At the moment my garden is looking close to it’s best. The marigolds are in full bloom giving the garden not only a bit of protection from nasty bugs but also a splash of bright colour. We picked our first white habanero last week (second row, right picture) and I’d love to tell you how it tasted, but we lost it somewhere in the kitchen when we did the big clean up in preparation to chemically bomb the bird mite infestation out of our house…but I’d rather not discuss that any further. The itchy memory is too fresh.
At the moment we are having the most success with herbs (especially basil and chives), chili plants, silverbeet, kale, lettuce and eggplant. I’m considering investing in a small portable greenhouse to protect my tomato and chili seedlings through winter. I just have to figure out where to put it. I’m starting to think that the purple cabbages I have are ornamental as they’re not producing anything edible. I’ve cut my tomato’s right back again and I’m hoping they give us one more round of fruit before the weather cools down. As you can see we also have limes coming- which is surprising because I wasn’t expecting any this season, I guess the plant was more mature than I thought when I bought it so the $20 I spent is even more of a bargain for a mature patio lime!
If we are still at this house next summer, I plan on extending the garden along the courtyard wall - there’s 1/2 metre of dirt between the pavers and the wall that I’m just using for junk at the moment and I figure I can use the space much better for anything that requires room to spread out (like cucumber) or grow up (snowpeas/beans etc), maybe even some corn could go there.
It’s an exciting time of the year for garden lovers, because we get to start preparing for the next phase of gardening. I’m stocking up on cool climate seeds and over the next week will begin sowing them in small seedling pots while it’s still warm and they have time to establish themselves before the frosts hit.
If anyone knows what kind of fungi this is growing in my garden (there’s three different kinds) please let me know! I can’t find it on any identification charts. I’m not going to eat it, but I am really curious as to what type it is. I think it’s cute and am more than happy to keep it in there, providing it’s not poisonous.
Propagation: the process of growing new plants from old plants.
The first year of a new garden is rarely your most productive. Which is very frustrating for people who rent and don’t get the chance to establish a garden for more than a year. Even container gardens need time to adjust to their space and conditions and the first year is just as much about positioning your plants as it is them growing. However, instead of being discouraged by a less than bountiful first year harvest, take comfort in the fact that instead of growing an abundance of food first year plants can help you grow an abundance of new plants.
The images above show the plants that I have propagated from existing plants that have now formed seedlings. The top image is jalapeno chili’s that come from the seeds from our other jalapeno plants - I made a bunch of jalapeno poppers, collected the seeds, gently washed and soaked them then dried and planted them in some seed raising mix. The second image to the left is strawberries, even easier, I just cut off the runners and planted them. I have several new runners coming as well. The bottom right image is tomato’s and a couple of capsicum. The tomato’s were fun to propagate, I simply planted any tomato’s that got munched on by our friendly local fruit bats in a new pot with a top layer of seed raising mix and within a couple of weeks I had the seedlings you see in that image.
Just a note- in order to keep your plants going through to the next season, once winter hits make sure they are either put into a greenhouse or an area protected from the cold, wind and frost or else you’ll have to start again come springtime.
I found my artistic niche, it was validated by the Cat Art Show in LA (the existence of such a show, I obviously don’t have a piece in it). Every Saturday (Caturday) I’ll be putting up one of my cat art pieces.
CORE INGREDIENTS 3 free range eggs 1 cup self-raising flower (I used gluten free) 2 zucchini’s, grated 1/4 cup vegetable oil
MY ADDITIONS tomato fresh basil (a handful from my garden) 2 x garlic cloves 2 x fresh cayenne chili
METHOD Preheat oven to 170 degrees (c). Grease and line a rectangle pan. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined. In a separate bowl add all dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add eggs and all other ingredients, stir until combined. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
INGREDIENTS Corn on the cob (however many you want) hot paprika minced garlic Cayenne powder Non-dairy butter (I use nuttelex)
METHOD Cook corn under the grill for about 10 minutes, make sure you watch it so it doesn’t burn. Once cooked let it cool and remove from the cob. In a saucepan on low heat mix two tablespoons of non-dairy spread with all other ingredients - start with a teaspoon of each and increase as desired. Once the butter has melted stir in the corn and ensure it is mixed well. Serve.
SPICY TOFU MIX
INGREDIENTS 1 packet of firm tofu 1/4 red cabbage 1 onion handful of coriander/cilantro 1-2 fresh chili’s 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 x jar of favourite salsa (I use a black bean and chipotle salsa)
METHOD Fry onion until caramelized, then add in cabbage and chili. Once cabbage starts to soften up add the tofu (diced or cut into strips as desired). Cook the tofu on a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, add in coriander/cilantro and salsa. Simmer on low heat for up to 5 minutes stirring constantly. Serve.