Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Harvest Monday, December 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background of, and other posts relating to Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres Blog.

Blueberries:

Blueberries

YUM. Nothing beats a freshly picked blueberry off your very own blueberry bush. It can taste a little on the sharp side, or warmly sweet from the sunshine. I haven’t weighed or counted the number, but I have been getting a few blueberries every morning for about six weeks as I tend to the garden.

Oregano:
Oregano

I am not quite sure why I grow oregano. I think it was planted by my neighbour. I don’t actually cook with it that much, but this bunch I had to prune because it was starting to sprawl. I dried a bunch – but then what? I still don’t cook with it. Someone suggested on the crop swap group making a tomato and oregano salad. I had all the ingredients in the pantry, apart from the tomato, so that’s what I made:

Tomato and oregano salad

I actually used only half the amount of oregano recommended in the recipe, and it was *still* borderline too strong. Maybe I have the wrong kind of oregano.

Can you think of other possible uses for my excess oregano?

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Harvest Monday, November 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background of, and other posts relating to Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres blog.

Garlic:

Green garlic Nov 2018

It’s getting into the warmest part of the year, and my garlic was still looking spindly. It was one of the last lots planted in late April/May 2018. I decided to harvest so that I could use the bed for spring/summer crops. This is a mix of supermarket garlic and Italian purple.
I then mixed mushroom compost through the garden bed to improve the sandy soil, and planted corn and beetroot.

Strawberry:

Strawberry

Holy shit batman, That’s not a strawberry, this is a strawberry! The cultivar is “Lowanna”, and was just planted in Spring this year. Although the strawberry looks impressive in size, it tastes much like a supermarket strawberry, a little bland in flavour. The centre is hollow. My friend points out that the tip is still white in colour, so perhaps I could’ve waited another day before harvest.

Post Harvest, Oranges:

oranges

Photo is from July 2018. Tree does not look like this anymore. But these are my oranges! Six years ago, I transplanted a miserable looking anonymous citrus out from the ground and into a pot. Two years ago I think I got 1 orange. This year, I got a wonderful July harvest.

What have you harvested in the garden this Monday, dear reader?

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?

Harvest Monday, April 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related.

From my crops, you would be thinking that I’m coming out of winter, going into spring. Nope, I’ve just been such a lazy gardener, I haven’t actually harvested crops from last winter. Why the sudden rush to harvest (probably woody) crops? Because if I don’t get the garlic in the ground LIKE NOW, then I won’t get a good crop.

Last year I got out as many cloves of garlic as I planted. Sad.

Parsnips:
Parsnips

Poor things. My hard rocky ground (clay) meant that they grew up and out and sideways and all twisted. I think that this helps break up the clay, right?

Daikon:

Daikon

I planted about 5 seedlings, obtained via a crop swap. I have one daikon survive, and it’s about the size of a carrot. Hmm. The force is not strong with this one.

One spear asparagus.

Blue jasper tomatoes. Nearly the last of the season.

Cucuamelons

Still going. Every day is a surprise. I can see how you get ‘volunteers’ the following year, as I was getting little cucamelons dropping onto the ground that took me a while to spot. A cucamelon vine is not for one season, I think it’s for life.

Honey:

Honey Bucket

This is almost old news. I harvested yet another two boxes off of a warre hive. This was from the third hive (Lilli pilli hive), the most recent swarm cast – pretty sure from one of the other two hives in the yard. That makes five boxes (60kg approx) of honey in the last month, 72 kg in the current season. About five combs were chopped up to make 30 boxes of honeycomb. The bucket of honey shown above is pressed out of the other 11 frames. I think I need to downsize my apiary.

Rockmelon:
Rockmelon

Australia has just been rocked by a rockmelon scandal, where five people have died and nineteen people have been made sick. Lucky I grew my own teeny tiny rockmelon. About the size of an orange. 160g. I think the seedling/vine (obtained via crop swap) was planted a bit too late in the season, south facing, and competing with an adjoining cucamelon vine.

Fig:
Fig

I told you last month about looking after the neighbour’s fig tree because they can’t be bothered (or they don’t realise that real food grows on trees) . So this morning, when I was putting on extra fruit fly exclusion bags/netting around the figs… I collected one fig. Sweet sweet nectar.

So dear reader, what have you grown or harvested this month?

Harvest Monday, March 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I’ve been a bit busy with life and work, and I have harvested many things over the summer months. I just haven’t had time to write about it. Not eating completely from the garden, but certainly supplementing what I buy from the shops.

Honey:

About 11kg harvested in February, from Hive no. 2 (Batbox hive). That one was cross-combed like you wouldn’t believe – every single bit of comb built had ignored the directions of the frames, and had been constructed 90 degrees to the frames. No wonder these bees had been bearding all throughout summer, they had built their comb “the warm way”, even though the frames were set up “the cool way”. Stubborn little things!

Honeyccomb March 2018

About 22kg from hive no. 1, harvested in March. This is/was the main hive, the original one – but a few generations along. I managed to harvest a full two warre boxes from this one, probably my first full harvest from this hive for at least two seasons. I had shifted this one away from hive no. 2, so there was a bigger distance between the two and less fighting.

Fwd: Honeycomb

This unfortunately means that this hive is in full shade for most of winter, so honey flow has been a bit slow. About 3 combs were retained to be sold as honeycomb in takeaway boxes (28 of them!), and the rest I crushed as honey.

Cucamelons:
Fwd: Cucamelons

I discovered this vegetable last year through the crop swap, and loved them. Also known as mexican sour gherkins, these are like bite sized cucumbers, and delicious as-is, or in a salad. I got two plants as a swap through the crop swap group, and its lovely to be able to wander around and pick a few when they reach the right size.

Perennial Basil:

Perennial basil

This basil ‘tree’ is about 5 years old. I don’t have the heart to rip out the plant, and the bees really do love the flowers. I notice that if I don’t trim the flower stems back, you get more leaf ‘shoots’ off the old flower stems. So I trim back sections of the basil flowering heads at a time.

Perilla:
Perilla

Also known as shiso or wild sesame. These add a nice flavour to a salad, or are tasty in a freshly wrapped rice paper roll. I used these leaves and the basil leaves to make pesto.

Tomatoes:

Blue Jasper cherry tomato

Blue Jasper. A nice large cherry tomato with a dark green ‘stripe’ on the skin. I have to remember to harvest these before they start to rot. I got the seedlings through the sydney crop swap. I have saved a few seeds for next year, because I do like them. I think I’ve had nearly 1kg worth of tomatoes from one plant.

Sourdough:

Sourdough

I got the sourdough starter through the crop swap group for a jar of honey, and then made a levain which ended up proving for 5 days because life got in the way. After finally making the bread round and proving it overnight, it did rise a little, and I baked it in the oven in my new wrought iron solidteknics pan. It was a nice dense crumb, an almost fruity taste – and hey, I didn’t bake a rock!

Pepino Melon:

Pepino melon

Also known as “tree melon”, the plant started off from a cutting harvested from a Permaculture open day. 18 months later, I have fruit! It is yellow with slight purple/brown stripes. I think the fruit is dependant upon being in sunshine, as an earlier fruit that started growing hasn’t gotten much bigger than a walnut. This one picture is about the size of a tomato or a small apple.

Strawberries:
Homegrown strawberries

There is no fruit as sweet as one picked from your own garden, still warm from the sun. Even ones that have been slightly nibbled by ants or snails (bottom right hand corner).

Other stuff still going in my garden:
I have some promising oranges growing, and I have adopted the neighbours fig tree. I water it, I have put some fruit exclusion bags on it, and I hope to get figs soon. I have also taken looking after the neighbours two orange trees – just watering and de-stink-bugging them when I have time. The place was recently sold by a keen gardener, and it makes me cry to see the inattention and neglect that the new tenants have towards the garden that the previous owner loved so much.

Harvest Monday and Garden update, October 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things Harvest related.

October* has been all about the mulberries.

Not mine, just ones foraged off the street. This is the perfect arrangement, as I don’t have to deal with purple stained driveways or washing.

I found two trees on my way to the train station, which I had been foraging from at first. The berries were a little on the small, dry side. Then I found two off a freeway on my way back from a parkrun event which yielded me a 400g reward (all my giant takeaway coffee cup would fit). Finally – my most recent source has been from the carpark at the local pub. I am sure that the mulberry tree has been “very well watered & fertilised” from the patrons, but these berries are super fat and juicy.

The various berries got turned into jam:

Mulberry and Paddy Melon Jam

Paddy melon and mulberry jam. I bought the paddy melon at a street side stall in the Mangrove mountain area, with the intention of eating it and saving the seeds. When I actually looked up “paddy melon”, my melon was the wrong size (too big), and hopefully not of the poisonous variety. So perhaps it was a pie melon (or a jam melon), which feature in a Country Women’s Association (CWA) cookbook.

As well as scary Eye-Pies for a halloween event at work:

Eye Pies

The recipe I got from NotQuiteNigella, but with the mulberry pie adaptation from Allrecipes with only 1/2 cup of sugar to 3 cups of raspberries. Some people seriously have a sweet tooth – my proportions were perfect!

Attack of the lettuces:

Attack of the lettuces

These butter lettuce seedlings were obtained via crop swap. I can see that they’re now bolting to seed, but just before they were ready for my heavy handed harvesting, I got a lot of lettuces and salad mixes from various other crop swaps. Now, the caterpillers and snails love hiding amongst the leaves, so I have to check and wash them quite thoroughly before using. These generally go into sandwiches, but I may have to make a few more salads in the next few days to get the most out of my crop.

Parsley.

I didn’t realise that tabouli is *so* easy to make. With my neighbour, and current tablouli expert away, I used a recipe from the Almond Bar cookbook. I have made a giant batch for a sheep roast BBQ, and a smaller batch for a picnic. The secret? Lots of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and ras el-hanout in the dressing.

I also plan to use the next harvest as a pesto green, another idea I got from the crop swap group.

Honey:

Honey Harvest Oct 2017

We have had a very dry winter, and so the bees have been having a field day. I had two swarms in a fortnight in September (does a bee swam count as a harvest I wonder?), one which I kept, one which I gave away. I nadired three hives (all were full of comb to the bottom), and harvested on frame from the third hive (lilli pilli swarm) which was 3/4 capped. This gave me about 2kg of honey.

Dwarf beans, broad beans:

Harvest of Beans

Three dwarf beans, about five broad beans. I think the broad beans were “early harvest” from Mr Fothergills. I haven’t gotten anything from the tripoli. All my broad beans were planted in May, and had serious attacks of the aphids on the as-yet-unopened flower clumps. I think this has affected the production.

Pomegranates:
Pomegranate

I didn’t grow these. I foraged them off a tree down the road. Alas, I dropped one beauty into the overgrown grass *ahem* on the wrong side of the fence. The fruit is very sweet, definitely worth harvesting again.


Coffee bean seedling:

coffee bean seedling

I told you about this in September I have had one germination out of all of the green coffee beans that I soaked in seaweed solution prior to planting.

Planted/seeded:
– Water chestnuts (I ate two, and have “planted” the other four in water. They are amazingly creamy and crisp, almost like fresh coconut, but without the heaviness. I already have two little shoots poking out)
– Purple tomatillo (cos it’s PURPLE)
– Purple chilli (see above)
– Cape Gooseberry
– Tomatoes, mainly received as part of a swap. The most interesting one I am looking forward to is the blue jasper.
– glass corn/ gem corn. I had 3 seedlings, an attack of the caterpillars, then it’s down to one. Hopefully I can get enough pollination from one plant to be able to grow this more succesfully next season.

Seeds Saved:
– Mustard Greens
– Yellow mustard (the only thing that really grew as part of my Horta mix)
– Rocket
– Pak Choy (Bolted to seed almost straight away, no eating).

So dear reader, what have you harvested and what have you planted this month?

* I am 100% aware that it is now November. Life, exams, got in the way of the timely publication of this post.

Harvest Monday September 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related.

Salad mix:

Salad mix

Various things, gathered from the garden, for this week’s salad mix for inclusion in sandwiches. This includes mustard greens (plant obtained via a swap), horta, butter lettuce (swap), curly kale, parsley (self seeded), rocket (arugula), land cress, beetroot greens.

I finally have some broad bean flowers showing. I planted six broad beans directly into the soil in the planter box. Two months before I got any shoots – only one for the direct sowed, and two shoots for the ones that I soaked in seaweed solution.

Spring Seedlings 2017

Other stuff obtained in the past two month via swaps:
– yellow capsicum (pepper) seedlings
– tomato seedlings (black krim & yellow something)
– pak choy seedlings
– bitter melon seedlings (I planted two, will onswap the other. I don’t eat it.. so not sure why I planted it!)
– dwarf bush bean seedlings
– random lettuce seedlings (red oak, cos, butter)
– kabocha seedlings
– mushroom plant (I killed it by not planting it)
– pomegranate tree
– 2kg of cumquats
– Yacon, some to plant, some to eat
– Seed Potatoes (Otway red, snow queen, royal blue)
– coffee chaff & coffee bags (hessian sacks)

Other stuff still growing in the garden/seedlings:
– celery
– onion
– garlic
– kohlrabi (getting a bit late in the season)
– beetroot, grown from seed
– potatoes (pontiac, snow queen, royal blue)
– brussels sprouts (took a cutting from my infested brussels sprouts earlier in the year)
– land cress (as a sacrificial lure for the white cabbage moth)

I have planted some green coffee beans that I found in the hessian sacks, after first soaking in seaweed solution. I hear that germination rate isn’t high. But hey, free coffee beans. Fingers crossed!