Posts Tagged ‘garden’

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!


Harvest Monday … a little bit late

This years’ guava harvest is early.

But I’m now fighting a battle on ***three*** fronts, up from one last year.

Bats eating the fruit when raw.
Fruit fly laying little grubs whenever they feel like.

And these guys:


Bloody lorrikeets!

They like to knaw on the fruit just as it has ripened and about to drop to the ground. They are then scattering the seeds all over the place so it looks like a cat has vomited copiously on my lawn.

Bits of uneaten fruit fermenting in the sun then attract the fruit fly, who lay grubs.

I have been trying to collect the fallen fruit and bagging it to minimise the spread of the fruit fly. But there is so much fruit! 80% of the stuff is affected by fruit fly I can’t give it away. Plus I am so busy at the moment, I don’t have the time to make jam/jelly products.

I have been ‘processing’ as much as I can: seeding and degrubbing the fruit then placing it in ziplock bags in the freezer. Apparently freezing may reduce the amount of pectin, but I’ll deal with it when I get there.

Processed Guavas

So! This week the harvest is:
6kg guava (3kg processed)
1 tomato
Bayleaf, Parsley and Vietnamese mint leaves.

Potatoes for dinner

homegrown potatoes by A Sydney Foodie2
Potatoes for dinner, a photo by A Sydney Foodie2 on Flickr.

I really need to remember that I don’t need to buy any potatoes, and that I have my own stash.

Most of the time I forget. Here’s what I scrabbled out of the garden for dinner a few week’s ago.

The offspring said ‘ew’ when I showed him my grubby haul in the process of being washed. I guess that ‘in reality’, potatoes grow in supermarket plastic bags.

This lot got turned into a simple potato salad with mayo, capers, pepper and parsley from the garden.

The trick is to dress the potatoes whilst warm and it turns into deliciousness. Usually I add fresh sliced mushrooms and cooked yellow button squash.

I also tried making a version of a potato chip inspired by my frienddoingsomethingnew* . You slice your potatoes about matchstick thin, and then fry them up on the BBQ with oil and paprika. I marinated my slices in crushed rosemary, salt, pepper & olive oil. This got fried in a pan. The edges went brown and burnt. If you didn’t eat them right away, they went soggy. I still haven’t worked out the trick with these. Probably a deep fryer.

*yup, that’s right; I was at her place slicing potatoes, and then I went home and did the same thing!

Scented Geraniums

I helped a friend lay out part of her garden, and one of the plants we got were lemon scented geraniums. I have always liked these, because there is something just so annoying about a standard geranium. They’re boring and they’re not useful!

Luckily, since we bought out all the nursery’s stock for my friend’s garden, my neighbour gave me some cuttings. I am embarrassed to say: I don’t know what exactly they smelled like, except scented! Not rose, not cinnamon, just scented.

Scented Geraniums

The hot weather has just started, not ideal for cuttings, so I snipped the majority of the leaves off to reduce transpiration, and planted the stalk with the first segment/branch below the soil surface level. They have survived a week thus far.

What to do with all the remaining scented geranium leaves? Bake muffins!

Recipe was taken from geraniums online.


2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 c. milk
4 tbsp. oil
Geranium leaves

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients.
Stir just until mixed; batter will still be lumpy. Place a geranium leaf in the bottom of 14* greased muffin tins. Fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake 25 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius.

* I used 12 muffin tins, but I wasn’t very exact with the filling.

I poured half of the mix into the tins, then added some dessicated coconut and pistachios since I thought the mixture rather boring.

Scented geranium muffins

The end result was really quite pretty. The heat and oil in the muffin tin “cooked” the geranium leaf. I can see what was supposed to happen: The heat was supposed to permeate the scent throughout the muffin mix – didn’t work. Don’t know why this recipe doesn’t have shredded bits of geranium leaf through it – like this other recipe.

Next time? Make scented geranium sugar, ala “vanilla pod” sugar, and use that. Also, try a variant with shredded bits of geranium leaf. If my cuttings take root, I should have plenty of leaves to play with.

Update on that Excess Lettuce

Remember those lettuce seedlings my neighbour gave me? Well, two days after, twenty-odd had been reduced to four. Scattering eggshells around the seedlings seemed to encourage the snails – the eggshell protected ones were eaten first.

Luckily a week later, said neighbour gave me another twenty odd of cos lettuce. I scrounged all I could, and stuck milk bottles around each seedling 24-7. This seems to have helped *some*, but some containers are no barrier at all.

I have been doing snail patrols every night around the garden … But my dilemma is thus: the seedlings are outgrowing their boots. If I remove the containers so that they can reach their potential, the poor darlings will be decimated!

Excess Lettuce

Excess Lettuce by A Sydney Foodie
Excess Lettuce, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Hey, look at these babies!

My neighbour had put some lettuce seeds in, and too many had sprouted. So I scored the excess, which I have now planted. I kind of waited a bit too long so they’ve wilted a little. Grow, grow my pretties!

Fresh Guava Tart with Guava Jam

So what is the best way to deal with my over abundance of guava fruit? Having made guava jelly and butter, and given kilos and kilos of the stuff away, I thought that I should package it up in a tart and feed it to my colleagues.

I was aiming for something like tarte tartine, but with guavas! *evil cackle*

1. Pastry
I made sour cream pastry. However perhaps because of the humidity, I needed 1.5 cups of plain flour to the butter and sour cream.

The extra flour was enough for a large 27cm quiche tin, and five 10cm taster tins.

I oiled the tins, and put a round of baking paper in the base to assist later removal. The finished product comes out quite easily, so this might be unnecessary.

Blind baked the pastry for about 15 minutes, or until light brown.
2. Guava Jam
I figured sliced guava on its own might be too plain in flavour, so I made jam. I didn’t read the recipe properly, so like on autopilot, I made as per guava jelly and boiled my guavas.

This is my recipe, modified from the link above.

3 cups guavas, de-seeded and simmered (as per guava jelly)
1.5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp salt

Boil the lot, and then have it on a medium simmer for about 30 minutes.

I had the mixture bubbling for 20 minutes, and kept stirring to stop it spitting.

This gave me enough jam for a thin layer in one large quiche tin, four small 10cm tasters, and one 500g jam jar for later consumption.

Guava Tart Prep, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

3. Guava Tart
Half an apple, thinly sliced.
3-4 fresh guavas, de-seeded and sliced into strips.
Guava jam, to taste.
Just baked pie/tart crust.
Allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar.

Smear a thick layer of jam on the pastry baked base.

Starting with thin slices of apple (optional), create the main pattern on the pastry, and then infill with strips of fresh sliced guava. Go on, don’t be shy, if you’re trying to use up a day’s harvest of guavas, you’ve got plenty to spare.

Sprinkle, allspice, cinnamon sugar and brown sugar. I had some Chinese five spice lying around, so that went on too.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and the fruit has reduced a little.

Guava Tart, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Verdict: yum! Evil in this case is justified.

Lessons learned: use heaps more fruit. Also, how do I make nice professional looking pastry edges rather than rustic homemade edges?