Our garden is doing good things this year, thanks to Hanno and all his soil prep and maintenance work. We're eating from the garden most days and it's still overflowing with healthy abundance. I have a bag full of green beans in a plastic bag with a little water in it, sealed off from the air and when I checked them a few hours ago, they were still crisp and green. Just the thing for the green bean salad I want to make for tomorrow's lunch. We'll also have potato, egg and herb salad, just picked red and green lettuce leaves, rich red tomatoes and beetroot. Everything, except for the potatoes, will come from our garden. Our potatoes are growing but they're still about two months off being harvested. I'll serve that salad with the leftover roast pork I cooked for Sunday lunch, and a bit of mayonaisse I'll make from scratch before serving. There may even be warm rye bread with caraway seeds just out of the oven. The possibilities are endless.
Borage is one of the many flowers attracting pollinators to the garden.
I feel rich having a garden. It's so easy to go out and pick herbs for a pot cooking on the stove, or tomatoes for a sandwich, or oranges for a snack or juice, but those simple acts are enriching and empowering and give us the best food possible. We are rich.
We are lucky in that we can grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables here. We have snow peas, broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages growing because of the cool nights and tomatoes, capsicums, beans and herbs growing because of the warm days. In the photo above you can see the first of the cauliflowers peeking out. There are also beans, peas, onions, garlic, potatoes, kale, daikon and much more. Sunny and Jamie will be back at the end of the week and it will be such a pleasure to share our vegetables with them again.
Above are cherry tomatoes growing like a house on fire, while furthur over, to the right on the photo below, the large Rouge de Marmande tomato have dropped most of their leaves after producing delicious tomatoes for the past six weeks. They'll be pulled out in the next day or so and will be replaced by sweet peas and Brandywine seedlings. In the meantime we'll survive on the tomatoes in the kitchen, as well as the cherries and Amish Paste.
The chooks feast on a sprouted lettuce. They love eating whatever is thrown over the fence. Except, that is, for Jezebel the big Australorpe girl standing there staring at me. I took about eight photos and in all of them she's just staring. She's my favourite girl at the moment. I love walking behind them so I can see their downy bottoms from the back. They all look as if they're wearing big black bloomers.
They are the potatoes straight ahead, with beans and passionfruit on the right and cabbages on the left. In summer, that trellis will provide some good shade for the chook house.
This is part of our parsley patch. It's a good year for parsley. A tip for those who want to grow parsley, buy good heirloom seeds such as Giant of Italy and sow plenty of them in pots. Often it will take a month for parsley to germinate but they can be helped along by watering (once) with a pinch of Epsom Salts in a litre of water, or by soaking the seeds in hot water the night before you intend sowing. Tend them well in their pots, don't over water, parsley hates too much water, and when they're about two inches tall, transplant them to a full sun position in your garden, close to the edge of the garden to help with frequent harvesting. When the parsley season comes to an end, it will send up a tall flower. Allow that to develop and turn into seeds. Harvest all of the seeds, and sprinkle some around the garden for the following season. If they like the place they're growing, parsley will self sow and you won't have to wait for it to germinate in pots again.
The tiny speck in this calendula is a native bee. They're stingless and usually live in holes in tree trunks. These bees produce a delicious concentrated honey that the aboriginal people call "sugar bag".
We are so lucky to have the land, skills and mindset to grow our own vegetables. Not only do they feed our bellies, they feed our souls too. Walking out into a garden I've helped to plant and nurture gives me the feeling of wellbeing that many companies try to sell in the form of vitamin pills and holidays abroad. Wellbeing is a simple concept though and it's available to everyone who has a flourishing garden and the will to be part of their surroundings.
Don't forget we have a busy Sustainable Backyards section
over at the Down to Earth Forums. Robyn and Vikki are the moderators there but we all chime in when we can. If you have any gardening questions, go there and ask. There are many good gardeners there willing to share what they know.