Thanks for your enthusiasm about the new book. I was amazed at all the comments yesterday. It's a wonderful feeling knowing you're all there waiting and as eager for the book to be out as I am. I've decided this will be my last book so I'm savouring every moment of it. I'll have another update after I find out about the book tour and publicity. I want to tell you more about the book too but that will have to wait until after I see the final stage - apparently that will be here in the next two weeks.
In the meantime, let's get back to lives being lived. Tricia flew back to Sydney yesterday and even though I was looking forward to gardening and carrying out a couple of plans I have for that area, instead I watered the vegetables then sat on the garden bench and felt a wave of tiredness overcome me. Hanno brought out a pack of sugar cane mulch for me to use on the new beds but it's still not done. My plan now is to do it tomorrow. I have a feeling that the last few months have taken a toll on my energy levels. In addition to meeting so many impossible deadlines, Hettie's death and the lead up to it, more mundane things such as a burst water pipe in the kitchen on Monday seem to have hit me all of a sudden. Let's see what tomorrow brings. It might just be that I need a few nights good sleep with nothing to do the next day.
Silverbeet/chard, beetroot and lots of parsley.
Lettuce, turnips and a potted Cleome.
Cut to the ground in winter, the raspberries are starting to shoot again.
Violas and alyssum with a pot of succulents.
Curly kale and rosemary.
The garden is smaller now after we took out two beds last year, but it will still provide salads, green leaves, herbs and fruit. It's not nearly as much work as it used to be. As we get older, smaller is better. We're growing a selection of herbs that I always use in cooking - tons of parsley, thyme, sage, borage, rosemary, Welsh onions and oregano and there are also three types of chilli and ginger. We have lettuce in the ground and soon I'll plant up a tub of it to grow in the bush house. When it's hot here, lettuce will bolt to seed soon after it's planted but we get around that by thickly planting up a tub of it and keeping it out of full sun and well watered. We cut it early when the leaves are about half grown.
We've just planted four tomatoes and that will be the extent of our tomato planting this year. We're trialling two new types (to us) - Beef Short, a medium sized beefsteak variety grown on a medium bush, and a prolific cherry tomato called Rapunzel with metre long tresses of fruit. They've been in a couple of weeks now and are both going well so far. Rapunzel is in flower already. We still have the ever-present kale crop and it's still looking spectacular. If you're thinking of growing kale this year, look for curly kale because it grows like a weed through winter and into summer. Hanno has been eating kale for 70 years and says curly kale is the best tasting of all the kales, and it's the easiest to grow. Our other favourite leaf - silverbeet/Swiss chard has just been planted so we should be right for leaves for the next few months. Chard's sister, beetroot is in the ground too. I often pickle beetroot but we also have it raw. A trellis is ready for the Lebanese cucumbers to scramble over and I'm going to prune last year's capsicums/peppers and see if I can get another year out of them. Finally, I'll be running a line or two of French radishes along the edge of the beds. Oh, and we're planting a few rosellas too, for jam and tea.
We have more berries now. I planted two more Heritage raspberries and we've moved an old Youngberry over with the raspberries. They're in a fairly small area so I'll have to be ruthless with the clippers but there is a strong trellis to climb on so I'm expecting good things from those plants.
Shhhh, through the bushes I caught this elusive creature reading the paper in the afternoon sun.
I still haven't finished carrying out all my plans in the garden yet. This year I'm making it a place of production and a shady place to sit and relax. When I've done that, I'll take photos but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the photos I took yesterday so you can see what's going on out there now. It's a great time to get busy in the garden. What are your plans this year?