harvesting the yield, seasonal eating, spring, start from seed

Growing full circle

Seeds are amazing little packets of potential. A handful could grow into a forest. There’s so many you can store in jars in the kitchen for eating later down the track. Heirloom ones that tell a story.

They complete their own magic tricks. Soaked overnight, they double in size – you’ve woken them from hibernation. Soak and rinse, soak and rinse – watch them sprout into edible vegetable tadpoles.

Some seeds you pop into a little growing medium & once they’re just above the ground  – ready to eat. (aka – microgreens) Then there’s other seeds developing into plants that  you can nibble on their tips (like snowpeas), some flowers are edible too (like snowpeas) – but remember – if you eat all the flowers, they won’t complete their cycle by setting fruit. In the the case of snowpeas progressing it’s so worth waiting for a few of the most amazing crunchy delicious garden snacks in the universe (NOTHING can beat the flavour of these little spring gifts – try eating only one….) snowpeas - end Aug 17

So around these parts, we love playing outside. We love to eat our microgreens. And the flowers (never fear – there’s plenty on offer for the insect life).

Just remember to do some homework to see what varieties are good for people. Extend that research to make sure you’re not eating chemically laden ones too.

So may options ! So many textures. So much diversity from a little handful of potential.

explore growing, harvesting the yield

Bowl of Gratitude

So this is lunch – and with it I think of everyone I have to thank for my journey to here and all the awesome opportunities presented along the way.

Those little veggie tadpoles – mung beans sprouted with seed from our local Flametree co op. Green dip is radish top pesto made from thinning the radishes growing a little too closely to their neighbours. Red one is beetroot ‘dip’ made from beetroot we grew & blended with awesome other stuff. Then we’ve got hummus, again made from scratch made with chickpeas from our local independant co op, giving us an option for our food purchases rather than the standard duopoly.

Best thing about buying dried goods like legumes and seed, you’ve got them on hand to sprout when you like. Salad underneath is from a few metres away in the backyard, providing a base for last nights left-overs. salad bowl - home madeThis bowl also represents skills I’ve learnt over the last few years, building a little self reliance into our household and local food economy. Yay for food activism !! These skills aren’t tricky, but now people are starting to realise they’re well worth having and practicing regularly for their own health, their financial independance and cultural knowledge.

I’ve had amazing suport from my family putting up with my experiments for the most part (“…you love the garden more than you love us ! – ask spoken by our younger child when 1st bitten by the gardening bug. )

Mentors, peers, community in the real world and online. First rule – be brave and ask loads of questions – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Most people are super happy to share their knowledge to the curious and for that I’m forever grateful.

community, explore growing

Give a little

It really does make the world of difference. Lately I’ve been training with a great group of people Young Sustainability Ambassadors with the aim being to empower a younger generation to take action. Starting discussions with school students, encouraging them to get proactive. The work is all tied to the Sustainable Development Goals crafted by the United Nations. Basically – a set of goals to achieve by 2030 to give people basic human needs, rights and protection of our ecosystem – the planet.

That one is a biggie & really really exciting.

school garden with new tools

We’ve been gifted opportunities along the way and it’s really lovely to be able to give back. Building that feeling of generosity and collaboration instead of competition.

A lovely lovely local guy – has his own set up Farmers By Choice and STILL manages to find time each week to help me out ! How – I’ve no idea, but I surely appreciate the support. Some days there’s just too much to do on your own. Sometimes just acknowledging this is enough and sometimes it’s wise to ask for help.

So paying it forward, I volunteer at my son’s school – ‘teaching’ gardening (or at the very least encouraging!) on a weekly basis with the support of one dedicated teacher in particular and encouragingly – a greater percentage of the school population. The garden group was recently gifted new tools to support our lo fi efforts, making the weekly tasks easier to work in groups.

If you’re feeling like you need a bit of dirt time – I’m happy to assist! We’re hosting a volunteer morning Saturday 2 September, 9.30 -11.30. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out – there’s activities to involve everyone !

So at the end of the day – it’s all about helping to craft the place you like being. Some people have time/ skills/ resources to make these things happen and some people make great cheer squads for those getting out there. It’s just really great to see how our communities are enhanced by people living and sharing.

 

 

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Be Kind

So we’re a week away from Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, before we start the slow amble to spring. The garden is growing so slowly, some of the top beds even have a little moss on them due to insuffient light. They’re pausing in their work, why shouldn’t we ?

Solstice is a good chance to catch up with friends around the campfire, celebrate and remember to cut yourself a little slack. Be kind to yourself and practice a little self care.

Continue reading “Be Kind”

produce, seasonal eating, winter

Seasonal offerings

Admittedly – my brain stalled a bit this morning as the rain poured down, saturating my every thought. There’s a special list of jobs I save for days like today – things that don’t seem as much fun when the sun’s out. Couldn’t remember a single one of them or where that list was. So I made it up. Cooking is right up there – thinking a chocolate brownie would be appreciated by all & show that I’d been productive. (Yeah – big tick next to indulgent procrastinating )

Also going for a quick wander through the market garden checking out what’s popping up and what’s happy. Peas – this year I’ve opted for bushing ones, the lower they grow, the less work for me. Super tasty, flowers taste heavenly too. There’s one little tomato plant I’ve left in a protected pocket – still very happy and coming up with the goods – it spraws all over the shop, birds get some, humans get some. I’m afraid if I try to stake it & tidy the tomato plant up now, I may jinx it & no more tomatoes, so for now it can wander to it’s heart’s content.

Salad mix goes year round, each batch is a little different to the previous, as that’s life. Now we’ve got more the the astringent & peppery flavours – mizuna, red veined sorrel, raddichio, rocket to boost digestion …with hints of summer – flowering lemon basil, sweet mint to counter the sharper notes & whispers of springtime with the fresh flavours of chickweed.

The garden and experiemnting keeps me on my toes and I’m keeping my fingers the carrot seeds will actually germinate this time in the cooler weather!

 

 

carrots, explore growing, pickle it, produce, save your food

Minimising Waste

It’s a massive issue. Imagine – collectively we end up sending 20% of our weekly groceries straight to landfill. Imagine all that embodied energy. Carrots can take up to 2 weeks to germinate from seed. They take several months to grow – water evenly and regularly or they’ll split their seams and look terrible. Don’t woory – still edible – just give them a good clean. I end up roasting or simmering these ones. Continue reading “Minimising Waste”

explore growing, start a garden

Start with what you’ve got and K.I.S.S.

We’ve all heard it before – just start with what you’ve got. Gardens are good for that, but the advice misses a step. Look at what you’ve got first.

How much sunshine does the place I want to grow have? How do I got water there? Can I dig into the ground ? Do I have any idea what’s been there before ? Maybe I’m better off starting with pots. How much time do I want to give the project ?

Maybe watching seeds grow into sprouts to throw into a salad is best. Maybe a pot of herbs. Thing with container growing is that because there’s not loads of soil, they tend to dry out quickly in the warmer months. Keep a eye on it through and manage it, no problems.IMG_9173

This happy snap of pots some years back was my first ever garden. Note the mulch to regulate soil temperature and to combat moisture loss. Northfacing space, so it was bathed in light all day. Edged area to keep the grass out of the pots.

And the K.I.S.S. ? Keep It Simple Silly. As a self taught gardener of only a few years, there’s gold in those words. Learn as you grow, take notes, read and visit.

Min thing is to enjoy the adventure of growing an edible garden.