Saturday, 10 December 2011

Harvesting the Loot Saturday

It's been raining and raining and raining...where the bloody hell are ya summer? Christmas just isn't Christmas in Australia unless it's hot. It stopped yesterday, although it was still overcast, to allow me to get out and do some urgent harvesting, among other things, in the garden. It was a very productive, pleasing day, despite the sound of the Beloved using the mulcher to chop up the spent broad beans and artichokes (watching him is not for the faint hearted) and the high pitched screaming and squealing that went on and on and on ALL freaking afternoon from the brats next door. Seriously where the f*** the parents were I have no idea - it sounded like murder was being committed. I was sorely tempted to get the hose out and use the jet nozzle over the fence...

My first job was to harvest all the broad beans, to dry out for winter use. I cut the plants whole, just above the base, and the Kitchen Fairy obligingly pulled the pods off for me while I got on with other work. We have a lot! this of course, doesn't include the few baskets I already got to use fresh, so we have quite the bumper crop this year. The roots, being valuable to the soil, I kept to dig back into the bed after I thoroughly weeded. If you look at the photo below, you can see the nodules of nitrogen fixed to the roots. This is precious - much better than the chemical crap sold in bags at Bunnings.

I replanted the bed straight away with some well established seedlings that are heavy feeders, some cool climate fast growing melon, and some tomatillos. I confess I was reaching despair for the tomatillos this year. All the seedlings I carefully raised suddenly died after transplanting due to a few really hot days, despite the watering. I have a suspicion Yoshi puss may have "watered" them himself after I planted them...but to my joy, several volunteer plants are sturdy and beginning to flower so I moved them to a better location. I won't bother sowing seed again, I'll just let them pop up when they are ready - they are much like tomatoes in that respect, and borage.

By the time I'd finished with that, the soil was dry enough for me to harvest the garlic. It wasn't as dry as I would have liked, but I've lain them out to dry off for a few days, then I will carefully brush off the remaining soil, and plait in strands to hang up and cure. It was a crop similar to last year ( we still have a bit left), which means that I judged correctly and we will have enough until next harvest. I haven't had to buy garlic for well over a year, and being organically grown is much better for us. It is also much stronger than the imported Chinese stuff, so less is required.

Next job yesterday was netting the fruits - a job I was more than happy to do! My raspberry canes are fruiting this year (it takes until the second season to fruit after planting) and I'm anticipating lovely fresh berries to have as dessert. There are quite a lot of these little bunches along the side fence, and the blackberries have also begun to flower. I wouldn't want the birds to feast on these rather than me!


For the same reason, I netted the peaches, which was a bit of an effort, but with a long stake I managed to push up high enough to get over the top without resorting to a ladder.

And with all this fruit coming along nicely, I'm trying not to count my peaches before they're ripe!

I finished the day off with mucking out the chook shed, transplanting zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers,  weeding, and chopping back the artichokes after their second crop. I may even get another crop by the end of summer, but I will have to divide the clumps in the autumn. There were some early spuds to harvest, the first of the strawberries, and  purple podded peas. Whew! I hope your weekend was as productive as mine!

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