25 March 2013

Summer garden successes

Finally it feels like summer's ending. Even last week temperatures were hitting 30 degrees around here, and a drought has been officially declared. All the grass is brown and farmers are killing their cows because they can't feed them.

The city's been on unprecedented levels of water restrictions, with no sprinklers or unattended hoses allowed, and hand-watering only allowed between certain hours. (Some people use that time to water their lawns. Truly. Brown lawns are a first world problem.)

But last week it really, truly rained.

Still, it's been weeks since I bought any vegetables, apart from onions, potatoes (we've eaten ours) and capsicums (the zucchini plants shaded my capsicum plants).

The winners from the garden are:

1. Zucchini (as always). Yes, sometimes it's hard to eat them all. They have been insanely healthy - check out the leaf size compared to my hand!

2. Runner beans. I used to put these in the same categories as mashed turnips, and thought they were tough. But they're only tough if they're allowed to get too big. We pick and eat them almost every day and have done for about 10 weeks. They're delicious straight off the vine, raw, or boiled for 4 minutes.

3. Tomatoes. Yum.

4. Cucumbers. $2 each in the shops and free here. We've probably had 20 and there are two left. This one's been climbing up our woodpile. The children eat huge chunks of these before dinner (it's often late and they're ravenous. Woops. Where does the afternoon go?)

 5. Silverbeet. Grows like mad around here. Actually, this is our 'winter garden'. Ian planted it about six weeks ago, in plenty of homemade compost. I can hardly believe how fast its grown.  He also planted peas, lettuce, coriander and beetroot. We're looking forward to the peas in particular. I feel I have paid quite a price for the peas, because the frame Ian made so beautifully is right under the washing line. On a mound. Under the big lines, where sheets fit. Hmmm. Snags. You get the picture.

He laid pruned plum branches along the side as mulch. We do have a drought on, after all.

6. Finally, there are grapes. Ripe now, extremely fragrant and delicious. Really, they are almost a different species to the imported ones generally found in the shops. This is grape 'Niagara'.

It's been a summer of bounty in the garden, that's for sure. The grocery bill will go up when it's really over!

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