Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Harvest Monday, January 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the January 2019 host of Monday harvests, please visit the From Seed to Table blog.

This sounds daft, but summer has been hot, hot, hot. We had a week of 35 deg C + temperatures, and not only that, but 15 of the hottest places were in Australia last week. So for that week, I got up stupid early to water the garden and hang up gauze cloth coverings over the most vulnerable plants.

Cherry Tomatoes:
Cherry tomatoes

I think I got the plant via a crop swap. My neighbour dislikes cherry tomatoes, too fiddly for her, but I like seeing these little jewels glowing amongst the greenery. This garden bed now has a Olla embedded within it, and the plants are looking really lush. I am filling this Olla about once every two days. Yes, I got the Olla via a swap.

Snake Beans
Snake beans

I planted some snake bean seeds, one germinated, and then I planted this seeding out. I went away, came back three weeks later, what is this plant? It’s snake beans! First time growing them, it’s amazing the growth that the beans can put on overnight. the vine itself is growing over the shadecloth framework.

Beetroot:
Beetroot

I bought these seedlings, didn’t realise it, but it looks like the beetroot itself is a striped variety. This got turned into a Sri Lankan beetroot curry, along with some leftover pumpkin from last years’ harvest and some curry leaves fresh from the garden.

Sri Lankan beetroot curry

It was quite an unusual curry to my palate – I haven’t really used fresh curry leaves before, but they do give an interesting taste to any dish.

Honeycomb:
Beatbox hive honey harvest

Harvested from the batbox hive. These ladies are on the cranky side, so as soon as we lifted the quilt off, the noise level “went up”. I think I’m going to have to put the callout for somebody to take over this slightly hot hive, because I cannot cope with having to hide in the house for the remainder of the weekend/week, just because I played with the bees on one day.

This crate is approximately 12kg worth of honey. I harvested 12kg in December 2018, and about 1kg in November (one frame: the reason why there is one bright white coloured frame in this box). That makes 25 kg this season.

Beeswax harvest is a little harder to calculate, as I have a big 20L bucket which contains (still) honeycomb waste from last season, as well as being topped up with honeycomb waste from this season. One advantage of this hot weather is having my solar wax extractor working perfectly.

So dear reader, what have you harvested this summer?

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Harvest Monday, 15 October 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The state of New South Wales is 100% drought declared, but we have had rain in the Sydney Basin for the past fortnight. Rain not where the farmers want it. But it is falling in the city so way the cityslickers don’t realise that just because it has rained in the city, does not mean that we are still not in drought. I have gone from saving every drop of laundry grey water to water my plants with, to letting it run down the sink because everything is so soggy.

Butter Lettuce:

Butter lettuce

I got some seedlings via crop swap, and this has just grown so much from the rain. I have been stir frying lettuce for dinner greens.

Pepino Melon:

Pepino melon

These have been hanging on the plant (Solanum muricatum) basically all winter. Most of the greenery and smaller fruits were lost to frost. The original plant cutting I also got via a swap.

Curly Kale:
Curly kale

My brassicas have been covered by a net to keep the worst of the vermin off. It has kept the aphids on the kale to manageable and squashable numbers, but reduced the “chill hours” that the brussels sprouts need. I think this year is my last attempt at brussels sprouts.

What about you dear reader? What have you been harvesting this month?

Plastic Free July Day 31

60. Plastic Spoon

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My plastic spoon, rescued from an aeroplane dinner service a few months ago, made up part of my “takeway cutlery kit”. Today, it broke. Vale poor spoon, I guess it’s time to find a metal one instead.

In some good news, my workplace, them that use incredible amounts of plastic plates and cutlery, decided to give away double wall steel reusable water bottles today. Woot.

Plastic Free July Day 30

57. Fish wrapper

Plastic Free July

I bought fish for dinner. It came wrapped in plastic. Considering that the last time I went direct to the fishmonger and asked if the fish was sustainable and was given a blank look by the 14 year old school kid behind the counter, I didn’t have high hopes of pulling off the reusable container stunt from when I got pork mince. Also, convenience.

58. cheese wrapper

Plastic Free July

Cheese comes wrapped in plastic. Unless it’s a whole round that is dipped in wax. I can’t eat 30kg of cheese in one sitting. The only place that I remember which used to wrap smallish rounds in wax is Tilba Real Dairy, but that was a long time ago.

59. Bulk teabags

Plastic Free July

My other half likes a particular brand of tea. Even if bought in bulk, plastic is involved. I have also heard that some teabag manufacturers use plastic in the teabag “weave”, or some plastic to non-staple the tag to the tea bag.

On the plus side, I attended a little workshop on how to make beeswax wraps using just beeswax and an iron. Not recommended to use beeswax wraps on fish though.

Plastic Free July Day 28

47-53. Zip lock bags

Plastic Free July

I went to the markets to buy sourdough bread. I can’t really eat a whole loaf of bread quickly enough before it goes stale, so I have to freeze some of it. I used to use single use cling film/plastic film/sarin wrap to wrap my loaves of bread up in before freezing, but I have recently shifted to zip locks, because at least they are sort of reusable. But I guess the question is:

Which has less impact: aluminium foil or a zip lock plastic bag?

I think aluminium foil has a larger energy footprint to produce. Generally though, you can really only use it once before it tears. But the foil itself *is* recyclable, if it’s clean and as long as your country’s waste system actually recycles it.

A plastic bag is petrochemical derived. A zip lock bag I can reuse multiple times. Again, it *is* recyclable, if it’s clean and as long as your country’s waste system actually recycles it.

What would you do?

Buying bread on a “as needs” basis isn’t really an option, because sometimes I just get super busy and I just need something in the freezer to pull out if I need to.

Plastic Free July Day 27

NO PLASTIC

A half day meeting at a not-normal office location. Catering is provided. I eat sandwiches using my reusable container as a “plate”. Everyone else uses the disposable plastic plates. Rummaging in the woeful kitchen cupboards reveals another reusable plastic container in which leftovers from the fruit platter can be placed and given to another meeting attendee.

Plastic Free July Days 25-26

45. sponge cake plastic wrapper
46. plastic bag for a takeaway bun

Plastic Free July

I am in a different location to normal for a two day conference. I have had to get up stupid early to get public transport to this alternate location. I refuse to get a bacon and egg roll from the fast food joint at the train station, but two blocks away I am now hungry. I buy the egg white sponge for my mum because she likes it, and it comes in a plastic wrapper. I have bought a sweet bun to eat for my second breakfast, also served in a plastic bag. This latter bag is reused to take home some extra cake from the conference. I don’t buy lunch the first day because everything in the food courts is served up on a plastic plate.

On the second day, I get that bacon and egg roll. At least it’s wrapped in something resembling paper.