New Garden, Using What We Have
A couple of weekends ago I spent six hours gardening. It had got to the point where I could not see the brick path under my apricot tree. Not only could I not see it, I was having trouble walking into the garden, because spring. By afternoon, it looked like this:
At last I can walk in the garden again. Well, that part anyway. The state of the vegie garden is currently 'impassable jungle'. More on that next time, when hopefully I will be able to show before and after photos, the 'afters' being hopefully more conducive to planting delicate little vegie seedlings than the 'befores'.
I have been planting the baby veg I grew from seed, some of them in the big old wine barrels in the front yard. This is when I planted them out on October 3rd:
And here it is today. I think I'll be able to start picking in a couple of weeks. Various greens plus lettuce:
I have potted on the cabbages, kales and tomatoes, and they are still in my front porch greenhouse until I can get some beds weeded for them. It's also still kind of cold for tomatoes here. There was a frost last week:
Meanwhile, I spent last Saturday afternoon digging up a section of wild garden bed just outside the back door to make it into a mini-vegie garden. It's an experiment as this area gets a lot of shade and I want to see what vegies will grow here. It may be a complete failure! But experiments are how we learn, right?
Here is the before, lots of self-seeded herb robert and a mystery tree seedling I thought was an avocado, but isn't:
Here is the middle. A lot of dirt being moved because I discovered a large sheet of corrugated iron about a foot below ground level. Further excavations revealed it goes under the brick wall. I thought about this for an hour or so, cup of tea in hand, but concluded that doing nothing is sometimes the best solution, so I shovelled the dirt back on top. I will just plant shallow-rooted plants in that bit:
And the after. I adore new baby gardens, don't you? This was its birthday, on October 6th:
And here it is today. I had to put some wire over it because the dog kept walking on it. It has daikon radishes, leeks, lettuce, rocket, red radishes and snow peas:
I brought home some sticks from Paul's house to grow the dwarf snow peas up. Pea sticks!
I am loving using up all the seeds I bought last year, or before. I cleaned out my seed basket the other day, and I am going to try jalapeno seeds from a friend, given to me in 2017. All my vegie gardening activities this year have been free, except for some potting mix, compost, and four packets of seed. Gardening can be very expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Re-using what we have, and re-assessing every bit of garden to see if it can produce flowers or bee-attractors, or native animal habitat or food is also a cheap and very fun exercise, one that will keep me out of trouble for some time to come..
Now, from gardens to food. I am attempting to use up every single thing in my freezer. I only have a tiny freezer at the top of the fridge but I can pack a lot into it. I used up some very old puff pastry to make sausage rolls, and made pork and cabbage dumplings with wonton wrappers. Red thought my dumplings looked hilarious, like tiny Christmas puddings, but they tasted good..
Christmas pudding dumplings:
I am also trying really hard to only buy enough vegies that we will eat in a week, that is, not the amount of vegies that I think we ought to eat, but the amount of vegies we actually do eat. Not always the same thing. Ironically, this has prompted me to eat a salad every day for lunch and I have been including something from the garden every day. Today I added sage, parsley and wild rocket. My favourite new salad dressing is a teaspoon of tahini (add water to stir into a paste if it's that hard bit at the bottom of the jar), a squeeze of lime (limes from my friend Monique's prolific lime tree), salt, pepper, and, here's the important bit, a drizzle of pickle juice from the pickle jar. Yummo.
How is it with you with gardens and food? What are you using up and eating, and what are you planting? If you live up the north of the planet, do you plant a winter garden? Tell me all.
PS Paul update: He has only three treatments over six weeks to go. That is still a long, hard slog for him, of dealing with pretty constant colitis symptoms, but he has good painkillers.. and some days he feels pretty good and can get outside and do a lot of physical work, which makes him feel even better, both mentally and physically. He still has his hair!