Monday, March 22, 2010

A walk around the vegie garden

I haven't posted any pictures lately, and yet I've had so much growing.  Here's an overall view:

top tier: pumpkins, leeks, spring onions

second tier: globe artichoke, fennel, tigerella tomatoes, bok choi, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, rocket, lebanese cucumbers, lettuce, mesculin

third tier: multiple types of tomatoes including Roma, cherry, Grower's Delight, Digger's [something], Lenah Valley market unidentified; basil, dying passionfruit, unidentified curcubit.

fourth tier: failed cauliflowers, dwarf beans, white beans.

 From another angle.  You can see the rhubarb in the top right corner.

Crazy pumpkin plant, stretching over two garden beds.  I had to build a 'bridge' between the two beds:

My lone artichoke. I thought I'd try one and see if it survived before trying more.  It's growing like a fiend, so I think I'll get another:

A few young fennel plants. Only four survived the snail feast:

The only cauliflower (out of 10 plants!) that has actually produced a flower: 


My two faithful cucumber plants.  They look a bit scungy now, but they're still growing and producing about four cucumbers a week between them:

Beans.  Also looking a wee bit scungy but they've got a second wind and are producing slowly:


My cute tigerellas (so stripey!). Still waiting for them to go beyond the green faze...


Unidentified Curcubit:

Young broccoli seedlings, with my trial dog-proof snail poison box based on a suggestion by Hobart Kitchen Gardens.  I've never used snail bait because I don't like the idea of poisoning the soil or my dog, however I've lost so many seedlings to the damn creatures that I was willing to compromise

Bok Choi and Spinach plants:

Herbs including flat and curly leaf parsley, rosemary, basil (my better basil is cuddling with the tomatoes), coriander, chives, spring onions, dill, oregano, lemongrass thyme, and mint. Oh, and a scungy orchid:

Last but not least, my cute little fig tree who has more fruit than leaves. I know I should be taking the fruit off to encourage it to grow, but I feel mean because it's trying so hard!

Monday, March 15, 2010

thank goodness for Salamanca Markets

I finally gave up on my coriander, sage and curly-leaf parsley seeds.  They just didn't want to sprout.  My flat leaf parsley sprouted, so that rules out anything being wrong with the soil or compost.  So on Saturday I trotted down to Salamanca Markets, to the lovely woman who runs a stall in the middle opposite Salamanca Arts Centre, and purchased some pre-sprouted curly-leaf, coriander, some bok choy and some broccoli.  The broccoli has already been devastated by snails. grrrr....

On the upside, my beans seem to have got a second wind (of course, just after the markets), and I've had a few good meals of beans this week  (woot!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

at the mercy of nature

Maybe I'm being a wee bit dramatic, but for the first week in a few months I haven't had that many vegies.  Why this week? Well, Sod's law says that if I've got a market stall this week with the intention of selling some of my vegies, then the beans will dry up, the tomatoes remain green, the cucumbers are slightly too small, and the pumpkins, albeit massive, are not ready for picking.

Today was the second Lenah Links market, and the organisers were really keen to have some fresh produce at the markets.  I initially planned to sell only my pipecleaner creatures, but ended up selling a few of the produce I had that was sellable: rocket, rhubarb, the herbs rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil and thyme.

I also got up early, despite a hangover, and picked a massive bag of blackberries which I made into tiny blackberry pies for selling.

I stupidly didn't get a photo of today's stall or the pies, but here's the blackberry pie I made last week from the same lot of blackberry bushes along the rivulet in Lenah Valley:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winter's coming, the happy times are over...

...well, that's what it seems like anyway.  We've had an extraordinarily warm, dry and enjoyable summer (for Tassie), the weather was great for my first summer in a 'plantable' house (albeit a bit dry), and it was a good reward for our record-breaking wet and snowy winter.

But last weekend - the last two days of summer - Tassie got back to its old tricks and was cold, wet and windy.

It's a good reminder to start planting autumn/winter crops (while the soil is still warm enough to germinate).  Plus, I know I have to start really using up the basil because once the frost comes it'll shrivel up and die.  This is only a portion of my active plants, but it made a bumper batch of pesto:

As this is the second time I've posted about making pesto, I thought I'd share my recipe (and bear in mind that this is all very approximate):
one bunch of basil
3 or 4 cloves of garlic (I like it quite garlicy)
handful of pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
a quarter of a cup of parmesan, grated.
I have a mini blender that I wizz it all up in, but I've heard of people using a mortar and pestle to blend the pesto.  I usually mix the garlic and pinenuts and olive oil up first, adding salt and pepper to taste (remember however that the parmesan can often be quite salty).  Then I add the basil (washed and dried - little green caterpillars like to hitchhike on the basil).  I add more olive oil as I wizz so that I can get a smoothish mixture.  Then I stir in the parmesan.  I taste it and add more salt or pepper if necessary at this stage.

Eat on pasta, pizza, toast, whatever.

Pesto also lasts quite well in the fridge as long as you cover it with a layer of olive oil to keep out the air.  It's quite normal for the top of the pesto to go dark brown while the underneath stays bright green.