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22 November 2010

Potatoes and carrots

It always surprises me just how much you can generate with something simple and a bit of work and know how. Hanno called me outside the other day and proudly handed me a large baker's basket full of potatoes he'd just dug from the garden. We think there are over 10 kg/22 lbs. All those potatoes from just a few sprouting supermarket potatoes planted in two square metres, or about one third of one of our garden beds, incredible.

Of all the vegetables we grow here, fresh potatoes and tomatoes are my favourites and just so different to what you buy in the shops. Nothing I have ever bought at a market or a supermarket comes close to the absolute gorgeousness of freshly dug potatoes, boiled and served with the addition of butter, parsley, salt and pepper. I used to wonder why there was such a difference because they are all grown in a similar manner, but now I'm sure it's the freshness that makes the difference. You never know how long anything you buy has been sitting in a cold room or warehouse and even in those shops that advertise fresh produce, often it's far from it.

Yet another reason to grow your own. You know.

We're at the beginning of our slow period in the garden. As gardeners down south are tending their main crops for the year, here it's slim pickings as summer brings bugs, torrential rain and temperatures too high for things like tomatoes to set fruit properly. We'll be growing a small salad garden and some wild and rambling pumpkins to shade the soil, and, of course, more potatoes, but that will be it until early March when we'll start gearing up for our main annual plantings. To tell you the truth, I'm pleased we cut back a bit in summer because it gives Hanno a rest from the garden and it keeps him out of that blazing sun. During this period of less home grown, we'll buy what we need from our fairly local market that's open over Sunday.

We had a quiet weekend here. Many of you will remember that Hanno came home from his holiday with a bad cold, which, of course, I got too. Well, my cold is well and truly over and done with, but Hanno now has a bacterial infection and is coughing like there is no tomorrow. He needs to go to the doctor for some antibiotics because it's been hanging on for too long.

I'm back at the Centre today where our new co-ordinator will start her job. She doesn't know yet that we'll have a morning tea to welcome her. She doesn't know yet how all embracing this job will be for her. And she doesn't know yet that it will be the best job she'll ever have. I am excited for her because she is such a wonderful person and I know that she will be enriched by this work, the people she meets and works with and the amazing capacity she will have to make the work she does significant and life changing. I made my sour cream carrot cake yesterday - a big one for the welcome party, and a small one for Hanno. He just loves cake. So now I'm off to add some cream cheese frosting to the cakes and to get ready for this day of transition.

I hope you have a great week. Thank you for taking the time to visit here.


  1. mmmm that cake looks good!

    ...interesting about the slowing down of your garden over summer.... we're just getting ours going really good for the summer here in Melbourne!
    Between our rental back yard and a plot at the community garden we have about 14 square metres to work with - by far the biggest I've had yet... last summer it was about 3!!
    Zucchini are about to go crazy... the first 3 will be ready within the week and then it'll be zucchini everything over summer with plenty to dehydrate for winter use.
    It's such fun watching everything take off!

  2. Oh I do hope he gets to feeling better. We are in opposite garden season. My goodness that cake looks awesome!
    Makes me want to heat the house up with some home baking
    Enjoy the beauty of passing on that mantle to the recipient

  3. There is no comparison of home grown potates with those bought in the supermarket. The home grown have so much more flavor and fry up so nice. Home grown carrots seem to be sweeter also.

    That carrot cake looks delicious. Our garden is long past here in the US. We'll start seeds indoors in the early spring for transplanting after all danger of frost.

  4. It makes me hungry reading your blog.

    That cake looks delicious.

    I don't have room for a garden, so I get my veg from a local organic farmer - so much nicer than supermarket veg.

    Best Wishes,
    Primrose Beresford

  5. Oo, I love carrot cake, and that looks delicious! Would you mind sharing the recipe?

  6. Glad to hear your new Co Ordinator will have such a great welcome and hope she finds the job as satisfying. I have grown potatoes, from sprouted supermarket spuds found in the back of a cupboard, within a few old car tyres stacked on top of each other and filled with old plant-pot compost. They were delicious rolled in butter and pinhead oatmeal with a few mint leaves.

  7. I sent a dozen fresh hen eggs with hubby this morning to give to some elderly friends he works with. They sent us some lovely home grown cucumbers and tomatoes last week and the tomato flavour was wonderful and the cucumbers crisp and juicy :).
    Hope the new Co-ordinator enjoys the morning tea and the welcome to her new position.

  8. I so love reading about your seasons Rhonda, it makes my head spin sometimes that they're so different to ours! We're battening down the hatches over here in England, there's not many leaves left on the trees, and much of the main annual harvest is in now.

    We won't get properly going again until around March either, although here that's not because of the sun (!) but because of the frost, snow, rain, wind...

    However, overall we're a pretty mild climate, and we can grow *something* all year round here, we're very lucky!

    Good luck to the new lady starting at your community centre today! I'm just getting over a cold myself, so have every sympathy. Have a lovely day xx

  9. Yes indeed, it is time for you and Hanno to slow down in the garden, i remember you saying this in previous years Rhonda.

    We are harvesting garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, silverbeet, lettuces which we are very happy with.

    Hanno please go to the doctor, we all want you well again.

  10. as your garden winds down from summer heat .. ours is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. A small covered tunnel of Swiss chard and spinach is all that remains. All things homey are beautiful .. no matter what the season :)

  11. Oh, Rhonda, I hope Hanno feels better and it is good to have seasons to rest. I am what, one year older than you are, and I find such a surprising and not terribly pleasing difference in my strength and energy.It's good to rest or change what one is doing....The difference of seasons is so interesting to me. We are heading to the shortest day of the year, though we've had a warmer than usual fall and I think that may be why so many people (me too) have been having colds. The frost kills a lot of germs! I love hearing about the warm welcome you are all making for the new coordinator. Life can be so satisfying when we are all kind to one another.

  12. I love potatoes too! I just read another blog from a lady in way northern Minnesota here in the states. She posted a recipe for potato casserole and it is very close to what I make. Her blog is http://ahomegropwnjournal.blogspot. com and she and her husband homesteaded many, many years ago and have built a fantastic garden over the years. I think you would enjoy her blog.

  13. sorry to hear hanno is sick! my hubby and i take goldenseal, a natural antibiotic. sending healing wishes your way!

  14. Hi Rhonda,

    I read somewhere recently that they spray the potato plants with a chemical that kills the green folliage when they want to harvest the crop. Apparently this makes the job easier for the for the machine that digs the potatoes. Mybe that is why home grown potatoes taste so much nicer. No chemicals. Cake loks delicious.
    Get well wishes for Hanno. I had the flu twice during winter and ended up with bronchial pneumonia so do take care. Have never had it before and it really knocked the wind out of my sails.

    Blessings Gail

  15. Sounds like your climate is quite similar to ours (west central Florida, USA)--summer is way too hot to do much gardening, so we do fall/spring gardens for the most part. Unfortunately we usually get just a few hard freezes during the winter, so we cover things for the night and hope for the best.

  16. Wonderful yield of potatoes!! I planted potato for the first time this year so I hope I can get some fresh potatoes later like you. I also started slowing down in the garden, just because it's getting too hot in here Brisbane. My husband helps me with muscle jobs in the garden but he's not very good at handling this strong Queensland sun, so I understand your concern about Hanno. You have such a warm wonderful way to welcome new person. I'm sure she'll be glad to join you. Have a wonderful week!!

  17. Hi Rhonda , how true that is growing your own always tastes way better then any thing you could ever purchase. I love just picking fresh tomatoes and eating them straight from the plant. how delicious and way more nutritious then anything you could purchase also !
    That carrot cake looks mighty delicious !I cannot eat wheat I've tried a few wheat free versions of carrot cakes still not as good as the traditional carrot cake . I'll keep trying.

  18. My hubby recently got a cold that progressed into a bacterial infection and ended up with him in hospital for four days with double pneumonia. Hope Hanno gets better soon, get him to the Dr asap.

  19. How did you know it was time to leave the Centre behind and give up the reigns to someone else?
    I am in a similiar position in my job and am having trouble letting go-please help. I'm not sure if it is the status, the money or what is making me hang on.How do I differentiate? I truly want to be done with it. I think.

  20. Rhonda, pretty, pretty please, are you able to do a post on growing potato's? We have no idea, and the last potato's we grew, we got about 5 tiny potato's, about the size of a 10c coin.


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