Archive for September, 2017

Out of hibernation

September 23, 2017

With all the fruit trees blooming, it looks like it might be spring and I can come out of hibernation at last :

So….I wandered around the garden to take a few pics.

I left the comfort of the wood fire in June to go to the local nursery to buy a few more fruit trees. This time I bought dwarf varieties—a peach, a pear and a nectarine, to go with the other dwarf nectarine I bought a couple of years ago. The new nectarine is flowering at the moment :

Bear in mind that this plant is only about 40 cm high. These dwarf varieties are very compact little plants with short internodes giving them a truly stunted look. My first dwarf nectarine has borne well in the last 2 years and it’s still only half a metre in height. I saw a fully grown one of the same variety a couple of years ago in a garden and it was only a metre high and wide—easy to get a net over. I’m thinking dwarf fruit trees are the way to go.

There’s nothing silver beet likes better than nitrogen. These 2 plants are growing in an old bath and were watered with the liquid from the bottom of the composting toilet :

The native Bendigo Wax is fully out in flower, but there are NO bees. Years ago this plant would be covered in them. It’s very worrying :

This Red-veined Sorrel has come up by itself. Seems it’s not popular with the rabbits :

Bunnings have improved their edible plant range and have lots of blueberries in flower for sale at the moment. I bought another one to add to the 3 I bought a few weeks ago. Two of those have been planted in wire circles and the third in a tub :

Not sure where I’ll put this latest one. They’re very healthy-looking little plants :

The 4 blueberries I grew from seed a few years ago were planted in 20 litre plastic pails, which I made into wicking tubs. They’re flowering for the first time this year :

This was them as seedlings in March 2016:

So far that makes 9 blueberries in all in the garden. I’ve just sowed seed from last year’s plants. I put the berries in the freezer for a few months to simulate cold chill. With any luck they will germinate like the first lot I tried.

This bath is going to be a dedicated potato bed. At the moment, it’s a dedicated wheat bed. The chooks don’t eat the wheat in their poultry grain mix and everywhere I put chook poo compost, I get wheat germinating. I’m leaving most of it to collect the seed. The (stupid) chooks will only eat wheat if it’s sprouted first, so growing a bit means less I have to buy. The vet says it’s better for them when it’s sprouted, so maybe they’re not so stupid :

Asparagus are starting to appear :

I might actually get some decent garlic this year. The white rods are to stop the rabbits jumping into the ring :

Direct-sown Red Russian Kale in a wicking box. When I have plenty of seed, direct-sowing is the way to go. It saves all that tedious potting-up of tiny seedlings and then planting later :

It’s still far too cold for planting seeds outside so I started tomatoes on the kitchen table. They spend the day in the sun on the floor beside the sliding door :

I’ll have to start thinking about cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini seeds soon, too. We’re overdue for some warm days. We didn’t get a lot of winter rain, but it was just a persistent few mm a day. Enough to make the ground soggy and squishy wherever I walk. Surely it has to get warmer soon.

Postscript: It really must be Spring. A Cabbage White butterfly just flew past the window, heading for the kale.

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Broccoli rice

September 8, 2017

Cauliflower rice was all the go a while ago. I tried it, thought it was a good way to eat a vegetable I didn’t really like all that much and when it was on special I bought extra, blitzed it in the Thermomix (a food processor does just as well) and froze it in portions to add to soups, casseroles and stir-frys.

I tried broccoli after that and it went just as well. At the moment, it seems to be plentiful and this morning it was only $2.50 per kg in the supermarket. I bought 3 large heads and gave it the same treatment as the cauliflower:

All ready, in individual portions, for the freezer:

In the past, when broccoli was cheap, I bought extra, broke it into bite-sized pieces and blanched it before freezing. It’s never been really great like that—the pieces are soggy when they defrost and always seem to have that yucky freezer taste. So this is a great way to incorporate it into meals. I don’t blanch it; don’t even defrost it; just throw it straight from the freezer into whatever I’m cooking.

I did the stems too, a more chunky chop, and they’re going into a slow-cooker casserole tomorrow.

Just love those ‘oh, sh*t’ moments……

September 7, 2017

…….when you set off down the main path early in the morning, with a barrow load of stuff to take down the back, and……

Luckily I have my trusty, battery-operated chainsaw (recharged by the solar panels) and within half an hour I was up and running with a clear pathway…..

…..plus a pile of kindling…..

……..and some useful firewood……

Fortunately, it missed my little espaliered Granny Smith apple and a recently-planted bamboo. The tree the branch came from is a big old eucalypt which hasn’t been a happy tree for a long time. It’s been regularly dropping big branches, but I’m happier for it to end its life in stages, rather than come down in one fell swoop and leave me with a huge trunk I have to get someone else to deal with. With any luck, it will lose all its branches and leave the bare trunk still standing (although that will fall eventually, but I might be gone by then!). One broken branch is still hooked up on other branches. I’m always wary when working under it—the rule is, if you hear a crack up above….run!