Sunday, 29 June 2014

Winter food

We have passed the winter solstice,  and the weather is cold and wet.  This month we have had about 100 mm of rain and the need for watering the garden is gone.
This morning I went out to pick enough food for today….
… and this is what I found.  A leek and a young red onion,  four carrots, a beetroot with all of its leafy greens, four potatoes (missed when I dug another 8kg last week) and three small side shoots of broccoli.  I put some clothes pegs on the next few cauliflowers (to keep them white and sweet) and collected the eggs.
The weather is cold and so the garden grows much more slowly.  However,  the extra rain (and the consequent lack of watering needed) means that I can plant a much larger area and the patch that has been covered and protected from the baking sun during the summer is now being planted also.
The snow peas and broad beans are all growing well,  I'll be planting more onions and potatoes soon,  and my plan for planting something every week so that I can pick something every week seems to be working… so far, so good.
The clay soil, having absorbed so much rain….and with more to follow (prior to the el nino that is expected late in the year) has some advantages.  The clay seems to hold water very well,  and by the summer solstice I will have re-covered some large parts of it in order to save the worms and micro-organisms that make food production possible here.
Dinner tonight will be fresh, local and tasty.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


So far this month,  we have had about 28mm of rain,  more than an inch, and the garden is looking healthy and happy, depsite some oddities after the very warm autumn.  I have picked the last of the eggplants and I have baba ghanouj for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, there is still plenty of food out there… the capsicums are very sweet now….
 … the silver beet is prolific and healthy….
 … the cauliflowers are beginning…..
 … while the cos lettuces are coming to an end.  These are going to stay in this patch until they go to seed… so that I'll have some more next year.

There are a few odd things though…  lavender is flowering again, probably because of the bizarrely warm autumn.
Lavender usually only flowers in spring and summer here,  so this is quite unusual.  Perhaps the climate is changing!!!

The honey eaters are delighted with the aloe flowers….
 … it is still warm enough for the bees….
 … and for those who remember the blood lilies… here are the leaves… up to a metre long….
… the garden is really enjoying the rain.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Winter is here… and so are the vegetables… potatoes, pumpkins and more.

The first few cold days of the year are here,  and a little bit of rain.  Today the sun is shining and I have been out digging potatoes.  I planted quite a patch this year, at the end of the summer and with the warmer than average,  in fact, warmest on record autumn, the potatoes have done very well.  I dug about ⅓ of the patch this morning and there were about 8kg of potatoes (17½ pounds)… so far.
 ….  I have also been looking to see what else is getting ready to pick….  the first patch of carrots is not far off….
 … and it's the same with the beetroot which gives not only the bulb at the bottom….
 … but the leafy green tops as well…

The second picking of broccoli is well on the way….
 … and cauliflowers are just beginning to form….

I am still picking ripening capsicums….
…. and quite a few more eggplants…..

The silver beet (Swiss chard) has taken over this patch of garden….
… and hte cos lettuces are going to be eaten by the time that the winter lettuce crop  takes over….

The borage is flowering….
 … and all of the self sown calendula is looking spectacular, though I seem to have lost all of the maroon coloured flowers…  all of them are yellow this year.
 "Mexican marigold" (Tagetes lucida)  is flowering too…. smelling like
… and I have finally managed to grow heliotrope here…  third time lucky… and it is looking very healthy.
… after the last few cold, rainy days, it has been good to get out into the garden again.

Just last week,  I collected the pumpkins from the patch… ten of them… all grown from the seeds of those that I had eaten last year and thrown out into a bare patch early in the summer.  They did need to be watered during the summer,  but it seems to have been worth it.
There are more than 20kg (44 pounds) altogether.