Archive for the ‘veggie patch’ Category

Still harvesting

April 29, 2009

Today I thought I’d better pick the rest of the capsicums since it’s gotten pretty cold now & they’re not going to get any riper. So I picked 4 of those, and another handful of tomatoes that have ripened. They seem to be ripening slowly but surely. Also today I visited my friend Eryn & her 4 month old identical twins, Bella & Olivia. They were gorgeous, even if they did spew on me a bit!! Also I finally gave them their presents that I made them, two kitties from Amy Butler’s new book, Little Stitches for Little Ones. They are so easy to make, and I’ve given them to a few other children of friends too. Anyway that’s all ๐Ÿ™‚

Garden Update

April 15, 2009

It’s well & truly Autumn now, and today it’s rainy & dull & gloomy. I was meant to mow the lawns today, I should have done it yesterday when it was nice & sunny! Here’s some photos I took yesterday in the sun:

apples

These apples are nice to look at but are full of codling moth worms. I have tried for 2 years to get decent apples from this tree, and this was it’s last chance so I will be taking it out this winter & moving a nectarine tree in it’s place. Sorry apple tree!

nashis

In contrast to the doomed apple tree is the very well behaved Nashi pear tree, giving me 7 fruits this year. Nashi pears are not actually a cross between apples & pears as some people think, and these don’t seem to be attractive to coddling moth or pear & cherry slug, so I think this tree has earned another year in the garden ๐Ÿ™‚ Behind the nashis are my slightly-chewed cabbage plants, they have had a growth spurt in the last couple of weeks.

squashes

My first time growing winter squash; had great results but the vines (2 of them) ran rampant through the whole veggie patch & onto the lawn, so I will have to grow them on a trellis next time. They have been lined up along the edge of the veggie bed for the last couple of weeks to cure, but since it’s raining today I really should bring them inside. They have a really hard skin so I hope this means they will store well. I will have to investigate recipes for soup & things. Overall I got 17 cute little yellow squashes.

bed

Just for something different, I thought I’d post a photo of my bedroom this morning as we got a tiny moment of sun earlier on. The nights are starting to get colder, so last night I put on my Laura Ashley throw rug for extra warmth. Also, it keeps the Puss fur off my luxurious Laura Ashley sheets so I only need to wash the throw when it gets too furry & not the whole set. Can you tell I like Laura Ashley? One day I will get rid of that ugly lamp & buy a pretty Laura Ashley one, and get two bedside tables that actually match, and some new curtains that aren’t pink. But, that’s for another day. Actually, considering their prices, another year! Anyway, I love opening the curtains & letting the sun come in, and my view of the (too long) green grass & tortured willow in the front yard is so nice ๐Ÿ™‚

Autumn is here

March 15, 2009

nerine

hydrangeas

cyclamen-leaves

puss-sleeping

It was a typical Autumn day today…. after raining all night, the sun rose to a beautiful day. Bright sun but with a slight cool breeze coming from the south east, it warmed up the soil just enough to evaporate the droplets on the leaves, but the soil remained moist. We are enjoying the last sunny days before the plants pack up for another long winter. The top photo is Nerine fothergilli “Major” which is a really nice Autumn bulb to have around. I find them to be very reliable bloomers. The pink Nerines will come a bit later, I can see their flower buds peeking out of the bulbs already.

The second photo is a lovely Hydrangea that was one of the only decent things in the garden when we moved in. But it was tiny, and has tripled in size since we started taking care of it!

The third photo is a patch of Cyclamen hederifolium in one of the garden beds. I have grown hundreds of Cyclamen from seed over the last few years, and I have given away some as presents or trades, but most have now been planted in my new garden over the summer. A few are flowering too, but not enough to put on a good show, I will have to wait until next year I think! For now I will admire their pretty leaves.

The last photo is Puss Cat in her favorite spot in the corner of one of the veggie beds; now that the corn is gone she has it to herself for a while, at least until I plant something else there!

Of course this nice weather never lasts long, and a couple of hours later my view from the kitchen was this:

rain

March 1 is Corn Day

March 1, 2009

corn-2

Not officially, but I proclaim it as Corn Day in this household, since this is the first time harvesting corn in my new veggie patches! I love the fact that corn comes in its own enviromnentally-friendly packaging. But did you know this packaging can be a problem in the field when harvesting? According to this website, and a few other farming websites, corn can overheat in its husks if harvested during the heat of the day. To avoid this only harvest corn in the morning, before the heat has had a chance to build up, or have vacuum cooling equipment as part of the harvesting equipment on site. For home gardeners, it is easy to harvest the same day you plan to eat them, and this keeps as much sugar as possible from turning into starch inside the kernels. Putting the water on to boil before going outside to pick the corn ensures super sweet corn!

corn-3

Also from that same website, I learned that more sugar is produced on cooler sunny days rather then hot days. I think I inadvertantly timed my corn perfectly to harvest on the first day of Autumn. I am going to grow even more corn next Summer, and this time use a mulch to keep the moisture level more even as I only put the sprinklers on the veggie patches once a week. But for now, I can’t wait til my next cob.

corn-4

Pumpkins!

February 25, 2009

pumpkins1

Besides a few tomatoes, I haven’t harvested much in the last few weeks. But now in late February there is a definite Autumn feel in the air, and it’s been raining the last few days which is really slowing things down. Bright orange pumpkins my mind signify Autumn as we always had them in the garden when I was little, more often then not they used to sprout from the seeds thrown into the compost heap! Continuing with the Autumn theme is the sound of sweetcorn leaves rustling in the breeze, the cobs should be ready to pick next week. I haven’t grown corn since 2003 so I’m very excited to harvest them. This week I planted my cabbage, broccoli & cauliflower seedlings, and I have to sow some more brussels sprouts because only one seed germinated. My parsnips now have two sets of leaves, and I sowed two rows of carrots, turnips and one of radish this week too. I plan to sow even more carrots after I pull the corn out, I can never seem to have enough carrots. I hope we have a warm March so that all my Winter-harvest veggies can get a good framework of foliage established before the temperatures start to drop. I’m in unknown territory here because it’s the first time I’m growing broccoli, parsnips, turnips, cabbage & brussels sprouts and while I’m quite familiar with Spring & Summer timing for seed-starting & transplanting, I never took much notice of this opposite time of year. The timing is not actually as hard as the space juggling, with most of the space being taken up by the corn & tomatoes which haven’t finished yet. But as of next week I should be able to pull up the rest of the pumpkins & squashes, the corn, and the capsicums. I pulled out the last of the lettuce which had gone to seed, and the eggplants which didn’t produce anything so were a total waste ofย  time! I then should have room to direct-sow some brussels sprouts & more carrots. Oh I almost forgot, I sowed an Autumn crop of peas today just as an experiment. I didn’t have any room for them in spring, but I have a bit now next to the raspberries, so I put up some chicken wire between two of the raspberry posts. I have pretty much mastered beans, but peas still elude me somewhat, so I will have to practice with them some more. I just really need to do more gardening ๐Ÿ˜€

Onion Harvest!

February 6, 2009

onions2jpg

I think onions are about the slowest-maturing crop I have grown so far. I planted the tiny seedlings back in August, watched them grow so slowly it was almost imperceptable, but then fiiiiinally, after 6 months, I was looking up ‘how to cure onions’ on google. Did you know curing onions enhances their flavour? It disperses the chemicals that give onions their distinct flavours more evenly around the flesh. Also, it lets the outer layers of the onion dehydrate and wrap tightly around the flesh, giving the onions their super storage powers. Curing is cool! And mine are curing at the moment, and will be for about three weeks.

Here they are curing under my retired barbecue, appropriately laid out on old onion bags from work:

onions1

Arranged from smallest to biggest of course ๐Ÿ™‚ Here is the count:

4 tiny

15 small

16 medium

4 large

4 jumbo

For a total of 43 onions. Not bad value for a $3 punnet of seedlings. But still only really enough to last us a couple of months. Next season I’ll be starting from seed, so I will space them out better to get more evenly sized onions. Did you know that onion size depends on how far apart they are growing? They don’t like to be too close to eachother, so to get the biggest onions you need to space them out. I need to find more space to grow more onions. Maybe I can squeeze them in between my flowers?

Garden pics

January 29, 2009

It’s warm again today, completely still & a little cloudy & humid. I pulled out the last of the celery plants because they were going to seed & weren’t very nice. I forked in some coffee grounds (from my work) to replenish the soil, because I will probably be planting some broccoli seedlings there in 6 weeks time. I also dug up 4 onions to see what they looked like; I am really not sure when I am meant to dig them, I will have to do some research. In the flower garden, I made some little labels for my snapdragons saying what colours they are, because I want to save the seed & keep the colours separate. Snapdragons are so generous with their seed, one flower spike will give me enough seed for the next 5 years, and they don’t seem to lose much viability over time. Other then that, I’ve been checking out my January crops: capsicum, gem squash, apples & eggplant. I love gardening!!

Garden Update

January 28, 2009

patch-2

I can’t remember when last I did a garden update, but I guess I should do one now since we are pretty much at the height of summer down here in Hobart. Even though the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting higher and we are getting up to the low 30’s for the first time this summer. You can see in the photo above, the corn are starting to ‘set fruit’ (is there a technical name for that with corn plants??), the tomatoes are huge and the onions (bottom corner of the bed) are almost ready to dig up. Under the chicken wire (where the little terracotta pots are) there is some late-planted lettuce (before it was so hot) that will hopefully give me something to harvest before it bolts. And in between all that are some snapdragons that accidentally grew there (don’t ask…).ย  And here’s the other bed:

patch1

Celery all going to seed (I ate as much of it as I could….), mini pumpkins (you can see one poking up over the wood), raspberries behind the nets (still producing a few every day) and you can see a tiny bit or purple in the middle of the bed, under that I sowed some parsnip seeds. I did my research and found out that they take up to 28 days to to germinate, and optimal germination temperature is 18 degrees Celsius. So I’ve sowed them into warm soil & to keep in the moisture I put a few layers of onion bags held down with wood. I have had it there for about a week & there is a few things sprouting, but I don’t know if they’re parsnips or weeds! I might have to take the onion bags off tomorrow to let them develop a bit before pulling them out (if they’re weeds).

seedlings

Speaking of seedlings, I am already planning my winter veggies. These are broccoli seedlings, they sprouted after only 4 days! That’s a record for me. Also around the same time, the Cauliflowers came up, and brussels sprouts. Still waiting for the cabbage to come up though. these will only be ready to put in the ground in about 6 weeks, it will be March by then!! They need another 6 weeks or so to build up a good framework of leaves. Then the cool weather will be here when they want to grow their ‘heads’. ๐Ÿ™‚

tomatoes

The warm weather ha definitely helped my tomatos, I had a problem with the blossoms dropping off before setting any fruit. I think it was due to the cool weather but I haven’t looked it up. But I have managed to harvest one determined Roma-type tomato, as well as some beans & a bit of usable celery:

harvest

I had the tomato in my salad for dinner tonight & it was so delicous!! There’s nothing like the first tomato of the season. That’s all for now!

Cat and corn

January 16, 2009

Since I got my veggie patches, my cat Puss has loved this one corner of one of them in particular. This just happened to be the spot that I planted my corn seedlings at the start of summer. Both my cats love rolling in the sandy & dusty parts of the garden, and Puss discovered early on that the sandy soil we got delivered is perfect for this!! She was so determined to roll in this spot, that it became a bit of a survival-of-the-fittest issue for the little corn plants! I sowed the front part of the bed (foreground of photos) twice, only to have the seedlings flattened by Puss’s somewhat wide girth…. Most of them survived however and are now starting to put up their pollen & silk. Exciting times!!

Brandy Snaps!!

December 25, 2008

Sorry, I don’t have a recipe for these since I got them free from work on Christmas Eve (sometimes its great to work in a bakery). But I did have to share with you all my absolutely delicious Christmas raspberries harvested especially for this dish, moments before this photo was taken:

brandy-snaps

I don’t know if the Northern Hemispherians have an equivilent Christmas bounty (the Pomegranate, maybe?), but for me it’s definitely my raspberries. I was going to make some mini pavlovas to go with my raspberries & cream, but with my free bandy snaps, I didn’t have to!