Monday, 21 October 2013

Spring is here, not it's not, yes it is, no it's not....

The weather is crazy this year, it can't decide whether to be spring or winter and keeps chopping and changing.  Hence the spring planting of veggies is late, it's been too darn cold for the most part.  But that's okay, we roll with the seasons.  :-) 
So far we've planted potatoes, sweet corn (which is just starting to come up), scarlet runner beans and a couple of tomato plants.  Also some lebanese cucumber seedlings (pictured) and capsicum seedlings.
Last week I planted about 60 different seeds into punnets!  We went through our seed collection that has been gathered and bought over the years.  Some of them are very old so we decided to bung them in.  We have seeds of 16 different varieties of tomato!  By next winter we are hoping to have a greenhouse of sorts built which will be wonderful for germinating seeds while it is still cold outside, but for now I am experimenting with a low wooden box full of moist coir stuff, and I have sunk all the punnet thingies into this, theory being that it will keep the punnet soil temperature stable and moist.  I'll report later as to whether this was a good idea or not.

We are still picking a nice, steady supply of veggies grown over the winter.  We are getting plenty of really nice celery, the broad beans have exploded and I've started freezing those, the purple kale is coming along well (and the chooks LOVE this!), a few carrots here and there and some lettuce. 
 We have started harvesting the root crops.  We grew turnips for the first time which are very nice and there is plenty chopped up in the freezer.  The main root crop at the moment is beetroot.  We've harvested about half of it so far.  We'll pull the rest of the beetroot next week and that will be for pickling.
I used this lot of beetroot to make a batch of beetroot chutney.  I've never made it before and I've been looking for various ways of using beetroot as we seem to grow it well.  I have to say that I am a little disappointed with the chutney, it is very very sweet, too sweet I think.  It will be okay to use in small amounts but next time I make it I will adjust the recipe.
The really yummy thing I did make though, was beetroot hummus.  Divine! Here is the recipe for anyone who is interested :-
450 g can of beetroot, drained (I used 250 g of fresh beetroot that was baked in the oven in foil)
400 g can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of tahini paste (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Season to taste.  It recommends to serve this with warm Turkish bread (yummmm).  We've been eating it with salad sticks and smearing it on bread for a sandwich instead of marg.
What do you think of this?  Does it look like a fabulous casserole or ornate salad that was prepared lovingly by a chef?  Was it delicious to eat?
Yes, it was delicious said Angie, Anne, Leanne and Wilma.  Do you think we have spoiled hens?  They adore the little tail end bits of prawns, shell and all.  This is a rare treat and it is very funny to see them squabble over those little orange treasures.  There was all sorts of good stuff in their breakfast that day - mixed grain porridge, veggie scraps, crushed egg shells, stale bread, cooked beetroot, you name it, it's in there!  And they reward us with 3 or 4 delicious eggs every day, with shells like concrete.
On the wildlife front, and as I type this there are 14 kangaroos lying in the grass down the hill from our house, don't you think it is interesting how long mum roos let their joeys nurse for.  This joey has been out of the pouch for well over 18 months, so she is over two years old, and still mum lets her poke her head into the pouch for a quick drink.
A beautifully vibrant Western Rosella sitting on the fence at the back of the house.  He is noshing on a grass seed head.
And in my little fenced garden, a few flowers are starting to appear.  Cornflowers, one of my favourites.
 Leptospermum, looks like Geraldton Wax but a denser plant.
A shrub called Karri Oak.  I love this, it has beautifully shaped leaves and little cream flowers that the bees love.  It grows fairly locally in the wild.
The kangaroo paw cuttings I brought from our Perth garden are settling in and starting to flower.
This is a really interesting geranium, although the photo shows the flowers as magenta, they actually look almost black, they are a very very dark purple colour, very pretty.  Paul, you may be interested to know where I got this.... it was growing near the front door of the very first house you rented, and I pinched a piece and potted it.  :-)
Garlic chive flowers, so cheerful, and you can eat them too!
Slowly the garden is growing.  Most of my plants are still very very small but this section is the oldest and I love it when gardens start to shrub up.  The Karri Oak is on the left, there is an Olive tree at centre back, and on the right is a Westringia Wynabbie Gem.

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