Still eating out of the garden

All I’ve bought at the greengrocer in the past three weeks are  a couple of onions and a sweet potato, both for a dhal recipe I wanted to make.  It’s a great feeling to be able to eat  healthy, chemical-free  fruit and vegetables for so many months on end as I’ve been doing.

I also bought some garlic, but that was for planting, not eating, because today is the autumn equinox and that means garlic planting time. Actually I jumped the gun a bit and put mine in on the 18th. It was a significant anniversary day for me, so I decided to make it garlic planting time as well. I should mention that I had to buy fresh garlic this year for planting, because last year’s harvest was so miserable it wasn’t worth replanting. I hope this year will be better.

I also planted 35 garlic cloves and 15 well-grown leeks in my friend’s garden, plus seedlings of kale, broccoli and mustard greens. This is the garden I wrote about here. She’s been picking beans, and her cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I hope to write a bit more soon about what’s happening there.

I’ve pulled out most of the tomato plants and the climbing beans that had grown through them. There are dozens of pods to shell and dried beans to store for next years crops.  I haven’t bought bean seeds for many years now.

There are still Cabbage White butterflies about, but I’ve planted kale, cauliflower and broccoli anyway. I just have to remember to inspect the plants every couple of days and flick off any eggs that have been laid. As soon as we get the first cold snap of autumn, the butterflies will disappear.

This is a mixture of green and red bock choy, direct sown into a water-wicking box. The seeds germinate in less than a week and grow very quickly. It’s a great way to get a quick feed of baby greens. I’ll use these in many ways—stir-fries, salads, chopped as garnish for soup or in an omelet or a rice dish. I don’t bother to trim off the tender roots, just pull up the entire plant and wash off the dirt. As they’re thinned the survivors will grow bigger and eventually I can leave a few to grow into full-sized plants.

Here’s a photo taken earlier in the season of a Gross Lisse tomato with some nice-sized fruits ripening. This one was planted in a water-wicking tub and also had some Purple King climbing beans rambling through it:

Last week’s harvest:

  • Snap Beans   270 gm
  • Black Russian tomatoes   534 gm
  • Red Pear cherry tomatoes   877 gm
  • Reisentraube cherry tomatoes   93 gm
  • Burnley Bounty tomatoes   1231 gm
  • Green Zebra tomatoes   198 gm
  • Grosse Lisse tomatoes   54 gm
  • Gold zucchini   203 gm
  • Lebanese zucchini  765  gm
  • Supermarket cucumbers   309 gm
  • Roma tomatoes  84 gm
  • Red Delicious Apples  7348 gm

4 Responses to “Still eating out of the garden”

  1. Veggiegobbler Says:

    Ooh thanks for the reminder about the garlic planting. I thought I still had a while to go.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Veggiegobbler,

      Well, if you read most veggie growing books, they will tell you to plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest. When I did that, I got miserable small bulbs, but got bigger bulbs when I planted earlier. The longer growing season gives the bulbs time to get a bit bigger.


  2. Jason Dingley Says:

    “All I’ve bought at the greengrocer in the past three weeks are a couple of onions and a sweet potato”. Oh the dream for these words to be my own. Give me a few years and inspiration from people like you and maybe they will be. So roughly what percentage of your own fruit and veg do you think you produce?


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the positive comments. I’m sure you’ll get there eventually.

      Over the latest spring/summer season, I’ve been eating what I grow almost every main (evening) meal. That is, all the veggies have come from the garden. I’ve been buying bananas (until recently, when they went up to $10 per kilo) and sometimes some stone fruit to stew for breakfast, and onions (because I don’t grow them…leeks are easier), and that’s about it.

      I’ve got about a dozen jars of pickled veggies and pasta sauce in the cupboard and I’ll eat those as long as they last and then it’s probably back to buying a few things. Through the winter there’ll be silver beet, chinese cabbage, leeks, peas, kale and broccoli (hopefully) and stored potatoes, as long as they last.

      So I reckon that over the last 6 months, I’ve been growing about 80% of what I eat.

      My biggest regret this season was that I didn’t get one measly pumpkin. I would have hoped to have had a dozen or so to see me through the winter.


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