Tag Archives: harvest

1730. The plot continues

Sometime ago I didn’t exactly promise but said I possibly might give a running report on my garden. So here it is with pictures. For those of you who don’t have the slightest interest in my electrifying private life, there will be the usual story tomorrow – far more coldly objective but just as true.

Thus far, our summer has been fairly cold and cloudy and windy.

You might remember, last September/October I started digging up bits of the lawn for gardens.

We made tall fences for climbing beans, thornless blackberries, and sweet peas. The blackberries will take three years to mature, but already they are laden with hundreds of yet-to-ripen (yet-to-be-stolen-by-birds) berries.

We made little fences out of poplar twigs around each garden. People say “It looks very French!” but basically we did it because the dog knows it is not allowed to step over these fences!

The cold, wet weather meant the bush beans got some sort of fungus and I pulled them out. I planted some more bush bean seeds, but the wild rabbits came in and dug most of them up! However, it has been a fantastic year for peas and capsicums (bell peppers). I have frozen a good dozen batches of peas, and lots and lots of my second favourite soup which is Peapod Soup made out of… (you guessed it) peapods!

With the colder summer weather the mâche (corn salad/lamb’s lettuce) lasted longer than usual. We now have lettuces and cucumbers coming out our ears so there’s salads salads salads. The zucchinis (courgettes) are being harvested. Swedes (rutabagas) and silver beet (Swiss chard) have been producing. The globe artichoke season is over – we devoured over 60; the Jerusalem artichokes and Chinese artichokes are coming along! (None of these three types of artichoke are related – same word, different plant). Broad beans (fava beans) are finished and frozen. Corn is in flower, as are the sunflowers, dahlias, petunias, cosmos, and sweet peas.

Incidentally our Number 1 favourite soup is Jerusalem artichoke soup! Potatoes were pathetic this year, as are beetroot (beets). Borsch is a nice winter dish so I might have to buy some beetroot. Here’s my freezer – it’s already full!

The cabbages have gone berserk and I’ve been making piles of cabbage stews for winter. Cauliflowers are coming along. Celery and celeriac are producing. We’re letting the leeks go to seed to collect. And besides, the leek flowers look very pretty in the garden! The flowers are slightly bigger than a tennis ball.

No onions. There are two things we have never been any good at growing: onions and spinach. We have no idea why. No matter where we’ve lived it’s always the same – onions and spinach don’t like us. But the garlic and shallots have been harvested and are drying in the sun (since removed to the wheelbarrow to facilitate quick removal when it rains!)

Having got a new lawn mower for my 70th birthday (the birthday I share with Saint Nicholas’ Feast Day) and a long garden hose for Christmas, life is much easier. The house water is rain water, but the garden water we share with the farm animals which is pumped to troughs and our garden tap (faucet) from a creek. So we don’t have to go easy on watering the garden. Here’s a trough just out the kitchen window!

And tomatoes! I almost forgot! Lots and lots of tomatoes! And I’ve taken to making wine, but so far haven’t used anything home-grown in the process.

Here endeth the report. Oh! And lots of rhubarb!

Also been making pickles, chutneys, jams, and stuff.

Incidentally, the best book is one I found in a second-hand shop in Asheville, North Carolina. It cost a dollar. It’s got everything you need to know about growing, canning, pickling, drying, and freezing. It’s called When the Good Cook Gardens. It was published by Ortho Books in 1974. I believe it’s available on Amazon.

1650. A vegetative state

As usually happens here on this blog when an extra round number appears, something slightly different happens. Today, to celebrate story Number 1650, we shall look at aspects of my vegetable garden.

Although humility goes hand in hand with gardening, one could perhaps be excused for showing a little pride in one’s harvest. At least occasionally. So with a great deal of self-effacing non-aggrandisement, I submit four untouched photographs of me standing in front of four of my gardening successes. There could easily be a lot more, but modesty prevents over exposure.

Here is me standing in front of a couple of turnips. As you can see, harvesting one would’ve been adequate for my needs.

Here I am standing in front of a prize cauliflower. As can be seen from my shirt, these photos were all taken on the same day.

Let the size of my watermelons speak for itself.

Finally, here is a globe artichoke. It was late in the season; hence it’s quite small compared to ones gathered earlier.

To aspire to continued success this coming spring and summer, I have extended the vegetable garden by digging up my front lawn! It is now all ready and waiting for the date of the (hopefully) last frost to pass – which here in New Zealand is usually around October 25th. Here are a few snapshots of the work in progress. I just might post the occasional picture throughout the coming season to show progress!

Cheerio for now! And if I don’t appear too often on the blogs this coming antipodean summer, it’ll be because I’ll be out on the front lawn weeding.

1438. Grape harvest

Tristram was all of eighteen and he was there to help his uncle pick the grapes in his uncle’s not-particularly huge vineyard. Although it was a not-particularly huge vineyard, it still took a good week to harvest the grapes.

There was a house on the vineyard that was rented out. That was where Mr and Mrs Johnson lived with their daughter, Katie. Tristram thought Katie was rather stunning but she took no notice of him.

It was hard on the back bending over to pick the grapes, and hard on the knees if one crouched. Tristram devised a one-legged stool that he tied around his waist and loins. That way he could stand, move and sit, stand, move and sit, along the rows of vines. He looked like a wasp with a great big proboscis sticking out of his bottom.

Katie came out of the house and saw him. She laughed and laughed and laughed. You’re all invited to their Golden Wedding Anniversary party this coming Saturday.

973. Mrs Brussels Sprout’s day

973sprouts

Today was the day Mrs Brussels Sprout had looked forward to all her life. It was Harvest Day!

For months – and all through the cold winter – she had worked hard to produce twenty or thirty babies. Under each leaf nodule a baby had sprouted. She had quite lost count.

“Today, children,” said Mrs Brussels Sprout to her brood, “should be the proudest day of your life. The very reason for our being planted, the very reason for our existence, is about to be fulfilled. It is the climax of our dreams; the apex of our desires. When the gardener comes along and cuts us down, we will be ready to be steamed and sauced. Rejoice, O little ones! Rejoice!”

“Oh happy day!” sang the little Brussels Sprouts. “Oh happy day!”

“Here comes the gardener now,” called out Mrs Brussels Sprout. “He’s going to cut off my head. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! HELP! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! RUN CHILDREN! RUN!”

944. Harvesting leeks

944leeks

Stanley had a seasonal job harvesting leeks. There were seven others in the field of leeks. They were unsupervised, so Stanley was able to stuff several hundred leeks every day into the back of his car. His wife, Marjorie, sold them at a roadside stall: ORGANIC LEEKS HOME GROWN. They had leeks for dinner every evening as well.

After several weeks the boss turned up and called a meeting. Leeks were going missing. He didn’t mind the workers taking home a couple of leeks now and then, but hundreds seem to be missing. All workers denied any knowledge.

“How do you cook a leek anyway?” asked Stanley.

Proactive feigned ignorance is often the best cover-up.