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28 July 2010

The never-ending feast

It's been a while since I wrote about our garden so that's where we are today.  Most of you know that Hanno and I have been gardening for many years but I have to tell you there is always something new to learn.  It's a never ending feast - both in culinary and intellectual terms.  It keeps us on our toes, it gives us delicious organic food fresher than anything we could buy and it's part of the mosaic that makes up the work we do in our home.

Above are just some of the many passionfruit we've had this year.  These are a black variety that I think are Misty Gem.  At the moment we have about 20 ripe passionfruit sitting on the kitchen bench.  I hope to use them to make curd this coming weekend.  It's the same recipe as the lemon curd I make, just with different fruit.  It's delicious on toast or scones, in little tart cases, or a couple of cups in a pie shell under a blanket of meringue makes a terrific alternative to lemon meringue pie.
Newly planted lettuce and bok choy.  You can see snow peas and kale in the background.

The last of the first crop of cabbages.  A new batch was planted two weeks ago.

This is the lettuce and bok choy again but here you can also see the garlics planted a couple of months back and the last of the potatoes.  They are flopped over and waiting to be dug up, there are still a lot of them inside waiting to be eaten.

We used to grow blueberries here but they never really did very well so we dig them up and planted tomatoes.  Tomatoes are something we eat almost every day.  We need a lot of them.  Whatever excess we have I turn into tomato chutney and sauce. 

This sorry sight is what is left of a crop of tomatoes planted about four months ago.  You can see the brown leaves - that's tomato wilt.  It doesn't affect the tomatoes at all but it weakens the plant a lot.  We aim to get about four kilos (9lbs) from each bush and then we pull them out.  Tomatoes are always a difficult crop for us to find new space for.  Once we've grown a crop we like to leave that spot for a few years before planting tomatoes - or potatoes, capsicum (peppers) or eggplant - there again.

And this is what we did with our blueberries.  They are planted up in my antique baby bath and bread bin.  :- )  I've just noticed that Hanno's planted a couple of marigolds in there too.  We'll watch them in this space and if they fail to thrive, we'll find a better home for them.

I suppose many of my northern hemisphere friends will be up to their necks in vegetables and fruits right now.  I hope you're enjoying your gardens and learning the things that will help you next year and 30 years from now.  Once gardening gets you, you're in it for life.


  1. Goodmorning Rhonda,as I read your post this morning I had to smile as we are waiting for our never ending feast lol.Our passionfruit vine went crazy but no bees no fruit(now we know to go with a brush next time) and so Bob cut it right back to give it another go only to find on the old shed at the back right at the top one lonely little passionfruit we just looked at it and laughed.I have to say that THIS TIME the vegie patch is looking hopeful,he has lots of things in just praying they all yeild more than one vegie.WE are witing for our abundance and as good things come to all who wait...we are waiting..

  2. Hello Rhonda,

    I'm curious to know how much of a winter you get where you are. Snow? Below freezing temps?

  3. "Once gardening gets you, you're in it for life."

    So true! Now that I have found how satisfying it is to grow even a small amount of food, I'll never stop. Gardening is also so interesting, and every year you learn new things as you mentioned. It's definitely a new passion of mine!

  4. Hello Melissa. No snow here, no frosts either. The lowest it goes overnight in winter is about 1 or 2C/35F. In the day time the temp rises to about 20c/68F. We are in the sub tropics.

  5. Good morning
    I figured you had to be somewhere a bit north of me Rhonda Jean - Im in the Southern Highlands NSW, gets a bit frosty around here.

    My veggie garden has some cabbage, a few leftover carrots and a bit of Kale, but I couldnt plant some of the things you are planting at the mo'
    Im looking forward to spring, and planting lots of new things.

    Fiona Jean

  6. You wouldn't believe what the antique shop up the road from home is charging for a bread crock the same as what you have your blueberries growing in! (over $200!)

    Your garden looks great! I'm just starting to kick mine off -if I can best the blasted bush turkey who keeps trashing my garden. I am hoping a scarecrow might keep him out.

    Do you have trouble with bush turkeys where you are?

  7. Good morning Rhonda,

    We had a lightining strike in May and lost our computer, so you haven't seen my name on your comments for awhile. I really missed your lovely messages, but now I'm back I will spend some lovely hours catching up on what your've been up to. We are reaping lots of winter goodies from our garden and most days the food on our table is grown by us or caught be the big fellow who just loves fishing. We also had the same passionfruit that you have grown and they were delicious but alas all finished now till next year. Thanks always for the effort you put into you blog, I feel like we're old friends now and so look forward to hearing your news each day.

    Blessings Gail

  8. You are right that gardening 'gets you'. This is my first year of 'serious' gardening. It's all in pots and growbags but we are thinking of using the space in our front garden next year so that the children can have the back garden to play in again. We are inundated with courgettes at the moment. We also have ridge cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. I was a little late getting things started but I hope to be on top of it next year. We get so excited about checking what's ready to eat each day. I've definitely been grabbed.

  9. We have tomato wilt too. Is there nothing you can do to prevent it??

  10. Wow. Wasn't the garden left fallow until about March? Things are looking great.

  11. Bianca, we have an ongoing battle with bush turkeys. Alice chases them but now that she's losing her eyesight, she rarely sees them. They seem to be more interested in the chook food than the garden. They've taught themselves how to open the hopper too. grrr.

    Hi Gail! I wonder what happened to you. It's good to have you back.

    Reyna, I've never found a fix for wilt.

  12. Thank you for another glimpse into your garden. the Passion Fruit looks wonderful. Thank you for all that you share. Emily in South Texas

  13. Hughesey, I do use as much organic and natural makeup as possible. I usually buy it online - The Biome link on my blog is an excellent source of natural skin care.

  14. We are going to be up to our necks in tomatoes any day now!
    We have learned so much this year.

    Your passionfruit look a lot like our plums...I wonder if they are in the same family. You intrigued me with your description of making curd with them! Never would have thought of that!

  15. Your passionfruit looks wonderful! Ours only gace us about 10 this first year.

    What do you do to feed and prune your passion fruit in its off season? We are also in the South but our granidila season is summer.

  16. Good Morning Rhonda,

    we also love our Tomatoes. They are so jummy!
    Our beans didn't come up this year, just like the aubergines (do you know which veg I mean with this?). Our three sorts of tomatoes, potatoes, corn, grapes and blackberries grow considerably. Hope we do have an big harvest! ;o)

  17. Hello Rhonda
    I have noticed how you mulch everything with straw, as do others I see in Australia, I wonder if it is worthwhile doing in the UK..... in our damp climate the slugs would probably have a field day.
    Your garden is looking very good.

  18. 'Once gardening gets you, you're in it for life.' How true! My Grandmother introduced me to gardening, and I have loved it ever since. Something wonderful about it is you never stop learning. Up here in Canada, my tomatoes are nearly ready, potatoes are mid-stage, the peas are over, and I'm daily harvesting onions, beets, cucumbers, and squashes. Around here, we've learned to work with the snow/frost, and to make do with a short growing season.
    Your garden looks beautiful! I love all the pictures you post! I've never actually tasted passionfruit, but have heard it's good. A passionfruit pie would be interesting!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  19. Dear Rhonda...Thanks for sharing some photos from your garden. I always love reading about what you're planting. You and Hanno truly are a wonder :) :) :)
    Oh, I was thinking about tea yesterday...many of my blgo friends and I participate in Tuesday Tea parties...where we talk/celebrate all things related to tea. How do you celebrate tea where you live? I'd love to see a post on that sometime :) :) :)
    My grandmother had tea EVERY afternoon usually 3 o'clock in the afternoon...sometimes as late as 4 o'clock!!!
    Anyway, I'm a little off topic again :) :)...I hope you'll find a spot where the blueberries will grow and thrive. Those make great frozen treats...put them in the freezer fresh..once they're frozen..put some in a bowl with some milk. ..the milk turns into a slushy..and it's a nice frozen fruit treat :) :)
    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  20. I love the look of your garlic patch... I'm inspired to put more in

  21. Hello Rhonda!
    Just catching up with your last posts and wanted to say how much I agree that once gardening gets you you are in it for life - so true! I was introduced to gardening by my Grandfather as I child and always tried to have a garden if I could because I got so much out of it on a personal level. When my 2 children came along I am sorry to say it took a back seat for a long time and only seemed to get as far as cutting the lawn, but this year I have re-discovered my love for gardening and for the first time have quite successfully grown a few veggies & strawberries(there is nothing like picking your own french beans to cook for tea!! and they tasted good! Saves on the airfare from Eygpt eh??!) I am hoping shortly to have some raised beds built so that I can do a lot more next year.
    After reading 'Heathers blog o'gram' comments, she reminded me so much of my Grandparents who everyday at 4pm would have tea biscuits & homemade cake (always tried to visit at that time!) and it was heaven sitting on the back lawn in the summer with Grandad munching away - think I might just reinstate Grandma & Grandad's tradition!!


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