Yes, that’s me I have to admit. Trouble is that there’s been so much else to do, in the kitchen primarily – so much preserving. It’s all I can do to get to mow the grass lately.
Finally today I was able to make the time to plant out a punnet of red cabbage seedlings that I purchased about a month ago. I had such good intentions at the time. However, although they were a bit moth-eaten, they seemed to be quite forgiving and looked far better once they were settled in some nice, soft fresh-dug soil and given a proper drink of water.
I decided then to go and have a look around to see what had been happening in my absence. I’ve been following the principle of letting everything grow wild and free.
Of course the weeds have taken advantage of the situation, but I was mightily pleased to see that there has been quite a lot of productive activity.
Self-sown pumpkin plants have taken over the entire vegetable garden. Maybe they have served a protective purpose, for poking up between the vines (and actual pumpkins) is a good crop of silver beet. Even the asparagus is thriving. On the lower level there are some lovely tender little red cabbages, beautiful cooked up with a little bacon, onion and apple with a splash of cider vinegar.
Tomatoes are becoming like the wizard’s apprentice story and are still producing at a great rate; all shapes and sizes, and as the weather cools their flavor is improving tremendously. I do however think there will be a lot of green tomato chutney made before too much longer.
The lettuces I planted weeks ago, once the choking weeds were cleared from around them, were actually doing quite well.
Their neat row had been disturbed somewhat by the chickens who crept in there one day, but most of the plants survived. Speaking of which, as Robert dug up yet more potatoes in the far paddock today, the mother hen taught her chicks how to devour corby grubs. What a feast they had, like a party for poultry.
The rhubarb is second only to the tomatoes. Tiny little frogs live in the stalks under the cooking school kitchen window.
Herbs are growing wild and the bees are having a lovely time collecting the nectar of the flowers. They should really have been trimmed a long time ago. The horseradish, despite the fact it is rather weed-bound, appears to be surviving. I hope there’s some to make into relish this year.
Nasturtiums flowers, my favourite garden salad item, are everywhere. Try one of these filled with homemade labna for a really special treat.
The chilli plants are looking cheerful enough – flowering well, though I don’t know if they will ever produce any decent chillies. I suspect not as the weather is getting cooler by the day.
There’s still lemons and limes to ripen and preserve. Even the poor specimen of a lemon tree we brought from Eaglehawk Neck has suddenly found its feet and is flowering prolifically. I noticed the chickens pecking around its roots for a few days a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps they were able to rid it of some bugs that was attacking it at ground level.
All in all the garden has been very obliging – perhaps it is better off for my absence and non-intervention, helpful though I’ve always meant it to be.
Just shows how nature can get along very nicely without us doesn’t it?