This week has seen the arrival of some old apple crates, discarded by a friend, that we are going to convert to beds for a kitchen garden – herbs and all sorts of vegetables ready and close at hand for use in the cooking classes. Our other vegetable gardens are quite a distance from the actual school building, whereas these beds are directly under its window.
They look “rustic” which I love, and I can just imagine them brimming with all manner of produce that will make its way into the jam pans by way of chutneys, pickles, jams, jellies and conserves.
The preserving classes have been in full swing, with the luxury of all sorts of stunning local seasonal produce – apricots from a farm close by, cherries from a neighbour as well as from our orchard, rhubarb and berries from our own patch, peaches and nectarines. The Derwent Valley is certainly living up to its reputation for having an abundance of the best of the best produce.
The berry patch here, so productive for so many weeks, is now starting to slow down. This morning I made a blackcurrant and raspberry cordial syrup, so incredibly tasty and able to be used either as a cordial or as a coulis. I may get one more picking, maybe two from the patch and then just a handful for eating each day. If you want to make this cordial combination, just use the blackcurrant syrup recipe substituting about one third of the weight with raspberries in place of blackcurrants.
Robert will arrive home this evening with literally a tonne of soil on the back of his ute to fill the vegetable boxes. This weekend we will also rotary hoe a piece of ground under the rock wall to plant the small jostaberry bushes I found at the Bushy Park Market a few days ago. I am told they like it here and can tolerate frost very well. Jostaberries, a cross between a gooseberry and blackcurrant, make wonderful jam and cordial.
The market also yielded three perfect artichoke plants. I really want to grow these – the flowers alone are beautiful, let alone the vegetable itself. I look forward to pickling them before too much longer.
All in all it’s been a very busy week and there is plenty more of the same to come. Courtesy of the bore water we have here the grass and gardens have remained quite green – it is like a small oasis, a little piece of paradise.