It’s the perfect time of year to make marmalade, with citrus falling on the ground and the ginger leafless in the greenhouse. Lime and Ginger Marmalade uses both, and is delicious. It was easy to make, although it happened over 2 days.
I have loved ‘citrus colours’ – lime green, orange, and lemon yellow since I was young, and as a student once went a whole year wearing lime green overalls with orange, red and pink underneath. For my vase today the first yellow daffodils contributed the lemon colour to the oranges, mandarins, and limes blown onto the ground after the storm on Friday.
My Iris unguicularis is doing so brilliantly! I’m very excited about it – the nurseryman who sold me the baby plant said he grows his under a big Totara tree facing the sun. Mine is at the base of a tree at the edge of a path and it has spread to about 18″ wide after 3 years, and has been flowering since late Autumn. I’ve combined them in the vase with some native cultivars : leaves of the Cordyline ‘Magenta Rays’, and a pink flowered Tea Tree (Leptospermum).
I saw canned tomatillos in the shop the other day. Aside from the fact they had travelled for miles and were $11.00 a can (!), they grow like weeds, and are so much better fresh. And if you are going to bottle them it makes sense to me to do them as green sauce – ready to make enchiladas or tacos when you open it.
Mother’s Day this year it seems potted chrysanthemums are back in fashion. Finally, as I have been trying to buy them for years. So I bought five big pots, each of which turned out to be holding five smaller plants. Three different yellows with green centres, a white with green centre, and a pink which contained 2 different pinks.
It has been a beautiful Autumn weekend. We slept well in the cool night, enjoyed the first Sugar Baby watermelon with grapes and zucchini fritters for lunch, and felt very lucky to be here. Monarch butterflies are floating around and the bees are enjoying the late summer flowers. The vegetable garden is doing as well as can be expected, so I concentrated on planting the first of my bulb orders in this perfect sunny weather.
Continue reading “Bulbs and bionics”
I’ve got myself in a state where I don’t like my photos any more, so I’m using C’s photos until that changes.
The long hot days of summer have not really materialised this year, and a flock of baby crickets in the bed last night signal the end wIll be starting soon. The weather has been patchy and cool for what should have been the warmest months. We have had mists and rains, while the East coast has been verging on drought. Never-the-less it was a treat to have enough water to water plants that needed it, and there is always something that likes the weather.
Many of our fruit trees are just starting to really produce, including the grape vine, and the cool weather doesn’t seem to have worried them. The plums have been fantastic this year, and I made a beautiful jelly yesterday from the Louisa plums which had fallen off the tree or cracked in the rain. The Satsuma plums have produced heavily and don’t seem to crack. They are delicious dried so we have had the driers running flat out. I’ve made verjuice with the grapes, and it’s lovely.
The misty weather caught us out in a couple of shortcuts we thought we could get away with in our frantic haste this spring. One was to to plant an early Agria potato crop using potatoes left from last year, the other was to re-use last year’s tomato frames without moving them. All spring and early summer we had lots of yummy chips, but a couple weeks ago the potatoes all got blight and had to be dug up, including the Red Fantasy (strange name but a beautiful potato) which could have produced more.
Everything is late, with our first pick of enough tomatoes for sauce only 2 weeks ago, and chillies and peppers just starting to flower. The tomatoes are showing signs of blight, but if we can only have a stretch of warm dryish weather we can still get a crop I think. The parsnips are only small still, however they can last well into winter.
Kumara and Zucchini are doing well, and the watermelons in the greenhouse are getting good sized melons, but our most successful crop this year has been micro/mini greens. We started growing these in the greenhouse in raised beds last Autumn , and it worked so well that we built some more outside. In the photo you can see a newly planted bed and an older one.
We have had fabulous salads all summer with baby amaranth, radish, beetroot, chicory, lettuce, basil, corn salad, coriander, mustard, sorrel, purple cabbage, and pea ‘feathers’. It would be nice to cut them every day, but a big container full lasts all week if kept in the fridge. It does use a lot of seed, so I have been rescuing some of the mini greens when they are finished harvesting and growing them on for seed. This looks a bit messy in the garden, and I have to fight the birds for the brassica seeds, but I have been successful so far with mustard, cabbage, radish, coriander, ruby chard, and beetroot.
The artichokes are in full swing now, with enough buds for a good feed each week. We started out with Green Globe and Purple de Jesi seedlings. One of the flowers which was left for the bees turned into a flower full of seedlings – they all just germinated while still in the flower. We planted these and they must have been purple – there don’t seem to be any of the green ones at all anymore. I love to see the bees on the flowers we leave. Sometimes 6 or 7 bumblebees seem to spend the night on a flower – such an extravagant bed.
Sweet potatoes or Kumara as they are called in NZ come in a few different types, from quite dry to sweet and moist. We eat them several times a week either roasted, mashed, as wedges or occasionally as chips, which are wonderful but fattening and a bit of effort to make. The leaves are also good in stir fries.
This weekend I planted more seeds: tomatoes Bloody Butcher and more Beefsteak select, as well as capsicum Topepo, and coloured bell peppers. None of the seeds from the previous week had popped up yet.