Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday spotlight - 'Cream' Garlic

Oh dear, I seem to have lost another week?!. It seems to happen to me a lot in the colder months, I'm inside busy crafting and sewing instead of gardening.

I thought I would spotlight a garlic variety since its that time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, last year I grew 4 varieties of garlic and 'Cream' from the Diggers Club was the clear winner - huge bulbs with easy to peel cloves and great flavour.

This is some of my 'Cream' harvest from last year.

I planted them last Sunday, I was trying out planing garlic by the moon. I also planted 2 varieties in late march to see which planting date produces the best yield.

I picked two of my biggest looking bulbs and put them in the fridge for a few weeks to encourage sprouting.
The top two are the 'Cream' variety and the bottom two a Manaro Purple. 'Cream' is a soft neck variety, these seem to grow better in my garden as we don't get frosts or temps below 5 degrees (generally) as we are surrounded by water and bays which regulate our temperature, but for "research"(if you can call it that) I have planted 2 hard neck varieties as well.

'Cream' on the left.

I actually for rid of the bulb on the right as I didn't like the colour and picked another large clove from my garlic plait.
I like to plant garlic in a 10cmx10cm grid pattern (you can see some wood ash from a bonfire we had recently, I sprinkled it over all my garden beds) and then cover  with mulch and wait, its that easy - last year these were ready late October. I'm glad I had some saved as when I logged onto the Diggers website to pick a few more varieties they were sold out - maybe everyone else had a great success with them last year too.

Thanks to Liz from Suburban Tomato for hosting this great informative series.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Harvest Monday - 22 April 2013

This year is going so fast and we are already feeling the cold of winter creeping up on us. The temperature on Phillip Island has been ranging from 10-19 degrees(50 - 60 Fahrenheit), I know people suffer in much colder climates but to me its still cold. Even so my garden is looking pretty happy.
My harvests have been very green, above is a new to me variety of Silver beet. The midribs on this variety are huge - I can see why the advertise it as being good for silver beet stalk gratin.
I'm still getting a few capsicums here and there, I have a huge Marconi plant that I'm going to leave in the ground to see how it goes.
I pulled a few black radishes to make some space, I have been stir frying these with garlic, ginger, soy and chilli - its a great way to bulk up veggie dinners.

Lots of green - spinach, lettuce, rocket and silver beet. And I'm loving having these back in rotation.
My chickens are still laying away, I hope they don't go in to moult this season, so soon after they started laying.
My brassica bed it growing strongly, although a industrious cabbage white somehow found its way in laid a bunch of eggs and escaped.
And in future harvest's - Peas. I have never had much luck with Pea's but I gave it another go this year. This is a dwarf American Gem, I also have two climbing varieties - Telephone and Purple podded Dutch. They seem to be growing very slowly.

What's growing in your garden at the moment?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Saturday Spotlight - Red Kuri or potimaron squash

I managed to grow quite a few squash/pumpkin this year in a 1.5m x 2m bed that also housed my beans and corn. I had 3 squash plants placed throughout the bed. I grew Australian Butter and Red Kuri, Red Kuri is a smaller squash ranging from half a kilo up to two kilos, perfect for a small household like mine.
My two plants grew and grew and set fruit like mad, I forgot to count but there was over 17 of these little guys. So far I have only roasted them but gosh they were good. No stringy fibres, the flesh is sweet and savoury- my friend who came over for a roast dinner said it tasted like amazing Pumpkin soup. 
Here are the vines in full swing - you can see and Australian butter in the front but there is a Red Kuri tucked away in there.
And cut open - beautiful bright orange flesh, yum yum. I highly recommend giving this variety a go. It set fruit 2 months after it was sown and tasted great even when I picked the too early. It even resisted the powdery mildew that took everything else out in late January.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Harvest Monday - 8 April 2013

Autumn has well and truly hit, after the long hot summer we had I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures and a bit more rain. I have had a hectic few weeks, 5 short weeks actually which doesn't sound hectic but due to the nature of my job 5 short weeks make for a very stressful work week. I was also lucky enough to catch the flu and was in bed for most of the Easter long weekend - I did get a lot of reading done which was pretty great. Any-who, on to the harvests.

With the cooler weather I finally have salad greens again! My garden is so open and has sun for over 10hrs in summer so I haven't been able to grow anything in the salad green category since November.
A lovely basket of rocket and Salad bowl lettuce that was taken to a friends house for dinner and shared with yummy Snapper pie.

Thinning's from my carrots and a lone beetroot that popped up.

My girls are happy with the daily bunches of silver beet they get, devouring them faster than I thought possible.

and in exchange for the leafy greens they provide me with beautiful eggs with the brightest orange yolks I have ever seen.

I cut out a few of my basil plants to make way for some more autumn plantings. This lot will go into some pesto for freezing.

And lastly I just wanted to show you a picture of my brassicas under my new Veggienet, above is 1 week ago.
And today - the growth and health of the plants is amazing. My cabbages outside the net are suffering from cabbage whitefly and in turn there larvae which I thought were aphids to begin with, not the cabbages under the net though they are healthy and pest free. One week, I can't believe the growth!

Tahnks again to Daphne of Daphnes Dandelions for hosting the Harvest Monday blog hop. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Harvest Monday - 18 March 2013

Capsicums or Peppers - what ever you call them I had a lot this week. I forgot to take pictures of the actual fruit but here is a pizza with some lovely red and green Marconi's.
Another ugly but delicious Wrinkled from Friuli. If you can't keep up with you Zucchini give this one a go, it grows slowly and the fruit is so much nicer than those 'black' varieties.

A fresh spinach, pan choy and rocket salad with cherry belle radish.

Borlotti beans - so pretty. I didn't get a very big harvest. I think I will just save the seeds for next year.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Saturday Spotlight - Australian Butter climbing beans

I had been looking for a Climbing Butter bean for a while when the Diggers Club released their annual seed catalogue - there is was finally. I bought a packet of their Australian Butter climbing bean for $4.00 (for 20 seeds) and planted them out in September. I had enough beans for dinner every few nights come mid December.

When picked young they were tender and not stringy at all - a warning though when they are producing you must check every 2-3 days as the can get tough quickly. Australian Butter produces a very sturdy vine and from the 12 seeds I planted I picked over 2kgs of fresh beans and then left the last flush of flowers to produce seed and once dried there was about 500g. 
Very vigorous and for me they flowered 3 times over the summer. I would say that they grew to be over 2m.
Surprisingly they produce a vivid purple seed that when dried is almost black. I have some spare seed if anyone would like to do a seed swap let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Thursday Garden Gobbles

Baba Ganoush - the name alone is awesome. I had so much eggplant this week, so a favourite from my time living in the middle east was made. This was eaten on turkish bread, with cucumbers as a dip and on flat bread with chilli tuna. Yum yum, I had totally forgotten how much I loved Baba Ganoush.
Start with some fresh from the garden beauties, roast on the bbq till soft. Leave to cool and peal off the skin. Blend with Cumin, Tahini, greek yogurt and garlic. I made mine super garlicky (that how I like it) and slathered it on anything I could find.

Sorry the last one is not that pretty but it was good.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happenings around the garden

My chickens are laying an egg a day, I can't wait until the eggs really start rolling in - frittata, quiche and egg pies yum! They are getting bigger and more bossy - the hen pictured below is "yes dear" or Cybil depending on her attitude. She regularly tries to escape.
I bought a worm farm from Aldi for $49.00, half the price of the same model at Bunnings - so happy I have been wanting one for the past year. My worms are happily chomping away on egg shells from my chickens - I just love that, my Chickens eat greens from the garden provide me with yummy eggs then my  little wormies eat the egg shells and provide a nutrient dense fertilizer for my veggies.
My winter and autumn veggies are getting bigger and most likely I will begin transplanting them this weekend. I ordered row covers for all three of my raised beds. I have a few reasons I decided to splash out - The cabbage whites are filthy buggers and I get sick of picking them off, we get crazy wind in winter and autumn - being on an Island with wind coming off the Bass Straight can wreak havoc on vegetables, thirdly warmth and insulation on chilly winter nights. We don't get frosts but it all helps at the end of the day. In the picture you can see below the seedlings are covered in netting - that's just some cheap stuff I picked up but its keeping the cabbage whites out, just not the slugs (shakes fist at slugs).

Below is a garden guest, welcome any time she would like to come and feast on aphids - there actually haven't been any aphids that I have seen since winter.

Well that's what is happening in my garden at the moment. Have you made any interesting garden related purchases recently or any improvements ?

Monday, 11 March 2013

Harvest Monday - 11 March 2013

Summer doesn't seem to want to leave but I would happily say goodbye. This past week the temperature has been over 29 degrees every day. I'm personally over it, it was great while it lasted but bring on the autumn weather.
I don't have a lot of summer veggies left but what I do have is loving the heat. Above are Serrano Chillies - quite hot but have an almost vinegary tang which I like.
Still have plenty of capsicums and even though my cucumber is covered in powdery mildew its pumping out the cukes.
A lovely Marconi, I roasted a bunch of capsicums I had in the fridge over the weekend to freeze for later use.
Rosa Bianca - so pretty, productive too. The ones below are off the same bush.
I roasted these on the bbq until soft and made a big batch of Baba Ganoush, I ate quite a bit and froze the rest for later use.
The 'Wrinkled from Friuli' Zucchini. She an't pretty but she is firm and delicious, no soggy Zucchini here!
Lastly a selection of a few pumpkins from the garden.

Thanks to Daphne's Dandelions for hosting this awesome blog hop.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Saturday Spotlight - Big Rainbow Tomato

Today I'm taking part in Liz from Suburban Tomato's Blog  Saturday Spotlight- As maybe you can see this was not posted on Saturday, better late than never I suppose. Without further ado I would like to introduce you to Big Rainbow -  a large beef steak variety, not only productive but its beautiful and tasty too. I got my seeds in late as I decided after reading the Diggers Tomato book I had to have this in my garden. The seeds were started indoors mid September, surprisingly I had my first ripe fruit in mid to late January. These beauties average 200-400g. 

I mean look at them!!! as I said they were productive, the 1 plant produced over 10 kilos of beautiful, big, rainbow colour fruit. I had a little cracking in the fruits after we had about 20mm of rain one day and a small amount of catfacing.

I have at admit this was the least coloured inside of all tomatoes I've seen, I wish I took some more photos! Most have 3-4 colours marbled though out. Very pretty to look at. 
I'm so happy I read that book and made an impulse buy, Big Rainbow was my best tomato this season by far.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Garden Gobbles - Tortilla Espanola

Now that my Chickens are laying I thought this would be a great choice as I can almost make this completely from the backyard supermarket!
A big bunch of parsley and chives. I also used some spinach but its not pictured.

One of the eggs used.