Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Harvest Monday & Garden Update, April 2017

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

Yes, I know it’s May. I’ve been working on this post for a while. Life has been a bit manic.

Harvested.

6 x Hairy/Winter Melon cross, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.3, 0.466, 0.868 kg each. That’s 8.03kg kg so far.

A hairy melon is normally hairy and long; A winter melon is normally short and squat. I think that my random curcubit is a Hairy Winter Melon:

Hairy melon

Handsome, no?

I’m not quite sure how this happened, because the seeds that I planted came from a winter melon purchased from the shops. I think that this also means that the seeds from these fruit won’t be viable because of the cross pollination. Oh dear.

Anyway, I gave one melon away;
Turned the second one into soup;
And then swapped the third for 640g of Boston Marrow through the crop and swap.

I was a little slow on the uptake, but it turns out there are lots of little ‘hairs’ on the leaves, stalks and of course *fruit*, if you’re not paying attention they stick to you and make you very itchy. So eventually I worked out that I had to wear long sleeves and gloves when admiring my fruit hanging on the vine, and checking them out. I think that it is time to harvest the remaining 6 or so fruit, ranging from baseball sized to basketball, as the vine has started to die back.

Two strawberries.

One Marigold flower – added to a salad. There have been more marigolds, but as is their intention, the ants and aphids have moved in.

Swapped.


Kombucha scoby
! Does this count as a harvest? Someone put out a call for a scoby because they had managed to kill their current one. I swapped the scoby, and got in return some fresh picked kale, fresh genovese basil, 3 limes, some bay tree cuttings, 2 chillies, oregano and thyme.

Butternut pumpkin! I didn’t grow this, but I orchestrated a three way swap. One lady had pumpkins. One lady had fresh picked saffron milkcaps, cooked with thyme and oil and snap frozen. I had just-made plum jam. I swapped my plum jam for three pumpkins and genovese basil. Pumpkin lady got some jam and a serve of saffron milkcaps. Mushroom lady got a pumpkin. I then used one butternut pumpkin to swap for 2 alpine strawberry plants (one white, one red) and one rubus moluccanus:

The last one had *grown from a single raspberry picked up from a roadside rest area*. Now that’s patience. My new swap friend then told me that my earlier native raspberry was not a moluccanus, but some other variety. Huh.

Malabar spinach:

Malabar spinach

Someone was ripping out their entire lot of malabar spinach. The cuttings from one plant went to about 20 houses all over Sydney. I offered to go and pick up the remainder, and take it to the next crop swap meeting. I cut the stems into sections and placed in water until it grew roots. I also planted two stems in the ground for myself.

I had resisted in the past planting the cuttings of the warrigal greens that I get, because they are high in oxalic acid, and you have to cook it first before eating. No such worries with the malabar spinach.

Planted.

This is the first year *ever* that I have planted seeds, and not gone off and bought seedlings.
Clockwise from top left:
Snowpeas, Kohlrabi, carrot, dwarf pea

Winter seeds

snowpeas – 50% germination
kohlrabi – germination appears to be 50%, seeds picked up from the crop and swap seed bank.
carrot – 20% germination. These were seeds saved by another crop swapper
dwarf pea – 20% germination

Others that I have planted, but not taken a photo of:

red rosso onion – 0% germination. Well, the seeds were slightly out of date (Aug 2015)

Beetroot – 60% germination. These have now been planted in the ground.

I have got some more (brown) onion seeds from a crop swapper, so I’ll try these and hopefully get a little more germination.

Banana update:

Banana plant

My bananas (second bunch) are still going underneath their little banana bag. Not yet yellow, hopefully I’ll catch these before the snails do.

Banana fruit, round 2

I also planted my “Horta” patch. Have you heard of this? It was described in my book as “Greek food for Olympians”, wild growing greens that you plant one ‘square’ (out of the square foot) method of gardening. My horta seed mix consisted of seeds I use for cooking – cumin, coriander, caraway, yellow mustard, nigella seeds, fennel seeds; then augmented with my garden seed mix: rocket, pak choy, radish, english spinach, silver beet, butter lettuce, garlic chives. Some of those seeds are a little out of date, but I can see little seed heads popping up now, so who knows what I have grown?!

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Winter in the Garden

It has been quite a cold winter in Sydney. We had a coldest july for 20 years with sub-7-degree C temperatures – the average temperature this month has been 7.2 degrees!

Picked:

Pumpkin. The poor pumpkin plant managed to put out one pumpkin before it was killed off with all the frost.

Pumpkin

Guavas. So many guavas. 2015 season was May – July. Three whole months!

Planted:
Seedlings. Kale – Cavalo Nero. Kale – red curly. 1 x beetroot seedling. I bought a set of six from the markets, but I gave half of them to a friend.

I planted snow peas:

Snow peas

… which are starting to form flower heads. They seem quite sheltered from the frost that we have been getting at least twice a week for a month.

This year, rather than risking the garlic getting whipper snippered near the rose bush, I have planted the garlic cloves in a pot. This should also help with harvest.

What does the garden look like?
Broccoli

Broccoli

it’s forming a head! The secondary plant, behind, is also starting to form a head, but it seems to be a bit shaded by the one in front.

The banana plant

Banana plant

is not faring well at all. I have a 4m high frostbitten plant. The chill has reminded the banana that it is growing out of its normal area.

Planned:
I was really inspired by the Vineyards in Santa Rosa, California. Rows and rows of grapes. I really want to put up a trellis/espallier for my grapevine in the front yard, as a sort of living fence. This sprouted from a neighbours’ grapevine, which has unfortunately had to be removed. I’d better do this soon, otherwise winter will be gone!

Miso Vegetables (Yasai dengaku カボチャ)

Trying to clear out my fridge, I thought that I would make something in the style of miso eggplant (nasu dengaku).

Recipe is from momofukufor2.

1 tablespoons mirin*
1 tablespoons sake (or any alcohol to hand)
2 tablespoons miso paste*
3 tablespoons sugar*
Four to six chunky slices of vegetables –
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions*, for garnish


Place the mirin (I used verjuice) and alcohol (tequila) in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow some of the alcohol to cook off. Then add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat to very low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.

I used ‘sweet miso’ rather than ‘shiro miso’. This has half the amount of salt than the aka miso, and I thought that I would get a better miso taste, and less salt. So I compensated by using 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of 3.

When the sugar is added to the mixture on the stove, the mixture turns into this glossy oozy caramel.

Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut pumpkin into chunky slices, about 3cm thick. Parboil the vegetables for 5 minutes, drain.

Miso Vegetables

Score on each side with a knife and sprinkle with sesame oil. Place under grill until it colours, then flip over. Sprinkle with sesame oil and place under the grill again.

Spread the miso sauce on the vegetables and put them back under the grill until the sauce bubbles up–this should take less than a minute, so watch them closely. Enjoy hot, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

I had some organic snow pea sprouts, which I snipped up and sprinkled as the garnish.

Miso Vegetables

Verdict?

Not bad. It seems that the vegetables really are just a carrier for sticky sweet miso flavoured caramel. I had difficulty getting the tops to brown without burning.

Next time?

Spread the sauce over more vegetables – that’s what I’m interested in, not the sugar! I definitely think that the recipe worked with the pumpkin and zucchini. I would separately toast the sesame seeds (as recommended in the original recipe), rather than try and toast on the veggie. The use of the sweet miso paste is really a winner because it isn’t salty at all. I may even reduce the amount of sugar next time.