Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

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

 

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In which I create a war zone in the strawberry patch

I’ve been busy in the garden. Our evening meal has been late twice this week, and no folding has been done, but the strawberry patch has been, well, decimated. I’m encouraged by the fact that I did the same thing last year and we got heaps of strawberries, but the current state is not great.What looked like single plants had turned into clusters of 3 or more (up to 12) plants. Master 10 (the Aunty Collector) and I had a good chat while we separated plants, and potted up the extras. I’m already all out of small pots, so I’m on the scrounge for more for the last 20 or so of the extras.

Before – looking somewhat orderly

After-can you even spot the strawberry plants?

After-can you even spot the strawberry plants?

In other sad news, one of the lamb triplets has died. She wasn’t thriving and our attempts to bottle feed her were unsuccessful. We couldn’t get her to suck on the bottle, and mum wasn’t standing still long enough for her to get a drink. The other 2 are going super well though, and playing all over the place.

In which I take stock (the current state of affairs)

Things are ticking over in our garden. I’ve been outside today, tidying up a little, and taking some photos. We’re in the middle of the Autumn leaf drop, so raking is keeping the whole family busy (we even have a family set of rakes!) So, in pictures, here’s what’s hot, what’s not, and a to do list for the next few days. To keep myself accountable, I’ll not blog again until I’ve emptied that trailer pictured at the bottom.

Firstly, what’s hot…

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autumn colour in the front yard

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Our beautiful and vocally gifted rooster

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One of our summer pumpkins ready to pick

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triplets!

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the children’s rose – smells like lychees

What’s Not!!!

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my terrible, terrible axe skills – 50 000 hits, and not one in the same place. When this log splits, it will be into toothpicks!

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The pile of wood still to be dealt with

Finally, the to do list…

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The soon to be paths around one set of vegetable beds.

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Prune the asparagus – Is it too early?

In which I bite off more than I can chew, and chew like crazy (Open Garden)

It’s official! We have agreed to open our garden on October 27th for the local garden festival. Our garden will be in the “Food Garden” category and most definitely not the “most beautiful garden” group. 

I’ve decided to blog the lead up to the day in order to keep me accountable, and to keep me on task as I prepare. I love my garden. I often struggle to see the beauty and not the weeds, but it makes me so happy to provide food for my family and friends, and to follow the seasons. 

Moving from the other side of the country, I’ve had 8 years to learn the rhythm of this cooler climate and to enjoy growing raspberries and other treasures that didn’t survive the heat of Western Australia. The amount of food we produce varies throughout the year; in the good months we eat almost entirely from the garden, and in between times, I’m glad we live near the shops, or it would be all lamb and pumpkin.

Over the next little while, I’ll add photos of the garden, and get started on getting things in shape!