Sunday, July 12, 2015

Picking today

This may not look like a very exciting haul, but what you see there are the first and only Brussell Sprouts I have ever managed to grow

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who Needs Snow when you have -5C Frost?

The Vege Garden
I have been hankering for snow, while every other part of the country seems to be cut off with winter snow, we have missed out on the soft fluffy stuff so far.

But this morning Jack Frost made up for it by deliverying a hefty -5C frost for us to enjoy.

It really does make our garden a winter wonderland!

Mt Grey

The Paddocks

Frost adorning everything

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Golly - there are Cauli

Winter in the garden can be a time of waiting, watching and hoping for spring.  At least in past years this has been my experience.  

This year I have tried harder to keep the garden going, and think about what might actually be grown achievably.    Brassicas are an obvious choice, they grow well in colder weather, and don't bolt.  With the added advantage of a lack of white butterflies.  So this year, in late summer, early autumn I planted Brussell Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbages and Kale.  It is with my happiness I can announce that soon I will have Cauliflowers to eat.  The plants have good full leaves and pudding bowl sized caulis maturing in their centres.  I have tied them up once when we had a threat of snow (which never eventuated), as the top of the white cauli will go brown if frosted off.  Today I will have to go out and do that again, as we have more bad weather forecast.

The broccoli are forming up well, with tennis ball sized heads, the curly kale are edible, and we have been using the leaves as they grow, for both kale chips and kale in butter etc.  The brussel sprouts I'm not sure about, growth wise.  They are much maligned, but I love them, however although there are tiny "sprouts" at the base of each leaf, I'm not sure if they will be dense enough to be a proper brussel sprout or of they will bolt to a loose leaf shape.  Time will tell here.

Lettuces under cover have grown really well, and we have eaten several butternut lettuces as "Caesar Salad", they seem to tolerate the cold much better than I had imagined, and the tunnel cover just gives them a bit of shelter from the frost.  

In other news, I planted out 3 rows of Garlic, from my own bulbs from last year.  I had so much garlic last year, we still have bags of it stored, and I had plenty to use as seed garlic.  I also planted "Pukekohe Long Keeper" white onion sets, they actually look a bit "sad" but I am hoping they will perk up.

The seeds I put in for both Mange Tout peas and pod peas have not germinated well, with only a few small plants showing above the soil.  I haven't given up on them, but hold out hope that come spring the rest will germinate eventually.

This is my Garden Share Collective post for July, you can have a look at all the other gardens if you google it.

Jobs Undertaken this Month: planted Garlic, Onions, Coriander, tied up Cauliflowers.

Harvesting Now: Spring Onion, Lettuces, Parsley, Leeks, Kale

Jobs to do this Month: Weed, watch for Frosts, prune the last Grape, add more soil to the planter beds

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Sourdough Adventure or " How to tame the Yeast"

I don't watch a lot of tv, but I happened to turn it on and a show called Britains Best Bakery wasvon. The judges were just talking of Sourdough bread.

My only experiences of sourdough bread have not been great.  My mother once famously tried to catch yeast and baked bricks...a german lady gave complicated instructions for rye flour and a heavy result which I didnt think was very palatable. ...and i have made dough and left it overnight then baked it, but it was missing the holey, chewy texture.

So I listened carefully to these instructions and here is what I got.  Beautiful bread!

So, mix 1c plain flour and 2c cold water, cover with gladwrap. Leave overnight on the bench. Next day and every day for 5 days add 1c of flour and 1c water to it. Afterva week it should be fizzing and bubbling. Take off half the mixture add 2t salt,  1c water and enough flour to make soft dough. In my case this was about 4c flour. knead 10 mins. Leave in a bowl to rise for 6hrs (i put in the warming drawer).  Shape then bake about 30 mins at 180c

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Big Cleanup

Yesterday, with the threat of a winter storm in the next few days, I moseyed out to the garden to see if  anything needed doing.  Glaringly obvious were the grapevines, which I promptly spent some time pruning.  I'm no Vintner but I was pretty pleased with the results.

Then this morning I harvested, not bad for a winters morning,
Spring onions
A Lettuce

In other news, my Broccoli are growing really well...
and I have a Garden Shed ready to be put up!  I can't wait

Monday, June 1, 2015

Le Jardin d'Hiver - The Winter Garden

One of the many Grapes that I need to prune soon
What's this on my windowsill?  a few pots of onion seedlings? both red and Canterbury Long Keeper!  I spent an hour or two planting onion seeds straight into the garden 3 weeks ago now, but so far no sign of the seeds germinating.  Dangit!

First the ground was just too dry (you can see by the paddocks in the distance in my photos just how dry we still are), and then when finally we got some rain, it was too cold....we've had sleet and cold temperatures, and I fear that my seeds will come to nothing now.  Or maybe they will come up in Spring, I haven't quite given up on them.

Brassicas are doing well, now that the white butterfly is gone, thank goodness.

They have large leaves, and good growth, and I have high hopes of some nice veges from this patch.

Cauliflowers, Broccoli and Cabbages are in here

But for the moment, I'll plant seedlings out in another part of the garden.  Just to be sure of getting a crop, because last year was so awesome! bags and bags of onions and garlic.

Lettuces under cover
In other news, I found some lettuce seedlings, self seeded and germinated in the autumn weather, and I have put them under a bird net.  Hopefully this will act as a kind of frost cloth, and keep them a bit warmer.  I have grown lettuces over winter before, and they seem to do OK so long as they don't get deep frozen.

Jobs Undertaken this Month: 
- dug out all the Potatoes that never did anything, they were rubbery and inedible.  But at least I got that bed tidied up.
- Covered the Lettuces with netting tunnels
- Pulled up the French Beans and saved seed for next year

Harvesting Now:
- Spring Onions
- Artichokes (still!)
- Lettuces
- Kale
- Parsley

Jobs to do next Month:
- Prune the Grapes
- Plant out Onion seedlings
- Dig in Chook Poo
- Prune the Boysenberries
- Plant Garlic

This is my Garden Share Collective Post for the Month of June