Monday, 24 December 2012

Salad Days

Last couple of days we have experienced high temperatures 34C & 39C so I was up early in the morning making sure all in the "Plot" was well watered and mulched including the salad greens, some of which I've made covers out of shade cloth to protect them from the harsh sun.
I have been inspired by both VP and her wonderful 52 week Salad Challenge and LIZ over at suburban tomato so much so that I'm well in front at this time of the year with assorted veggies well established and producing than I have ever been.

First up we continue to enjoy salad greens picked nearly every second day, red /green oak leaf , Cos, Rocket and Mizuna.
Plenty of herbs, Mint, Parsley, Dill and Basil some of which I keep handy on the window sill.
Easy to tear off a mint leaf and add to a cool refreshing drink or chopped and added to potato salad.
While checking the garden I came across my very first pepper ! and in December !!! I'm so excited !!

 Also in the Plot     Roma and Ru de marmande tomatoes             Butter nut pumpkin
                               Eggplants                                                         Cucumber
                               Beans, Red snake, dwarf((brown beauty),butter beans, borlotti,
                                Climbing (blue lake) Italian Romano.
                               Seedlings of lettuce , freckles and more red and green oak leaf.
                                Zucchini Romanesco     (which preformed very well early this year) 
                               Cabbage. (unknown variety) but growing very well.  

Things were looking a little different a few weeks ago, some leaves on the tomatoes a bit yellow and plants altogether just not looking the best.....
I did a little reading and decided to water in some sulphate of potash and the difference is amazing.
Does anyone else find it useful?

If you have time over the Xmas break head over to VP   and be inspired by others joining the 52 week salad challenge.  

                                           Happy Xmas to All. !!!                            

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Harvest Monday

My last Harvest Monday post for the year includes two Surprises, but firstly a big THANK-YOU to

DAPHNE for hosting her weekly Harvest Monday , although I have missed quite a few weeks I've enjoyed following and picking up gardening, preserving and cooking tips along the way.

The first surprise was my Green dragon broccoli ready to harvest after a very long 5 months.........


My second surprise this week was nearly a disaster as I was trimming back all my rosemary hedges using  electric hedge trimmers, when I came across a well hidden little wren nest ......

I have been checking each day to make sure all is ok and today the first of the chicks has hatched, little mouth wide open waiting for a feed.........................

         Meanwhile dad announces the new arrival..................

Happy Gardening !!!
Happy Christmas!!!


Monday, 10 December 2012

Harvest Monday

Harvest Monday is hosted by inspiring gardener DAPHNE over at daphnesdandelions, its a day to share what you have been harvesting,cooking or preserving from your patch.

Over the weekend I pulled up the last of the garlic and yesterday cleaned and sorted it ready for storage.
The smaller bulbs went into a net bag and the others plaited ready for Xmas gifts.
It's been a bumper crop this year , kitchen, laundry and shed have garlic hanging every where and yes garlic's on the menu in some form most nights!!

My cherry harvest wasn't so successful as last years, I did get the net up in time but unfortunately a bird got in some how and had quite a party !!
  Considering the lack of rain over the last couple of months I'm pretty lucky to even get half a basket.

This lack of rain is a bit of a worry both our dams have dropped quite a bit, unfortunately I can't use this water for the garden as it may be needed for fire fighting later in the summer.
We do however have a bore so each week we are filling up a large tank on the trailer which we then park next to the veggie patch, it has a petrol pump and hose so I can water the patch twice a week.
Lots more mulch has been added to the beds and shade cloth covers made to place over some veggies during the hottest days of the week.    Beans seem to be loving  the heat , all seedlings growing well and reaching for the stars, keeping my fingers crossed no little bugs get them !!

Last of the weekly harvest has been herbs which are preforming really well with the extra care, we have been enjoying lots of basil, parsley, mint  and dill.

                                                           Happy Gardening!!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Harvest Monday...............

Oh so quick to pick .........
And so sweet to eat............
Also harvesting this week broad beans, red onions, lettuce and more garlic.

Old Black chook welcoming the new chicks on the block
Sharing the joys of growing and harvesting with Daphne  and many others from around the globe.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Yep Summer's arrived...................

With each approaching season I always feel a little wary especially Summer, 
and this year we have been caught on the hop with Summer arriving a few weeks early.
Our last rain fall(only 3 ml) was on 6th November and the long range forecast isn't looking too promising so I have been busy watering & mulching the vegetable garden beds.
We are also trying to complete all our fire prevention work, paddocks and  grass areas slashed,  water tanks filled, all rubbish & firewood etc moved away from the house, testing generators and water pumps.....the list goes on.

One of the positive outcomes with the early warm weather has been the Garlic Harvest, so far I've pulled up over 100 plants most of them drying in bunches in the shed but some plaited and already given away to friends.

Some of the smaller bulbs of New Zealand purple.

This weekend I netted our Cherry tree and Mulberry tree both of which are full of fruit, next on the list to net are the plums,peaches and apple trees.

I also took a few photos around the gardens.................

 Climbing rose  "Wedding Day"is a real beauty and covers the entire wall of the bathroom.

Bob's latest artistic creation, reclyled barb wire.

Some of my favorite plants in the garden are ones grown and given by friends, I just love the bright red flowers of Altissimo against the iron tank and stone wall.

Who would think a snapdragon would grow between all this stone ?

The last photo I'd like to share with you was taken by one of our guests staying at our cottage, this little wren and his family have been keeping many people entertained over the last few weeks as they go about their daily tasks.
The picket fence is one of his favorite spots.

Isn't he beautiful !

Thanks for dropping by and hope you all have a great week........

Monday, 12 November 2012

Harvest Monday

Its been a few weeks since I last joined in with Daphne's Harvest Monday and I've really missed catching up with every body's weekly harvests. 

Today I picked just on 500 g of sugar snap peas.

Five lovely beetroot which I'm going to make into another batch of beetroot & apple relish which has become a new favourite.

One large leek 

             A bunch of spinach which will go into tomorrows mini quiches.

             I've also started pulling my garlic and hanging it in the shed to dry.

Sadly just over a month ago a fox got to my girls and took 6 of them, I was so 
tired after a day at work was late home and let the girls out for a quick scratch................... got busy cooking dinner and then early to bed and forgot all about the girls, I'm so mad with myself and not quite sure whether to get any more. I still have my lovely old black Chook and two little silkies which were in another pen and now only getting 1 egg a day.

You wouldn't believe it as I'm writing this post our little dog is going crazy outside and my husband went outside to check and saw the fox !!!
I suppose they have their young cubs to feed but wish they would get the rabbits instead!

Looking forward to heading over to Daphne's Dandelions  
and checking out this weeks Harvests from around the globe.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Open Garden

It's been a little crazy at our place over the last few weeks getting ready for our first ever open garden ........

Last 4 days have been a whirlwind of meeting other keen gardener's, giving tours of the garden, making cups of tea and selling plants.

Five more days and I've already lost my voice twice!!

Silver beet, Tuscan Kale, Snow peas all picked fresh in the morning.
The Grapefruit & Ginger marmalade proving to be the most popular.     

Photos of the Garden to follow...................                                               

Monday, 1 October 2012

Harvest Monday & Salad Days

Plenty to harvest ............................Joining in with Daphne's Harvest Monday

Cabbage leaves, Silver beet, spring onions,parsley, leeks and green garlic.

Although this particular Italian cabbage didn't produce heads it has continued to produce tender young leaves and stalks which I have been harvesting most nights and enjoying it steamed or as tonight chopped up small and added to fried rice. 

Was surprised today when about to harvest some rhubarb, a huge flower stalk developing..............
Not sure what to do ..........Should I cut it off  ??


  Each month I have also been joining in with Veg Plotting and Salad Days                                                     

 This has proved to be a great challenge and has inspired me to keep planting 
a variety of salad greens...................

I've found red oak leaf lettuce tolerates the cold well also in the salad spinner is young beet leaves, rocket, mizuna and young spinach leaves.
Fresh new growth on a few herbs, mint, lemon thyme, chives and parsley are also a welcome addition to salads.                                                   

Woops nearly forgot......Egg count last week, 36 eggs !!!   used in.......

Scrambled eggs, Lemon butter and bread & butter pudding (yum)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

Recently friends moved into their new home and Hubby helped out with the move.They live in a beautiful town close to the Victorian Snow fields and where citrus trees grow extremely well......................

They have over 30 assorted citrus varieties and kindly sent me boxes and bags of Grapefruit, Oranges, Lemons, Limes and Mandarins .

Ok so there has been a lot of slicing...juicing....washing of jars....

So far i have made Grapefruit and Ginger marmalade
                           Lemon and Lime marmalade
                           Three fruit marmalade
                           Lemon Butter 

My favorite is the Grapefruit and Ginger.
Since Hubby doesn't like marmalade I brought some strawberries on sale and made him batch of jam.

And since I was in the mood I also picked the last of my Beetroot and made a batch of relish with the following very easy recipe.  

750g Beetroot, peeled and grated             750ml malt vinegar
500g apples ,peeled,cored &chopped         500g sugar
1 onion, chopped                                    1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
200 g dried figs, chopped, (the recipe did say raisins but i didn't have any)

Place all ingredients in a preserving pan and leave to stand 2 hours.

Place pan over medium heat and slowly bring contents to the boil.
Simmer 1 1/2 - 2 hours until reduced,thick and syrupy.
Remove from heat, pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal.

 Still more fruit left on the laundry bench................maybe a batch of 3 fruit marmalade with ginger.....................   

Sharing today's recipe with Robin and Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.                                         

Monday, 17 September 2012

Harvest Monday

Two and a half weeks into spring........ a few sunny days but still lots of rain and with the longer days of sunlight most plants are starting to really move now...............
There's sugar snap peas climbing up their wire support, potato leaves emerging, the first flowers on strawberry plants............
This week there has been plenty of silver beet and bunching onions to pick.

Also still picking the cabbage tops/leaves from my Italian cabbage.

I have been enjoying harvesting lovely fresh leaves of Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary and Oregano perfect chopped in scrambled eggs and quiche.

This week I picked the last of the beetroot planted way back in April and made beetroot relish...................

 And the girls keep a laying................. this week count 45 !

Love joining in with Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions and catching up with fellow gardener's and their weekly harvests from around the globe.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.

Do you love eating Chicken?
Do you like a few spices ?
Do you like mint?

Just had to share this really easy and tasty recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's cook book Curry Easy which I cooked for this first time this week.


Its called Chicken Karhai with Mint.  (Karhai means wok)

So chicken cooked quickly in a wok with mint.

Combine in a glass or ceramic bowl, then cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour or as long as overnight.

550 g boned,skinned chicken about cut into 2cm pieces
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1  teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Put 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large frying pan and set over a medium to high heat.
When hot add 100g of chopped onions, I used fresh bunching onions.
Fry for 1 minute
Add all the chicken and all the marinade, stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.
Add 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint and fry for a few seconds.

I served it with plain boiled rice and some gently steamed cabbage tops.

One of those dishes which was even better the next day cold, I had it with a salad but would be great in a wrap.

Sharing this recipe with Robin and Thursday's Kitchen Garden

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Some projects finished.......................

After some excavation work way back in January we were left with a huge pile of rock ..............what to do with it all ?

It took most of the Winter months(and broken fingernails) but I have finally finished my Cairn .........

           Over the months the stone has dried into different colors .


  While I was playing with stones Hubby was building the new movable Chicken House on wheels !!
It has timber slats on the floor (gaps are small so no foxes can get in) and a wire panel for a door and at night time a blind that I pull down over the door and secure.  

At present its resting under a group of gum trees for added protection                    

It didn't take the girls long to settle in and next morning there was the usual 6 eggs in the nesting box.

Err.......who was a tad lazy these last couple of weeks?   the first sunny days of Spring were spent pulling weeds , 5 Ute loads !!! I kid you not !!!

A Wonderful spring surprise...........

Our first lamb for the season, Mum wasn't letting me get too close!    

Its white with black patches like his dad, the breed are called Damara or fat tailed sheep, they shed their fleece over the Spring/Summer months so no need for shearing. Were hoping the other 7 ewes will have safe births over the next couple of weeks.

On the Veggie front there has been lots of growth over the last couple of weeks with some things starting to flower mainly the 2 year old Kale, Garlic, Peas, Leeks and coming along nicely and seeds planted in the cold frame are now ready for transplanting.

The broad beans are flowering too.............

   My one disappointment in the plot has been my Broccoli Green Dragon, lots of healthy growth but no sign of flowers.......not sure what happened....

  Any Ideas??    Oh well I suppose the chickens will enjoy eating the leaves !

                                Happy Gardening..................   


Monday, 20 August 2012

Harvest Monday

This weeks harvest has included the much anticipated Romanesco broccoli

                    second head picked weighed just on 400grms

            steamed and light in flavor which was surprising but quite nice.   

The girls continue to lay eggs each day they don't seem to mind the constant rain and drizzle and I'm enjoying one each morning for breaky..................

I have one particularly smart hen who always is first to greet me when i visit the coop each morning,if I'm carrying a plastic bag with scraps she jumps up and pecks at the bag, if i move the water dish she's quick to look for any worms underneath. 
One morning she was quick to sneak out the coop gate so I let her join me while i weeded the garden, as soon as I turned the soil or pulled a weed she swooped and got her worm.
After about and hour she headed off to sit beside the coop door to join her mates or brag about her morning tea.

Joining in with Daphne  and her weekly Harvest Monday post,
Sharing what's been picked from the plot.............
Preparing, cooking, preserving and enjoying the harvest.........

Hope you all have a great week.