Sunday, 24 February 2013

Harvest Monday - 25 February 2013

Two of my raised gardens are bare at the moment, my main bed of tomatoes is gone and the pumpkins went as they were badly suffering powdery mildew and I couldn't stand the sight of them any longer. I also had to get rid of my faithful Costata Romanesco Zucchini - in the month of January alone the one plant produced over 10 kilos. I have a back up Zucchini Rugosa friulana that flowered yesterday so out came the Costata. Im also going to start spraying with a bicarb mixture just to prevent PM forming on any more of my curcubits. 

You can see a few of the Costata's in the back of this picture, theses are very small as the plant was on its last legs. The Biet Alpha cucumber is back producing buckets of yummy cukes, although it is battling powdery mildew too. Those little round zucchini came off aTondo di piancenza.
A very green harvest, the first cutting of "round" Spinach and baby rocket made a lovely salad.
It was also the week of the Capsicum, here is a small selection of what ripened up in the past 7 days. The plants are still loaded and I may have to roast and freeze some of the excess.
A terrible photo of Eva Purple Ball tomatoes and chills. Apologies for the quality.

Heres a final shot of part of my only raised garden with things growing in it. In the front is rainbow chard to the right is Red Marconi peppers and Long Purple Eggplants behind.

I hope everyones gardens are growing well and are surviving the heat or crazy weather in Australia or the cold if you are in the Norther Hemisphere.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Garden Gobbles - 21 February 2013

We had a lovely dinner of home made flour tortillas with some mexican bean sauce (home made) scattered with olives, dolloped with sour cream and avocado. Finished with pico de gallo made from garden grown onions, tomatoes, garlic and parsley.

Its was so good.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Harvest Monday- 18 February 2013

My Summer garden is winding down - fungal and mildew problems abound, not to worry I've had my fair share and anyway Autumn's coming and is almost here. Spinach, Broccoli and cauliflower will thrive and Autumn always makes me feel so alive. When Winter comes planning will start and i'll take it easy if I'm smart.

Sorry if you don't like poems, I was feeling wordy this morning.

My main bed of tomatoes is gone, a fungal problem swept through and they were dead before I could stage much of a fight. At least I planted 3 more tomatoes as a back up in another part of the garden and my Blondie (blondkopfchen) is producing like crazy- below is a kilo of the golden orbs of deliciousness.
I finally pulled out a beetroot that popped up in the garden, it came in at just under 500g. Most likely I'll make a roast beetroot and feta salad with this monster.

The eggplants are really coming in now, I sort of only have 2 dishes I like to make with eggplant - Baba ganoush and Moussaka. I really don't know why I grew the Little finger variety as its not suited to either dish, but the long purple may go into Baba ganoush to have with Turkish bread I made on Sunday. 

The Beit alpha Cucumber has really come back into production after I gave it a good feed of seaweed fertiliser, but its suffering from powdery mildew(like all my Curcubits). The Rattlesnake beans are producing again after a period of mid 20 degree weeks and the Chills and Capsicums are loving the constant temperatures. That being said we are having a hot end to summer, Saturday and Sunday were around 30 and todays forecast for 35. Oh well, summers almost over and my garden is defiantly reflecting that. Its a good thing I love Autumn and Winter, this year i'm going to invest in some Agribon row cover to try and protect my winter crops from the crazy wind we get. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Making yogurt

I make my own yogurt every week. There are lost of reasons why- it cuts the cost to less than $2 for 2 litres, one less thing I have to get from the supermarket and it tastes amazing. Because its so cheap I don't feel as bad using it in cooking and baking.

I use powdered milk, it's always in my cupboard so I can make it whenever. My method is pretty simple. I use my thermomix now but use to do it in a saucepan.

1. Whisk your powdered milk at a ration of 1 c milk powder to 3c water(check the instructions on the packet. I make up 2 litters.
2. Stir in 1/4 c of your favourite Greek yogurt.
3. Heat slowly to 37 degrees stirring off and on, hold at 37 degrees for 20 minutes.
4. In the mean time clean the jar or container you are going to use.
5. Pour the milk yogurt mixture into your jar, wrap with a tea towel and put in a warm spot for at least 8hrs. Check and taste your yogurt- if its good pop into the fridge. Remember to save enough yogurt for your next batch.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Garden Gobble

A lovely dinner of homemade cavatelli with local made salami, zucchini, garlic and tomatoes from my garden.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Starting seeds for Autumn and Winter

I'm a bit of a seed collector and if I were to hazard a guess I would say there would be close to 200 seed packets in my collection. You might say I have a problem - well maybe I do. I just love seeds! 

The variety of vegetables that come from seed are incredible. If I did't have the seeds to prove it I wouldn't believe nature could produce such works of art like Big Rainbow Tomato, Rosa Bianca Eggplant, Yugoslavian Red lettuce - I could go on forever. These are varieties you will never see in the supermarket(or maybe you will but they will be limp and sad) and I like the idea of growing things my  Grandpa or Grandma might have grown when they were younger (Grandpa always had the most amazing Garden). So without further ado here are a few of the varieties I have sown for Autumn and Winter.

I love Franchi seeds (I think the are my favorite), from the lovely packets to the amount of seed you receive and the germination rates are amazing. I get mine from "The Italian Gardener". Above is Di Jesi Cauliflower (it has a similar spiral pattern to Romanesco broccoli but more subtle), Verde Di Macerata Cauliflower, San Michelle Cabage, Nero di Toscana precoce Kale and D'inverno Nero Tondo a round black winter radish. Not pictured is another Franchi variety of cabbage I'm growing - Cour Di Bue Gross which is a conical cabbage.

Here is one of my San Michelle starts protected from Cabbage whites and puppy dogs.

Im growing the above chard variety Verde a Costa Bianca 2 which is noted as being a "2 in 1" crop as the stems of this variety are used in gratins and the leaves are of a softer texture than most other chard. Merlo Nero or blackbird is a spinach I'm growing anlong with another variety D'inverno Gigante and a flatted Beetroot Egitto Migliorata.
I also love "The Lost Seed", they have a huge variety of seed and great customer service. The Varieties are Perpetual Spinach, Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts, Green Sprouting Broccoli, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Gold Ball Turnip, American Wonder pea bush and Waltham 29 Broccoli.
I pretty new to "Southern harvest seeds" but so far I really like them. Above is Purple podded Pea, Alderman Pea and Tasmania Butter Swede. I just put in another order for Celeriac, Superschmelz Kohl Rabi and Domenica Sweet Onion. 

I'm staring some seeds in root trainers, I have also just potted on my celery Dorati Di Asti.
These are the Cour Di Bue Grosso Cabbage I started them in old toilet rolls and some Rossa Lunga Di Frienze onion seedlings in the back ground.

So what seeds are you starting for your garden? I would love to hear what varieties every one has had success with as well.

P.s to any one in the Northern Hemisphere reading -who will be starting summer crops I would love to recommend a Tomato called Big Rainbow. This is a picture of mine at the moment, so productive and very tasty.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Harvest Monday - 11 February 2013

I have been too busy to weigh things these last few weeks, but here's a few photos of what my late summer garden is producing.

Cherry Tomatoes Galore, Australian Butter beans and plenty of Cucumbers to make bread and butter pickes with.

Beit Alpha Cucumbers, Little finger Eggplants, Eva Purple Ball Tomatoes, Blondkopfchen tomatoes and a Red Kuri pumpkin. The top right is my favorite spot in the garden it has colorful Zinnias, Beetroot and Chilli's. Bottom right is a Rosa Bianca Eggplant.

Here are my new Chooks, whoops looks like the front one has no head! No eggs so far, I can't wait for the eggs to start rolling in.