Monday, November 24, 2014

Pulled garlic today -

The garlic I planted before the last trip to France. Photos soon. Just wanted to note that it came up - hoping to remember what kind it was, after coffee....

Eating broad beans, lettuce, kale. Tomatoes coming on (advanced seedlings in and starting to fruit), raspberries about to go crazy, peas and beans just about ready to pick, zucchini and squash doing nicely (the patty pans are flowering)

Monday, June 23, 2014


Its quite cold outside this morning. There's no frost, but a very heavy dew and when daybreak comes I'll be keen to see if it looks like we might get some rain.

I sneaked out early and pinched some herbs and tomatoes from the last poor little bushes and now they're in a pot with last seasons dried beans and some garlic and celery - I'm hoping they make a lovely baked bean dish which is great with Paul's sourdough bread.

It's Jamie Oliver's recipe - I've forgotten my old one. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I fell off my blog

(I pinched that from another blog I read today, which I thought was terrific.)

So we've just come back from a glorious few weeks in Europe (very hot summer coming up for them, I think! Sablet was like a little oven!) and winter has hit while we were gone and there's Things To Be Done in the garden, although the delicious Gardening Dave and our very kind neighbours looked after the place very well for us. This morning the garden was thick with frost which still hasn't quite burned off. The chickens appear to have gone significantly quiet egg-wise - two eggs a day since we arrived back, and Pauline said they were only laying three a day while we were gone, so one of them is shirking. I think it's the black one, because she's looking a bit headachy at the moment, so I'm going to treat them today to a rice-tuna-garlic thing with some cheese shredded in and see if that helps by infusing a little protein. I'll add some garlic, too, just for anti-everything properties.

The co-op is closed today, but tomorrow I'll hit them up for some tonic and new layer mush. For some reason these girls prefer their pellets as mush. I think they're spoiled, but what the heck.

The vegetable garden got eaten by something  while we were gone - the caulis looked like they had been doing well, but there's only bits of the new heads left. The brussels sprouts, ditto - but this will happen when you leave a place for six weeks, and anyway we were planning to put new earth in for Spring. So that won't be a problem.

That's it for the moment. Just trying to remember to use this again as a way of keeping tabs on what works and what doesn't, what needs to be done, and when.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's raining.

I'm not being critical, I'm just saying - it's raining.

Rain is good. (But let's not go all UK about it. Poor lambs - we're thinking of you. Stay safe.Keep your wellies close by.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

We seem to have been away a lot this week -

- but there was still plenty of time for this:



  and lots of these.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Something to remember...

Two days after last week's heatwave, I was hunting out jumpers and jackets. Today was mid-thirties plus and tomorrow will be warmer.

Good thing I didn't plant that garlic, those carrots...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tomatoes Cunningham

Taking a leaf from Bruce's notebook, I used yesterday's heatwave to sun-dry some of the mixed tomatoes that threaten to take over the kitchen.

Don't they look pretty? They're in oil spiced with Carmargue salt, home-grown garlic and herbs. They won't last more than a couple of days - we'll eat them after work, on the front veranda with a glass of chilled wine, Paul's good sourdough bread, and a few salted radishes on the side.

I love this place.

Sowed some bull's blood beetroots, long red radish, watermelon radish and pulled up the bush beans - the next lot - in the western bed - are full flower now, and I wanted to give the squash more room.

I'm thinking I'll plant the tomato bed under garlic, when the tomatoes are done. But the soil really needs some work. Might send the chickens in.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Heat wave

It's going to be around 38 degrees today. I was out in the garden at about 7:00 and it was already warm.

We're coming to the last of the chioggio baby beets now, but I have some others almost ready, and some coming on. Ralph Long says I can continue to sow them till March, which I plan to do - we love them in salad.

I sowed a row of long white icicle radishes in the easternmost bed, which is going to be heritage carrots (Ralph Long says I can sow carrots till March, as well - so that will work nicely.)

There's a row of very late peas coming up in the westernmost bed. They're a test - RL says they can be put in in January, thought their best bet is June-Oct. We'll see if he's right.

Stinkbugs on the citrus today - just two. The chickens appreciated them, but I have to do a search for eggs on the leaves to keep things under control.

The apples are lovely. No need to net the chicken's tree - they don't get eaten by possums or birds. Gorgeous straight from the tree!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

They were got at -

-before I could photograph them, but here's what's left of the strawberries from yesterday. I have taken the net off, and found that because it made weeding impossible (well, not weeding so much as forget-me-notting) there is a little powdery mildew happening. So I'm going to give the strawberries and the berries on the line weak milk sprays as per Gardening Australia's advice and see how we go.

Yesterday was very warm (38 degrees, said the local weather person, but I don't quite believe that) and there is more heat expected before next week, so I'm putting off planting up the cleared beds till then. But I have seeds arriving today - yayy! - and I need to make some kind of plan to number the beds and use them more efficiently now that I know what's what.

Also took out the comfrey yesterday, because I have it everywhere in pots now. That soil should be well and truly conditioned, so I need to think what to put in there, in its place.

Also, write.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Change of seasons

Jonathon dropped by yesterday and agreed that now is a good time to start prepping part of the kitchen garden for a change of seasons. So I'm going to clear another couple of beds out, condition them a bit and then mulch them with straw from the chicken coop to see them through the predicted heatwaves. After that, when the weather has turned, they can take cauliflower, broccoli and maybe some late parsnip.

The too-early tomatoes are coming on well, though not as well as they would have if I'd held off a few weeks. Early ones are coming in now, though - all heritage, and very pretty.

Must remember next year to wait till November - and to prop, tie and prune more effectively. Also, once this lot are finished, must use all the compost on the tomato bed, and mulch and let lie. 

Today is also strawberry day - got to remove the netting, weed, and replace the netting, but properly this time. Also prep that bed for the heritage carrot seeds I'm expecting today - though they can't go in till the heat has passed. 

Also, write.

Note to self: the eastern side of the kitchen garden is getting all the morning sun at the moment - the western side is very damp and only gets sun from 11:00 onwards

Monday, January 27, 2014


Managed to save some of Jonathon's garlic - no thanks to Bruce and Paul! -

and I've ordered a whole array of heritage varieties from Diggers as well. It's still too early to plant (heatwave predicted next week, though it's been cool enough the last couple of days for jumpers) but I'm prepping one of the beds in advance - digging well, adding what's needed - organic, of course - and making labels.

While at Diggers, of course, I ordered a whole bunch of other stuff, especially heritage varieties of carrots. Ralph Long says I can plant carrots now, so I'm going to get a lot more in - they are delicious, especially the purple dragons. Also going to plant a couple in pots for seed-saving purposes. Now that I've thoroughly tested the kitchen garden (well - since we arrived in June, anyway) I'm going to try to be a little more orderly in what goes where. But only a little - I rather like the mixed up look, and I think it deters bugs and stuff.

We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Apples and oranges

and paris market carrots and purple dragon carrots and cylindrica baby beets and gourmet delight bush beans and zucchini and mixed heritage radishes and there are jaune flamee tomatoes as well in there somewhere and - oh yes - eggs. And a long green chili. No pattypan squash today, but there will be strawberries later, I think because I'm hoping to re-do the netting a little bit later (if the rain holds off). At the moment, the netting is so cumbersome that I need to send a neighbour-child in under it - and then pay him in strawberries, which is fair but unphotographed.

The oranges surprise me - they've been hanging around since winter, and the tree is flush with new growth, but these are still as sweet as anything (though hard to pick without climbing.)  The apples from the hen's run are gorgeous - but we didn't net them. We will next year. The others from the ballerinas are not quite ripe - we only netted half a dozen of those just to see if they're worth the trouble.

A possum pulled the netted nectarines down. Clearly we need to think this through.

Made up a couple of dozen pitticelle and *gasp* froze them - but we've already tried it with latkes, and we know that if you blast them (frozen) at 240 degrees fan-forced for ten-fifteen minutes, they crisp up very, very well.

The next lot will go into the dehydrator for soup mix.  :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Canning Day can't be far away...

Remember those Black Russian tomatoes we put in in September?   Brought these in this morning. They should go very well with Paul's bread and some cheese. It was bucketing rain yesterday and is warm and sunny today and everything is going a lit-tle bit insane in the garden. I predict weeding when the earth dries out a little. It's too wet to get out with the basket today, so I'm going to start looking for recipes. Especially zucchini recipes.

Coming on from September

Just made up a bunch of Rosetta Costantino's pitticelle di zucchini. Perfect! Simple and quick and delicious.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The radish situation is getting a little out of hand...

but it's nothing we can't cope with.

I cleaned out some of the kitchen-garden beds today and put in some chioggio and cylindrical beets, some massey peas, some silverbeet, and some paris market and purple dragon carrots. I need much less kale, as it turns out - and the cabbage is probably more trouble than it's worth when all's said and done.

The broad beans are an absolute knockout peeled, blanched in salted water, skinned and put in a jar with oil and garlic cloves for a couple of days

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This morning's gleanings

... this evening's dinner.

 (The Rockets assure me there is another egg coming.)