Archive for December, 2008

Starting to harvest

December 31, 2008

I love this time of year when I start harvesting edible goodies in earnest from the food forest:

Beans: two water wicking boxes of Butter Beans have been producing huge amounts of beans as have the Purple King climbers on the bean tepee.

Tomatoes: a few ripening early, but all the bushes have plenty of green fruits. Looks like being a good tomato year.

Apricots: three trees, the oldest producing a mass of small fruit which I thinned and the recent rain has filled out. The two younger trees produced only a couple of dozen fruit each but they were a beautiful colour and flavour. I’ve sown most of the seeds from these two trees in the hope of reproducing their type. All the apricots are seedlings.

Nectarines: Not a good yield this year (the tree tends to produce a good crop in alternate years), but they’re a good size thanks to the recent rain.

Plums: Getting lots of decent-sized fruit from the red-fleshed Satsuma variety. The yellow-fleshed Santa Rosa is still to ripen.

Apples & Pears: these are rapidly increasing in size due to the recent rain and are usually ready for picking late January or February.

Beetroot: Harvested all the beets from the wicking box. They were small but very tasty. It’s surprising how sweet and earthy they are when eaten minus the load of vinegar and spices typical of tinned beetroot.

Garlic: Harvested, dried and hung in mesh bags in the pantry. I can cross that off my shopping list for the next six months.

Salad greens: Mainly lettuce & rocket, which (because they’ve been allowed to run to seed) come up everywhere, and purple-leaved amaranth which has also self-seeded.

Herbs: lemon balm and anise hyssop for herbal teas, plus rosemary, oregano, dill, parsley, garlic chives.

Shallots: First time I’ve grown these. Much easier than onions and with a much more delicate flavour. (I’m not a great fan of fresh onions).

Leeks: The last of the year’s batch. New seedlings are almost ready to plant for next year.

Zucchini, cucumber & pumpkin: I got to work with my pollinating paintbrush and now have some fruits forming.

Potatoes: several different varieties—Kipfler, Bintje, Nicola, Dutch Cream, King Edward & Desiree. Haven’t pulled any up yet, but I can feel them down there under the mulch.

At the moment it’s ‘food feet’ rather than ‘food miles’.

80,000….all dead

December 21, 2008

I’ve been following the exploits of Linda, Trev & Caleb since reading Linda’s book  Living the Good Life, a couple of years ago and was particularly interested when Linda started beekeeping, because one day I’d like to have some bees myself .

Linda has just written about the death of all her bees. Pesticide poisoning was the likely culprit.

How I hate this ‘kill-everything’ culture of ours. How devastated, how angry she must have been.

When will people learn that everything on this planet is connected and that we are dependent on it all?

Wet clear gold

December 16, 2008

Well, that’s how my friend Kaye described it. It was in fact, rain….all 75 mm (3 inches) of it, which we enjoyed over this past weekend.

All my bins, baths, boxes, buckets and the 3 tanks are overflowing. I’ve even stopped (temporarily) saving water from the kitchen, because there’s nowhere to store it!

The soil is wet to the depth of the Hamilton Treeplanter and so I’ve rushed some native tubestock into the ground in the ‘bush-being-restored’ section. Also put out some seedlings into the food forest: licorice mint, some more caraway, lavender and a few leeks for seed collection.

Our three pools at the rear of the property (two of which were empty) are now brimming. They normally fill from the tank overflow and since the tank was full before the rain, the pools got the lot. Today, the Marsh Frogs were bokking away (that’s the noise they make—like two stones being struck together, or so my frog book says) and there’s already lots of little masses of frog spawn in amongst the reeds. Amazing how a bit of water can change a whole landscape in a twinkling.

This rain will really put some size into the developing apples and pears. I’m in the process of ‘putting on their socks’ after getting another 300 this week from Green Harvest. I wrote about these nylon elastic socks which Green Harvest sell as apple pouches, here. They’re going really well on the apricots too, not a single parrot beakmark on any of them. It sure beats trying to get a net over the entire tree. Of course I won’t ‘sock’ every fruit—too tedious by far—the parrots can have the ones right at the top.


The apples with their socks on