Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hello Autumn! Lots of gardening and kitchen action.

This is one of my zucchini plants that have been producing heaps of zucs for summer. They were one of the only things that coped with the heat wave, the rest of the summer garden is pretty much a write off. Miserly tomatoes, dried out beans, wilting lettuce, shrivelled capsicums, fried sweetcorn, stunted dwarfed pumpkins, the list of summer casualties goes on! ( Thankfully the Community garden has fared far better -those huge water tanks are worth their weight in vegies - so we have still been eating homegrown stuff) but on the other hand...........

...........It is officially Autumn today! I love Autumn, I can grow so many different vegies here in the milder months, it's terrific. I have been experimenting with growing times for different veg that are not supposed to grow through the cooler months, and I am finding that I can grow and harvest from lots of things that technically shouldn't grow at these times of year. Maybe because we are a coastal area it stays milder than other parts of Victoria; Whatever the reason, I'm happy! Hopefully that freakishly hot weather is behind us and I can get stuck into The Great Autumn Planting!

In the spirit of Autumn, today I sowed seeds. It was a good day for leafy things according to the moon calendar, so this is what I put in :

Cabbage - Red Drumhead x35
Broccoli - De Cicco x21
Tuscan Kale x56
Shanghai Paak Tsoi x56
Yukini Savoy x28
Red Pak Choy x28
Coriander x14
Parsley x42
Lettuce - Sunset x56
Lettuce - Mesclun Mix x56
Lettuce - Buttercrunch x21
Amaranth Grain x 42

These all went into modules, so I will transplant them when they are bigger. I will use some for my market stock, some for my garden and some for the Community Garden, I hope there will be plenty.
An earlier sowing I did about a month ago is going well, with everything up and growing strongly, I am watering with a weak solution of organic charlie carp every few days and I think this has helped them keep growing strongly after the initial germination.

Tomorrow is a good day for fruiting things like peas, so I have saved sowing snowpeas and sugar peas ( my favourite things to grow) till then. I have had good success with growing peas most of the year here, so we almost have snowpeas all of the time - such luxury! ( Another plant that didnot like the hot summer but the rest of the year was great!)

I also decided it was time to rejuvenate the garden outside our back door. It has a Tahitan Lime tree (which has never fruited, so I hope this TLC will have good results) and some big old roses in it which I have kept, but I pulled out some struggling bearded iris to plant elsewhere and some biggish clumps of cannas that I will divide and pot up for my friends and mum. There was also alot of dying scabiosa and dead nigella seed heads and sundry weeds, the hot weather has been useful here, as I haven't watered this garden much, so it was all very dead and easy to pull out. I gave it a good forking over to aerate the ground a bit and I incorporated chicken poo and horse manure into the surface layer. I am going to give it a good soak tomorrow with the bathwater and then a sprinkle of dolomite and mulch it with lucerne. It will be ready to plant with herbs and some great brassicas and leafy colourful silverbeet for a beautiful edible border!

I bought 20kg of beautiful Roma tomatoes last week, with good intentions of preserving them with my vacola kit. Very, Very Frustrating when I couldn't find the power cord to the preserver! I eventually found a supplier of replacement cords in a great shop called Bake and Brew, I also bought some seals and lids for my jars. They are in South Australia but I still got my items in 3 days - pretty darn good! So after a big day in the kitchen I am now the proud owner of 12 big Jars of chopped, peeled tomatoes!
I am actually proud of myself for completing this job, as it would not be unlike me to never get around to preserving them and they would just rot and become chicken food and a big waste of money! ( This has been my usual story; full of great ideas, but not quite finishing things off).
So we have some progress on my "being more organised and achieving more" resolution.
I also made strawberry jam, if my tomato day wasn't enough! Delicious on pancakes made from scratch with our own chook eggs, of course! I have definately been channelling some domestic goddess recently!

Ta da! Tomatoey goodness for winter enjoying!


  1. That looks absolutely delicious. I have a thing about buying tomatoes in the summer but it's silly really, I had such a poor crop this year I'd be much better buying some and preserving them than buying tins later in the year. You've inspired me.

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment!
    It was buying tomatoes this year or going without, my plants have not had enough water to produce the huge glut I was hoping for! We have a lot of tomatoes going at our Community garden that are not quite ready yet, so I will hopefully preserve some of those in a few weeks for some extra jars later in the year.