Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Autumn 2014

It’s autumn again; almost winter. New baby is 6 months. We lost a cat to a snake bite but we have a new cat now. All of the summer veg is out and winter crops are in, hopefully not too late to germinate.


The basil is under a makeshift cloche: Jerusalem artichoke stems tied together to make a frame, with a plastic bag over them.


This is the kids genuinely helping to harvest said artichokes! Miss 5 even helped to scrub them.


In another bed, we have silver beet and rainbow chard just starting again, self seeded from last year’s crop. Silver beet is our most reliable winter veg, but it’s hard to get the kids to eat it.


Miss 5 gave me a sticker for my hard work.


Summer evening eating

One of the things I love about summer is coming home of an evening and rummaging in the garden for something for dinner. Tonight, carrots! And garlic.

Winter Solstice

This post is a bit late, but we celebrated the Winter Solstice this year.  The solstice was June 22.  Now that we are trying to grow food seasonally, it feels fitting to mark the passing of the seasons of the year and to celebrate the return of the longer sunlight hours.  This should also mean that our chickens start to come back on the lay, or for those who haven’t laid yet, come into lay.  Laying is linked to sunlight exposure, so the return of longer sunlight hours is definitely cause to celebrate.  We have not had one single egg since the end of May!  We have had to go back to buying supermarket eggs!

We had some friends over for dinner and cooked up some goat in the weberate and ate food from our gardens.  We exchanged preserves from our Autumn harvest – pickled green tomatoes, pickled chillies, lemon butter mmm… And it seemed very fitting!

The younger kids had fun roasting marshmallows over a fire, while the adults (and nearly adults) mulled wine (here is a link to the recipe – it was just stunning).

Apparently I was having too much fun to take photos on the night but here are a few of the preparations – making the lemon butter, lemon candles and the the yule log themed table centerpiece.

All the ingredients for the lemon butter

Simmering and thickening the lemon butter

Liquid sunshine

Lemon candle - made from the left over lemon skins

And a couple of the Yule log. I know traditionally you are supposed to burn the Yule log, but I liked this idea better.

Winter colourful greenery from the hedge trees between us and a neighbour

Marmalade take two

My mother-in-law enjoyed making marmalade last November so much that she has spent much of the summer and autumn on a bit of a preserving kick, making many different types of jam and chutney.

Here is a list of all that she has made:

Kumquat marmalade

Strawberry jam (two batches)

Plum jam

Boysenberry and apple jam (two batches)

Blackberry and apple jam

Orange marmalade (a second batch made with me again)

Grape and raspberry jam

Grape, cherry and cranberry jam

Grape, cherry and strawberry jam

Plum chutney

Peach chutney

Green tomato chutney (FOUR batches!)

Needless to say she now has pantry shelves filled with preserves, even after she has given many jars away.

This long weekend I pulled out all our tomatoes that were left to make room to plant the next crop – garlic.  I’ve now got around 7kg of green tomatoes that she is going to help me make into chutney over the next few days.  I’m also thinking I might pickle a few to try out Milkwood’s pickling recipe.

Olive harvest 2011

Our olive harvest this year was about three times as big as last years!

Olives freshly picked

Aren't they beautiful? If only they tasted as good as they look fresh from the tree!

Pickling in the jars

Once again we used the Milkwood recipe.  We have half a jar left of the 2010 harvest and then we will have to wait at least six months for this lot to be ready.

The tree had gotten so big that it was quite hard to get into it to reach all the olives this year so I gave it a good prune after the harvest.  I haven’t pruned it well for a few years now.  The last time I pruned it back hard a few years back we only got a tiny harvest the next year, so I expect the 2012 harvest won’t be very large.  Hopefully soon the second tree will start producing well (it only managed three olives this year which was its first fruiting) and then we can prune in opposite years so that we have a good sized harvest each year.

Autumn equinox harvest

The garden has done really well considering how late I got all the vegetables in.

The tomatoes have really come out this year – I estimate I’ve picked about 8-10kg total so far, and there must be at least another 2kg still ripening 0n the vine.

Tomato glut

Tomato glut 2

We’ve had so many over the last few weeks.  It has been lovely being able to pick them fresh for lunch and dinner each day, and still we have so many left over I’ve been able to start preserving them to eat later in the year.

Some of the tomatoes

Laying the tomatoes out to dry

Drying the tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes

Not technically sun dried – I used a friend’s dehydrator – but just as delicious!

We’ve also had beans and corn, though not nearly as much as I would have liked!

Corn harvest

Corn and beans for dinner

Tomatoes and beans

The sunflowers have finished blooming and are the heads are drying out so we can collect their seeds.

Drying out sunflower heads

Sunflower seeds

The new raised bed and the new herb bed are coming along nicely.

The raised bed is finally thriving

New herb bed seedlings (and don't the chickens look great in the background!)

And I’ve got the winter harvest seedlings under way.

Winter seedlings (and an avocado that started growing in the compost, not that I'm expecting it to survive the winter in this climate!)

We have two laying chickens now – Henrietta and Adelaide – and are getting about three eggs every two days from the pair of them.

First eggs meal!

I’ve also been doing a bit of wild foraging with two very good friends.  We’ve been blackberrying twice – I would never have believed how much better freshly picked blackberries taste.  Blackberries are a terribly invasive weed here and the free and tasty fruit is the only redeeming feature.   I used some of them to make a blackberry sauce.

Boiling up wild blackberry sauce

It was very, very good over ice cream!

Blackberry Sauce + chocolate icecream = black forest goodness

So all in all it’s been a rather delicious, though busy, few weeks.  We’ve also been busy building a (hopefully reasonably soundproof) rooster box for the chickens to sleep in – Red is right on the verge of crowing, so we are rushing to get it done before he annoys the neighbours.  Pictures to follow when I get my act together and remember to photograph it.

Autumn garden

Tomatoes pre-ripening

Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes 2

First bloom

Sprouting sage





Splash of colour

First harvest

Purple beans

Full bloom

Olive goodness

Corn, just a few of many

Weekend lunchtime grazing

First tomatoes ripe for our lunch

How does your garden grow?

Ours is growing well for the most part (pics further down the post).  Except, frustratingly enough, for the new raised bed I worked so hard putting in.  I think the problem is with the soil.  We bought additional soil with chicken poo and compost in it for the raised part, but right after we put it in we got a LOT of rain and it compacted and became very clayey.  We’ve added some gypsum but I think it might need more.  I also think it is a bit rich and not composted enough – it is still a bit smelly like not-quite-done-yet compost.  Hopefully that means with a bit more gypsum it will be good next year.

This is what it looks like now:

The hydrangea and new turf (off cuts from our very generous neighbours who were doing their lawn – thanks guys!) are clearly thriving, but the veges just aren’t keeping up.  Bottom left is a strawberry, top right is basil, bottom right is parsley, and we also planted carrots, beetroot, dill, and coriander but they haven’t really come up.

For comparison, here are the other strawberries that were from the same punnet:

Now these are in the totally awesome wicking broccoli boxes (I will get around to a post on wicking beds in their own right soon), but they are just doing so much better and have already given us quite a few totally sweet strawberries.

Other plants that are growing:

Tomatoes - planted early Dec (whole tomatoes smushed into the ground)

Corn - planted from seed 11 Dec

Beans - planted from seed 11 Dec

Second lettuce crop (from seed this time), plus the last of the first crop which we are letting go to seed so we can keep the seeds.

The rest of the strawberries (a different variety and in ordinary pots) and sunflowers. (Plus another lettuce, which really needs pulling out as the rain has ruined it). Oh, and linseeds.

Radishes - planted from seeds 11 Dec.

More corn, planted later than the other crop, and in a wicking bed

The passionfruit I was given for my birthday (thanks!), plus the overgrown roses (and couch).

Pumpkin (and couch. Lots of couch.)

I just can’t get over how much and how quickly it is growing this year, but then I guess that’s what La Niña does here, huh?

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