Tag Archive: Harvests


Is pumpkins. Not just any pumpkins – but home grown pumpkins. Due to the small space I have, pumpkins seen to have always eluded me. I get so jealous seeing rambling pumpkins in other people’s huge blocks… I’ve tried each year to grow standard pumpkins, but they seem to never thrive without the space required to roam free. One year I grew small space pumpkins called “Wee B Little” – which were very cute, but once opened were 98% seeds. Really nothing to eat.

Wee B Little Pumpkin

Wee B Little Pumpkin

This year with my expanding backyard plot, I thought it was worth giving pumpkins another go. This year I planted “Golden Nugget” which is recommended for smaller spaces, but hopefully larger pumpkins than what I’ve had previously.

Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget plant growing well and developing a pumpkin

...almost ready....

The plants have taken off really well, and so close to Christmas it seems my wish is coming true – pumpkins have started to form! One is even ready to harvest – just in time for Christmas lunch. I anticipate cutting it open Christmas morning for roasting will be like opening a present – ever hopeful for enough flesh to eat. Fingers crossed…

GN pump 6

GN pump 8

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a great day 🙂

tom 1

Yes it’s that time of year again – the very first tomato of the season has ripened! It’s also the time of year I start receiving empty jars “just in case” I don’t have enough for tomato chutney this summer (have to take that as a big compliment). As soon as I slice open and eat the tomato it reminds me of exactly why I garden – the favour is astounding. Nothing like store bought tomatoes, not even close, and exactly the reason I long for so many tomatoes each summer.

tom 2

I also found a cucumber in the backyard patch this week, which seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Beans have started to pop up as well! Add loads of home grown lettuce and so far everything is looking promising for a bountiful summer.

cucumber 2 bean 5 bean 4

blueberry 2

Finally my blueberries have started to ripen! Last year the berries ripened in spring, however this year it’s taken well into December before I’ve seen the dash of dark blue I’ve been longing for. But once they started – they’ve been off like a rocket & I suddenly have heaps of blueberries ready for picking and eating.

blueberry 4

blueberry 8blueberry 7

I’m often asked by friends what I’d recommend to grow in containers. I think blueberries have now made it to the top of the list. Mine seem perfectly happy growing in pots (with acidic soil), and the plants are so cheap compared to how many blueberries you end up with. Plus the flowers are stunning, so you really get the best all round attractive vs productive plant.

blueberry 12

blueberry 10

blueberry 14

The new blueberry plants I added this year were from my parents for my birthday. Once planted my Mum asked me for blueberry pie when the fruit developed. While it was a casual off-hand comment, I thought given how many blueberries I was getting I should at least try to fill this request. I didn’t have enough blueberries for a whole pie (most likely because I keep eating them…) so I decided to make mini apple and blueberry pies instead. I went down to my parent’s place yesterday and surprised them with mini pies – very well received and, even if I do say so myself – delicious!

blueberry 23

blueberry 21blueberry 17

Wild Strawberries

I’m still waiting for my blueberries to ripen (which seems to be taking forever), but at least fruit from my ‘wild strawberry’ plants have ripened this week. Such sweet and delicate little strawberries – unfortunately never made it inside…

You may remember back in winter I planted a range of potatoes to see if there was a variation in success of different types (see “Lots of Spuds“) They all took off and started growing really well, which made me feel great! However not long after this, two of the potato plants started to die off and one in particular (Sebago) – died completely.

Dead Sebago potatoes next to other healthy ones in the garden

Dying Ruby Lou potato plants next to other healthy ones

I was devastated! Surely it was too early for the potatoes to be ready for harvesting … what had I done wrong? The potatoes were all treated the same way, and were next to other potatoes that looked really healthy. With a heavy heart last week I decided to dig the plant up and investigate what disease or pest had ended my crop. But to my surprise and delight I found no sign of any disease or pests – instead what was waiting for me was a healthy little crop of potatoes!

Sebago potatoes

It seems without realising it I have always grown late season varieties, but in trying a mix of lots of different types of potatoes I had grown some early season ones as well. Adding to my harvest, the Ruby Lou and Pontiac potatoes were also ready this weekend. All that’s left now is to start enjoying some roast potatoes for dinner – but when they look so colourful and taste so good, who can complain about that?!

Ruby Lou & Pontiac

Our dinner, ready to go into the oven, complete with fresh herbs from the garden

Have you ever forgotten about something in the garden? From holidays, to busy work schedules or simply from being distracted? Well this happened to me despite regularly being out in the garden – I completely missed that my broad bean flowers had been fertilized and beans had formed!

It was quite exciting to suddenly have something to harvest! I usually watch and wait for things to ripen similar to watching paint dry. I prefer to pick my broad beans at smaller sizes than you’d ever find in the supermarket as I find they are a lot sweeter, and can usually turn any broad-bean-hater into an instant fan. Only small harvests so far – but when I can have a small harvest every few days, that’s all I need. Now all that’s left is to decide what to cook! If you have any favourite broad bean recipes/ideas let me know.

 

The garden at the start of spring ready for an overhaul…

I have to admit… it took me a bit to find the motivation to get out this spring to do my usual half-yearly overhaul. I should be excited and raring to go – spring is here! But I found myself putting it off for a few weeks and procrastinating with bread, blogging and coffee… Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid of hard work – but when all the winter veggies still look so lush and green (although no longer fruiting or ready for final harvests), it seems a pity to pull them out. However once I got going my usual optimism about what the next season of gardening would create returned, and my motivation quickly followed.

I started by pulling out all the spent winter vegetables. There seemed to be an awful lot this year – I filled an entire compost bin! Then I continued by turning over all the soil and adding compost back in. As always I tend to mix up vegetables to add an element of interest (or craziness depending who you’re talking to…I prefer interest). This also helps to confuse pests and prevent spread of diseases. So far this has worked pretty well – except for the snails, they’re not fussy and eat everything…

So far I’ve planted some zucchini, bean and sunflower seedlings that I grew from seed. I’m sorry to say that I did buy a couple of tomato seedlings to put in as well,  but I still have high hopes for my seedling experiment and hope to add more of my own a little later when they are large enough and the weather is warmer.

By the time I finished all this off (a little later) with some straw – the spring flowers were out in full swing and suddenly my garden had been filled with splashes of bright colour, which helps remind me of the changing seasons and that it won’t be long before my garden is full of plants and the promise of harvests again.

I’m hoping the answer is no, however my freezer may now disagree with me…

Gearing up for the spring overhaul, it was time to remove the last of the winter crops to make room for new spring seedlings. After I removed a few spent broccoli, I was amazed to find how mulch celery I had growing! I remember planting the seedlings out, but they seemed to do such a good job of hiding among the other veggies as they grew that I hadn’t realised how much celery I really had.

After debating with myself about how much I celery I could eat in a week (even for the most healthy eaters, realistically there’s definitely a celery limit) – the only solution was to freeze it.

I did this last year too and I found for me it’s the best way to keep celery. Cut into the size I would normally use for cooking – it’s so easy to just grab a bag out of the freezer ready to add to a meal.

To do this I blanch the cut up pieces for a minute and a half before placing it in ice water to stop the cooking process. I then bag it and voilà! Celery ready to use whenever I need. It sounds easy – but due to the amount of celery I had this process seemed to take hours! Worth it though, as I won’t need to buy celery for many months.

Spring flowers

I haven’t managed to find as much time as I would have liked to get out into the garden lately (despite desperately waiting for spring to arrive), however even without my help the garden is creating its own little beautiful display of spring flowers. I have to chuckle to myself as the bulbs come up – it feels like it’s been so long since I planted them and already I’ve forgotten where I planted them. This leads to “oh yeah, I remember putting that there” type moments… a little more often than is probably normal for my age…

The first year I tried bulbs, I planted 2 tulips and a daffodil in a row picturing how lovely they all would look together once they flowered. To my bitter disappointment, each flower picked a different week in spring to flower and all were eaten by aphids and snails within 2 days. So I never had my nice display of bulbs I was hoping for. Angrily I remember saying to my Mum that “I’m never planting bulbs again!”… She just laughed and said “yes you will.” My Mum will also love it when I tell the world – she was right.

Gradually I think I’ve become a bit more savvy with bulbs – I tend to grab specials as I’ve found even if planted a bit late the majority will still flower.  I also now go for more robust types of bulbs that tend to flower for longer. Often mistaken for poppies by my neighbours, the ranunculi I’ve planted tend to give lots of bright flowers for weeks and weeks. They seem to have so much power for such little bulbs! Rather than standard tulips I’ve been trying to grab more unusual ones late in season when they’re on sale (e.g. this year I found parrot tulips for $1 each) – and almost all have flowered. Other highlights include the weeping cherry that’s starting to flower, the broad bean flowers (which most people wouldn’t count in their spring flowers but I particularly like them), the ever faithful nasturtiums as well as the blueberries which continue to flower. So the spring overhaul is yet to come – but for now, hope you enjoy what I’ve had the pleasure of looking at over the last couple of weeks.

My twin tulip

Parrot tulip

Nasturtium

Ranunculus

Ranunculus

Broad bean flowers

Cherry blossom in flower

I’m not the only one enjoying the spring flowers & sunshine…

Sauerkraut … fail

I promised I’d post about failures in the garden, so I can’t leave out a post about sauerkraut. With so much wombok ready to harvest this week, we just couldn’t eat enough of it (despite my best attempts!). So I thought I’d give preserving it a go. I realise sauerkraut is generally made from standard cabbage, but I thought it was worth an experiment (might have been my first mistake).

I followed the recipe in one of my preserving book… (basically chop, salt then pack the whole lot to a jar) …until it reached the point of needing to cover the cabbage with a muslin cloth. Which I didn’t have… so I just had to skip that bit (probably my next mistake) and covered the jar with stocking instead (an internet search recommendation).

For the first few days it did nothing. Couldn’t see any change at all, despite being promised bubbling etc. Then mould grew on top – which I thought probably meant the end of it. But I thought I’d scrape it off, let it go for another couple of days just to see what happened. I mean the recipe did say to scrape off “scum”. I really should have thrown it out… definitely another mistake. The whole thing turned cloudy and the stench was absolutely foul! Stank the whole kitchen out! So not a success… next time I might try freezing any extras instead.