11 February 2012

Tracking Progress and The Good (S)oil

Well my hope last week that this week might bring on the much anticipated tomato glut just about came true.  I arrived at the Country Garden to a stack of containers full of tomato sauce that had just been made by the restaurant chef from the abundant red cherries, ready for me to take home.  As well as the tomatoes, the sauce has basil and spring onions from the garden, and is delicious!  And even better, it only used the red tomatoes, so I managed to pick nearly a kilo of the yellow cherry romas as well.  The corn and eggplants are also ripening well, and taste fabulous.

If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Home Page, you'll see a graph that I've added, which will chart the percentage of vegies that I am growing vs buying.  I'm not planning to use it scientifically (and it's located deliberately at the bottom of the page so that not many people will notice it!) but I thought it would be interesting to track generally how much I'm able to grow.  I'm also hoping it might be a good reminder in the cold, wet months when nothing much is happening how good growing my own food can be!  (Thanks to the Zucchini Island blog for the graph.)

Some of this week's harvest

The importance of good soil for healthy plants has been reinforced for me in the last couple of weeks.  We had a barrel of herbs, including rocket from seeds I'd saved last year, which had been really struggling.  The rocket was pretty small and kept shooting straight to seed, and when we planted more seeds in there a few weeks ago, they struggled to get more than about an inch tall.  At the same time we had also sown some more seed into one of the main garden beds where they have shot up and formed big, peppery leaves in dense clumps.  So last week I dug up the pot and put new soil and compost in it, rescuing the few surviving rocket seedlings from the barrel that I could.  The problem was immediately obvious.  I could barely get the spade through the dirt, and the roots on the seedlings were all warped sideways.  They just couldn't fight their way through the compacted dirt.  The seedlings have now been replanted into the new soil and yesterday were looking healthy and growing quickly, and I had a delicious salad today of rocket, cucumber, cherry toms, fennel and spring onions, all from the garden. 

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