Friday, October 16, 2015

Green and Thrifty




Some days my heart does little happy somersaults and I send thankful thoughts back to my past self who occasionally did just the right thing. Just over eleven years ago I was six months pregnant with Posy, and my very dear friend Karlin was helping me to plant two apple trees. Well, when I say 'helping', I mean, I pointed out where they should go and serenely folded my hands over the bump, while Karlin did the actual digging. And then I carried off a single clump of forget-me-nots from Karlin's garden to plant under the apple trees. Karlin's husband Ed was appalled. He had spent the last two years desperately trying to eradicate every last skerrick of forget-me-nots from his garden. He was convinced I had gone mad. But look! Sheets of forget-me-nots under the apple blossom. Yes, I have to weed forget-me-not seedlings out of the rest of the garden, over and over again, but I am convinced it is worth it. Next year I am planning pink tulips to peep through the forget-me-nots..

Anyway, how is any of this green and thrifty? Apple trees, gloriously pretty and produce food. Forget-me-nots - gloriously pretty and free, and reproduce themselves a thousand times over. I love my garden full of self-sown weeds:)

In other green and thrifty moments this week, I was given a bunch of kale from a friend's garden and cooked up an enormous warm potato salad with bacon and kale. I steamed the kale then tossed it with the bacon...



Then added rosemary, olive oil, salt and garlic aoli. That was lunch for everyone for several days.



This morning I washed the breakfast dishes then put all that hot, soapy water to good use cleaning out the fridge. There were some, ahem, casualties. But I also managed to save the last sad apples and pears and stew them with cinnamon for tomorrow's breakfast, and put a pot of vegetable and barley soup on to rescue the limp vegetables in the bottom of the 'crisper'.

Clearly, after that I needed to buy more vegetables, so I set out to do all errands that involved heavy lifting ( I am trying very hard to walk for errands that don't..). I came back with a 20kg bag of pool salt, a bale of pea straw, and exceptionally heavy vegies. 5kg of cheap carrots, which didn't fit in the fridge, so I chopped, steamed and froze half of them, for fast food when I need some 'veg in a bag'. And many large tubs of Greek yoghurt that were on sale. I really, really need to have a go at making some. Since I have banned just about every other food from the house the girls have taken to living on a yoghurt, oats, nuts, seeds and fruit mixture. We go through kilograms of yoghurt every week.

I went to the library just in time to avoid library fines. I am a star! And now I have a lovely new stack of delicious, delicious unread books. I just love the library:)

It is seed planting time. Once upon a time I fussed about with endless little pots of seedlings from August onwards. Now I just wait until the weather is warm enough and direct seed everything in the garden. I make tiny individual seed beds in the garden with a trowel full of compost to start the baby seeds off. So much simpler. And I still get ripe tomatoes more or less when everyone else does...

I love planting seeds. It seems just too easy. Of course, two weeks ago I weeded and fed the gardens, and put a little lime down, and sheep poo, and pea straw, and all of that nearly killed me, but today at 9.56am I decided to plant seeds, and at 10.04 I was done. Eighteen tomato plants, two zucchini, some lettuce and a few peas in pots.  I am determined to crack succession planting for lettuce and baby spinach this year (not a difficult feat, you understand, merely requiring planting some lettuce seeds every two or three weeks. Consistency. Not my thing).

Green and thrifty just goes on and on - as I am typing at the table, Rosy is in the kitchen making a banana cake out of the squishy bananas. Being thrifty is just so delicious.

Tell me about your green and thrifty week while I go and sample some of that cake...






15 comments:

Linda said...

Loved reading about your thriftiness. All sounds good. I have just made a thrifty lunch - the last of the cherry tomatoes ( a bit hard so needed to be cooked and softened) cooked with pepper, salt and a few chilli flakes, a couple of tablespoons of leftover canned borlotti beans which I served on toast. Even sprinkled a little grated Parmesan cheese on top. Delicious! Your post reminded me of the three bananas lurking in my fruit basket so I will make a banana cake a bit later this afternoon. Happy thrifting!

narf7 said...

I would like to donate my front acre of forget-me-nots (HAHAHAHA! Spell check wants me to change "nots" to "tonnes" ;) ) to you. You are obviously a "good cause" and I am already suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous forget-me-not seeds collected en mass when I was hunting around (in said forget-me-nots) for a bolshie chook who has gone to ground, obviously on about 100 of her own eggs and is going to produce so many chicks the feral cats and predatory birds will be heard clapping from Launceston when she emerges triumphant and clucking from whichever clump of forget-me-nots and blackberries that she has settled her stubborn derriere in (sigh). LOVE those apple trees. So do the possums. I found a little apple stick last year (no leaves, recognised only by my Sherlock Holmes like horticultural deductive abilities) and put chook wire all around it. It grew through the chook wire but then so did a tenacious blackberry and as it is inside the dog/house compound area, the possums are a bit loath to roam with impunity as Earl could suddenly appear (make that "APPEAR!!!") at any given time. We fudged the gate with a big board and a large pot containing a severely dead shrub to stop the wallabies from scoffing one of my loquats and we are about to plant out seeds for the rest of the garden after noting your erstwhile efforts.

Using ALL of the sink water for the plants and loving doing so after being initially horrified to realise just how much has been going down the sink prior to now (blush). Making do with what we have and studying SO much we haven't had the time, the inclination or the energy to shop. Love your carrot idea and am pinching it. Do you like/eat beetroot? Its the easiest thing to grow. You could grow them on your roof and the leaves are a serious contender for silverbeet. Enjoying the heck out of your efforts and seriously thinking that finding one of those elusive and legendary "jobs" that I keep hearing about might give me more time to spend being "me". Keep these delicious posts coming. They might just be the only think keeping me sane at the moment...

narf7 said...

I forgot to say, Bezial deserves the "Best Dog" award. He lay at my feet after my hour spent chook (and snake) hunting event and plucked all of the forget-me-not seeds off my socks. I am going to make a killing hiring him out around the district...

anexactinglife.com said...

Love your tree and flower pic! I have all kinds of self-seeding and wild things. This year I decided to clump them - I moved all of the bachelor buttons to one place, all of the violets to another, the daisies to their own spot, and so on. I know they will all mix again but for now, they have some visual impact!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

That photo is beautiful stuff and nice work with getting someone else to plant the apple tree - the apple tree is clearly in a good paddock and has grown well over the years. I grow forget me not's here too - they're a total weed and I love them as they always herald the start of spring. They grow wild in the forests up here and are never in short supply.

My lady makes the Greek yoghurt here and it is very good. One pack of culture for about $5 produces about 3kg of yoghurt. If you are interested I'll ask her how it is made - it seems very simple but I'm not onto the details. Long ago, I used to know someone who cleverly managed to extend the yoghurt culture far longer than we could here and I never quite knew whether he was telling porky pies or was actually serious? A guy over at the ADR by the name of Joel Carris produces his own yoghurt from scratch - but I think he has access to raw milk which can be difficult for the likes of you and I - sadly, he rarely posts nowadays.

Incidentally, try keeping the massive home grown zucchini in a cool and dark corner of the kitchen (yes, I realise that kitchens are never quite big enough!) but they'll keep for six months at least and you can just hack off what you need in the mean time.

It's all about berries this week down here and I've spotted the first slowly ripening strawberries - which unfortunately the rosella's got too before me...

Cheers. Chris

e / dig in hobart said...

succession planting shouldn't; be hard but - it is!
I love reading about all your gardening activity - 18 tomatoes! - and how wonderful to look at a patch of your apple tree and remember the moment of its inception.
I should clean out my fridge now too :-)

Lynda D said...

Literally hundreds of baby tomatoes popping up all over my garden. I could go into business and set up a stall at this rate.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I'm going to have to back over your blog to find out why you've banned all food but for potatoes, bacon, kale, carrots and Greek yogurt from your house. As for forget-me-nots, yours are lovely and I'm not against them. However, I myself have a stand of morning glories that I've been trying to kill off for three years now, so I'm very wary of self-seeding flowers.

xofrances

Bek said...

Love the apple trees too, decorative and productive. I have your forget me not problem with nigella; self sows everywhere but I love it. I love forget me nots, and just sowed a heap of seed in the yard. My grandmother had them and I loved them. Hopefully they will compete with the nigella.
Hmmm, green and thrifty. I weeded the self sown potatoes and fennel out of one garden bed to get it ready for sowing seeds, and had a lovely crop of baby potatoes and fennel bulbs for lunch. Ummm, that's about it I think.
I faff about and sow in little pots, but only for some plants. Tomatoes, eggplants and melons I find it worthwhile. Everything else gets direct sown.

Jo said...

Linda, home-made beans on toast. Yum!

Fran, I am starting to save and re-use lots of my kitchen sink water too. It is SO dry! And beetroot - I am not having any luck with it recently - small, tough roots. I think I will blame the seed, however, not my black thumb!

Wretched dog dug up all my tomato seeds:( Will come and adopt your nice, well-mannered dog instead..

Dar, yes, I love your idea of clumping the self-seeders. I sort of try the same thing most springs. It is very satisfying to see patches of them growing in happy little bunches. Except the forget-me-nots are trying for world domination..

Ooh, Chris, strawberries - no, we don't share strawberries with rosellas. That's taking sharing too far. What about training up strawberry guard dogs??

e, I know, succession planting. So many factors involved, including procrastination..

Lynda, if only I could pop over..

Frances, yes, that does sound like an odd list. I have banned all processed food except rice crackers, and sugar and gluten except for the weekly treat... and er, that leaves meat, veg, fruit, legumes and oats (we are not counting them as gluten). I am so mean, but we are all now kinder to each other, and there is less eczema at our place..

Bek, nigella seeds are edible, they are first cousins to black cumin! Collect the seeds and pop them in curries and naan bread:)

Bek said...

Jo, thanks for the note about edibility, but I've harvested and eaten them before :) they are a little bit annoying to try to get back to pure seed, my winnowing skillz not being the best. But anyhoo

Jo said...

Ah Bek, yes. Once I only had nigella in the front garden, but then I gave the children a large bunch of seed heads to de-seed on the table in the back courtyard. Now I have nigella all through the backyard as well. Including in between all the pavers. Lucky it is pretty..

gretchenjoanna said...

He tried to *eradicate* forget-me-nots?? I might try that with alyssum, but I'm always just grateful when the f-m-n's bloom, I guess because they are picky and don't ever take over....and they don't last long!

I think it was green and thrifty to grow 37# of butternut squash this summer, because I didn't have to use extra water for them. They got the extra water that naturally comes from the irrigation of the flower beds, and I only had to guide the vines a bit to be sure they didn't overrun the flowers. Now I have plenty of butternuts for several months, and some nice presents to give.

By the way, this Aug/Sept I used 10,000 gallons of water less than last year this time. There are several reasons besides being frugal with household water, but I have been sparing of water to flush toilets. Somehow I have ended up with five buckets in my own shower to catch runoff, and I usually save more than enough water that way for at least one toilet.

Jo said...

GJ, forget-me-nots that are PICKY?? Clearly what is happening here is a) you have a different species of forget-me-not, or b) your climate is very different to ours. Here, our common or garden forget-me-not is clearly making a bid for world domination:)

I LOVE your ornamental butternut plan, and your buckets in the shower. It is so dry here, I am going to start doing the same thing.

lucindasans said...

So beautiful! I would love them as ground cover.

As to yoghurt- Easiyo is so easy! Yo! Lol. I make it all the time. Unsweetened Greek. My family don't like bought anymore and can pick it instantly. And not because of the container. Even when I decant it. OK it is not quite from scratch but it is good and produces yoghurt of such premium quality.

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