A lovely surprise awaited me down the back garden today.
The Australian native waterlily, Nymphoides crenata, it’s common name is the Crenated Fringe or the Wavy Marshwort. I don’t think either of those sounds very flattering. This little beauty is only some 4cm in diameter and the leaves generally about 10cm in diameter. The leaves are deep green with dark purple / bronze patterning.
Well here we are into Autumn at last and a week of days over 30° C has been forecast. This is the pattern of recent years. Our summer results have been influenced this year by the time we spent away from the garden as much as anything else.
To start where my last post finished off, the final number of roosters we gained from our intake of 5 chicks was 3.
We have eaten two of the roosters so far and are saving the last one, in the freezer, for a forthcoming dinner. The birds tasted very good, as we expected, but as they all had a large dose of game-bird genes they dressed out with the longest drumsticks I’ve ever seen.
Speaking of salads we have had a bumper crop of roma tomatoes this year. For once we broke the Canberra tomato rule (only plant after Melbourne Cup day) and this worked in our favour. We didn’t quite get toms for Christmas but we did have them a week later. Sadly my open air tomato drying was a complete failure. The day I took the photo heralded a wet and cool period that was lasted more than a week (quite a common experience this past season). Even with trying to dry the tomatoes by fan inside, they soon collapsed into a very furry mess.
Just after Christmas I planted out my second batch of tomato seedlings. The variety is Soldacki (bought several years ago from Cornucopia Seeds, although the seeds are not included in their current offerings). This is a Polish variety, meant to do well in cooler climates. The plants are powering away and we have plenty of fruit coming along, but nothing to taste as yet.
As always growing out punnets of lettuce seedlings has kept a steady flow of greens for salads, along with our regular herbs such as basil and nasturtium leaves.
What has been bumper this year is our fruit crops. The apricot fruit set on our tree was good, although like many trees I heard of, the fruit was small and really long in ripening.
We generally harvest apricots around Christmas and nectarines at the end of January. This year we didn’t pick the apricots until mid-January and the nectarines came along in February. The apricots were remained small in size but made up for it in flavour.
The nectarines came in a rush. It was a bumper crop this summer, but the fruit only started to ripen days before we were due to visit family interstate. It was all hands to the dehydrator to deal with the bulk of the crop. I did stew about 2kgs of fruit down, but that barely made a dent in the proceedings. I do have two large bags of dried fruit.
Our legumes were a let down, with the exception of our ever reliable broad beans.
I managed to get a tiny crop of purple-podded peas, enough for one and a half meals! Every bush or climbing bean that managed to get out of the ground was immediately ring-barked by slaters or chewed right off by snails.
The one area that has improved markedly over summer is our rennovated front garden.
It’s been a lot of work doing weeding and mulching, limited as I was by my dodgy knee. Tackling the project a few metres at a time worked. Today things are looking much better, the weeds are few and far between. I cut back the paper daisies afew weeks ago to give the other plantings a chance.
One of the stars of the new plantings has been Brachyscome ‘Pacific Sun’, a yellow version of the familiar blue flowers.
Over time we will continue to nurture out grassland plants with a view to providing food sources and homes for insects and small reptiles.