Thursday, 17 October 2013

Herbs

Time has managed to get away again...  but never mind.  It is that time of the year when there is plenty to do in the garden.  I am still picking snow peas, ordinary peas, beetroot, leafy greens, broccoli,  cauliflowers, the last cabbage, broad beans,  lettuce, onions and potatoes...  and probably more.  I am freezing a few vegetables ready for the middle of summer.  Last year the temperatures reached more than 50C and it was very hard to keep many plants alive and so there was less and less from the ever reducing garden patch as the summer went on.  I am blanching and freezing anything that I don't use on the very same day.  I used to bottle (can) the excess,  but that is harder to manage daily....  whereas freezing can be done with small or large amounts while the stove is hot and the freezer is cold.

Most of the "herb" plants are flowering.  They are mostly spring flowering whether they are annuals or perennials.  The most obvious are these....  the parsley...
.... last year I found white spiders on these flowers... but so far I haven't found them this year.  Perhaps it is a little early.  The link above is to a November post.
 
 This year the sage flowers on several different plants are spectacular.....
.....  borage... all self-sown....
 and coriander....
 I have heard a lot of complaints about coriander "going to seed" very quickly, and it does always in the summer.  I think it has something to do with the longer days.  I am now planting a new patch every couple of weeks.... there are now four or five patches in various spots.  I leave it to pro-create when the flowers come.

Coriander flowers attract hover flies and hover flies are pollinators, but also prey on aphids, caterpillars and some other insects (I haven't seen any aphids in weeks...  even on the rose bushes that they love.)  Once the flowers finish,  the plants produce huge amounts of seeds.

Ground coriander seeds are a significant component of the curry powder that I make,  and I save plenty of the seeds for re-planting.  During the winter,  I plant them less often,  but in recent weeks,  I plant coriander about every second weekend. The next crop but one is at this stage....
... and I have today planted some more seeds around the beans that are just beginning to climb up their tee-pee.  I don't know how the beans and coriander get on,  but with coriander attracting beneficial insect in other parts of the garden,  I'll be watching.

The rosemary has finished flowering now... and there is amazing new growth from the places where I have trimmed it back....
 ... the new growth is soft and less woody than the older parts of the plants and are much more useful in cooking... except where one wants to use them as skewers for grilling pieces of meat.

In other news,  I have moved the bird bath.  It is now beside the aloe plant that grows near the verandah...  at the "top end" of the "great wall of Kapunda"....
As I sat (reading my book) on the verandah in the afternoon last Saturday, a black bird came down to bathe in the water.  My "hide" consisted of the back of the chair where my feet rested... and this was only a few feet away from me... ..
.... the black birds had been much more wary while feeding their babies in a nest in the aloe,  but now that the offspring have left,  they are becoming a little more "friendly" it seems.

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