Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spring is here

Another season has passed by.
Spring is well and truly in the air and has been for a week or so in Adelaide despite the fact that it is still August.
The Winter sadly did not contain much in the way of gardening and my small plot has been looking quite neglected until this burst of Spring weather lured me outside to weed and feed and mulch.
All that has grown for consumption in the garden has been pretty well self sufficient; Silverbeet, Parsley, Chives, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Carrots, Lemons, a few Limes (exciting!)
I have been picking an occasional Capsicum and Chilli until a week or so ago and some Basil in a protected spot until really late June, so fabulous to have that fresh taste with pasta and stir fries.
I did manage to plant some Garlic so there will be a little bit of fresh Garlic come the Summer.
Four Tomatoes have come up self seeded in the vege patch so I will leave those and see how they go. Last weekend I planted some Purple climbing beans that have done very well in the past.

Other than this I'm going to have to wait to late October for planting as we are going to France for a month! I am hoping to do some blogging on our trip which will take in Paris, Provence and the Pays de Gex.

We have been greatly enjoying the home made Tomato Sauce and Passata that I made in March. Planning to make MUCH more passata this year, the flavour is so beautiful compared to the bought variety.

I have been on a frenzy of Marmalade making, I have made Grapefruit, and a batch of Orange and today I am going to make a 3 fruits batch with Orange Grapefruit and some of our Lemons.

The Hellebores are fabulous this year in the courtyard and seem to have thrived on neglect.
Good rains this winter have also helped I'm sure.

We have had a busy chook winter. Sylvia was broody and we brought in some day old chicks to put under her. Sadly she rejected them so I have been a chook mother for months. The first few days they were in a bad way as they had become very cold and infested with mites in the chook run. This meant intensive care for the wee things and I was very pleased that they all survived, even "Lazarus" who spend a good 12 hours lying on her side with her eyes closed, only twitching when I suggested to my son that she was dead!
They then spent weeks in a cardboard box in the laundry with a light and have only graduated to the chook run in the last week.
We all ended up with mite bites from handling the chicks, these are horrible and stay itchy for days. In the end it was a positive experience as we really cleaned out the chook run well, spread a lot of the compost throughout the garden and sprayed with a an insecticide. I don't really like spraying with chemicals but we really needed to get rid of the mites!

Here they are in recovery from their traumatic early experience, they seemed quite happy on the lounge room floor:
Even now they have to be fenced off from the large chooks who are very mean. You can see that they are adolescent chickens now.

The front yard always looks nice in the winter the Banksia is getting big and the Eremophila below it is in flower.
The lemon tree is healthy and very prolific, time to make more preserved lemons. We made some last year and we did use them all up, I love middle eastern cooking.
Winter is still a great time for walking along the beautiful Henley Beach with the added advantage that it is mostly left to locals and dedicated beach walkers rather than the noisy hoards who come in the Summer and leave their rubbish all over the beach.
One of the other joys for locals is the Grange Organic and Sustainable Market held fortnightly at the Fulham Gardens Primary School. If you have not been to the Market come along and check it out it is well worth it, just don't come and buy all the good bread before I get out of bed!!

As Spring really gets going there is a range of seedlings from the Henley Community Garden in addition to all the yummy organic goodies.
Also look out for the Vanilla Mossie range of natural organic insect repellant sold by my good friend Catherine Carroll, this really works, smells divine and is moisturising for your skin. Good eh?

While I am in the product placement mode please check out my family Olive Oil production in the Willunga hills.

This is handpicked extra virgin cold pressed oil which is local and organic. It is very, very good.

Strange that the cats preferred sleeping place is a basket full of clean washing. I have arranged for him a variety of sleeping options over his long life (13 years) but none is so popular as one of the washing baskets-never with dirty washing, clean washing only.