16 June 2012

Slower Days

Things are definitely slowing down in both gardens.  When I got to the Country Garden yesterday morning my aunt and I took our usual initial walk  around  to observe the changes since the previous week and work out what's on my task list for the day.  I love this first little peaceful walk around each week.  

At first glance it seemed like there wasn't really anything to do.  But looking closely I realised that there is still some action, and there were several things to put on the list for the day:

  • Pull out rocket and dill that is finished, making sure all seed pods having been saved
  • Transplant coriander seedlings into that barrel
  • Plant out two seedling trays with onion seeds
  • Plant out another with radish seeds
  • Weed the pea shoots that are coming up through the pea straw protecting the brassicas
  • Add more mulch to the fennel bed

Using the polystyrene boxes that the restaurant gets its fish orders in as seedling trays has been working really well.  They are a good size and insulate the seedlings quite well.  But the nights are now getting really cold, so we have decided to buy some mini-greenhouses to protect the seedlings over winter and hopefully allow us to keep them growing.  We counted up that there are now nearly 30 boxes, so it will be good to "hide" them in the greenhouses as it's getting a bit out of control!!

The other exciting planning to be done is that we've decided that we really need more large beds, so are about to order another three.  I get excited when we get one new barrel, so three beds is like Christmas!!  The biggest priority for the beds is to satiate our huge love and craving for fresh, new, heritage variety potatoes.  We've ordered so much seed potato that we definitely need more space.  My next task is to work out the planting plan for the Spring/ Summer season with the extra space.  I'll post my plan once I've worked it out.

The final task of the day was harvesting.  The cavelo nero and silverbeet keeps going valiantly, keeping us in healthy greens, complemented by the Red Pak Choy (pretty sure that's what it is!); then there was fennel, celery, carrots, a few baby beetroots, leek, spring onions and radish, which I'm going to try tonight using Annie Smithers' recipe for them served simply with butter, salt and pepper.  The variety of vegetables is less than a few months ago, but thanks to the faithful greens, we are still able to eat almost entirely from the garden.  In the coming weeks/ months the peas and broad beans will kick in, followed by the brassicas, hopefully getting us through to Spring and Summer.

13 June 2012

Respect the Yeast (and the Shiraz)!

Sourdough starter is often referred to as a live being, needing to be fed like a pet.  I remember reading Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential where he kept talking about "feeding the beast", with the lives of the kitchen staff revolving around not killing the starter.

09 June 2012

Some Detective Work Required...

I feel a bit dumb asking this question, but does anyone know what the asian greens are that I've got as the background of this blog?  They are so beautiful, really delicious and fast growing, but came as a punnet of seedlings that was just tagged "Asian Greens".  I want to be able to grow them (lots of them!) from seed, but can't find them.  Unless it is Pak Choy?  But from what I have seen that doesn't seem to have the purple leaves and seems to have bigger stalks...  Any help gratefully appreciated!

02 June 2012

A Brief Moment of Fame...

If anyone in Melbourne and surrounds happens to be watching Postcards on Channel 9 tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 3 June) at 5.30pm, you might just catch a glimpse of the Country Garden in a segment on Yarra Valley winery restaurants...

01 June 2012

Slow Living Project - May

Another month has gone by and it's time to link up again with Christine at Slow Living Essentials for the Slow Living Project to look back at May's achievements.

The First Day of Winter in the Country Garden

It may have been the first day of Winter today, but I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to spend outside working in the Country Garden.  The hills around the Yarra Valley were shrouded in low, wispy cloud as I drove up, after a night when the temperature dipped below zero, then slowly the sun warmed up the countryside and the clouds burned away to a perfect, still, sunny winter day.

Today was spent removing the last of the summer/ autumn crops and transplanting seedlings into the protection of the big beds so I could put the covers on them and help the plants survive the cold winter Valley nights. 
The seedling nursery
Red cabbage seedling snuggled into straw courtesy of the
City Garden chook shed
The second brassica bed - broccoli, brussels
and cabbage 
Asian greens that look almost too good to eat
A whole bed of broad beans!
The fennel is thriving and doing much better this time  around with
the mounded mulch.  Check out my delicious lunch here...
The silverbeet just keeps going... 
...as does the cavelo nero.  What fabulous vegies they are!
The peas are entwining themselves up their supports
And finally at the end of the day it was time to put the covers
on for winter.