Benign neglect

There’s something to be said for a bit of benign neglect in a garden. We didn’t pull out all the old broadbeans and with the addition of a watering system for nearby plants they have decided to come back for a second flush!

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Op shop finds!

There is generally a dearth of op shops* open over the Christmas New Year period, so we were pleased to discover one of the larger Salvos* store open yesterday. There were a number of good finds. Two Semco sewing kits for a new art project. A brand new small saucepan perfect for boiling our two morning eggs

And a second cane washing basket, part of my ongoing quest to replace plastic household items with more earth-friendly options (yes, we are still persisting with the last plastic basket until it ‘dies’). Our clothes pegs are already predominantly wood.

*op shop = opportunity shop, thrift store

*Salvos = Salvation Army, a major player in the op-shop business in Australia.

Merry Christmas! 🎄

It is never Christmas for us without the annual photo of the Christmas Sheep. This year, for the very first time we saw Santa’s elves out decorating the sheep.

We also went on our own trip to be with family in Adelaide during the holidays. On Christmas Eve we joined hundreds of other families for Carols on the Oval, where, apart from singing carols and seeing real camels (without the three wise men), other miraculous sitings occurred.

So Merry Christmas to you all and our best wishes for the new year!

Raspberries

This year we have grown some raspberries! Yes, we are still surprised that we get any fruit as our canes are growing in a very large pot and even being next to the tap they don’t get sufficient water to produce a mass of fruit.

However this year Mother Nature has taken a hand by providing above average rainfall in November which has kicked along the fruit production. The November rainfall in our part of Canberra was double our monthly average!

We still only get a tiny amount of fruit compared to those whose plants are in the ground, but we plan to enjoy our harvest anyway.

Pick for productivity!

This morning’s harvest of Alderman peas, front; and broad beans, at the back.

A quick reminder to all of us that picking the pods from our peas and beans on a regular basis encourages more flowering and more productivity.

If you don’t need to eat them straight away then pod, blanch and freeze your produce as you go. Smaller amounts are handy for one or two serves and you will be relieved that you didn’t need to spend all day processing those kilos of beans!

SOS = Single Origin Sourdough

I’ve drunk ‘single origin’ coffee and indulged in ‘single origin’ chocolate, but I have to say that ‘single origin sourdough’ was a new one for me. We’d decided to indulge ourselves and have breakfast out at the markets this morning so headed off to Bean & Grain for some Eggs Benedict.10Nov2017

I was startled to see the SOS sign, but intrigued when I read further. It turns out that the single origin flour is an idea of farmers in northern New South Wales, trying to improve their returns by moving out of the bulk grains commodity markets. Looks like they are gaining some traction both in Canberra and Sydney. You can find out more here. If you are a keen baker you can also buy the flour to have a try yourself.

Turns out the extremely yummy toast we had with our breakfast, along with all the current batches of bread, was made from the single origin Lancer flour (a wheat strain introduced in 2011). I was forced to buy some multigrain bread to bring home.

** Just in case you want to know I have no connection with the growers or the sellers of this product. All the views expressed here are my own.

Return of the gardeners

It’s always with a degree of trepidation that I return to our garden after being away. While three weeks absence isn’t much, it did coincide with the first big flush of spring so the weeds are rampant and the vegetables are hard to find.

On a more positive note our two new chickens have started laying, so the daily egg count is growing nicely. A friend was looking after our tomato seedlings and they have flourished under their care.

I braved the front veggie patch this afternoon. Brave being the operative word. After half an hour of weeding I had scarcely managed to clear a metre of ground. What was more disappointing was that after that work it turned out that the purple podded peas were so spent that it actually wasn’t worth the effort to free them from the weeds.

Thankfully the shallots that I planted at either end of the bed are growing away reasonably well. I have now mulched them with sugar cane waste to see it I can slow down the ever ready weed population.

A further word on these beds that I planted out so hopefully a few months ago. You might remember that I tried out Tino Carnavale’s method of placing the seedlings near strings so the plants could readily climb to the top of their support. Sadly I have to report that for one of my beds this was almost a complete failure. Not Tino’s fault but my first qualification is don’t try this method where the plants will be effected by strong wind.

My purple Podded peas were growing away quite nicely when our spring gale force winds hit. The plants were clinging so tightly that almost all of one bed were immediately snapped off at the base. A second row of peas, planted in the shelter of the first row managed to survive somewhat better and they are starting to produce quite well. The bush peas planted nearby have just about disappeared under the weeds. However my Alderman climbing peas and my snow peas, planted in the more sheltered back garden, are podding quite well.

Probably best of all is that we are still harvesting some asparagus. Just enough to remind us what we missed out on during our holiday.