garden

Garden Share Collective: February

A new year and the first Garden Share Collective for 2014.   The biggest news I have to share is that we finally finished the chicken coop.  And we had two beautiful heritage hens (of the Barnevelder and New Hampshire variety) move in a few weeks ago.  We thought we’d start with two and see how they go but we’re so happy with them we’ll find another pair to move in shortly.

Harvest
We’ve been harvesting armfuls of delicious corn.  So delicious we’ve vowed to plant more corn whenever the time is right and we’ve planted 25 seedlings just this afternoon.   We’ve also been harvesting eggplants, both regular and some of the lebanese variety.  The ceylon climbing spinach keeps us in ample supply of greens for morning smoothies and salad lunches.  Our rocket and herbs have also been thriving in this sunny weather.  And our rosemary hedge is starting to look very hedge-like in appearance.

Plant
After a great season of zucchini and cucumber, I think the plants had exhausted their supply so we pulled them out, turned and fertilised the soil and have it prepped ready for planting.  As I mentioned above we’ve planted some corn, but also a few tomato seedlings.  Although we have a little possum friend who loves to eat tomatoes, we’re persisting and have hopefully planted a large enough supply to allow for possum and us too.  Adam has planted a watermelon vine amongst a bed of gardenias down the length of our backyard as a bit of a test so we’ll see how that goes.

To Do
 As always, we have a list of jobs to do in the backyard.  Most pressing, some landscaping around our deck area which in its present state is overrun with weeds.  We plan to use paver stepping stones and river stone as a pathway with some tiny flower beds against the retaining walls.
Garden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.com IMG_0249Garden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective, February | brownpaperbelle.com

Garden Share Collective: December

It is the final ‘Garden Share Collective‘ for the year, so here is another little update on what has been happening in our garden.

Harvest:
We had a modest harvest of baby beets – they didn’t seem to want to grow past the baby stage, but that suited us ok and I roasted them up for a roast on Sunday night.  We have been harvesting cucumbers in larger supplies than we can possibly consume.  I have plans to make pickles in the coming weeks.  We have also been harvesting zucchinis, including growing one zucchini somehow hid itself under the leaves camouflaging itself until I wandered up one morning to discover it had become the biggest zucchini I have ever seen.  Be prepared to be barraged with zucchini recipes I try out over the next few weeks.  Our tomatoes have started to ripen finally and we are looking forward to enjoying those few that the possum leaves for us.  Rocket, as always, is in ample supply as are our herbs: basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, mint and rosemary.

Plant:
I’ve planted some new eggplant seedlings after {with a heavy heart} pulling out the bushes that I accidentally killed.  The new seedlings are small, but growing steadily and I am sure they will have eggplants growing in no time.  I’ve also planted the most amazing variety of climbing spinach.  It seems to be very hardy, and the spinach leaves are deliciously dark and juicy – and the perfect size for one leaf on a sandwich.  The plant itself is quite beautiful and I could imagine it grown along a fence would be not only attractive but useful too.  One to keep in mind.  I recently planted new seedlings of corn, beetroot and perpetual spinach – just in time for some summer storms that blew over a few days in a row.  I love it when it works out like that.

To Do:
You will probably believe that the chicken coop is still not finished.  But I have scheduled it in for next weekend – finally – looking forward to ticking that one off.  We will however, wait until the craziness of Christmas and New Years is behind us before adopting some feathered friends to move in.  We have some sort of issue with one of the zucchini bushes which I’ve been looking into.  One is perfectly healthy with dark green leaves and great loads of zucchinis being grown.  The other has yellowing leaves with almost a mildew over the stalks and leaves and the zucchinis seem to be stunted after they first take off.  Other than that, keeping up the water to the garden on those stretches of days when it doesn’t rain is the biggest job on the to do list, luckily it’s an enjoyable one.

Thanks again to Lizzie for organising the Garden Share Collective.  You do a wonderful job.  I love reading what people have been up to in their gardens over the month.

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Garden Share Collective: November

It is nearing that time of month when I share what has been going on in our humble garden as part of the Garden Share Collective.  We have had an upside down month, with three out of four weekends away.  Needless to say, our absence coupled with the extremely dry weather we have been experiencing in Queensland has caused our little garden to feel a little neglected.  But we do have some minor developments that I will share.

Harvest:
Aside from mulberries which have been dropping off in handfuls, and greens which we always have in ample supply, we have not been harvesting much else this month.  Our eggplant bushes which were so incredibly prolific last summer, have died…all of a sudden, with tiny eggplants left clinging from the branches.  I am very saddened by this development and fear it has been due to some overzealous fertilising on my part.  Is this possible?  The seedling man at the market suggested to add dolomite and sulphate of potash to the soil before I planted my tomato seedlings.  I did, and didn’t think anything of adding some around the eggplant bushes as well.  Within a fortnight they were dead.  I know there’s a chance they couldn’t handle the unseasonably hot weather for this time of year, but I have a feeling this is not the case.

Planting:
I’ve planted tomato seedlings, new herbs for summer and more recently some new beetroot and eggplant seedlings.  I’ve also prepared the remaining two garden beds for planting, although haven’t yet decided what to go in there.  Our zucchini bushes are thriving, as is our cucumber vine.  And the existing beetroots are all but ready to pop out of the soil and into a beetroot and goats cheese salad.  Our lime tree {excitingly} has its first tiny fruit starting to grow.

To Do:
Many things on the to do list this month!  The chicken coop, whilst it now has a roof with guttering, still needs the wire attached to the outside.  Then we will be ready.   This has been the slowest built chicken coop in history I fear.  Next, to work out a planting plan for the remaining veggie beds – any suggestions are welcome.  And finally, to keep the existing vegetables healthy and alive through this dry and hot weather.

Thanks again to Lizzie from Strayed From The Table for organising the collective.  I love seeing the progress of everyone’s gardens each month.

Garden Share Collective November | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective November | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective November | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective November | brownpaperbelle.comGarden Share Collective November | brownpaperbelle.com

Garden Share Collective: October

Somehow, another month has flown by and it is time again to share with you the progress in my garden over the last month as part of Garden Share Collective.

We’ve been harvesting mulberries as fast as they are grown, we race up in the morning to see how many have ripened overnight and then eat them without a thought.  My grand plan is to make a mulberry pie, but this will require not eating some and saving them until we have a large enough quantity so, in the meantime I made some mulberry filled butter biscuits.  We’ve also been harvesting handfuls of crisp yellow and green french beans from our dwarf bean seedlings which were planted in August.  And we still have more greens than we could possibly get through alone, although I did manage to find and try a recipe for Wild Weed Pie which used 1kg of greens and made a sizeable dent in our leafy green harvest for the week.

I’ve planted some flowers throughout the garden {which I wrote about here} as well as some herb and tomato seedlings {which I wrote about here}.  The beetroot plants are coming along nicely and we’ve had our first eggplant of the season grow.

We’ve been pretty productive with other things too.  Half the garden beds have been turned and fertilised and are ready for Spring planting.  The chicken coop is well under way with maybe only another weekend of work until we’re ready for our chickens.  I can’t wait to have fresh eggs in the morning.  Nothing quite beats a freshly laid egg {no pun intended}.

Mulberries | brownpaperbelle.comDwarf Beans | brownpaperbelle.comDwarf Beans | brownpaperbelle.comEggplant | brownpaperbelle.comTomato Seedlings | brownpaperbelle.comBeetroot | brownpaperbelle.comChicken Coop | brownpaperbelle.com

Spring Planting

Over the weekend I had a productive time in the garden weeding, preparing 4 of 7 garden beds ready for Spring planting.  I planted a bundle of little seedlings including: Basil / Thyme / Italian Parsley / Mint / Zucchini /Cucumber / Roma tomatoes / Cherry tomatoes.

While we still have 3 more beds to plant {I’m thinking corn, silver beet, rocket and squash} I’m happy we’ve made a start and look forward to these plants growing and producing vegetables in no time.

Spring Planting | brownpaperbelle.comSpring Planting | brownpaperbelle.comSpring Planting | brownpaperbelle.comSpring Planting | brownpaperbelle.comSpring Planting | brownpaperbelle.com

Chicken Coop Update

We had a very domesticated weekend filled with cleaning, gardening & cooking.  It was slow and non-eventful, but somehow satisfying when I sat back on Sunday night and realised how productive we’d been.  Adam spent the day yesterday working on the chicken coop.  Because of weekends away and other commitments, it has been a bit of a drawn out process, but it’s really starting to take shape.  We found the lattice door on the side of the road a year back and I’ve been hanging onto it wondering where it could be best put to use.  I LOVE how it looks.  Next, we’ll make the roof from left over tin we have from our renovations.  And then attach the chicken wire to the front and sides.  And before we know it, we’ll have some feathered friends moving in.

Chicken Coop |brownpaperbelle.com

From Garden To Plate: Leafy Greens

I’ve spoken recently about the abundance of greens in my garden at the moment {here}.  So, when I came across this recipe for ‘Wild Weed Pie’ in Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion, I was excited to find a recipe that used 1kg of greens – that is A LOT of leaves.  I’d forgotten how light and crispy filo pastry is and was glad for the change from the heavier puff pastry which I would usually use for a pie.  The delicate flavour of the pasty allowed for a more earthy, honest pie with a substantially green filling.  Next time, I’ll substitute another head of silver beet in lieu of the fairly bitter chicory which overpowered the overall flavour a touch more than I would have liked.

Click here for the recipe>>>

Wild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.comWild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.comWild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.comWild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.comWild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.comWild Weed Pie | brownpaperbelle.com