Sunday, 31 July 2011

Brassica dinner

I've been out in the garden to see what we can have for dinner.  It's brassica season, and that's what we'll have.

We have leeks, beets, carrots, a cabbage (a small sugarloaf one) and an assortment of broccoli side shoots, chinese broccoli (gai lan) whcich has even begun to flower (white flowers in the picture) and one very strange "broccoli" that appears to be a cross between ordinary broccoli and the chinese broccoli.  Interesting plant!  
I'll fry these until they are soft and add the four eggs that were laid today.... brassica dinner....

Here are the vegetables, cooked in olive oil, with pepper and salt....
 ..... and with added eggs....
.... only four today, but I used a couple of older ones as well.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Winter vegetables in Kapunda, and Gertrude.

The garden is growing well as the days begin to get longer....  the weeds are doing well also, and with three days a week at work (and preparations for SALA) I'm not keeping up with them lately either.

But here are the current pictures...  the newest broccoli plants (though I'm still picking the side shoots from the "old" crop.....
 ..... more mangel worzel.....
 the first plantings of broad beans.....
 .... and the second planting of broad beans in the old "brick" potato patch....
 .... cabbage....
 ... fennel....
 ... garlic....
 Now that the weather has been cold, the jalapenos are ripening.  They did this last year too.  They all seem to go red as soon as we have a really cold night....
 ...."greens"  of all sorts...kale, chinese vegetables, beets, afew carrots, broccoli and more....
 From the "flower" patch, there are a lot of vegetables and herbs around as well...
 .... and Gertrude, of course....

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Renmark and the river...

Today we drove to Renmark, and back, so that John could check out a "new" car (because his ute caught on fire and he's been without one for a while.)
Renmark is on the Murray River and with the break in the drought, it is looking very healthy...  we had lunch at "the club" by the river and this was the view....
 That boat that is closest is pretty wierd......
 .... thought the next one "The Industry", a steam driven paddle boat that was originally used to clear snags from the river.
 We walked along the riverside path.  There's a real attraction to see what is around the next bend.  I want to spend a while on a house boat on the river one of these years...  one of those plans for the future.  (There are two house boats on the edge of the river in the distance...  it would be wonderful to spend a week or so on one of them one day.)


On the way home, we went via Swan Reach and the ferry....
 ... missed the first one....

Got aboard and waited to go....
 .... in the afternoon sun,  the river cliffs looked amazing....
The River Murray is a beautiful part of the world.

And John found a car!  More of that later.  We will go back to collect it once the money is organised.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Potatoes

I have mentioned previously that I plant some vegetables at the 'wrong" time because, with the increasingly variable weather it's hard to guess just which ones might do well in any particular season.  Once again, this year I planted potatoes that would grow during the winter.  The summer is often too hot and dry to grow them very well without significant irrigation.  (I have heard that potatoes need an inch of rain per week!)

In the past few days, we have had one of the coldest nights ever for this area... there was ice on the ground in the morning and the bird bath water was frozen solid!  It had been below zero during the night!

Of course, my first thought was the garden.   The only vegetables that seem to be damaged are the potatoes.  By this morning, the plants were all burned and lying flat on the ground.  I have been out digging the potatoes.
There are about 5 kilograms (10 pounds) and so I consider that putting the left over small potatoes from the summer crop into the newest potato patch (along with a wheelbarrow full of goat bedding/poo produced by Gertrude.)

I have also collected some green vegetables and a few carrots, and a cabbage and four eggs.

Tonight we should have potato pancakes with fried cabbage and an assortment of other vegetables.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mangel worzel for tea

Today has provided the first sunny afternoon on which I don't have to work, meet or run errands, and so I have mowed about quarter of an acre of winter weeds and winter grasses.  There's more to do, and I'm hoping for a few more sunny days... even if the mornings are cold.  (We had a frost this morning!)
I have also raided the garden for dinner....
... potatoes, broccoli side shoots, silver beet and my first mangel worzel.  This one is quite large, and they do grow much bigger than this, apparently without becoming tough or floury.  I just couldn't wait any longer.  They are related to the other beet-type vegetables, and the seeds even looked like silver beet (chard) seeds, so I'll be using the green leafy bits as well.
I just want to find out what they are like and decide whether to plant another crop in the spring.  All of these vegetables have grown during the winter, but should be much faster to mature in the summer.

Later:  The cooked mangel worzel looks quite plain....
... this shows the pale "beetroot" part and the leaves from the same plant.
Altogether, with a small piece of meat each, we also had....
.... mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli side shoots.  (The original plants are still producing.)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Computer issues and gardens in winter

It's a whole week since I have posted here,  but not for lack of trying.  My problem is that I usually rely on photographs to explain what is happening in the garden, and recently, my computer can't cope with any more information in its hard drive (I keep getting warnings about its lack of memory) and my camera doesn't seem to be able to send photographs to it.

However, the garden continues to produce and we eat well.  Over the past week, the last of the baby lambs are in the paddocks, the grain crops are all green and tall enough to wave in the wind and the first almond blossom is out.

This winter, so far, is much colder and wetter than usual.  The rain is very much appreciated, but the cold is slowing things down considerably.  Currently, in my garden, I have plenty of cabbage, broccoli, and an assortment of root vegetables...  beets, carrots and potatoes.  Meals are often long-cooked soups or stews on the wood stove which heats the kitchen at the same time.

I have been checking out the Digger's catalogue for new seeds that I'll begin to plant as soon as the weather  warms the soil.  One is supposed to wait until it's comfortable to sit "bare bottomed" on the ground before planting seeds directly into the garden.  I won't be testing the ground with my bottom, but since the garden soil has become more "organic" I have found that it warms up more quickly.  The texture of the soil with extra organic matter is "lighter" and the colour much darker.  Perhaps the darker soil absorbs more heat, or perhaps the micro-organisms produce a little bit of heat during their own metabolism, but one way or another, in the springtime, as soon as the days become sunnier, the soil warms up very quickly....  all ready for the new season.

Today, it is gently raining, and between showers I will collect the vegetables for soup.  The rest will be bacon bones, preserved tomatoes, some beans and peas and barley and later I'll make some bread to go with it.  I'm warm in here by the fire and the house is comfortable but I really am looking forward to spring.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

It always rain on washing day!

Today I washed the clothes ready for another week at work.  Of course it rained... it's winter.  Between the showers, I managed to get much of the washing almost dry.
Then while the fire was heating the oven ready to bake the bread, I heated the irons and finished the drying...
... and so while the bread is baking and the dinner (garden vegetables with eggs) is cooking,  the damp clothing is ironed dry... and all for no extra cost than an armful of wood.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Yukina

Winter in the garden means that we have a lot of "greens"....  broccoli, kale, winter lettuces and plenty of beet tops, silver beet and even mangel worzel this year.  But one that is very productive and becoming a favourite is Yukina (Brassica juncea).
It grows easily and very fast.  It needs to be thinned as it grows, and these "thinnings" are all good to eat of course.
I first knew it as "Asian greens"  and bought a few "Asian greens" seeds that turned out to be Yukina.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Looking over the fence....

Gertrude can be quite nosey when the lady next door is hanging up her washing.  She stands up on a chair to peer over the fence....
... but she comes running when I open the gate.

Winter

It seems as though there is less to tell about the garden in winter.  We are still eating motly garden produce.... potatoes, silver beet, broccoli, cabbage and an assortment of other "greens"  but while the temperature is lower,  growth is slow.
The second plot of broad beans is up now....  three rows of them.  The older ones are much bigger, but these should be ok now that they are up.  I've put bamboo sticks around them ready to tie them in place during any windy days.  The sticks that are across the garden are to keep the chickens out when they are roaming free.
 The roosters are gone.  One of them had killed two hens, so I had them "processed" at Kapowie, and they are in the freezer.  It's good to have a "poultry service" right here in Kapunda.  Rooster soup is really good!

The potatoes have suffered from the past week or so of cold nights...  several frosts, but this is as bad as it gets....
The plants will recover, and produce plenty of potatoes... though I haven't needed to bandicoot any yet.