5 April 2011

Vegetable and fruit gardening

Thank you so much for all your good wishes for Jamie, Kerry and Sunny. They read through the comments yesterday and were really pleased to know that so many people had wished them well.

Things are starting to settle down again here and with the weather turning cooler, the first thing I think of is to make the bed with warm flannel sheets. There is something that stirs inside me when I make a bed with flannel sheets.  It might be a nesting instinct or some remnant of long ago when staying warm at night could mean life or death.  All I know is that when those cool winds start blowing through the bedroom windows in April, the flannels come out and are laid on our bed. We're not quite into a full winter bed yet.  So far it's just flannel sheets with a fleece blanket and patchwork quilt over the top.  With that amount of covering, we'll be warm and able to sleep with the windows open for a while longer.  I wonder if others do this staged approach to bedding.

Our bed yesterday morning after the new sheets were added.

There's not a lot to report on inside our home, I'm still working with Jo editing the book, but outside, Hanno has been busy building up a fruit and vegetable treasure trove to keep us going in the coming months. The prices we're paying at the green grocer now are way too high for my liking but even if the prices were lower we'd still grow our own so we know for sure what has been added to the soil and that no harmful sprays have been used.  The major benefit though is the freshness of back yard produce.  It is THE freshest possible and often during our growing season, I pick in the late afternoon and those vegetables are on our plates within a couple of hours. There is no way of knowing how long a potato or onion has been kept in storage before it's offered for sale at the supermarket.  Cabbage and apples can be kept in cold storage for weeks and sometimes months.  I often wonder about the carrots, swedes, parsnips and garlic. No one can convince me that eating long-term, cold-stored fruit and vegetables is nutritious.  The vitamins and minerals must have diminished or even disappeared during that time in storage.

This is our first greens bed.  It's made up of lettuce, red cabbage, sugarloaf cabbage and bok choi, with those wonderful large cherry tomatoes at the end.  I'm sure some of you will remember the tomato that came up on its own  near the verandah.  We saved some seeds, and that is what is growing in this bed.  They're a very good large cherry tomato, easy to grow, with great flavour.  I'll be selling the seeds later in the season.

As I wandered slowly around the backyard taking the photos here today, the chooks followed behind, gently clucking in their secret language.  Our fruits are growing well, oranges and lemons are ripening fast, there are pawpaws|papayas ready for picking, along with loofahs and pecan nuts.  The solo pink grapefruit is nearly ready for eating and there are passionfruit galore!  All the vines are full and we have about 20 passions sitting in the kitchen. I'll make something with them soon, I made a passionfruit and custard cake the other day, which was delicious but maybe this time it will be passionfruit syrup for later in the year and a lemon cake with passionfruit icing.

This is the red variety of passionfruit.  We're also growing the black Ned Kelly and the yellow variety.

No bananas at the moment, but there are a few navel oranges ripening.

We planted the loofahs late this year so we only have a half a dozen but we'll have plenty of seeds to sell when they ripen.

Red pawpaw|papaya.

Cooking according to the seasons and what is available just outside your own back door is one of the many pleasure of living this life. The trees and vines prompt us towards cooking certain foods; lemons remind us to pick them by falling at our feet when we walk by. The clucking following me reminds me to collect eggs and  soon my apron is bulging with produce headed for the kitchen.  There are few more simple tasks than collecting eggs and vegetables in one's apron, but doing it allows us to eat like kings.

Sprouting sweet potato ready for planting.

Seedlings for Brussel sprouts, red silverbeet and more bok choi have been brought out of the bush house and are hardening up in the filtered sun before being planted out.

The garden is no where near fully planted yet.  We have brussel sprouts, bok choi and silverbeet seedlings almost ready to plant out and an orange sweet potato sprouting and ready to go into the ground.  There is still room for lettuce, beans, more cabbages, radishes, more tomatoes, potatoes and turnips.  But that's the nature of vegetable gardening and the constant rotation of backyard crops.  There is always something to go in and usually something to harvest.

I have so many emails at the moment, there is no way I can answer them all.  I'm sorry.  I have read them all but there are not enough hours in each day now for me to do anything about them.

Blogger Template by pipdig