Green and Thrifty

It is that time of year when people who have fruit trees and vegie gardens are calling their friends and saying, "Please come and pick the plums/zucchinis/tomatoes." And I do. Always say yes, is my mantra. Think of something to do with it later. A lovely friend with laden fruit trees called and I picked damson plums, greengages and peaches. After counting last year's jam in the pantry, I have realised I don't need to make any at all this year, although I may make an exception for figs in a couple of months. Fig jam is my favourite. So I dried the damson plums (yum) and stewed peaches and greengages and filled up my small freezer with them. I am also drying the last of the peaches and greengages. I feel like a happy squirrel, filling up the pantry for winter.

I finally have my very first ripe tomatoes, and a handful of sweet, crunchy beans.

This has not stopped me from saying yes to the tomatoes and zucchinis from my lovely neighbour up the street.

I see ratatouille on my horizon. I am not an enthusiastic cook, but I do get inspired by a kitchen bench full of garden veg. Over the last couple of weeks I have experimented with fermented cucumber pickles. Oh, my goodness, I could eat these with cheese and crackers for a very long time before tiring of them..

In garden news, I have been collecting plant cuttings everywhere I go - friends' gardens, walking the dog, the local park. I want to assemble an all year round flower garden to sandwich the vegie garden and attract lots of lovely bees and other pollinators. I also want to create a native garden in a hot, dry section of the garden that I plan to not water after the first year. I am also growing plants for a future garden at Paul's place, so all in all, the potting bench is working overtime.

I have been growing more vegies from seed, and yesterday planted out lettuce and silverbeet. I built a little bamboo fence to keep the dog out. He is not a digger, thank goodness, but he loves to stretch out and nap on newly planted seedlings, much to their detriment. He also likes to eat the sheep poo, which he thinks are lovely snacks. As you can see above, I also have sixty four basil seedlings to plant out soon. Sometimes, growing from seed can be almost too successful.

I made dog food in the slow cooker. My neighbour gave me some venison from his freezer that had extensive freezer burn. Now the lucky dog is eating slow cooked venison. He is also eating a fair amount of zucchini. I am sure it is good for his coat or something.
I said yes to two chrysanthemum plants and a wasabi plant from a friend's garden. I love filling up my garden with plants from friends.
I donated a large box of children's books to the local school library. This is marvellous because since the girls cleaned out their rooms in December these books have been precariously perched in piles in the corner of my loungeroom. I also gave a box of felt scraps to a teacher friend for her classroom craft. And some dress-ups.
Rosy has finished school and Posy has changed schools to one that doesn't have a uniform, and I sold almost all of the girls' old uniform very cheaply to a new student who is starting at their old school. Her mum was very grateful, and so was I.
I woke up one morning to discover a very large, pink, inflatable flamingo peering in my dining room window. Turns out one of Rosy's friends was coming to visit her and found a large, inflated flamingo on the side of the road, and decided that this is something that Rosy really needed. He may have been rather inebriated at the time. Anyway, after I spent all of a day tripping over the flamingo every time I went outside, one of Posy's friends visited, and decided that the one thing really lacking in her life was a large, inflatable flamingo. So she took it home with her. I was so grateful. I am glad I live at a clearing house for objects found on the side of the road.

Tell me about your green and thrifty adventures this week.

Eating from the garden: tomatoes, beans, zucchini, cucumber, cape gooseberries, tarragon, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, rocket, lemons, limes
Eating from other peoples' gardens: zucchini, tomatoes, peaches, plums, strawberries, lettuce
Eating home preserves: fig jam, tomato relish, garlic, green tomato pickle, cucumber pickle, stewed apricot, dried basil and oregano.


simplelife said…
Oh Jo, this post left me with the most wonderful feeling of happiness. Thank you so much.
You have inspired me to stew up the greengages I have sitting on my bench. Sadly I'm allergic to stone fruit, and I love it so much, yet when it's cooked it's fine. I'm not a fan a stewed fruit, but oh well better than not getting to eat it at all. Life can be cruel sometimes.
Cheers Kate
Jo said…
Kate, stone fruit allergy, now that is cruel! Greengages are so sweet I usually add them to other fruit, but I am going to do a batch of plain stewed greengage this morning, as they are the last to finish off. Then, I plan to swirl it through greek yoghurt and sprinkle it with muesli for my breakfast tomorrow..
Anonymous said…
You have been busy!
In the last couple of weeks I have picked beans (eaten every day and frozen), tomatoes (so far, turned into sauces, relish and soup), beetroot (frozen and bottled) and plums, which I have stewed, although I think the last lot will be dried in the dehydrator. I'm trying to get as much as possible done by the end of next week, as we are going away on holiday - to Tasmania! It will be our third visit. We love the place. I like to claim a little bit of Tassie-ness for myself, as my grandfather and his parents were born in Lilydale, the family having arrived in the 1850s as German immigrants. We just wish we'd discovered it years earlier!

Your seedling nursery is thriving. I just relocated thirty self-sown viola seedlings, and I'm hoping their new spot will be cool enough to get them through the warm weather. They are a favourite of mine.

Linda in NZ
Hazel said…
I agree- never say no to free food! Or anything else for that matter. I can always find somebody else that wants it if I don't. And lucky dog eating venison and zucchini! Better than sheep poo which my dogs also treat as a buffet when we're out walking.
Hazel said…
Kate- I meant to say I'd add the cooked greengages to a mixture of whipped double (heavy) cream and custard to make a fool. You can substitute thick plain/greek yoghurt for the custard if you like to make it a bit more modern. A fool is a traditional English pudding and works well with most fruits- my favourites are rhubarb and gooseberries.
Anonymous said…
Is it normal to do a happy dance when I see a new post on your blog? Your garden is an inspiration. I started preparing my raised beds for planting...Oh the visions, and hopes I have for them. Also hope to learn to can and pickle this year.
Mangoes are the only free fruit I am offered, and I accept them gladly and gratefully.
If Hazel reads this comment, although I cannot post comments on your blog. I absolutely love it! Thank you and Jo for the time spent in sharing your knowledge and life with us. Much appreciated.
Patricia Fl/USA
Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

I don't feel green and thrifty, I feel dusty. I have been going through my very dusty bookshelves (we have a LOT of books) to see what I should keep and what I should give away. Books have always been the single hardest thing for me to purge. But I have found quite a few books (3 boxes full so far) that must not stay. A few look like they may be worth selling.

On a different front, I have planted the first tomato seeds, and some chard and snapdragons, inside. It is a bit early for the tomatoes, but some years (like the last two) spring comes 2 weeks early and I don't want to be left out in the cold (heat?).

Hazel said…
Patricia, that's made my day :-) I'm so glad you like it. I'm sorry you can't comment though, I wonder why that is?
Jo said…
Linda, you have been busy! You will be so pleased with yourselves come the depths of winter:) Tasmania bound, yay! Lilydale is Paul's local village. Most of his family and many of his friends live there. Your grandparents wouldn't happen to be Bardenhagens would they? They are the big historical German family in town! If you are coming to Launceston, send me an email and we can get together for a cuppa:)

Hazel, yes, I find that saying yes to free anything means that people keep offering, and also, I get to move free stuff around the community which is fun:)

Patricia, my daughters would think they had died and gone to heaven if anyone offered them free mangoes! How wonderful is planning for new gardens. Such a joy! Glad you enjoy my posts, thank you:)

Pam, books, yes, hard to part with, but ok if they are going somewhere where they will be appreciated!
I had your experience this year - early frost-free spring, and seedlings not ready. Well done you for getting in early.
Anonymous said…
Hi Jo. Sadly, we won't be in Launceston this trip, but I hope there'll be another time for that cuppa! My German family were Mullers (pretty soon Anglicised to Miller) and my great-grandmother was a Brooks. They were both large families in the Lilydale area. During our last trip I bought a copy of Hilary Burden's book about her life in the district,The Story of Seven Summers, which I really enjoyed.

Linda in NZ
Lucinda said…
No green and thrifty here this week. I do love your gardening successes. Can you plant some sweet peas for me? An old fashioned scented variety. I’ve always wanted them in my garden. Thy are my favourite flower. You could fill your house with cut flowers! (See, I have to love vicariously through you.)
Jo said…
Linda, I cannot approve of a Tasmanian journey that does not include Launceston, but... I am sure you will have a marvellous time anyway. Enjoy:)

Lucinda, mmm, I like almost all the flowers, but sweet peas just don't do it for me. I keep looking at them and thinking, "But where are the peas?"

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