Sunshine captured in jars

Pineapples are not growing in my allotment, but they are growing just up the road. One of the first places visited when we emigrated to Australia many years ago was the “Pineapple Plantation” just north of Brisbane – that whole area grows the most wonderful pineapples.

I am running a jam making workshop at Beelarong this weekend and, as I always do, I did a dummy run in my own kitchen this morning, just to make sure that my old recipes are still working just fine.

They are!   Well, this one is anyway.

First catch your pineapple.  In this case I found a nice big juicy one at my local fruitier for the fine price of $4.  And from that investment, + sugar and lemons I already had, I ended up with all this.

IMG_0050

And that is why I’m addicted to preserving.

(My kitchen table in the photo should be Heritage Listed.  I cook the old fashioned way, on the table where I can spread out.)

Here is the recipe I use from the reliable non-nonsense Australian Women’s Weekly.  In this case I halved the recipe which gave me these six small jars and the little taster.

Looking forward to the workshop on Saturday. Watch this space!

 

 

Trombone Zucchini

My allotment neighbour, Alex, added this unusual vegetable to the Share Table today – Trombone Zucchini.  Or if you want it’s more official title Tromboncino Rampicante.  In fact it’s really a member of the squash family. So it answers to many names.

The magic thing about this vegetable is that it doesn’t seem to be attacked by the pests and diseases our zucchini get bothered with, not at Beelarong anyway.  If left, they can grow enormous – and I’ve seen some very strange looking ones when I pressed the ‘google’ button,  but Alex likes to pick them young and tender.

He tends to slice them and stir fry with garlic, but advises that you ‘treat them like you would a zucchini’. So there, you heard it from the master!

Trombone Zucchini Tromboncino Rampicante

Trombone Zucchini (Tromboncino Rampicante)

If you are living in South East Queensland and fancy trying this veggie for yourself you can get these organic seeds from Green Harvest.

Happy Gardening

A ramp to the Windy Loo

We are building a ramp to the Windy Loo at Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment.

This will allow wheelchair access.

IMG_6759

See, I wasn’t kidding, check it out – that is the name of the company that built our ‘facilities’ many years ago.

IMG_6787

But it’s heavy work and we threw ourselves into the landscaping at a working bee last week.

IMG_6757

I managed to persuade the team to rest on their picks and shovels for a photograph.

IMG_6768

Was I slacking?  Not likely, I was working with the team that kept the food coming!

Happy gardening.

Turmeric Gold

I don’t usually welcome watching the leaves of my plants turning brown but turmeric is the exception.  These dying leaves tell me that before too long it will be ready to harvest once again.

Turmeric has so many health benefits and it has got to be one of the easiest plants I have ever grown. An allotment neighbour gave me a tiny rhizome, the size of my little finger. I popped it into the ground and had a huge harvest from it last season.  And this year it’s going gangbusters again.

IMG_6803

Dwarfed by my turmeric plant this morning

I call it Turmeric Gold because as well as the wonderful rich golden colour of the rhizome, it saves me heaps  ($49 a kilo in the shops) by growing it myself.  And it’s guaranteed organic.  Even the colour when I grate the fresh turmeric makes me feel better!

turmeric-roots-and-a-jar-of-turmeric-powder

For such little effort, this is well worth growing in your garden, and reap the health benefits.  I grate a little each day in soups, stews, over salads, stir fries, in smoothies. And you can check out this link to learn more seven ways to eat (and drink) turmeric.

Happy Gardening.

Are your seeds still in the shoe box?

If they are – then liberate them!

It’s very tempting to keep your seeds in a favourite shoe box, or similar, and enjoy going through them. I do that too.

However, the magic only happens once you put them in the ground.

Just a little effort can change this ….

IMG_6795

into … this

Version 2

And that’s the joy of it.

Planting Carrots:

Carrots do enjoy a fine tilth so when you prepare your carrot bed if your soil tends to be heavy, incorporate some sand. This will make it easier for those roots to grow down without hindrance and ‘forking’. Give the soil a good rake over to remove as many little stones or obstructions as you can.  Those tiny seeds will love you for it.

Save a handful of that sand for when you sow your carrots. Those seeds are really tiny and by adding the seeds to your handful of sand and then sowing them, the seeds are less likely to ‘clump’ and it cuts down on the job of thinning out the seedlings when they pop up.

Another useful tip I find is incorporating some radish seeds in that handful of sand as well, this will help in two ways.  Radish germinate much quicker than carrots so you will soon be reminded of exactly where those precious carrot seeds were planted.  Secondly, as you harvest the little radishes it will automatically help thin out your row of carrots, thereby saving you some work.

Finally, those tiny seeds sit so close to the surface of the soil that during the first days of sowing, make sure you keep the soil moist, and carrots don’t like to be too crowded so it helps to keep the carrot bed well weeded.

Now, I know you can buy carrots cheap enough in the supermarket. So why bother? Let me tell you that the scent of the carrot as you pull it out of the ground at harvest time cannot be beaten. Smells like a carrot should – and so far you have only pulled it out of the ground!  Just wait until you go home and boil them and add a knob of butter.

Take the first step and get out the shoe box.

“Cooking from scratch”

Our cob oven (pizza oven) at Beelarong Community Farm brings new meaning to the term “cooking from scratch”.  First build your oven.

Mix a bucket full of clay – and continue to do so until you are completely surrounded by buckets of clay.

IMG_5026

Then you throw the clay on the ground and you stamp on it to mix it with straw. Even better if you can find a friend to hang on to.

stamping

Bill decides to go it alone.

IMG_5050

Pat decided to keep her ‘wellies’ on.

IMG_5071

Then it’s back to childhood again as you shape the clay into ‘cobs’, sausage shaped bricks.

IMG_5066

 

Then you slap it all together and you build an oven. (Well, doesn’t everybody!)

IMG_5081

You congratulate yourself on a job well done.

IMG_5145

And then you wait for three weeks for it to dry out.   Waiting, waiting, waiting ……..

Then every so often you get together and you make pizzas.  Out of the oven and onto your wooden board. Sprinkle with a few Sweet Basil leaves from the community garden.

pizza

Find a few friends.  Start eating.

Neighbour Day photogaph taken by Jon, James' work colleague

No wonder I have a smile on my face. This, folks, is where I have my allotment.

IMG_0508

Happy Gardening.

Using the surplus – Silverbeet

My allotment was bursting with my favourite vegetable last season, Silverbeet (or chard),   so I blanched the excess and popped them into the freezer.  Just a few portions left which I need to use up and this is what Google suggested from taste, my usual go-to website.

Silverbeet and potato gratin

Click on the link for the recipe and this is what it should look like.

 

So I set to work in the kitchen, using my favourite old-fashioned pie dish. The fine grated cheese on the top is a piece of parmesan that I wanted to use up so I put it through the food processor (lazy me) and out came these lovely fine shreds of tasty cheese.

IMG_0007.jpg

Baked for 50 minutes and out came my delicious dinner. Just added a side salad made from the gleanings over at the allotment.

IMG_0012

NOTE: I used half the recipe so I don’t have to eat it for the next 3 days. The parmesan on the top layer of thinly sliced potato – immediate potato chips, crunchy and delicious.

Happy Gardening (and cooking) !

 

Lovely Lettuce

It has been very quiet at the allotment over our hot Queensland summer. The weather is suddenly cooler so I am looking forward to getting the allotment planted and producing. And a bit more blogging.

Despite the heat, I have managed to grow a nice few heads of lettuce over the last few weeks, and yesterday I harvested them. Amazing that I managed to do that without them bolting in the heat.  Maybe I’m learning something after all !

IMG_6744.jpg

Brazilian Spinach thrives in the Brisbane summer

I put my allotment to bed for our long hot summer under a blanket of horse manure and a thick layer of mulch.

However, a small cutting of Brazilian Spinach (Poor Man’s Spinach) really took off.

This plant was a bit of a cutting gifted by another gardener. I had to give it a chance, so I stuck it into the ground at the beginning of summer – and it has spread and flourished despite the heat, weeks of drought, tropical downpours, and neglect. (It could have tapped into some of that horse manure of course!)

Brazilian Spinach is suitable for tropical and sub-tropical climates only, but it is great to have a member of the spinach family that will keep me in greens during the summer when other varieties have turned up their toes. This is how my plant looked this morning and I have been cutting at it for weeks now. The recent heavy rains gave it a burst of life.

IMG_5328 IMG_5331 IMG_5334

I noticed that the plant is already putting down fresh roots so if you are a Brisbane gardener and want a root of it – you are welcome. It would need to be collected from the farm. You can also propagate it by putting a cutting in a jar of water and it will sprout roots.

I add this spinach to soups, stir fries and frittata but I also wanted to try it in a pesto and this is a great recipe I found on the Yandina Community Gardens website.

Brazilian Spinach with Macadamia Nut Pesto

Ingredients:

Bunch of brazilian spinach leaves

1 cup basil leaves

3-4 large cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 cups macadamia nuts (I have also used walnut or cashews)

juice of half a lemon

Method:

Combine all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  If mixture is a bit thick, you can add a small amount of water, bit at a time, until it looks right.

Happy Gardening.

A Scarecrow Competition

I thought I would be planting like mad as this is the time to really get stuck into the garden for our best growing season but we have had tropical storms and driving rain for days and the ground is waterlogged. I stuck in the big fork and heard an unmistakeable “squelch”. Not a good idea to plant seeds into that.

On a lighter note we had great fun at the allotments the other day when we held our Easter morning tea and ran a Scarecrow Competition.

Here are some of the entries.

My friend Di with her entry “Costa”  – if you watch Gardening Australia it might give you a clue.

IMG_5266

Narda, my allotment neighbour, entered “the schoolteacher”. Can you see the little children in blue uniforms at her feet? Must have taken her hours.

IMG_5273

Then we had the french theme from Celine (who is french) and James (wearing the cardboard moustache). The three of them in french berets. They carried the theme through with the french wine on the table and french music playing. Impressive. All the cameras came out at this scene.

IMG_5283

So far no crows have been scared by these entries but they are great fun, and heaps of work went into them.

My neighbour on the other side, Bernice, entered “Stone the Crows” using a leaf rake for a face. She is holding a catapult ready to fire at the crow sitting at the other end of the allotment.

IMG_5270

Here is the crow. Rather a sad and resigned expression I thought. I’m still laughing just looking at it. Bernice won first prize.

IMG_5271

We had many more great entries in this competition – but there was one rather pathetic entry – mine. I cut up my son’s clothes to dress her. I made her skirt from one of his pair of trousers, a shirt for the scarf round her neck, and he donated an old pair of shoes. I stuffed a pair of my tights to make her legs but after I had stuffed them with straw she had a bad case of varicose veins. With that pink blouse and big red smile I don’t really think she will be scaring many crows. If it was marked I can see the result “Jean needs to try harder.”

IMG_5263

She is standing in the corner of my allotment, you can tell by the undisturbed straw mulch that there is not a lot of planting going on at the moment.

It’s Easter Sunday here already on the east coast of Australia …. Happy Easter.

Previous Older Entries

Sommerlads' Poultry

Australian breeders of slower growing heritage-style meat chickens

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Greening the Rose

Living green, living well frugally, wasting less

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

Lavender and Leeks

Gardening Blog and Online Shop

The Earth Mama

The day and life of an Earth Mama

myproductivebackyard

Sustainable Backyard Food Production

My Front Burner

making what matters

could do worse

adventures in London

30 acres of sunshine

organic, sustainable and self-sufficient hobby farm in the making

Lottie Land Girl

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

Throwback at Trapper Creek

An ongoing chronicle of meeting the expectations of the land...

Foodnstuff

Energy decline & self-sufficiency from Melbourne, Australia

horticultural 'obbit

'obbitry of the horticultural kind

Leisa Rayven

Passionate stories for lovers of words

Sommerlads' Poultry

Australian breeders of slower growing heritage-style meat chickens

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Greening the Rose

Living green, living well frugally, wasting less

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

Lavender and Leeks

Gardening Blog and Online Shop

The Earth Mama

The day and life of an Earth Mama

myproductivebackyard

Sustainable Backyard Food Production

My Front Burner

making what matters

could do worse

adventures in London

30 acres of sunshine

organic, sustainable and self-sufficient hobby farm in the making

Lottie Land Girl

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

Throwback at Trapper Creek

An ongoing chronicle of meeting the expectations of the land...

Foodnstuff

Energy decline & self-sufficiency from Melbourne, Australia

horticultural 'obbit

'obbitry of the horticultural kind

Leisa Rayven

Passionate stories for lovers of words

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

One homemaker. One Acre. My quest for Self Sufficiency.

not just greenfingers

Mrs Thrift's Simple Living in the Modern Day......Kitchen Garden, Allotment, Baking And More...

quarteracrelifestyle

The "Good Life" on a quarter acre, frugal living

Gardener Jen

Trials, errors and joys of creating and maintaining my first garden.

Our Everyday Life in Pictures

Growing vegetables on one small allotment

Exercising Septuagenarian

Growing vegetables on one small allotment

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

The Next Stage

Growing vegetables on one small allotment

The Greening of Gavin

Sustainable Living in the Suburbs

Down to Earth

Growing vegetables on one small allotment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 149 other followers