Friday, July 31, 2015

The Winter Garden

Our garden is still doing well despite the cold wet winter days.

The section of this year’s plot that has not been planted yet is continually being increased with stable scrapings (note the bags we collect free from the stable gates in Matamata, in the next plot to the left), ash from our wood burner and the ‘empties’ when I clean out the chooks nesting area. It is then dug over with a fork and raked. This keeps feeding the garden with nutrients and helps keep any weeds that might pop up, at bay.

We have been eating silver beet leaves when stirred into soups, casseroles and stir-fries, if not quickly steamed and served with a little butter. The plant was one transplanted from the old garden, so it was good to see it survive.

There has also been the occasional meal off the transplanted broccoli plants left over from the old garden and safely regrowing after the shift.

And I am pleased to say that we have had our first meal off a couple of the new broccoli plants and despite them being home grown, there were no caterpillars (Katrina) and when served at our annual mid-winter feast there was none left over. I try not to use any pesticides in the veggie garden as I am still not convinced they are safe even if the correct period of ‘waiting’ is adhered to and they are washed thoroughly. This means in the heat of summer, there is often a long process of picking out the caterpillars when they are being prepared to eat and sometimes they will still fall out upon cooking. If I have still been amiss they may still end up on one’s plate, an event Katrina will never miss telling me so.

It was lovely to go and harvest some greens from the garden for our meal with the family and even more of a joy to have young Natalie help with the carrying of the basket.

One of the bonuses of having the garden run amuck and the parsnips going to seed last summer is that there are lots of self-sewn parsnips coming up and those that I have let grow are now just coming on ready to eat. We are even having a little side serving of salad leaves from the lettuce plants, when I peel off some of the outside leaves allowing the plants to continue to grow and mature.

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