31 May 2013

This week in the City Garden

Red surrounded by autumn leaves.  She's finished moulting
but not yet completely regrown her beautiful tail bustle.
Enough energy on the feathers Red, start laying some eggs please!

19 May 2013

Saturday Spotlight - Radishes

When I decided to focus on radishes for this week's Saturday Spotlight that links up with Liz at Suburban Tomato, I started searching for a decent photo of them.  Apart from one that I'd happened to take this week for my series on dashes of red in the garden, they have barely rated a mention in my photo archive in the past year.  It made me realise that although they are a constant in the garden, being planted and harvested continually all year around, they are perhaps somewhat taken for granted.

There are a few types grown in the Country Garden, the traditional round red, the French Breakfast and the multi-coloured Easter Egg varieties, depending on which packet of seeds happen to be picked up when it's time for another batch.  We grow them in the polystyrene boxes close to the kitchen, usually about three boxes at a time, planting probably too thickly but then thinning out by eating them as they grow.  By doing this they hardly ever seem to reach the proportions that you see at the market, but they are crunchy and zingy, full of peppery flavour.

The only pest that appears to be a problem are slugs, who regularly get stuck into them if we don't pick the radishes first, adding to the temptation to eat them young.  The slugs nibble around the tops of them above ground.  If I wanted to hold off eating them until they were larger I'd probably sprinkle coffee grounds around the boxes, which I think would work.  But as the radishes grow I've found that they often split and can become a bit woody inside, so eating them young and replanting regularly seems to be a good solution.  

My friend E grows black radishes in her community garden plot.  I'm not sure if they are the same family as the red ones, as both the radishes and the plants grow much bigger, but I have some seeds that we saved from her garden, so I'm looking forward to giving them a go.  You can see one of them sitting on the edge of the planter in the photo below.  The plant is the large one at the rear with the pale mauve flowers.
I love that radishes are so easy and quick to grow.  They would be a great vegetable to try for new gardeners.  There is a classic way to eat them that I've read about a number of times and tried but I have to admit I don't really get: putting a bit of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt on them before eating them.  My preferred method is just to slice them finely into salads for an instant lift and a dash of colour.

Pop over to Liz's fabulous blog and check out the vegies that others are spotlighting this weekend.

17 May 2013

A Dash of Red on a Cold Wet Day

Another tale from the Herb Garden

The other day as I walked out my front door, a woman was standing at the street herb garden and said "I'm just pinching some of your mint" and went on to describe a sweet pie she was planning to make.  It sounded quite unusual, so I asked her if she would mind sharing the recipe if it worked out well?  A couple of days later it arrived in my letterbox with a lovely note!
As you can see from the recipe it's a raw vegan dish, with a couple of ingredients that I'd never heard of before, so I decided I'd definitely have to try it.  By complete coincidence, last weekend I was staying with my parents and they'd invited some friends for dinner who are raw vegans, so what better opportunity to try it out?!  

After getting used to the idea of eating a bright green pie with brown flecks through it (from the cacao nibs - which by the way are sensational if you've never tried them!) I can report that it was quite tasty, although very sweet from the honey.  I'm sure it's probably sacrilege to say so, but I thought it would benefit from some cream cheese instead of all the avocado!  Anyway, the vegans seemed to enjoy it, they had two slices each and took home the leftovers and the recipe (and assured me they weren't just being polite) so I think it tasted as it supposed to, and I got to meet and chat to one of my neighbours who I've never met before!

05 May 2013

CGCG in Print

Even More Chook Wisdom
Some time ago I breezed over the fact that I'd recently had an article published, but now an interview with me about the two gardens has also been published, so I thought I'd share a bit about each article.

The article I wrote was about my learning process in keeping chickens in a small inner-suburban backyard.  It was included in "Even More Chook Wisdom", the third of a series (logically it followed Chook Wisdom and More Chook Wisdom!) published by the Earth Garden people.  You can buy it online here if you are interested.  I like this book as each article is written by a different person and focuses on a particular aspect of interest to them, so there is quite a variety of information.

Your Vegie Patch
And in the latest issue of Your Vegie Patch magazine (Vol 2 No 7) I was interviewed about my experiences with growing vegetables in both the City Garden and Country Garden.  It discusses some of the differences between the two gardens and the differences between my aunt's reasons and expectations and my own, in setting up and managing the Country Garden.

I've only seen a few issues of Your Vegie Patch but it seems to have good clear advice for people starting out with gardening and showcases a range of seasonal vegetables in each issue, along with a couple of Gardener Profiles.  Well worth picking up a copy (and by the way, in case you're wondering, it's not me on the front cover of this issue!)

02 May 2013

Slow Living Month - April 2013

Time again to look back and review the happenings and successes of the last month with Christine at Slow Living Essentials and the gang.  Pop on over and check out what everyone has been up to.