Sunday, 19 May 2013

Winter is here....

... and with winter, come the winter vegetables and those are looking pretty good.  The lack of rain is still a serious problem.  We have had about 12 mm over the past week,  and the farmers' paddocks are looking green,  the weeds are germinating but the vegetables that I haven't watered for two or three days are looking wilted...
... this is how the broccoli looks after a morning of sunshine.  In fact,  the plants will be ok,  and they will produce a good crop,  despite their pitiful wilting behaviour in the sun.  There is a real lack of moisture in the soil after so little rain for so long.

This week,  I finally planted the broad beans.  I had waited for the rain... and of course we did get the 12 mm over four days,  but I've watered the seeds in well and I hope that there will be more real rain to come.
The onion patch is ok... I have been watering that and the garlic consistently as well.  The onions are loooking healthy enough...
 ... but while I was photographing the onion patch,  I noticed two broad bean plants sprouting from the mulch...  seeds that escaped when I was collecting them at the end of last year. 

Despite being "watered" when I grew corn on that patch during the hot weather,  those broad bean seeds didn't germinate until the right time (around Anzac day, April 25th) and how they know what to do is amazing.

The "lost potatoes" are growing also...  in two garden beds....
 ... and among those are some "field peas" that have grown from the pea straw that I used to protect the soil during the summer.  These have germinated when I watered the potatoes.   The flowers are beautiful.
 I know of people who don't use pea straw "because of the weeding"... they remove all of these little plants that grow from the peas included in the straw  (at least, those that the crested pigeons don't get) whereas peas are only likely to add nitrogen that they are able to fix (as do other legumes) and when they eventually produce pods,  the peas are perfectly edible...  free food!  They are small and sweet,  and taste exactly the same as the ones that are grown for people to eat.  I don't know why pea straw is such a problem.

The wilting broccoli (shown above) is beginning to produce smallish heads.  I'll let them go for a while as long as they don't get "loose" and soft.

The chinese stir-fry makings are looking good....

... and then I went to check on my cabbages and this one looks a little worse for wear....
... there is tell-tale caterpillar poo....
 .... and then I found the culprit.  (The chickens loved him/her.)
 The rest of the cabbage will be fine.  In fact,  I'd rather eat a cabbage that doesn't kill its predator than one that does.

Tiny cauliflowers are beginning to form.....  I'll "clothes-peg" the leaves over the florets soon,  to keep them white and sweet.

Currently,  along with silver beet and winter lettuce,  the leaves that I am eating are mainly herbs... lots of parsley....
 It's easy to see why tabbouleh would have been a common in middle eastern countries.... parsley (and a number of other herbs) easily self-sow and are available very early in the growing season despite very little water.  From Wikipedia:  "To the Arabs, edible herbs known as qaḍb, formed an essential part of their diet in the Middle Ages, and dishes like tabbouleh attest to their continued popularity in Middle Eastern cuisine today."
The parsley is still producing seed and no doubt these will produce my "mostly leaves" food next year.

I cut the seed heads off and put them in other parts of the garden...  In fact,  I do the same with coriander as well.  It means that I end up with plenty of "greens" to add to whatever else I am eating.
Last night, for dinner,  I had potatoes, beetroot, parsley and silver beet fried with an onion and two eggs.   Not necessarily what you'd get in a restaurant,  but it tasted good and there were no added chemicals or caterpillars.

1 comment:

Lisa Owen said...

Jane you just make me jealous!!!