The garden has provided well all summer.
Tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, capsicum, herbs, lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, celery, a few potatoes and yet to come pumpkins, melons and squash.
I have been in recovery mode and have not really photographed anything. After the pressure I put on myself last year I discovered I needed to reconnect with my ‘eye’. I spent so much of last year in books and on screens that my creative observation was neglected. I wasn’t thinking visually and it made me very unhappy and ultimately ill.
Together this year we are going to get all that back in working order.
I could talk about all that we are going to do in the coming months, and there are a great many projects I have in mind. But no, rather we pick one at a time. Day by day…. each day at a time.
So today’s starting topic is preserving. Let’s see where that ramble leads me. . .
Using the plentiful bounty that I have right now and not wasting anything. Storing it away to be used later when the fresh product isn’t just out there in the garden. Not that it ever gets so cold here that there isn’t always something growing out there. There is always a leafy green or a few herbs to be foraged. But right now there is PLENTY of everything and plenty of VARIETY.
Here is a some of what I have been up to. I feel so virtuous when I wheel my trolley into the local supermarket and simply cruise through the fresh produce isle knowing there is nothing there I need to buy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I want to buy, like pineapples and coconuts. So I do occasionally grab a tropical treat. This hasn’t always been the case, and I still consider myself very much a learner. The garden has come a long way, and I still make mistakes.
Spacing is my biggest mistake – even when I think I have allowed plenty of space. If I am busy for a few days, I always come back to find at least one out of control triffid fighting another over the space I had allowed for picking passage. I am learning to use the secateurs! Once I would have let the situation evolve as nature intended. These days I know that nature is only too happy to let gardeners help her control her unruly children.
I squish bugs, build traps and use natural remedies, I cut off diseased foliage and brutally uproot anything that is clearly not going to produce as it should due to infestation. I am also slowly learning not to provide an environment for bugs and diseases in the first place. My first triumph was the realisation that if I didn’t plant brassicas in the spring there would be nothing for the white butterfly caterpillars to eat in summer. So now I have less white butterflies every year. The brassicas will go out after the few white butterflies there are have disappeared.
I wish I could say the same for green shield beetles. They arrive every March and suck the life out of everything. I squished about thirty last night, and that’s nothing. There are legions of them out there – lurking. I need to get out the “dustenator”, which I have refrained from using until now as the diatomaceous earth it distributes harms bees just as effectively as it harms green shields. I can only use it on areas that have no flowers. This however I realise is OK, the green shields prefer the ripening fruit and fat mature leaves, where there are no flowers. No doubt a few will escape but the majority will get dealt with tonight. You need to dust on dry evenings with no wind or rain forecast for 2 – 3 days. That would be tonight.
I feel so virtuous when I wheel my trolley into the local supermarket and simply cruise through the fresh produce isle knowing there is nothing there I need to buy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I want to buy, like pineapples and coconuts. I do occasionally grab a sinfully tropical treat.
Last year I tried to grow stem ginger and turmeric from bits I bought from the supermarket. The advice I got was to soak them in water until they sprouted. They did sprout, but then they rotted. This year I have a different plan. Good old egg shells!
In poultry news.
Max is going to be a daddy. We think these eggs will hatch sometime this weekend. Assuming the nest was about a week old when Grumpo found it in the long grass last weekend, the twenty-one days will be up on or around the 12th. It wasn’t safe for her in the grass, there was terrible weather forecast so we had to move her even though her nest was sheltered and very well hidden. Luckily the neighbours had a small dog kennel but no small dog. She is very happy in her wee kennel.