We were away all day today, but will save that story for tomorrow’s Fridays Footprints.
So just a bit about how I love garlic, before I fall off my chair into a snooze! 🙂
I hadn’t tried to grow garlic before coming to live in Tasmania. I enjoy using garlic in cooking (and now a lot in some of my sauces) so it seemed sensible to put some in the ground. The first year, they were tiddly little things. The flavour was excellent, but they were rather small.
I got some advice from one of my cousins who was growing garlic in a much bigger way. First prepare the area and dust with some lime as they like a ‘sweeter’ soil.
After that, fertilise – I used some blood and bone to dig in to the soil
June is when I put my garlic cloves in the ground. Then I pretty much forget about them until they are poking up properly out of the soil
If I am on top of my game, this is when I go down to the beach and liberate a few bags of seaweed to mulch the garlic with.
By October they are sitting up well
This last season I had to water them a bit more as our spring unusually had very little rain
December is when I pulled them all up and set them on a table (that eventually went into the garage) to dry.
I find them a lovely low maintenance crop – a bit of soil prep, plant and forget. (mostly)
A few days ago I got what was left out of the Garage (you’re welcome Jeff) and cleaned them up to store in the pantry.
I was actually a bit shocked at how little I had left already! I sell a few – reluctantly – They make a nice addition to the market table and are really popular. But to be honest I would rather keep them all to myself!
Some of them have these great little seed heads. Will throw these in the baking pan for some extra flavour next dinner I do in the oven. Does anyone else use these for anything special?
Out of what is left has to last me until the end of the year (unlikely) as well as provide the next seasons crop. I suspect this year I will set aside a larger area and plant more. That way they can pay their way yet leave me with enough for all I want to do with them too!
Who enjoys garlic and who grows their own? Do you grow enough?
Have a great day
PS I missed what todays highest temperature was, (It was really soggy but not too cold) but right now at a little past midnight its 16 degrees Celsius (60.8F) and tomorrow is to continue with some more Autumn rain and reach about 21 deg. Celsius (70F)
We had the fire on tonight – it wasn’t super cold, but it was just cosier and nicer. Family on the mainland were laughing at me because they are still hanging out in shorts & t-shirts at night!
The baker at our local supermarket is totally awesome. If I drop in and ask, he will save whatever bread that is destined for the bin the next day for me to collect and give to our chickens. What a great haul today!! I will have to freeze some of that!
I took the buns down – there was great anticipation –
Then there was snatching –
And then there was the running and chasing –
Chickens are so funny to watch (or maybe I am just easily amused!)
Anyway, the last few days we have been doing a little path tidying/weeding & re-woodchipping. The main path to the house was looking a bit scruffy and tired.
So we weeded it and got a load of woodchips to cover it up again.
A trailer load didn’t quite finish the job
But today we managed to finish it off – now the grass just needs a mow and it will look reasonably spiffy
The path in front of the hothouse has been an eyesore for ages and I have just ignored it…
So I got my favourite weed-digging tool (Thanks to my Mum for sharing this tip)
An old file without the handle is a brilliant weed digger. Easy to find these at markets/bricabrac shops etc. They are so strong and the point digs in deep. Really handy for those weeds with the tap roots that hang on.
The messiest end done!
We ended up with about 100 feet of pulverised rock from when we had a bore dug at the end of last year. We have been using it as fill here and there. Being rock it has no nutritional value, but useful around the place. So we put down a layer of it first before the woodchip. (My theory is to help smother the weeds)
And finally, the fun part – the woodchip and whatever paving stones we could scrounge up (again – just stuff that had been left on the property when we bought it that we have found uses for)
I am thinking a vast improvement and come winter I won’t be sloshing about in mud! Excellent!
I dropped into Ruby’s this afternoon and found her in the midst of preserving her peaches in possibly the oldest steamer I have ever seen! It really looks like it has done some miles, and then some!
Apparently it was bought in a ‘mighty hurry’ as years ago she was preserving some peas when her mothers canner sprung a leak! Being very serious about their peas and panicking about losing their gardens harvest, a very speedy trip to the shop was made. (And back then things weren’t as easy to come by as the department store shopping we have now!) The shop owner said he didn’t think he had one, but found this copper one out the back! Not thinking twice, Ruby snapped it up and raced home to rescue the precious peas! Clearly it has worked well ever since.
Just before Easter I got out into Ruby’s garden to do some overdue weeding. Its probably the worst weeding job I have done, as to stop the seed heads spreading I simply yanked the tops off as many plants as I could – I will return to dig the roots up properly garden bed by garden bed. Ruby gets out and pulls out what she can too of course
What I DID notice in her garden was pumpkins
Orange ones –
Pale salmon coloured ones –
Big ones –
And generally pumpkin vines running amok all over the place!
Ruby is a classic for burying peels and food scraps all over the garden, which eventually turn into plenty more random potato and pumpkin plants!
I counted 23 established pumpkins growing – she was a bit surprised when I told her how many she had! ‘Oh well’ she says with a grin and a shrug ‘I like my pumpkins and eat them everyday, so that’s good!’
We went up the back for a look at what needed to be done and got side-tracked picking beans. Ruby got a cardigan full – no doubt they ended up on the plate that day
I finally got around to checking out the broccolini that I had put under one of my vegie nets a while back, and decided they needed a good weeding! I was amazed at how healthy and sturdy they were looking (not like my poor manky things)
I knew Ruby would have had no idea how they were coming along, as she is nearly blind and there was no way she would have been able to see through the white netting
So cleaned up and mulched with some remaining seaweed, I dragged her back up the yard to check them out. She was so thrilled – I think she is planning her meals with them already!
Her artichoke plants are reaching the sky –
And the new lettuce, despite the oxalis, is thriving.
I thought I may try to share a recipe each week from this crazy recipe book of Ruby’s. As you can see, its a falling apart, tatty old diary that is stuffed full of notes, newspaper & magazine clippings and other collected recipes from friends. It’s a family heirloom in itself I reckon!
Today I will share the “Apple Slump” recipe – some readers from One Hundred Dollars a Month may have seen this already…
5 or so apples, sliced
1 & 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces melted butter
1 cup water
Slice up your apples
Place in baking dish. I sprinkle cinnamon and sugar between layers
Fill baking dish
Mix other ingredients until smooth
Slowly pour over apples
Put into oven at 180 deg. Celsius
Bake for an hour or until sponge top cooked.
It will ‘slump’ as it cools.
Easy old fashioned recipe – lovely with cream or ice-cream.
I am a sucker for animals – there are not many I don’t like. I’d even rather relocate a spider than kill it.
The ones we officially own, like the cat and chickens are spoiled silly. Pretty sure Pip runs the house –
Although he has to put up with small indignities –
The chickens get premium scraps, as well as cakes baked for them –
Seed blocks made for them –
Proper funerals if they fall off the perch-
Admittedly they also have to put up with occasional indignities –
We unofficially share our place with possums –
And a cheeky rabbit –
We had an exciting drama once with a 4 foot tiger snake that decided our bathroom was the best place to hang out!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came home and saw it gliding into the bathroom!! Pip was on the bench just watching it and I was desperately hoping he wasn’t going to pounce, as I was going to have to go after him and that wasn’t going to end well for any of us!
I saw it go under the bath, so I went in and scooped up the cat, closed the door and ran to wake up Jeff (who was on nightshift) so I could share the news. Bleary eyed he dutifully came to the bathroom, we opened the door and there’s me grovelling about on the floor with a torch looking for the damn snake – and then I look up! Draped over the towel rack like an ornament!!
Well, you can’t have a bloody great poisonous snake cavorting about the bathroom, so I did some phoning about to get a snake person in to catch and relocate it.
They eventually arrived (two and a half hours later – and with only one loo in the house, I had to make other arrangements as even though I like snakes, I wasn’t ready to sit on the toilet with it lurking nearby!) From memory it only cost about $40 for the mother & son team to come in and do their thing! Money well spent and we immediately blocked up the offending hole in the bathroom!
Of course we get lots of interesting insects – ranging from your usual grasshopper-
through to the weird and wonderful –
But todays unusual animal drama came from a lizard. There are a lot of them scampering about out the back at the moment.
I was finally getting around to cleaning up the back veranda, and I found this poor fellow stuck to a bit of packing tape that was hanging off a box!!
It probably took about an hour of delicate work with a cotton bud and a jar of warm water – I dunked him in a few times…
I think I would have cried if I killed him, so we took it pretty slow – and the trick was keeping the newly unstuck limbs from resticking themselves on again! He could feel the freedom coming along and got quite wiggly (understandably) once a few feet were loose.
I thought he may like his new found freedom in the herb garden among the oregano-
Well that was my good deed for the day – I even got the veranda done (with a bit of help from the wonderful husband)
Apart from stuffing ourselves silly at Ruby’s on roast turkey and vegetables – and double helpings of trifle for dessert – it was a reasonably quiet day.
I did get out in the garden and fluffed about picking what tomatoes remained, a few other vegetables (small pumpkins!!) and half heartedly collected a variety of seeds that seemed ready (Beans, sunflower & marigold)
Pumpkins store well for a long time – in a dry well aired area on their sides.
I picked a variety of laterals off my waning tomato plants with the hope I may be able to nurture a few through the winter to get a head start next season. For those of you just heading into the warmer spring weather that have not tried growing tomatoes from laterals – here is a bit of a guide.
I am not good at growing tomatoes from seed. I haven’t given up and am saving several seeds from fruit this season. However, I have no trouble snapping a lateral off an established plant and growing a new one.
This season I spent approximately $5 on three new tomato plants and the rest of the 20-something plants came from laterals or self seeded.
First, if you are not sure which branch is a lateral, check the photos below
While it is not essential, I put my laterals into a jar or glass of water to watch the process of the roots forming, simply because I enjoy it!
You can plonk them straight in the ground and have the same success as long as you keep them watered.
Depending on how warm it is, roots can start showing as early as a week, but not unusual for them to take a couple of weeks.
To me its like magic watching the process! I have found the plants grown from laterals quite vigorous and produce well… don’t forget free, which is about as economical as you can get!
Well – we have a cool night here so the fire is on and beckoning me to go and stare at it! Pip is already snugged up in his sleeping bag
Someone needs to move these out of my reach for a while.
It doesn’t matter that I am starting to feel a little funny, I can’t stop eating them!!!
We dived into “Egg Money” to treat ourselves to a packet (each) (That saves the husband – wife squabbles because someone may have eaten more than his fair share)
So – what are people doing over this long weekend? Celebrating Easter? Taking a well earned breather? Work as normal?
I think one of our chooks is taking a well earned breather, as she laid a marble this morning!! I mean really! It wasn’t worth her effort!!
One of the fun things about living around here is randomness. I was sitting inside avoiding some housework today when I heard someone walking around the house. I saw a lady looking lost, so I went out to say hi and see what she wanted.
Turns out she and her husband dropped in because they had seen my sign and wanted vegetables – even though the tables weren’t out!
Fabulous! Here – grab a box and follow me! What do you want?
So I dragged them all over the yard and let them pick and dig what they fancied, including cherry tomatoes –
Beans, parsley, carrots, apples and beetroot
I threw in a few seedlings and seeds as they are just preparing a garden, then we got down to the business end of the deal.
“Um… more than $5, less than $10?” (you can tell I am totally prepared and businesslike for all of this)
They laughed, handed me $10 and promised to return!
Since Jeff has a nice stretch off from work and the day was warm, we decided to take advantage of the autumn sunshine and take the kayaks out for a paddle.
We only recently invested in kayaks. I had been putting little bits of money aside for about a year – the five year plan was to head to Ireland – but Jeff got a bit keen when he heard how much I had squirrelled away and suggested we get the kayaks.
We had often seen people kayaking on a lot of the local tidal rivers and it looked a wonderful way to spend a few hours.
Mine is the Kitty-Cat-Kayak
We usually like to put the kayaks in the water about an hour before high tide. The theory is that it will be easier going upriver and a doddle coming back!
Its lovely on the river. You see the occasional other paddler, birdlife and if you are lucky, a pademelon. (Imagine a kangaroo that is not as tall as up to your knee and is as fat as a basketball and you have a pademelon)
We got rained on going upriver and sunburnt coming back.
But that’s kinda normal for Tassie weather.
It was lovely floating along coming back and watching the gum trees as we glided by
Lunch tomorrow at Ruby’s! She is roasting up a turkey!
I am sure I can’t keep saying “This is one of my favourite places” on all of these posts… But we really love driving about 40 minutes west of us to take a stroll on this rugged beach, which rarely has another soul on it.
Mid summer is probably different but we reserve our jaunts for the off season.
Its a great place to visit to relax, collect some shells, play about with the camera, paddle in the ocean if its not too cold and see what odd things the sea has washed up that day.
Odd things –
I like the spikey grasses
and where the beach meets the river that is racing down to the sea
I totally love driftwood. But there are limits to what I can fit in the car to decorate my garden with
It can be beautifully moody
Or show off its colours
The sand has artistic tendencies
As does the water colour of the river
We have a ridiculous number of these shells at home! I do plan to use them to edge my herb garden one of these days
It was a beautiful day today, and I didn’t care what needed to be done inside – I was going to be out in it.
My poor garden is in an appalling state! I really haven’t been keeping up – just accepting the food it gives us without maintaining it lately!
It was pretty refreshing to get in there and make a good start on prettying it up again!
One of the raised garden beds was full of self seeded broccolini and mini cabbage, a few cos lettuce that went to seed, some rogue potatoes that I never even planted there and a single capsicum that hasn’t fruited but looks quite at home.
Time to get a bit ruthless and remove it all!
Found plenty of fat juicy worms! The chickens suck them back like spaghetti – but only if they are lucky enough to find them by themselves. I prefer worms in the garden working for me!
I hate twitch. Long ropey grass. I can never get it all – sometimes tempts me to move over to the dark side of chemical poisons. Resisting so far!
I tried to choose the best of the moth eaten brassicas to replant under the ‘vegie net’ It took a while to carefully inspect every leaf for grubs and eggs and me flapping my arms about and yelling at any cabbage moth that came near. They look a little forlorn after their relocation, but hoping they will bounce back in a few days.
My best friend gave me these wonderful nets. She grew some beautiful non-grubby cauliflower over summer using these! I really should have put mine up again sooner.
And yes I know I have replanted in the same spot, but I like living on the edge – we shall see what happens!
Moving right along to this mess –
It took a bit of time to pull up and remove a good portion of the unwanted plants and weeds in here – I didn’t quite get around to digging it over but there was a vast improvement by the end of the day.
A small bit of excitement at one point as I disturbed a beautiful Redback Spider. These are famed for making life uncomfortable in the old days when you would find them under the toilet seat in the outside dunny!
So I risked life and limb to put her in a margarine container and moved her to a more ‘photographable’ area so I could show you all 🙂 (Most of you are probably saying, please don’t bother next time!)
It was hard to get a decent shot of her as after her margarine experience she was a bit skitty, and wouldn’t stop the race for freedom.
There is an antivenom, but a bite will make you reasonably unwell. (and no – I don’t garden with gloves!)
OK – I did don the leather gloves for this baby –
They are the nastiest thistle around. And even with the gloves on I got stabbed right through a couple of times!!! Much more troublesome than spiders in my opinion. (Serves me right for letting the garden go so long!)
One of the nice things about working in the garden is being able to forage for lunch. I ate tomatoes and raw beans. I could have really gone wild and had a carrot, but maybe tomorrow 🙂
I gathered a few fresh eggs then came inside to wash off the dirt and get dinner on the go.
I had thawed out some mince but hadn’t made any grand decisions about what to do with it. I have saved some to make hamburgers tomorrow, but tonight I made one of my favourite Japanese side dishes, Koroke.
Mash some potatoes and fry up some mince (I like to add some curry powder to the mince.) (And don’t add milk or cream to the mash – maybe a bit of butter – if its too soft they will fall apart)
Put some some bread in the Gee-Whizzer and make some breadcrumbs, and crack a couple of eggs –
Mix your mashed potato and mince and form into patties. Dip in the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs
Shallow fry in a pan of oil and you are done.
I usually have teriyaki chicken to go alongside this, but I wasn’t going to bother driving into town for it. (We top with the Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise and Tonkatsu sauce)
Such was my day! I hope yours was great too!
PS Cari asked what a Granny Bonnet was, so I hunted up some photos –
I have only been doing this gardening thing properly for a bit over four years. I enjoy learning new ways to grow vegies – trying fruit or vegetables I haven’t had before. So the idea of collecting my own seed just made so much sense. I have been getting into it more and more.
What I call my lazy approach of not bothering to pull up vegetables that are going to seed can actually be relabelled as ‘permaculture’ 🙂
I had a beautiful big patch of parsley last season. It eventually went to seed and I never really got around to pulling it out. Come spring, I had little parsley plants popping up everywhere!
Its been growing madly all around the zucchini plants with no real assistance from me. A few were easily transplanted to the ‘proper’ herb garden too. Not only do you get free plants, but you can sell the excess, so what’s not to love about this?
The scarlet runner beans were the first thing I started to collect. They are just so obvious and easy. The pod that you missed picking at the right time becomes nice and fat, then browns off. You crack it open and ‘voila’ there are your new seeds. The fact that I have a huge mason jar full of more of these seeds than one person sensibly needs in a lifetime is neither here nor there.
Of course, seeds from zucchini’s, cucumber, pumpkins, melon etc (basically any that you can scrap out of the fruit) are so easy to collect. Just dry them out on some kitchen paper or newspaper, then store them in paper bags until spring. (Do yourself a favour and label the bags!! Captain Obvious I know, but for people like me who just think they will remember which were the capsicum (green pepper) and which were the chilli seeds… Well, you can imagine)
Can I digress for a minute? Capsicum. For all those in North America that call it Green Pepper. When you come down to Australia for your awesome holiday of a lifetime, don’t order green peppers on your pizza as you will get really hot chillies. My poor father in law, who is extremely sensitive to spicy food ordered EXTRA green peppers on his pizza. I thought we were going to have to jump start the poor bloke!!
Anyway – back to seeds 🙂
I have saved tomato seeds and tried to grow tomatoes every year, but they really don’t perform for me (yet – I haven’t given up) I prefer using self seeded plants (they come up everywhere now) or laterals (which I will save for another post.)
Planting the slices of tomato worked well… most germinated, but I soon killed them 🙁
Other plants that you let go to seed and flower can produce a phenomenal amount of seed.
A single lettuce plant can produce enough for you to use for a few years. Although collecting it is more fiddly. The seeds are tiny – you pull the dried buds apart to get the seeds. I find seed collecting a very relaxing task actually…
Another advantage to letting your plants run to seed is that the flowers bring in the bees. I let a broccoli go crazy in the hothouse and it was very helpful in luring in the bees to do their work on the tomatoes, chilli and cucumbers.
My seedy broccolini in the outside garden totally exploded into seed pods! Many nights were spend in front of movies podding these teeny tiny seeds! The crazy amount of plants that have self seeded as well is now on my urgent “To Be Attended To” list.
Fennel is a lovely plant. It thrives on neglect. I didn’t even plant it in the first place, but like a lot of things around here, it sprouted up and did its own thing.
I read that fennel attracts the kind of wasps that love to munch on codling moth, so we were thinking of creating a garden ring of fennel around our apple trees. Has anyone heard of this or tried it?
The fabulously gnarly little silverbeet seeds (swiss chard) are starting to dry off –
One thing I did learn – don’t put similar plants close together if you want to get seed. I had silverbeet and beetroot (beets) close together that went to seed. Cross pollination happened. What I grew from those seeds was really peculiar!! Lesson learned.
The basil flowers are going to seed too at the moment and I am watching them brown off. I picked one stem to see what the seeds were like and how to get to them. They will be fiddly as well – tiny seeds. But I don’t think you can have too much basil in the garden, so it will be worth the effort.
I collect some of the flower seeds as well – sweet pea (easy), Granny Bonnet (fairly easy) and sunflower seeds (dead easy)
Garlic is another easy one.
Just save a bunch of cloves to plant the following season. I was actually quite shocked how much seed garlic was to buy. One of my lovely cousins who was growing it in a big way started me off with some and I have saved and replanted my own ever since.
Another advantage to seed collecting is that you can make a few dollars off it if you have an outlet like a local market. I like to use my extensive origami paper collection (the collection that makes Jeff twitch a little bit) and fold envelopes for the seed. It all helps with the garden paying its way. Its just costs you a little time. They also make great additions to presents if you are into home made/grown gifts.
If you have a garden and don’t save seed – give it a go. Its pretty easy, it saves you money and its quite satisfying to grow food from seed you have nurtured yourself!
If you do collect seed and have any tips or things you recommend with the process I would love to hear from you.
I will finish up with a couple of leek seed heads photos because it took me a very frustrating hour to find these images (I have an extensive collection of photos lol) so I wasn’t going to not include them.
I know a number of you may be familiar with Ruby via some posts Mavis put up on “One Hundred Dollars a Month”
My aunt is an amazing woman – she is 99 years old, lives by herself, keeps herself fed via a fabulous garden and is an all round wonderful person to know.
I thought I might reserve Tuesdays to write an anecdote or two about Ruby, her life and stories from way back. (Yes – Tuesday – are you singing the song yet ?? 🙂 )
While Ruby’s daughter, Margaret and myself help out in the garden, Ruby does an awful lot of it herself. It gives her the independence to be able to trot up the back and ‘get herself a feed’
During a recent afternoon cuppa together and chat, Jeff and I discovered that Ruby had never tried Fairy Floss before!! (Cotton Candy) How is it possible in nearly 100 years that someone hasn’t given fairy floss a go??
Ruby is a nurse from way back – and hospital matron! She informed us that she couldn’t believe people were eating what looked like cotton wool! She knows what cotton wool gets used for and eating it just wasn’t something she could bring herself to do!
Recently at Steam Fest, I found a van selling fairy floss, so I cheekily bought a packet then took it around to Ruby. She giggled so much, but she is such a good sport about the mad things I ask her to do, she dutifully tried it to please me!
After inspecting it carefully and working up some courage, Ruby tried some fairy floss for the first time in her 99 years!
She said it was nothing like she expected and it wasn’t bad at all. But she didn’t need to have it again! 🙂
I suspect Great Aunt Ruby is happier with the fresh goodness of her garden than sugary carnival food! Probably why she is still with us!