Saturday in the garden

I’d like to say that after an afternoon in the garden that I felt a pleasant ache in my body, but my right knee is making a strong case for a nagging pain instead. Nontheless jobs have been completed.

Watering can ballet (with apologies to Olive Cotton)
Watering can ballet (with apologies to Olive Cotton)

The task today was to re-pot my citrus plants so that they stand a chance of not just surviving, but thriving. My Meyer Lemon, is currently showing it’s disapproval of not being re-potted last year by only producing three golf-ball sized fruit this winter. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see that my Red Centre Lime (a cross between and Australian bush lime and a mandarin) is starting to show a number of deep maroon fruit.

It turned out the easiest way to complete this task was to put down a large piece of plastic on the ground, then tip the pots onto it, scraping out enough soil to let me finally pull the plant from the pot. I could then replace the pot in the right spot and start re-filling it. I took the opportunity to mix in some citrus and rose food in the bottom of the pots before replacing the plants and topping up with good quality potting mix. I also added some trace elements as my plants always seem to be displaying some type of mineral deprivation. A final topping with shredded sugar cane mulch and the task was done.

Re-potted citrus and a few other random plants.
Re-potted citrus and a few other random plants.

I also managed to transplant my Alpine Strawberry into a larger pot. I will need to scavenge some pine needles from my neighbour’s garden to renew the mulch.

I know I could avoid most of this travail if I could only commit to putting these plants in the ground. But there doesn’t seem any good spot to plant them without the plants being prone to frost damage. So I will continue on as I have started and plan to just remember to carry out this task every year.

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Finger Limes

One of the most exciting crops in our garden this year is our Australian Finger Limes. I’m growing Citrus australasica, var. sanguinea’ Rainforest Pearl’. This is one of the varieties of native citrus that has been developed commercially over recent years.

As this plant doesn’t grow naturally in the Canberra region we have been growing it in a pot so we can place it under the shelter of our trees in winter. It survived last years frosts and below zero temperatures to produce what I think was quite a bit of fruit for a still small (about 1 metre tall) plant. Indeed I pulled off about a third of the fruit that was initially on the plant.

fingerlime1

Apart from the interestingly shaped fruit, this plant has very sharp spines!

fingerlime2

Like many native plants the finger lime has intense flavours. So you don’t need much to give any dish some real tang.

I made some wonderful, marmalade with finger limes and Tahitian limes a few years ago, so I was prepared to have another go, albeit with a slightly different twist this year.

I used Liana Krissoff’s recipe for Strawberry & Lemon Preserves (in Canning for a New Generation) and substituted a handful of finger limes for the lemons. I had strawberries in the freezer so that part was straight forward.

cutfingerlime

After cutting up the fruit and macerating it with sugar overnight I had a delightful bowl of deep pink fruit.

strawlime jam

From here on in it was basic jam making. It turned out not to make such a large amount and I chose to be contrary and not skim the foam off my jam (because it was such a small amount), hence the pale pink ‘froth’ (now somewhat solid) on the top of my fruit.

strawberryfingerlimejam

I’m looking forward to tasting it during this week.