homegrown, observe, spring

Grounding the preparation

IMG_1559.JPGSun is getting up a little earlier these days, as am I. Easing myself into the upcoming summer routine when the juiciest, most productive part of the day is early morning before the heat gets into things. At the rate our environment is changing, warming up will be commonplace – but I digress.

A little planning goes a long way. Start slow and steady, it will become second nature rather than the sprint to play catch up and get seedlings into the ground. Looking for the changes rather than relying on a calendar and you’ll see spring is barely around the corner. Feed you fruit trees. Feed the garden. Build soil. Get your compost system ticking along happily to generate more of that fabulous nutrient dense soul food for your plants which will in turn make for happy bellies without needing a trip to the local big box for supplies..

Worms are waking up, as are their appetites, feed them up and they’ll pay you in kind. Worm casting are amazing in a home made seed raising mix. Way better to make you own rather than rely on something with hidden ingredients. The one I’m trialing is over here Coir for holding moisture, but not too much, compost – because that’s the good stuff, worm castings for super fine rich and happy nutrient pack and sand for drainage, just in case.

Time to get out there, start some seeds and anticipate playing with your food.

 

explore food, homegrown, package free, winter

A little piece of home

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So winter school holiday times are fun for us. The garden grows so slowly as the sun is a low rider across our southern skies. Perfect time to choose our own adventure. Follow the coast and the sunshine.

In our attempt to be diligent travelers, participate in plastic free July and keep the scurvy at bay (joking!) we made sure to include a massive bag of these harvested right before take off. Luckily we grow for the seasons. Citrus right now is just the best. Super juicy and who knew – grow into their own biodegradable packaging !

I packaged our own shopping bags, knowing we’d be hopping from town to town, but trying to use zen instincts to find something nutritional and familiar was a little trickier. Sometimes we scored big time, other times it’s a matter of going with the flow, choosing the least bad and being thankful for choices.

A break away from the usual gig, a chance to freeze around a campfire spotting satellites and shooting stars comes highly recommended.

 

diversity, explore food, homegrown, package free, reusable packaging

Being an explorer

So we’re in the shadow of holiday time. For us this winter it’s a road trip up the east coast mixing it up with family, camping, national parks, town visits and naturally for half the family – surfing. (The other half love reading and drawing, so it works well.)

It’s also plastic free July . Normally this isn’t an issue for us, but being on the road may throw the occasional curveball.IMG_1151.jpg

Usually meal planning and a little time in the kitchen gets me over the line. We’ll have our little camp kitchen, but space will be a priority in our van & there’s no refrigeration beyond the ice blocks. So it’ll be basic, but leaves more time for play – everyone wins!

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Snacking in the garden is one of the bonuses of my market garden gig, unfortunately the garden just isn’t going to fit.  I’ll be checking in with Fair Food Forager  to find local wholefood / co ops/ local fresh food stores when supplies run low & I kinda geek out a bit looking for the super fresh options in a new town. Finding where the happy food is & how locals eat is a way I get my bearings in a new town.

How you you find your way in an unfamiliar area or is a wander around with accidental finds more your speed?

everyday, homegrown, seasonal eating, winter

Preservation time

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We’re a few days away from the shortest day of the year – Winter Solstice and I’m trying really hard to slow down, preserving this time and preserving the orbs of sunshine* (aka – lemons and limes) currently in abundance.

It really should be sleep season to totally recharge the batteries and dream about things to come. I’m trying to be a grown up and also take this time to review what’s worked over the previous growing season, accept feedback and grow from there.

Putting something away for later makes absolute sense. It could be dehydrating some of the citrus haul for when you’d love it’s zingy freshness mid summer. It could be going all out on pumpkin recipes, since they went crazy earlier in the year. How about dusting off an indoor skill (handwork like embroidery/ drawing/ baking) ? They may sound a little out dated, but you know what ? It’s such a treat slowing down enough to enjoy the process, being totally in the moment rather than watching the minutes disappear and racing around trying to fit everything in.

Try it out sometime, it is so worth enjoying those pockets of light.

*HOW TO DEHYDRATE LIMES

Preheat the oven to 95oC. Slice limes into 5mm rounds. Space them out on a cooling rack over a baking tray. Pop in oven and rotate/ check on them hourly. Should be done in 2 -3 hours. Let cool completely on tray before storing in a jar out of direct sunlight.

Can be used in soups and stews, drink garnishes, decorations.

Don’t forget by dehydrating, you’re concentrating the flavour of the lime – so it may be a bit of a shock to start chewing on one. Other citrus can also be preserved in this way, the times may vary.

collaboration, everyday, explore growing, homegrown, observe

Why we do what we do….

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Thanks you so much beautiful Kelly for your patience !

….I’ve been struggling to write a decent business plan of late, so whilst watering this morning, I came up with a brain dump of why all this important to me….

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO……

Short answer – because I’m curious.

I want to see how seeds grow, what happens in the light, I love the play of water on the garden.

I don’t want to create more waste to be a problem and I like to know how (at least part) of my meal is grown.

I want to be outdoors and not too far from home.

I love seeing how soil comes to life when you feed it properly, when you get the layers of mulching right and the garden helps do your job. When opening a bed, there are so many worms partying and their little bodies glisten metallic shades in the sunlight.

I love it when it’s quiet enough to actually hear the bees and the winged life early in the morning.

I love being able to harvest something I’ve helped to grow, sharing with people in our local area & knowing that local businesses love supporting our adventure.

Having food in your lunch box knowing that it’s come from only meters away is pretty cool.

I’m in awe of all the amazing people I been fortunate enough to meet, being so generous with their time and skills and experiences helping me on the journey to growing food.

I love the passion these people have, it’s not just an occupation, it’s a way of being.

I love that I don’t have to dress up to go to work, it’s more about being sun smart and protecting yourself from the elements.

(Sometimes I start work in my pajamas and that’s ok)

It’s really cute hosting morning tea, feeding those volunteering with us, being able to reciprocate a little nourishment.

My respect for the humble salad has grown exponentially – what goes into a mix isn’t just leaves; it’s a whole kaleidoscope of energy and resources and people power. None of this matters if you don’t feed the soil and look after the lifeforce which make this possible.

It’s really awesome when work is pretty much equal parts play and productivity. How awesome when you can encourage people to play with their food, play outside and there’s a little incidental learning along the way.

 

 

 

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.