the beets are coming on well.
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Photo Credit: The Aunty Collector

The next three beds are where the rockmelons were. For the first time this year I’ve separated them from the pumpkins, and they’ve produced fruit. I can’t believe it took six years of swamped melons and no fruit to come up with that brainwave! There are still beans (fairly healthy) and cucumbers producing here.
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The asparagus is growing large and will be feeding the roots. I’ll need to get some manure here too.
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I planted some painted mountain corn. The ears are so beautiful. I’m drying it to see if I can make popcorn, but I have to admit I don’t know what I’m doing, and early experiments are NOT promising. Still, it’s giving me a great deal of pleasure as it graces the kitchen bench.
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Lastly the tomatoes and pumpkins are providing lots of colour and lots of meals. I’m roasting and freezing the tomatoes in Chinese food containers for winter meals. Between that, the lamb and the grated zucchini, the freezer is groaning. The purple ties you see here are an old pair of thermals!

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This poor tomato must have missed out on water. What a sorry specimen

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PLANTING
When my mum was here last year, she sorted my seeds so I could see what I should be (could get away with…) buying. Last week I finished the sort, and labelled the bags, and the resulting tidiness makes me happy.

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I’ve planted brassicas, leafy greens some late beets, and some onions. They’re happily residing in the little greenhouse.
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Thanks to Lizzie from the Garden Share Collective for hosting the garden blog share. If you’ve enjoyed reading about this, you’ll probably enjoy the other gardens there too. There are lots of ideas and lots of great gardens.

The Garden Share Collective

 

In which we completely ignore the to-to list!

We’re having a lovely long weekend in the garden. But, as is our wont, we’ve started one job, which reminded us of another, then been distracted by something else, until we’ve ended up doing a completely random bunch of stuff.

After years of staking my peas with a labyrinthine system of strings and counter strings, which I have to train the peas up, much as one would train a puppy (but that’s next week’s story), this year, I have bitten the bullet and bought a whole roll of wire mesh. Usually, I plant my rows of peas north/south, as I think that would give them more sun, but this year I fitted them in around what was still kicking on from my summer garden, so I hope they are impressed enough with their new trellis  to thrive anyway, despite some extra shade.

The newly staked peas

The newly staked peas

This always seems a very unfruitful time of year. The summer bounty is all in, but the winter crops aren’t producing yet. I do have kale, which I’ve continued to grow after last year’s adventures of eating from home and not shopping.

 

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I also have lots of Warragul greens, which I noticed on TV, being used by a chef, so they must be good! Anyway, I decided to go out and see what I could rummage up, and found some capsicums which were not changing colour any more, due to the cold, loads of lemons, and the last of the chilli harvest.

This week's harvest

This week’s harvest

The lemons have been made into cordial, the capsicums are still in the to-do pile. Actually, they’re still out on the bench. Excuse me for just a moment while I put them in the fridge…

The chillies have been strung up, and I’ve hung them near the wood heater to dry. They may also end up smoked, given my fire lighting skills.

The chillies hanging out to dry

The chillies hanging out to dry

Over the past year or so, we have been having a running argument with a passionfruit vine. The vine stopped producing a few years ago, but after we pulled it out, the rootstock took on a life of its own. Despite attempts with poison, secateurs, and spades, it lives on. So yesterday, as part of our aimless trail, we attacked the roots in earnest, to a soundtrack of me thinking up possible blog titles for the activity (“In which we re-enact the movie Caddy Shack”,” In which we make the strawberry fiasco look like the garden of Eden”,” In which we discover a resident mole”…) SURELY, this time we have it licked!

The aftermath

The roots of the passionfruit. Surely we have killed the beast!

Finally, the Aunty Collector has been putting his (considerable) energies to good use, digging a hole for our bird feeder. I have a love/hate relationship with birds in my garden, but I love this feeder, and perhaps some seed in here will keep them out of my peas. Well done, son – it looks great!

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The new bird feeder

In which I consult the experts

I’m hoping for some help in choosing a photo. Which do you like? I’ve got a few likely contenders at the bottom of today’s post.Meanwhile, I’ve been reading…

My go-to expert when it comes to my garden is Peter Cundall. One of my favourite books by him  is “The Practical Australian Gardener”.  This is where I head when I’m not sure what to do next. I’ve never read the pages for February and March when I’m too busy bottling to read, but May often gets looked at.

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Here’s what Peter thinks I should be doing now. There’s more there, but this is the to do list for this month for me. Nothing has been done this weekend, as we’ve had a busy weekend entertaining friends. Maybe this afternoon.

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Not really in focus, is it? I’ll try a different way next time.

We have been busy raking. Next weekend will probably be the last big family rake. Here’s the kids, taking the leaves down to the compost pile. Note that one child is already showing signs of being management material, rather than an actual worker!IMGP3109

Finally, I need to choose a photo for the brochure. Which one do you think I should go with?

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