Thursday, 23 March 2017

Independence Days Challenge: Week Twenty Two

I'm so excited - I feel like one of those crazed fans! I just picked up the mail and my signed copy of Grown and Gathered has arrived. Yay!

I had to return my library copy as there is a long hold list on it. So I just had to order my own copy.
This quote shows one of the things I love about this book - many people seem to have become too caught up in the 'labels', paying more attention to this than to the more important issues. It is pointless buying organic if it has to be flown halfway around the world to get to you.

'We would love to see everyone return to a simpler, slower life, more connected to their food again. Such a connection changes the way we see our food, the way we purchase, eat, cook and live. It is a connection to all of the experiences that lead up to - and run so much deeper than - the eating. Food experienced in this way just tastes so much better.
We believe in growing the traditional way, before synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and the very idea of waste existed. We want you to forget all the words. Forget "raw" and "permaculture" and "biodynamic" and even "organic". Farming should just be farming, growing growing and eating eating - without chemicals and synthetic fertilisers. It was the only way in the past, and will be the only way again in the future.'
Grown and Gathered by Matt and Lentil pg 33

1. Plant something

There was a plant sale in our town this week, so I purchased a few perennials and natives to fill in the garden and fenceline.

Filling in the rock garden. It looks very bare at the moment, but I have made the mistake before of planting too close together and then having to move perennials.

In the greenhouse, I have sown kale (red and dwarf), lettuce, silverbeet, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, pak choy, parsley, coriander, purple podded peas and sweet peas. And quite a few have already germinated!

In the garden, I direct sowed some snow peas.

The shelling peas have been growing well, so I will sow another row next week.

I also found some carob and stone pine seeds. They are use by 2010, so I have just planted them to see if any will germinate. I soaked them for 24 hours before planting them.

And I have set some avocado pits in water to see if they will germinate. It is probably too cold here for avocadoes to do well, but I have a sheltered corner I could plant them as an experiment. If they sprout, that is!

2. Harvest something

It is really just the herb garden growing at the moment - mint, Vietnamese mint, sage, rosemary, chives. And eggs.

3. Preserve something

A friend has just bought a new house and has inherited the most gorgeous fig tree. It is absolutely bowed down with fruit, so I was blessed with some this week.
I made Slow Roasted Figs, using this recipe from Canning For A New Generation. Except I did not preserve them. I roasted the figs as per the recipe. Without cleaning the pan, I then roasted a chicken in the fig syrup, putting the lemon slices on top of the chicken. The figs we had for dessert with ricotta and honey.
It was so delicious! And the gravy that was made from that pan was so rich and gorgeous!

4. Minimise waste

I have been given a water saving device that collects the water from your washing machine and diverts it to the garden, a Water Wheelie . I would not have bought it but as someone gave it to us, I am using it. It was very handy to keep the fruit trees watered in the recent hot weather without me having to cart water to them.

5. Want not

Just a little upcycle this week. I was given this teabag box a while ago.

It did have a glass lid but one of the boys broke it. I mainly use leaf tea but have kept it knowing there just had to be a use for it. And I have come up with one!
I will use it to separate seeds into weeks for planting. This way, I can have nine weeks of seeds organised, ready for sowing. Every four weeks, I will rotate them and organise the next month of seeds.

Slightly more organised than my current system of piles of seeds and notes for planting on the dining room table!

6. Cook something new

My something new this week would be the fig recipe above. I have never had access to figs before and they are way too expensive to buy fresh from the supermarket. So cooking figs was a new experience for me. I had wanted a fig tree but now I know I definitely need one!

7. Manage your reserves

Not much this week but I did collect some more jars for pantry storage organising. Slowly getting there.
I also sorted out lots of the boys' clothes and have bigger sizes in crates in the ex-possum shed. The boys do love to go 'shopping' in the crates!

8. Work on local food systems

I have been having some discussions with other mums and it is amazing to find out just what other people are growing that I didn't know about. I think there could be quite a bit of trading in my future.

I thought I'd share some general photos of the garden/farm at the moment.

Still very dry, but I think this week has been break of season and the rains should be here soon.

I was very sad to only have one sunflower this year - yes, one! I planted out about 100 seedlings and rabbits ate all except this one. And it is a pretty short and mangy sunflower at that. But I love it anyway!

The gerberas I planted this year had a few small flowers. I am looking forward to seeing how much bigger they get next year. This is my favourite colour - it starts out lime green with red edges and then ends up red with lime green edges.

Some self-sown poppies that appeared in the paddock beds.

My one little chick for this year is now nearly as big as mum.

And here is my little gardening companion, Sugar. She always comes to find me and rub against me when I am in the garden.

Hope you have a lovely gardening week!


  1. I'm getting that seasonal spring driven urge to plant and sow. The weather has been cold and miserable and I am having to bide my time. In the past I have sown to early or planted out too soon and the cold soil or damp conditions just kill everything off! That and the voracious appetite of our local slugs! Still, this year I am determined to get my potager and garden back up to speed☺ seeing what you have been getting up to certainly fires up the enthusiasm!

    1. I love when spring starts to arrive. I have the same problem of planting out too early. There is always a lovely warm spell that tricks me - and then a last cold snap will come. Hope your gardening goes well!

  2. Lucky you getting our own copy. A question on kale. I plan to plant it for the first time this year. Is there any benefit of the dwarf varieties over the standard? Also is it best to plant seed directly or plant seedlings? I want to have a go at growing my own seedlings but. Don't have a greenhouse and struggle to think of a suitable place in the house.

    1. I grow out seedlings, simply because they have a better chance if I plant them out as bigger plants. I don't think there is any benefit to dwarf, except that you won't get as much! Not everyone likes kale! They will be fine out in the open at the moment. When I say I have planted them in the greenhouse, I don't have the cover on yet, so it is just open shelves. Kale needs some cold weather.

    2. My family loves it. Sometimes you can buy it cheap at Aldi otherwise its a bit pricey. I've never grown my own seedlings before. I thought I might use my ever abundant supply of toilet rolls. I've also thought of planting cauliflower and peas. My first time planting out a winter garden.

    3. Peas are always loved here, especially straight from the pod in the garden. I have never grown cauliflower before but the seeds germinated very quickly. Hopefully I will be able to grow them all the way to a cauliflower as they are super expensive here.

  3. Love the quote and what a good idea for the tea bag box, every year I plan to be more organised with my seeds, to varying degrees of success but piling them on a space on my bookshelf is maybe not the most organised plan.

    1. My planting has always been a bit haphazard, with me often missing planting windows as I forget! So I thought this would help me keep to a planting schedule.