Self sufficiency – and a trip to the Farmers Market

For one brief moment in time I have reached the stage when I am eating all my own vegetables.

I have my potatoes stored in a brown paper bag and garlic dried off in the garage from the last season, small but potent. In the freezer I have an abundance of snake beans – I may never get to the bottom of them as I had a bumper harvest.

I’m picking fresh carrots, parsnips, kale, silverbeet, lettuce, and the herbs mint, parsley, garlic chives, rosemary.

Whoops!  I buy onions, but I am told that South Australia is the onion-growing capital of Australia. So perhaps I can be forgiven as our weather is sub-tropical. I havn’t mentioned tomatoes because I am classing that as a fruit – and so does the dreaded fruit fly which has stung every tomato I have ever tried to grow except the tiny cherry tomatoes.

Talking of fruit, that brings me to the reason for my visit to Jan Power’s Farmers Market at the Powerhouse in New Farm Park yesterday morning. We seem to have a glut of strawberries at the moment and I wanted to buy a few kilos for jam making. I also needed a dozen free range eggs. So off I set with my ‘Nanny Trolley’.

It was a beautiful morning and lots of people had turned up. You couldn’t have hurried if you tried (why would you want to?) because there were so many strollers, an amazing variety of shopping trolleys, and dogs of all description on the end of a lead (oh my grammar – they each had a lead of their own!).  Every man and his dog had turned out to enjoy the sunshine.

The first thing that hit me was the smell of frying bacon. Now I had already eaten fruit and yoghurt at home, but suddenly it just wasn’t enough.  So I stopped at Jon’s Delights for breakfast and he cooked me the most amazing bacon and egg burger.

Breakfast at Jon’s Delights, The Barn

Then I got a bit snap-happy. These are only a few of the pics that I took of the wonderful array of stalls.

Beetroot

Lettuce

Oranges

Garlic

Parsnips

You want to get me locked up!?

And finally I picked up my booty. Three kilos of strawberries for $10.

Going home to make jam

36 days without rain

I heard on the news today that Brisbane has been 36 days without rain.

Allotment holders already know that!

So I took a photograph this morning of the hero of the hour – the old watering can I use.  We have plastic ones as well at the farm, but I rather like the retro look of this one.

The old watering can, and the nearest tap to my allotment.

During this dry period I also use the hosepipe twice a week to give a real good soaking but there’s nothing photogenic in my eyes about a plastic hosepipe that get’s kinks in it and drives me mad.  If I have the time, I’d much rather use the old watering can.

And because I want to finish on a pretty note, here is a photograph I took this morning at Jan Powers Farmers Market at New Farm Park.  I took about 70 pics so once I’ve been through them I will put them in a separate post.

Gerberas at the Farmers Market at New Farm Park

An action packed weekend

The weekend just flew by and it’s only now that I have found the quiet time to sit and blog about it.

I went to Jan Powers’ Farmers’ Market over at The Powerhouse, New Farm Park on Saturday morning.  I grabbed my ‘Nanny Trolley’ and set off. The market was buzzing with folk out to enjoy a lovely sunny morning after all the rain we have had.

“Nanny Trolley”

I am lucky that I grow most of my own vegetables but there is still produce I need to stock up on. On the list I had eggs, avocado, tomatoes, a whole pumpkin (such good value at the moment) and enough new season strawberries and rhubarb to make jam.

I parked the car over near the library and strolled through the park, stopping on the way for a take-away coffee from the kiosk. As I was waiting for the barista to work his magic I noticed this lovely palm. Sorry I cannot name it, perhaps someone can help there.  Thanks to the passer-by for taking this photo.

Palm in New Farm Park

After strolling through the markets it was then time to retrace my steps across the park to New Farm library where Brisbane horticulturist Annette McFarlane was giving a workshop on vegetable growing, funded by Brisbane City Council.  I have been to quite a few of Annette’s presentations in the past. As well as being so knowledgeable, she is also an entertaining speaker.

Then I went home to make jam. A satisfying day all round.

Sunday morning was computer training over at the Apple Showroom at Chermside with trainers Jacob and Kim.

Onto coffee with son number one.

A quick sandwich and then it was off to the allotment. Always a good social time on Sundays as people who cannot make it during the week catch up with the gardening.  I seem to spend more time leaning on my fork on Sundays, yarning. But that’s good too as I learn so much and, just occasionally, hand out my pearls of wisdom.

An allotment neighbour had an abundance of lettuce and kale plants and generously passed some on to me. (She must have scattered the seed around in gay abandon – she could keep Brisbane in lettuces!). But we all get a bit carried away sometimes and cannot bare to destroy any of these precious seedlings.

One thing I had learned from Annette McFarlane’s talk the day before was that I was basically starving my vegetables. Evidently you should be able to grow a lettuce in six weeks.  Six Weeks! My last sowing of lettuce was six weeks old and still only two inches tall (in the old money!).  So even though I thought I had fed the soil – obviously not enough – I went out with the liquid feed and watered it in like mad. Willing them to grow.

Fortunately the secretary from the local Pony Club made a visit this week and has offered us pony poo. So that is the way to go I reckon.  Six weeks Annette? – just you wait I’ll have those lettuces popping up in five.

Finally I dug up some potatoes for dinner. Here they are. And they were delicious.

‘Nicola’ potatoes for Sunday dinner

Have a good week.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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