Saturday, 12 July 2008

Great Day in the Garden

What a great day in the garden! Daphne has just started to flower - I love her beautifully sweet, rich scent. Have you noticed that many winter and early spring flowers have a particularly appealing scent? I wonder if they are calling the bees?

The great maize experiment has come to a close for now. We have had a few heavy frosts now and so I thought it was time to stop hoping for much produce. We didn't get much suitable for grain, but we did get quite a few "baby corn" cobs, which I intend to bottle and use in stir-fries. I've gathered the silks and will dry them to use as a herbal remedy (great as a diuretic and for soothing cystitis), as well as gathering some long leaves, which I will use to try some rush work. So, we may not have obtained what we hoped, but it certainly wasn't all in vain. I'll definitely be planting it earlier next season.

This morning I planted a packet of globe artichoke seeds (37), so hopefully we will have some baby artichoke plants by spring. Globe artichoke is a fantastic food - full of nutrients and a great tonic for tired livers.

I cleared the asparagus bed of the spent ferns today and there was a bonus - red berries, full of seeds. Normally I wouldn't bother with the seeds, as it takes quite a while to grow them to harvest size and you have to sort out the male from the female plants. But this asparagus is rather special. I bought it to replace the crowns that were overpowered by parsley a few years ago when I was ill and couldn't tend the garden. I had ordered both green and purple asparagus crowns, but when the order arrived, there was only purple asparagus because they had run out of green. The purple was merely to satisfy my curiosity, but it has proven to be a very prolific and delicious asparagus. It's not in the catalogue anymore; hence, I thought it might be worth trying to propagate some from the seed. I can't remember whether it was a hydrid or not, but I guess its babies will let me know the answer to that. Anyway, the asparagus bed is now fed and mulched and ready for next season.

Remember those cheeky potatoes surviving under the asparagus ferns? Well, the frost had knocked them back as well, so I harvested their produce - a couple of kilos of nice, red potatoes. They'll make a great meal.

Oh, and I picked the last of the tomatoes this morning - I'm blown away by the fact we still had tomatoes on bushes (albeit rather dead looking bushes) in open ground in Canberra in mid-July! It must be a record of some type, I'm sure. This winter has been rather mild until the last week or so, so maybe that accounts for it. I've collected both red and green tomatoes, so when I find my green tomato marmalade recipe, I'll be in the kitchen cooking some up - it sounds weird, but is truly delicious.

Unfortunately, with the frost the nasturtiums are looking rather sad and the peas, onions, leeks and shallots are not making much progress. But the broccoli is still producing madly and there's a couple of nice cauliflowers ready for picking, not to mention the ongoing Asian greens and the baby beets.

I'm fairly pleased with my vege garden - my aim is ultimately to produce fruit and vegetables all year round, so we are more self-sustaining. There will be some limitations, though - mangoes, bananas, pineapples and pawpaws are not likely to grow here. But we'll be happy with what we have.

love and light


Kez said...

We've had a couple of frosts too (Hunter Valley) - a doozy this morning! - followed by a gorgeous day. Yours sounds very productive!

TheCrone said...

I miss the snow! It's been snowing in your neck of the woods and I am envious as anything.

Well done on the maize experiment. I am looking at a section of the 'lawn' which The Husband has asked me not to touch (yeah right!) and thinking about how my lovely batch of compost would make the best basis of a corn bed :)

naturewitch said...

Hi Kez and Crone

Thanks for the comments.

Crone - do it! Tell him you are saving him the cost of petrol for the mower; given Peak Oil, we should all be getting rid of them, anyway! ;)


TheCrone said...

ROFL! Now you know that S's mower is like my iron; for decorative purposes only!

He just likes the idea of a nice neat patch of 'lawn'

Did I mention that I have seeded the 'lawn' recently with dandelion seed?

Cheryl said...

Hi Naturewitch....Daphne has a beautiful fragrance.....I have a couple of Christmas Box, which flower in the spring (strange, why call it christmas box when it flowers in the spring)and that has a beautiful perfume to.

All your veggies sound amazing, I do admire you for growing your own....there is such a lot of hard work...but I know it is very rewarding....

Enjoyed the info re health connections to the veggies....

naturewitch said...

Hi Cheryl

Yes, I should put more about the health aspects of veges - the old adage "Let foods be your medicines and medicines be your foods".


seemie said...

Yum artichokes! let us know how they will grow!

flmom said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmm ... hubby and I love asparagus, but it is something we cannot grow in our zone/climate. Your garden sounds divine.

naturewitch said...

Hi flmom

But you can probably grow some of the things we can't grow here, but love, like sweet potatoes. It's all about doing the best with what you have. xx