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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.

seasonal eating

Where’s the value ?

It’s a tricky one – grow your own food, whether it’s sprouts on the sink, a few herbs in pots or an array of plants taking over your outdoor space – it all takes a little effort.

Food needs to be shown a little more respect and respect for the people growing it – yourself included ! Shop at a local organic store, food co op or market. As a general rule of thumb, they will be supporting local growers, supporting local and independant businesses. they will be supporting organic growers who focus on nourishing the soil as much as growing tasty, nutritional, seasonal produce.

Sure, I could buy as punnet of red tomatoes for a few bucks, but how awesome finding a plant loving the sunshine offering up little rubies? (FYI – green ones are edible too, just a little tart. They also make an incredible green tomato chutney.) I found self sown dill along the path, chickweed growing crazily and pesto made in the kithcen from basil and parsley to top my vego curry.

Leftovers rock. Batch cook, enjoy that night, keep some lunch in the fridge and stick the rest in the freezer for another day.

Sure I could go out and buy a curry for somewhere between $10 – $15, have it presented to me in single use plastic (which will take approximately another 500 years to break down) OR I could put my super tasty lunch in a glass jar, top it up with fridge and gaarden foraged toppings, wrap it in cloth and sit somewhere amazing in the sunshine getting my vitamin D too. Hey presto – no waste lunch.

Yes it takes a tiny bit of planning, a little bit extra to carry and a quick wash up at home – seems way smaller than ($10 per day x 5 = $50 per week x 40 weeks = $2000 in shop bought lunches !!!)IMG_9135.jpg

So the value is in a little planning ahead, repect for the food you’re eating and really thinking how every element of a shop bought lunch reaches you. Make a party of it and invite your friends. Or just treat yourself to a little lunchtime holiday and explore the neighbourhood.

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Cooling down now

…..its’ getting closer to winter by the day. Seeing sights of the basil bolting to seed, growth on many plants is slowing down, yet the lemons are ripening up beautiufully as are the limes. Air temperature is dropping (10oC this morning), as is the soil temperature.

Make sure to use mulch to act as an insulation layer to keep the residue heat trapped. Just like putting a blanket in the bed, keeps the heat in and the cold at bay. (And in summer the mulch protects the soil from the suns heating rays, keeping the temperature stable.)IMG_9012.JPG

Nature is remarkable. Just as we start to get a little snuffly, the lemon tree produces the goods. Citrus juice in water, lemon zest in cooking, eat the white pith from these thick skinned beauties and wonder why you’ve never tried this sweet sensation before.

Just because it’s cooling down outside, certainly doesn’t mean you should start slowing down. Plenty of jobs to take on…..

Feed you worms, the citrus trees, the soil, mulch everything that stands still long enough ! Rope some friends into a wander through a parkland and check out the turn of the season.

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