Category Archives: Garden

Spring is definitely here.

Wow, I really wasn’t prepared for how quickly spring would set in this year.  I mean, usually it’s a more gradual transition – with every day getting slightly warmer, and in turn providing a bit more encouragement to spend time outside getting things ready in plenty of time, and normally I’m perfectly able to keep on top of things – but not this year!

It would seem that no sooner had I turned over the page of August on our wall Calendar, we skipped a month went straight from Winter (which has been extremely mild by Canberra standards) to mid-Spring!

Needless to say, I’ve been playing catchup these past few days.  Funnily enough, the garden seems to realise that I’m running behind and has gone about picking up the slack itself – self seeding lettuces, sage plants, zucchinis, tomatoes – and so on.

So here’s a quick look at some of the exciting changes in the past few days, with new things happening everyday.   Despite feeling a little stiff from all the crouching, I can’t wait to get out there again once the sun is up!

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Blueberry flowers

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Garlic

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Oregano

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Almond Blossom

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Green manure crop

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Rhubarb

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Broad Beans

2014 Permaculture Calendar Giveaway

Exciting news guys – I’m running a giveaway!

Richard over at Permaculture Principles and I have exchanged the use of one of my images in a promotion for a few copies of the just released 2014 Permaculture Calendar and it’s my pleasure to be able to give a copy each to two readers!  Note: Australian residents only (Sorry my international friends – I still love you – I’m just frightened of the postage costs!)

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All you need to do is leave me a quick message in the comments section so I’ve captured your name – nothing special or difficult, and I will send you an email if you’re one of the two randomly selected winners.

The draw will be held on the 1st September at noon and I will shortly after announce them on the blog – the first day of spring – how appropriate!

If you’re not successful, but are interested in purchasing a calendar you can do it via the below weblink to the Permaculture Principles website.  While you’re over there, spend some time clicking around – it contains a wealth of wonderful information and resources.

http://permacultureprinciples.com/product/calendar/

Good luck!

Lemon Gelato

I know it’s completely the wrong weather for it, but I think we’re so desperate for a little taste of summer that I couldn’t hold myself back from making up some lemon gelato from the abundant supply of lemons and eggs from the backyard. I’ve never made up a custard based ice-cream before, but it actually turned out to be very simple.IMG_8957IMG_8944IMG_9273 (2)

Check out one of our six beautiful chooks – they’ve all recently gone through a moulting session and have now grown back a stunning plumage. We suffered an egg drought for a little while as a result, and I was almost forced to buy eggs for the first time in years, but thankfully they’re all back to business now.
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A custard was made by gently heating egg yolks, sugar, low fat milk, and a bit of lemon rind. Once thick enough, it was strained through a fine mesh sieve, the juice of 5 lemon added, and finally into the ice-cream maker for churning.IMG_9455-2Despite it being on the brink of snow outside, we enjoyed it immensely, It really has a lovely taste about it – a bit like a frozen lemon tart. It also helped us to recall fond memories of our daily gelato ritual during our European honeymoon.

Are you getting desperate for some warmer weather too?

Green manure!

Yep seriously, that’s what its called!  It’s the name given to a crop which you grow, and then deliberately turn into the soil before you harvest anything, to add nutrients back into the earth.   Some crops, especially types like alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, and lentils are particularly clever at pulling nitrogen out of the air and depositing it into the soil, and its one of the best ways to take advantage of the cooler dormant growing season to get things prepared for spring.

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I picked up this green manure seed mix from a Canberra Organic Growers Society session I attended a while back.   It’s got all sorts of goodies in it.  I also sprinkled a good couple of handfuls of wood ash from the fireplace to boost the potassium levels – a tip I caught on the last episode of Gardening Australia. IMG_4113 IMG_4182

After turning in gently and covering with a rake, it just needed a good watering in and that’s all for now.  Will keep you updated with how they grow…  Here’s to a productive season ahead!IMG_4228

Cream of broccoli soup

I’ve been looking for a recipe that would really showcase the broccoli I’ve been growing in the backyard.  Something a little more impressive than a few steamed florets next to carrots and potato on the side of a plate.

It being winter, I am very partial to any kind of warming soup with a bit of buttered bread on the side.  So after a quick search on the Internet, armed with a knife in one hand, and a recipe card for Martha Stewart’s cream of broccoli soup in the other, I charged into my suburban backyard larder to take what I needed.

It was truly amazing.   I think I’ve found my new favourite soup.   This is a story, told in pictures, about cream of broccoli soup.

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