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.

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

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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) !

 

The community tool shed

Down at the allotments we have a community tool shed which we open Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Today it was my turn to open up the shed.

Allotments in the UK tend to be rather large, but at Beelarong community farm each plot is eight square metres. No room to put a shed on that pocket handkerchief – hence the community shed, where tools and equipment are made available for any allotment holder to use.

Most of us keep our own gardening tools in the boot, but not many of us can fit a wheelbarrow in the back seat!  That’s where the community shed comes into it’s own.

Once I’d opened up the shed I checked on my allotment. The ground was lovely, thanks to some recent rain, and it was a pleasure to just admire my veggies – and pick them.  The silver beet (chard) has done really well this year, and the Cavalo Nero kale is looking wonderful, no caterpillar damage which I’m very happy about. One year the cabbage moth devastated the whole lot.  I picked more broccolini from my broccoli plants – just turned my back for a few days – those plants can’t help themselves.

The flat leafed parsley seems to be fashionable now but I prefer to grow the curly parsley – I love the rich green of the leaves – and I don’t know what it’s roots are sitting in but whatever it is, that parsley is revelling in it. So I just keep hacking away at it and pass a bunch of it on to anybody who wants some.

Curly parsley

Curly parsley.

I picked a couple of Kohlrabi to chop up and put in the savoury mince I cooked when I got home. (A whole lot of veggies went into the pot, I tend to get carried away, so if the army turn up on my doorstep I’ll be able to feed them all.)

I digress.  I had some time to kill before it was time for me to lock the shed up so I took the camera out. I bought a really nice camera ages ago but haven’t used it much because I haven’t mastered it.  So today I took the instruction book with me and practised with the macro lens.

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This lovely little lettuce is no more. I enjoyed it with my lunchtime salad.

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A daisy to attract the bees

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This is my Cavalo Nero kale, you can tell just by looking at it that it’s full of minerals. These leaves were chopped up and added to my savoury mince in the last few minutes of cooking. I’ll have muscles like Popeye.

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I thought this was pretty. It’s one of my spring onions gone to seed.

I’ve got a way to go with the camera. But you have to start somewhere. I really could use a few lessons.

The real reason behind my dusting off the camera is reading Mr Tootlepedal’s blog – his photos of birds and flowers are amazing. I’ll never reach those dizzy heights.

Happy gardening.

A panic in the silverbeet bed

A bit of a panic in the silverbeet bed over at the allotments yesterday.

I get my daily dose of minerals and vitamins from this amazing vegetable.  I steam it and it’s so delicious I could just stand up at the stove with a fork and eat it out of the saucepan.   (But I don’t – and don’t you try that at home either!)

Anyway, back to the allotment. I found some plants attacked by this.

Nasty stuff on my silver beet

Nasty stuff on my silver beet

Fortunately I’m going to a seed-saving workshop given by Annette McFarlane over at New Farm library this morning and I’ll be showing her this photograph. She will be able to identify the problem and tell me how to deal with it.

I have mentioned Annette before, she is a  teacher, garden writer, author and has been a Gardening talkback presenter on ABC 612 radio for over 20 years where she answers peoples gardening problems. Well, today she will be meeting my problem personally and in glorious technicolour thanks to modern technology – the photo’s on my iPad.

I know this is the easy way out – I did start googling about my diseased leaf but it’s a bit like those medical programs on the tele. It’s really only for folk with a strong stomach. Try it, and don’t say I havn’t warned you.

Anyway, on a brighter note. I decided to harvest every decent sized leaf in the bed. Diseased were disposed of but I still ended up with a nice big, tightly packed, bucketful.

A lovely bucket of silverbeet with a smattering of curly kale

A lovely bucket of silverbeet with a smattering of curly kale

Despite the attack, the plants looked quite strong so I gave the bed some love and care. Just a few small weeds had popped up and I removed them to the compost bin. They will live again as lovely humus. Then I took advantage of our worm farm and gave them a good dousing with diluted worm juice. That will perk them up. Remember the mantra – healthy soil, healthy plants.

And just because I can, here are a couple of flower pics taken at the allotments.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

The bees love this blossom

The bees love this blossom

Happy gardening.

A time of abundance

This has got to be the best growing season for veggies in Brisbane. The community garden at the farm is looking fantastic and it’s a treat going over to my allotment. We are in winter now so we are not so plagued with pests which is good. The mornings are a bit nippy but we are having lovely dry sunny days.

I have been harvesting heaps of veggies over the past few weeks, in fact some have already ‘done their dash’ and today I’ve cleared the ground to plant new seedlings of silver beet and seeds of peas and beans.

But there is still plenty more to cut at in the allotment. I took these photographs this morning. It was in a funny light, shade and sunshine. But I snapped away anyway.

Brassica

Broccoli

Parsley

A row of parsley

Silverbeet

Silverbeet

Alyssum

Alyssum

Sweet basil

Sweet basil

Spinach

English spinach

Kale

Curly kale

Tatsoi

Tatsoi

Lettuce

Tatsoi and Lettuce

Brassica

Broccoli

Lettuce

Lettuce – garlic at the top of the photo

Beans

Garlic and lettuce

Beans

Bush beans

?

Row of lettuce

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My sweet potato bed with a patch of swede at the back

Hardly any weeding needed. Just watering and then filling my bucket with lovely fresh vegetables. Today I harvested beans, sweet potato, English spinach, kale, silver beet, beetroot and herbs parsley and basil.

Happy gardening.

A Monday morning at the allotment

It was a fine morning today at the allotment. Early mornings are a bit nippy but once the sun is up the days are really lovely at the moment. I started off with a jumper but soon hung that over my sweet-pea frame and worked in my T-shirt.

I spent quite a bit of time there yesterday watering, harvesting and drinking tea. Thank you Zu for sharing the dinky little chocolate muffins. Delicious.   Then I picked a few flowers and herbs to make a herb posy. Judith, a talented florist, put it all together for me. The big leaves are Lemon Myrtle which makes a nice tea if you add them to a cup of boiling water.

A herb posy

A herb posy

You can see the curly parsley, and the dark leaf poking up at the back is a fancy basil, not sure what it’s called.

A side view

A side view

So all that was left to do today was to give my veggies a liquid feed and get the camera out.  I fiddled about with the settings to try for some ‘artistic’ shots. I was quite pleased with some of the results as I tried to capture drops of water on the leaves. Bare in mind I took nearly a hundred, how the time flies, so there are a lot on the cutting room floor.

Lettuce, too pretty to eat

Lettuce, too pretty to eat

More pretty lettuce

More pretty lettuce

Still more pretty lettuce

Still more pretty lettuce

Some of my lush parsley

Some of my lush parsley

Beetroot

Beetroot

Sweet basil

Young silverbeet with a new row of curly parsley. I can never have too much parsley.

Staggered planting. My follow-on lettuce crop

Staggered planting. My follow-on lettuce crop

My vegetables are looking really healthy at the moment which is very satisfying.  However, I know there are some caterpillars just waiting in the wings ready to take centre stage. But for now I’ll just bask in my success.

Happy gardening.

Allotment update and workshops at Beelarong Community Farm

I have been a bit lazy with my blogging recently but there is plenty going on over at the allotment. Our best growing season in Brisbane starts in April as we have fewer bugs invading our vegetables and the sun is not so fierce. We are still in autumn here but with the drop in temperature you would think it was winter already. Dry and warm during the day but with the temperature down to 11c degrees tonight.

I have already harvested generous amounts of silver beet, and enough sweet potato, beetroot, rocket and lettuce from my allotment this season to keep me happy. I picked a good handful of curly parsley today to make a parsley sauce to go with fish for tea tonight. I just love that aroma when you chop freshly picked parsley.

I’ll take the camera over to the allotment tomorrow so I can post a few pics of my veggie plot. I meant to today but once I finished watering it was time for me to hot-foot it over to the covered area for a workshop.

I have mentioned before that we  hold workshops over at Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment. Today we held one of our regular Cob Oven Cooking workshops.

Here are a few pics I took this morning. The first thing we did was to take a walk around the farm to collect vegetables and herbs for pizza toppings and root veggies and tomatoes to roast in trays, topped with a selection of freshly picked herbs and with a big glug of olive oil.  Dessert was baked apples. Delicious.

Loading the cob oven

Peter ready to load up the cob oven

Below, tomatoes, turnip, squash, aubergine, choko and herbs all picked from the community garden – food miles just a few metres.

Roasted vegies ready for the cob oven

Veggies ready for roasting in the cob oven

Another tray of delicious 'home grown' veggies

All grown in the community garden and tended by volunteers

Craig had prepared a yeast bread mix overnight. We each took a small handful of dough to prepare our own individual pizzas. The cheese and salami supplemented the veggies and herbs and we picked some of those tiny really hot chillies for the folk with an asbestos mouth.

An individual pizza ready for the oven

An individual pizza ready for the oven

The cob oven smoking and ready to go.

The cob oven smoking and ready to go

The cob oven smoking and ready to go

Another workshop next Saturday

I have cut and pasted  these details below from the Beelarong website.

Preserving your fruit and/or vegetables

When: Sat, 1 June, 09:30 – 11:30
Where: Beelarong Community Farm, cnr of York and Beverley Streets, Morningside.
Description: Come to the farm and learn how to preserve your fruit and/or vegetables. Depending on what is in season you’ll be collecting the produce from the farm to make either chutney, jam or relish. Cost is $4. To book please call Beelarong Community Farm on 0401 168 657
Happy gardening.

Good fences make good neighbours

Good fences make good neighbours even over at the allotments.

My sweet potatoes wanted to take over Brisbane one runner at a time and I was having difficulty keeping them off my neighbour’s allotment as the railway sleepers dividing our plots had rotted and the boundary was lost.

No problem. Batman (aka Peter who oversees our allotments) to the rescue. Sawing and lifting these railway sleepers is not for the faint hearted but in no time, and with help from Brian and Tyron, he had two new sleepers in place and peace reigned once again down at the allotments. No turf wars will be erupting between the lovely young family gardening ‘next door’, and me!  Thanks Pete.

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The new boundary

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The new railway sleepers on the left of my sweet potato bed

The weather in Brisbane is still hot and we are getting temperatures of 28c degrees even though we are well into Autumn so I’m going over to the allotment in the early morning to beat the worst of the heat. April is the beginning of my best growing season and things are happening again. I have planted two lots of beans which are coming through. A couple of rows of dwarf beans and the climbing “Kentucky Wonder”.

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Dwarf beans

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Climbing beans “Kentucky Wonder” staring to pop up (in the background with the circular metal support)

It may seem strange to folk in the UK who are used to big allotments to see my two tiny plots of eight square metres each. One is given over to the  sweet potato so to get a variety in the other eight square metres I need to plant small quantities. But it still amazes me just how much food I harvest from my little patch of earth. I even pick enough to pickle sometimes.

Below, you can see the beetroot is coming along nicely, I’ll be pickling it when it’s ready, but you can also steam the leaves and use it like silverbeet or spinach.

Beetroot

Beetroot

Wednesday morning is always busy over at the allotments when we all get together, and volunteers work on the community garden. We break for morning tea at 10am, these morning teas are legendary. As well as cake and enough tea to float the back teeth it’s an opportunity to taste relishes, pesto, chutney and all manner of things people make using produce from their allotments and the community garden.

At morning tea today we were asked for a few volunteers to help pick the rosella’s as the bushes were laden. These rosella’s are used to make jam and raise funds for the farm. Below is just one of our rosella bushes. I don’t look very busy in the photo but I promise you I filled my bucket.

Harvesting Rosella's for jam

Harvesting Rosella’s for jam

Happy gardening,

“We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave”

Who first sang that line?  I’m singing it today!

It’s 39c degrees in Brisbane as the heatwave continues this week.

I went over to the allotment at the crack of dawn this morning to see if anything is still living!  It was.

It amazes me that stuff is still growing despite this heat as I cannot get over every day to water it. But I thought it was a good idea not to push my luck and to harvest as much as I can, while I can.

I filled up insulated bags with plenty of silverbeet, kale, parsley, cucumbers and carrots. Once I’ve finished this post I’ll process the silverbeet and kale for the freezer. The curly parsley is starting to go to seed so I picked heaps of it and I’ll chop it up and freeze it in ice cubes.

I’ll check over the cucumbers to make sure the fruit fly hasn’t stung them and I’ll probably have enough to do another small batch of bread and butter pickles.

It will be a good way to spend the afternoon, in the air conditioning.

Just to finish off, here is a pic of my first tiny little melon. It was hiding under a leaf.  Is it cute or what?

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Happy gardening.

Silverbeet and summer storms

After the long dry spell we have been through my daughter in law phoned me on Friday evening and warned me that we could expect a severe storm the next day in Brisbane.

These summer storms can cause no end of damage so I visited the allotment first thing Saturday morning. The silverbeet was ready and I didn’t want it to get flattened so I filled the boot of the car and this is my booty. I laid the blue pen on the table beside the parsley to give you a perspective. Fortunately silverbeet is my favourite vegetable which is a good job when you see the mound I had to get through.

Silverbeet ready for blanching

I beat the storm by half an hour so when I returned home while the storm was raging I washed and chopped and blanched as I worked my way through the pile. It’s now in the freezer in little portions which is just great.

We are experiencing more stormy weather today and I’ve already been stuck out in one downpour this morning so I’m not sure how everything is faring over at the allotment. My summer crops are still quite small so the only problem now might be with the stakes I’ve put in place for the cucumbers. The arrangement is a bit Heath Robinson anyway as I used stakes and bits and pieces from around the farm – so fingers crossed.

Happy gardening.

 

Much Mulching

Plenty happening over at the allotment today.

The weather is warming up again so I made an early start over at the allotment at 7:30am and I harvested what was left of the kohl rabi, flat leafed parsley and giant endive before clearing the ground. I added manure and blood and bone before using the ‘Big Fork’ to turn it all over.

I hosed over the whole allotment and covered it with sugar cane mulch which should hopefully see me through the worst of the summer, keep the weeds down and keep the moisture in the soil.

I will be planting zucchini in the foreground, where I cleared the ground this morning.  I have already planted melons, dwarf beans and cucumbers but they are only just emerging as tiny plants so you cannot see them in the photographs.

Here is the allotment from the other side. I still have plenty of silver beet, Cavolo Nero and curly leafed kale.  In the foreground a row of Freckled Lettuce and the potatoes growing in the orange bags. Still a few weeks before I can harvest the potatoes.

Below is my first climbing bean of the season. Should have a nice handful for dinner by the end of the week.

I have lots of these Freckled lettuce, better eat them pretty quick as once the weather heats up I’m expecting they’ll bolt. Silly really, we can grow lettuces in Brisbane in the winter, but in the summer when we all want salads – lettuces bolt!

I finished the heavy work by 9:30am which was good because Linda Brennan from Ecobotanica arrived at the farm to give us a workshop on growing “Fruit in Pots”.

Tatiana and Linda at the workshop

While we were walking around the farm and snipping clippings from trees to propagate we came across this cute little fellow. Look closely and you’ll see the tiny tree frog sitting on a kafir lime leaf. If you know the size of one of these leaves, and you see that the frog is sitting on one leaf without it drooping, you can guess how tiny it was. No bigger than the first joint of my thumb.

Happy gardening.

Previous Older Entries

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

Nourishing Traditions

The Blog that Challenges Policitally Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

could do worse

adventures in London

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

myproductivebackyard

Sustainable Backyard Food Production

My Front Burner

making what matters

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

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

Nourishing Traditions

The Blog that Challenges Policitally Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

could do worse

adventures in London

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

myproductivebackyard

Sustainable Backyard Food Production

My Front Burner

making what matters

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

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Down to Earth

Growing vegetables on one small allotment