Weekend wrap

What sensational weather we have had this weekend, I even had to dig out the shorter pants and some thongs! This lovely sun should really kick a few things into top gear. I did lots in the garden and finished with an easy pasta dinner made from the pickings.

These tomatoes are the San Marzano variety and seem to be going very well. Most have a few flowers on them and some have small tomatoes showing, so pollination must be happening.

I had quite a few Gross Lisse tomato plants that I had not planted due to running out of available bed space. We haven’t managed to finish building the remaining wicking beds due to priority re-assessments so I decided to take a gamble and plant directly into the grassed area between the beds. I dug a good-sized hole, filled it with compost and mixed blood and bone and some ‘Rooster Booster‘ pellets through the compost mix. I then planted the seedlings quite deeply, filled the hole with more compost and then topped with more blood and bone and ‘Rooster Booster‘. I mulched the whole area with some old carpet underlay to act as weed mat and then spread some spent hay over the top. I will add another couple of shovels of compost as they grow. Fingers crossed!

We have a family of magpies who love to keep an eye on all we do and they seem to know when we will be exposing some tasty morsels for them to eat, so they just hang around in the trees or wander over the grass. They are getting quite comfortable and today one of them was having a lovely time using my asparagus bed as its sun bed!

We were a bit worried it had died for a while but as I crept up it was quite clear it was just having some R&R!

I am a little concerned about the slow bulb development of both the garlic and shallots. Possibly because it has been a long, cold winter it may just need some extra time. I will keep using the small ones (Shallots) as spring onions as they are lovely and sweet and full of flavour.

Lovely to see the pink grapefruit tree I planted is in flower. I have developed quite a fancy to the flavour of this fruit so it is exciting to see the flowers.

Pickings of silver beet, broad beans, shallots, young garlic, parsley, oregano and lemon were the base for tonight’s dinner.

Spring Pasta

Slice some mushrooms, couple of bacon rashers, shallots, garlic and a few leaves of silver beet. Fry off the bacon, shallot, garlic and mushroom in a pan with some olive oil and a knob of butter.  Add some broad beans to pan and stir through for a minute. Squeeze a lemon and pour juice into pan and also put the silver beet in. Turn heat off, stir through lemon juice and put lid on so silver beet just wilts. Leave sit while you chop together some mint, sage, parsley and lemon rind which will be used as garnish. Drain cooked pasta and add everything from the pan to it, blob some more olive oil in, crack some pepper and serve with the herb garnish and Parmesan. Very tasty!

Weekend of both taking and making stock.

We have been well and truly under the hammer for time recently with trying to sell two houses, (so we can make improvements to the new one) moving my mother-in-law who is down-sizing and trying to move forward with getting our new property fit for human habitation. That along with the ‘doldrumish’ style weather we are having I just felt I needed to try to take stock. I dutifully made a list of jobs that needed to be done and started ploughing through them, first up was to make the stock for the Vietnamese Pho I planned to ho into once the tasks had been completed. I knew at the end of the day I wouldn’t feel much like cooking so this would be a welcome sight to come home to.

I am trying a method I found on the The Steaming Kitchen Blog where a slow cooker is used to slowly simmer the stock. Makes sense to me!

       

Added some fish sauce and sugar. I also added a stick of celery because there was some in the fridge that needed to be used. Left simmering all day, happy in the knowledge I wouldn’t have to stress when dinner time came. Now to knock off those jobs on my list!

Note:Wasn’t as thrilled with this version as previous ones I’ve made. I don’t think the stock reduces enough in the slow cooker to concentrate the flavours. Was still a pleasant result though.

Tomato Seedlings-time to pot up.

The seeds I planted a few weeks ago have done really well and need to go into a more substantial growing medium. I have been requesting donations from people at work for used milk cartons, wine cask boxes and any other suitable container for planting the seedlings into. So far have I have achieved about a 95% success seed germination rate which is great.

Interestingly, germination has been 100% from my saved seed and the 95% comes from the newly purchased stock. Maybe the different variety has something to do with this.

Next on the list……………..

I’ve been driving around for a week with my car chock-a-block full of ‘stuff’ that we culled from my M.I.L’s house that needed to go to the Op-Shop. Boxes gripped tight, head down, eyes not veering away from the loading stage, I deposited all the treasures. Kept my eyes straight ahead and did not dare look around on my way out as I didn’t want it to just be an exchange trip where I left with my car full of different ‘stuff! Tick that one off the list!

Next…..

Time to check on how the things I have planted at the ‘new’ house are settling in. Spring is starting to show its cheeky grin and I am bursting with the hope that things will do well.

The Update on plantings there.

Raspberries:

Yep, they are doing nicely.

Asparagus:

     Tick to that too!

Spuds (Potatoes):

The potatoes are looking a little bit ‘leggy’ but I am not surprised with the lack of sun we have had.

Garlic and Broad Beans:

            

Going well, broad beans flowering and garlic on track. Fed the bed with some blood and bone and a couple of handfulls of ‘Rooster booster’ pelletised organic  fertiliser. Can’t wait to have a few of those beans with some butter, olive oil, garlic  and a grinding of black pepper !

Back to the list…………….

I have removed a wisteria from the house we are selling and replanted it near where the future greenhouse will go. I am hoping to train it over the old woodshed frame to give a lovely backdrop at the rear of the vegie patch. Just hope it goes OK. Make note to quickly replace asparagus bed border edge with permanent one, not likely to happen once growth is established.

Rhubarb:

Plant me, plant me! I dug up some of the rhubarb for relocation and forgot about it. Seems pretty good so that has just been ‘plonked’ into the general garden space and can be divided later if need be.

See the little shoot starting at the bottom of the basket?

The rewards!

I actually achieved everything I set out to do, plus some. Quite happy with that really, taken stock and made stock at the same time.

Aspiring Asparagus!

My newly purchased Mary Washington asparagus crowns were showing signs of shooting so it was time to get them into their permanent(ish) home. Last week I marked out a bed with temporary edging and am now planting the asparagus and a couple of grape vines. This bed is alongside where I plan to put a greenhouse at some later stage. There should be sufficient sun for the grapes and once I have removed the tin from the roof of the old shed the timber can serve as a framework for the vines and in turn shelter the greenhouse in the heat of summer. As grapes are deciduous there should also be enough sun to heat the greenhouse in winter. Fingers crossed please!

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I attended a grafting workshop last year and had a go at grafting a cherry that is supposed to be a smaller variety than most. This has been sitting in a bed all year and appears to have taken well, so today we planted it into the new vegetable area. I have no idea how it will go or how much it will impact on the rest of the area so we will just have to wait and see.

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As an added bonus I picked the first bunch for the season of cheery bulbs and some hellebore (winter rose). I just love having a vase or two flowers on display in the house!

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