Getting Ready for Winter

Call that a beetroot!
Call that a beetroot!

Well we’re still waiting for the onset of the cold weather, but in the interim there’s been lots of preparation of new crops. Our broad beans, garlic and carrots have been planted and seeds of broccoli and turnips are sprouting in the polyhouse.

The carrot bed is prepared with very thorough weeding, on the left; and a covering of hessian to maintain an even moisture level, on the left.
The carrot bed is prepared with very thorough weeding, on the left; and a covering of hessian to maintain the even moisture level that is needed for the seeds to germinate.

We are leaving our pumpkins on the vines until the frosts start.

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Butternut pumpkins waiting for harvest

There are still plenty of veggies to be harvested. A quick whip around the plants we were tidying up yielded this haul of zucchini’s, potatoes, eggplants and warrigal greens.

veggie harvest
What we found when cleaning out the last of the summer crops

Dinner that night was a cheesy vegetable bake, stuffed zucchini flowers and roasted potatoes.

Straight from the garden onto the plate.
Straight from the garden onto the plate.
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Good Afternoons

With the slightly warmer weather this past weekend we’ve been not only out and about but also out and doing in the garden.

On Saturday our friend J invited a group of us to come over for an afternoon tea and catch-up. I seem to recall spending all my childhood Sunday afternoons at my grandparents place for afternoon tea with the rellies so I knew the format. First a leisurely stroll around the garden. J has made great strides in her garden rennovations, removing scraggy ivy invading one space and re-planting with native plants. Now this space invites sitting with a cup of tea and a good book.  New wooden louvre partitions suddenly make the barbeque area into a distinct area for eating and a new bird nesting box is encouraging local native birds to drop by for a longer stay. Of course the veggie garden got a look in. It’s currently undergoing a major rennovation so the central patch of Jerusalem artichokes had been dug out – which led to that other afternoon visit tradition of claiming a garden memento – in this case some Jerusalem artichoke tubers – to take home.

Then there was the food …

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in copious quantities! Sherry cake, anzac biscuits, sausage rolls, apple cake, and grown-up chocolate crackles with sultanas and flavoured with cinnamon. One of the most popular choices were the cupcakes made by the youngest member of the party.

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I’m sorry, but I ate the one with the bright green icing before I thought to take the photo. Ah happy days! One thing that is an improvement on Sundays at my grandparents house – they certainly didn’t have as capable a barrista on hand as J’s husband proved to be.

Having eaten far too much on Saturday afternoon, TB and I spent Sunday out in the garden. I actually did plant my Jerusalem artichokes, in a tub, as they are renowned for their abity to spread pretty quickly, not to mention permanently, through your garden if left uncontained.

I also picked the remnants of my green tomatoes (not soon enough it turns out, for some were too frost damaged to be useable) to make my regular supply of green tomato pickles (recipe from A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise).

Of course we did have to have a break and eat up some of the left over canoli filling in some puff pastry – marscapone, ricotta, with citrus peel, almonds and flavoured with rosewater – that didn’t get used up for the afternoon tea on Saturday.

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We also decided it was time to harvest the Warrigal greens before the leaves were completely anihilated by the frost.

Spinach

Along with some Perpetual Spinach they were used to make up a large amount of canneloni – some for now and some for later. Oops, I couldn’t wait to try some.

Caneloni

While I was out the front picking my tomatoes and cleaning up the very dead pumpkin vines I got chatting to my neighbours who told me that where they were digging they were going to plant a veggie garden as they were over supermarket veggies. Good for them!

The best thing I find about about pumpkin vines is when they finally die down you are liable to find a whole lot of pumpkins that you didn’t know you had, like these four Baby Blue Pumpkins.

Pumpkins

 

Keep on growing

One of my favourite vegs, the Warrigal Greens (aka New Zealand Spinach) continues to defy the frosts and is just keeping on growing. Just to be on the safe side I thought I would pick the majority of the plant and blanch it so I’d have some for creamed spinach during winter.

I started off with a washing basket full of plant …

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which when the leaves were plucked came down to a medium sized bowl

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and ended up as 6 x 200gm packets of blanched leaves.

Over on the other side of town Variegated was picking one of her ever-growing pumpkins. She kindly delivered this golden fruit along with a great recipe for Pumpkin Brioche! This is definitely a recipe worth making – just be warned though the results will probably disapper a in a matter of minutes. I’m not sure of the origin of Variegated’s recipe but this one appears to be very close.

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