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.


A bit of a topsy turvy month here, with a change in work routine, leading to the inevitability of all the office germs descending the minute I stepped into a new environment.  But plenty of fresh air in between work seems to have done the trick.

Nourish:
May was the start of comfort food time, with porridge for breakfast and the first soups of the year - thick vegetable soups, and big pots of Asian-style chicken soup with soba noodles, garlic, ginger, chilli and garden greens to ward off the bugs.

Prepare:
With the rocket going to seed in the Country Garden, it was time this month to harvest it and dry it out to save the seeds.  I also have a big bunch of cress waiting until I find a quiet afternoon to separate out the seeds from their pods.
Reduce:
With the restaurant getting regular deliveries of seafood in polystyrene boxes, we've been using them to germinate seeds in and to grow small plants.  Everything we put in them is doing really well, so their insulation properties must be helping.  Long term (once we can't fit any more of them in the garden!) it would be good to investigate with the chef whether there are alternatives to having new boxes delivered so regularly.  There must be another way to transport seafood safely...

Green:
The chickens are really doing their part in the cycle of the Gardens.  I clean out their house once a week and take the straw up to the Country Garden to mulch the vegies or add to the compost, and in exchange I take some extra silverbeet and beetroot leaves home to them as treats (and to try to increase their greens intake to discourage them from completely shredding all of the City Garden!)  They are 18 weeks old this week, which is the age that they might start laying eggs, so the garden cycle will hopefully increase even more some time soon.

Grow:
This month we planted kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, lettuce, pak choy, more garlic (!), leeks and broad beans.  Oh, and a pine nut tree!
After running out of space everywhere else for
garlic, I resorted to planting it under the roses.
I was sure those cloves were in a straight line...!
We harvested silverbeet, kale, fennel, celery, lettuce, rocket, leek, the last of the brilliant banana capsicums (which have kept us in capsicum since late last year), carrots, beetroot, radish, spring onion and basil.
Create:
I finally finished a long overdue project that I have been knitting for my father.  (Dad if you read this, I promise to get it into the post to you next week!!)

Discover:
As a present to myself when I was feeling sick, I bought a copy of Annie Smithers' beautiful new book Annie's Garden to Table, which I've been reading from cover to cover.  Great inspiration for continuing to develop the Country Garden.  Now to make some of the delicious recipes!

Enhance:
One of the lovely things in May was that Stacey from Domestic Artisan awarded me the Liebster Award for my blog.  It was lovely to connect with her, and then to be able to pass it on to some of the other blogs that I've been enjoying and learning from.

My friend A and I had our first "Inspiration Session" catchup that I mentioned last month, to start working toward achieving projects that we have both been thinking about for ages.  It was great to talk about our ideas and give each other goals to work toward for our next catchup.

Enjoy:
I'm such a summer person, I just love it, and really struggle through colder weather.  I mean, I've been complaining about winter for the last couple of months in my posts, and yet today is actually only the first official day of it!  But I have to say, that I've actually really been enjoying the change of seasons this year.  With my focus on the garden, and understanding much better this year than last what to expect with the vegetables, I've found it much more bearable than normal.  I spent last weekend with friends down at the beach, and we rugged up in ski parkas, beanies and boots and went for bracing walks in the cold wind and drizzle along the beach... and it was great fun, I felt really alive!  Of course heading back to the house for red wine and a delicious slow cooked chicken casserole in front of the fire afterwards helped!  :-)

17 comments:

  1. I think planting the garlic under the roses is a great idea!

    I think a winter-y hike along the beach sounds lovely. :-)

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    1. Yes it will be interesting to see how it goes, or whether there are too many roots from the roses. If it works it's a great option for even more garlic next year - just got to be a bit more careful to plant the cloves in a straight line!!

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  2. Hi there, cg/cg! What an interesting update. Annie Smither's has a book? Must investigate this (*drool* I just clicked on the link!). I really enjoyed a seminar some time back with her food gardener..just fascinating. And a pine nut tree? I would love to hear how this goes..or grows! I've never seen one before. Have fun with those chookies - I hope they start laying for you soon. :)

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    1. Hi Christine, the book is gorgeous, I can highly recommend it! When you went to the website did you see that Annie is also doing tours of her kitchen garden now? I think I might have to find a day to do that, it would be really interesting.

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    2. Yes, the tours do look very tempting!

      (Well done on the postcards segment too..I wish I had caught it).

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  3. That's a good amount of veggies to harvest! Well done on the carrots - I'm not good with them. How nice to get together with someone to work on goals! I suppose I sort of do this with hubby but I'm not always sure he's listening! LOL

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    1. Yes, carrots are one of those vegies that you just have to have in a vegie garden, but no-one tells you that they are actually really hard to grow! Until we started the Country Garden I'd never been able to even get them going, and the first harvest in the CG was rubbish, but with perseverance we seem to be getting there. They are so slow though... oh wait, that's what this monthly wrap up is all about embracing, isn't it?! :-)

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  4. Such a great veggie harvest!! I need to get my skates on a plant our garlic (I'm a bit late off the mark this year).

    I'm waiting on the Annie Smither's book from the library so glad to hear its as good as it sounds :-)

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    1. I think we were actually a bit over-eager and planted our first cloves too early, but have been planting them consistently for a few months now, so hopefully will have some success (given how much bed space we've devoted to them!) I have a feeling I read somewhere that they are supposed to be in by the winter solstice so you still have a few weeks.

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  5. There's nothing quite like the feeling of walking along the beach when you are rugged up and it is cold. I find it came be a bit unmotivating to do but when I get down there I love it and feel so much better for it. My husband and I are convinced that we are going to become this elderly couple who sit in the car on a winters day, with the sun streaming in, overlooking the beach with a thermos of tea. :)

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    1. Sounds like a lovely way to spend your retirement! Hope you'll be crocheting a granny blanket for your knees?! ;-)

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  6. I'm going to keep my eye out for banana capsicums - that's a fabulously long harvesting period.

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    1. Yes they were really astounding, and very tasty. The traditional green/red capsicums next to them in the bed took all summer and autumn to ripen, but these just started producing early and kept going right through. I'm not going to bother with the traditional ones next summer, just plant masses of the banana capsicums.

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  7. Hello cg cg, love your post! I have been growing those capsicums too, they are great aren't they! I got Annie Smither's book for mother's day, and love it, I want my garden to be just like hers, productive and beautiful, looks like you are well on the road to this with your gorgeous garden! Have a great day, Julie:) PS Just came to visit from Slow Living Essentials!

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  8. just lovely!Love winter walks too. I think the tomatoes that you say are popping up may just grow! Mine seem to be doing well and I remember a good harvest last November when they grew over winter too (after just popping up all over the place).

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  9. What a wonderful post, I've only just discovered your blog, but it has me intrigued. I'm going to go trawling through your archives now. The capsicums sound fabulous, I just picked probably the last of mine this week too, I think they were bull horn capsicums. The chickens already sound like they're earning their keep and they're not even laying yet, I bet the country garden loves all that organic matter. Thanks for sharing you month.

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