autumn, biodiversity in the garden, diversity, everyday, explore growing, seasonal eating

The more I grow the more I cook (or at least play in the kitchen)

IMG_1186.jpgAnother awesome adventure in abundance !!!

Knowing where to go for your seasonal best is imperative for good health. Better still is learning what on earth to do with it once you’ve got it.

Citrus are care of our backyard – just in time for the vitamin C boost as the seasons shift, cabbage are from a friend who had the patience to watch them grow long enough (think he said 15 weeks) – soon to be turned in to sauerkraut and workshopped, mushroom grow bags are from a recent workshop at a community centre and apples are care of a local farm growing the most incredible fruit (and making cider on site!). – these are just eaten straight, added to porridge & I’ll soon attempt to make vinegar from the apple scraps. Sweet potato were bandicooted from under the fig tree.

So this incredible produce is abundant only at certain times. If you pick 12 kg of limes, it’s a good idea to know how to use them !! In juice, store in the fridge, juice & freeze, freeze the whole fruit, preserve them in salt & trade a few 😉 Time invested in growing throughout the year pays dividends,

So lunch yesterday – sprouted broccoli in  the pan with steamed pumpkin (basically the pumpkin turned itself to soup), fried egg from a friends place, pesto made with parsley, rocket, basil, preserved lime, olive oil & almond meal.  I’d never buy that stuff – but learning to make do with what you’ve got certainly expands your culinary horizons. It’s a bit of being curious, a little brave a fair amount of rational and a whole lot of resourcefulness.

Likewise, letting growers play to their strengths has obvious rewards, the subtleties and knowledge to produce consistently is so under rated.  Once you start on your own growing adventure –  your appreciation of everything considered vaguely edible grows exponentially.

biodiversity in the garden, explore growing, homegrown

The Way of The Watermelon

 

AAhhh the taste of summer. The vine seems to grow for months and then finally you notice the tiniest glimmer of a fruit. Check back in a week or two and it seems as if someone has got the bike pump out and inflated the sucker !! The thunk of a super ripe and ready to eat fruit when you slice into it. Sitting on the back deck spitting seeds at each other.

Prepare the bed-  plant- water set forget. That’s how it happened over the far side in our backyard. Plenty of sun too. Several months later (around 4), peel away the vines and ta da!!! Gifts from the garden. Of course, none of this is possible without your friendly neighbourhood pollinators. Keep your backyard chemical free so you’re not poisoning their food supply. Without our pollinators, around 80 % of the foods we like to eat would disappear.IMG_0825.JPG

 

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The whole anticipation trip is so worth it. I planted maybe a little late, so our watermelons haven’t been ready until the end of summer.

And to think, by planting these in a marginal area (further away from the house and letting them go – watermelons can easily take up a good few square metres per plant, of the fossil fuel saved. No trucking them in from interstate for less than a dollar per kilo retail. I guess what you’e really trucking is sweet water. Maybe encourage a local school or a community garden to get them in nice and early. Find somewhere for the watermelon to roam.

A fresh slab of this cheery fruit on a really warm day is reward enough. Beats an icy pole hands down.

 

biodiversity in the garden, everyday

Wonder bowl

Ever wonder where your food comes from ? Thought about how much energy it takes ? Know the person who grew it ? Maybe the region it came from ?

Every now & again I do. It’s pretty cool to actually know a few answers to questions now & again.

So this photo was lunch today. Stir fried in 10 min and enjoyed with our new HelpX volunteer.

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Left overs and backyard offerings. A tiny beetroot, corn, shallots, baby eggplant, pumpkin, radish and cucamelon within walking distance. Rice grown by Randalls – an Australian organic family farm, Chinese cabbage from our truly amazing and recently renovated Flametree Co-op (I also buy our tamari and olive oil in bulk here.)

So apart from lunch looking a little lumpy, it’s also got loads of colour, texture and energy. Eat a rainbow. try to give yourself enough time to enjoy it.

Super cool thing about hunting around locally, (see if you’ve got a local Food Is Free Table people drop and swap at in your area) is you get the flavour of independence. Sometimes things that aren’t mainstream. And most certainly foods that are in season for your region.

Try to make a little time and indulge yourself.

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biodiversity in the garden, everyday, observe

Gardening for the Soul

Coolest thing about growing and edible garden, is you get to eat your experiments.

It’s not like doing the dishes where you have the instant gratification of clean dishes but in no time flat, hey ho! they’re dirty.

Gardening is great for the soul. Wander through an edible patch an smell the herbs as you brush by. Even just sitting on the ground outside can be considered ‘gardening’ if you’re half observing what’s going on around you. What can you hear ? What can you feel ? Noticed your breath slow a tiny bit ? Seen any pollinators ? Anyone/thing else like to eat the plants?

Not everyone has their own path of dirt (or wants one), so make the most of the local reserve/ park/ community garden. Share stories.

How else are you going to know what a baby radish tastes like unless you pluck one from the soil? Walk on the mint growing a little crazy, being the brightest of green like it’s invincible.

There are so many elements – literally – from the ground up. I confess, I’m not a scientist & never will be. But you don’t have to undertake a full analysis to appreciate what’s going on around you. The more you look, the more you see – if something is struggling, if it looks a little neglected or when your backyard wonderland is in balance.

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Hectic day ? Take your shoes off and lie down outside. Breath deeply. Check out the shadow play of late afternoon light.

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Instigate a no dig garden build with your neighbour. Small spaces stay manageable and easy to keep an eye on. Build a garden lasagne without breaking yourself. No heavy lifting, no heavy digging. Watch nature play right before your eyes, building soil and growing something we like to eat.

I’ve found through gardening no more mistakes, just constant learning – always a way to improve practice next time round. And patience. So much patience ! Gardens don’t happen overnight like sea monkeys or those crazy crystal postcard trees out of a packet.

But they are so worth the wait.

biodiversity in the garden, explore growing, produce, salad days

Salad days

Last day of winter, and there’s markers of the seasonal change all around.last day of winter

Brassicas (broccoli here) flower merrily, days are longer minute by minute, grass is growing a little quicker. Rainbow colours planted to stir fry, salads in next level for diversity, grab & go meals, shallots for skinny places….

The tip of this garden gets the most sun, so quick greens were planted. As days grow longer, the other planting will catch up. It’s all a bit of a dance, weaving time, space, light and flavours.

Have you ever tried broccoli leaves ? They were my go to green last night – cut the stem out, chop & pan fry – remarkably yummo !

Going for garden domination on the right there is our beloved rhubarb. Originally divided from the school garden, this one can have it’s roots traces back at least 35 years.

The possibility of small spaces requires a firstly a little imagination and observation – good strong starting blocks. What do you want to pop into your salad bowl ? What can you start from seed ? What do you let flower ? Can you eat the flower and which ones do the bees love ? What to snack on as you check the pulse of the outdoors ?

Time to explore and have fun.

autumn, biodiversity in the garden

When I grow up…

…I wanted to be a florist. Full of colour, creativity and bringing people joy. A fragrant workplace, full of wonder.

Funny how ideas manifest into reality. Our market garden has flowers which inspire curiousity, taste great, some have healing properties and most importantly fabulous for the pollinating insects in the garden. Flowers have been in use at mealtimes, ceremonies, rituals and healing across many cultures around the planet. The first recorded history of their edibility was 140 BC! Here in our backyard market garden, flowers provide nourishment for the bees and others which in turn pollinate our edible garden. Without bees working away, we’d lose around 80% of the variety from our diet!!!IMG_8981.jpgIMG_8980.jpgSuch joy and colour, we’ve just got to remember to quietly crouch down and look around.

Fabulous garnish on cakes and salads.

IMG_7965.jpg Just remember to find out where your flowers come from. A reputable source will look after the environment to maximise the health of the plants. Chemicals will disrupt the web of life neccessary for health and happiness.

Appreciate your locale and see what other life also appreciates the blooms.

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Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney