Friday, July 11, 2014

Winter in the vegetable plot

The shortest day has come and gone. The weather seems to get nastier after this. Still the vegetable garden is providing us with greens and herb garnishes. The vege plot was pretty neglected this autumn and it surprises me that it keeps giving.

Our brasicca crops were late in and we have yet to reap any rewards. Silverbeet is the winter staple and with the addition of three lovely little hens it is picked daily. The girls love their daily dose of Silverbeet and there is great excitement when they find a bug hiding in the little leafy dimples.

Spring onions, garlic and brasicca

Chooky, Heihei Marmite and Dotti are the cutest gals and such characters. On the sunnier days they are great company and entertainment whilst I sip some tea al fresco. They hail from my parents' place and flew up with me on my last trip home (probably the most expensive bantams in NZ now) but Chooky and her daughters are pretty special.

 Chooky was the tiniest and cutest little thing, raised by Ma and Pa Fox but completely besotted with my father. She jumps onto his hand and loves to be in his company. Now that Pa. Fox is back to work the number of animals to tend was too they joined our Foxy clan. They have settled into West Auckland urban life quickly and will hopefully produce eggs in the coming days.

New family members

Their housing is not ideal with a wooden floor and no access to scratching but until our bathroom renovations are complete they must wait. We have two coops that we will modify so they can scratch the ground and do normal chicken things but remain safe from the neighbourhood cats.

Herbs on a sunnier winter day
Garlic did OK in our garden last year although it had been planted too late. This year I planted out many more cloves and within the recommended month. Already the shoots have come up vigorously and I love their bright green against the earthy browns of winter. This year I planted them with soil from the worm garden and a generous helping of sheep poo, fingers crossed it will be a bumper crop.

Garlic planted...underneath a protective shield of wire to deter cats

Our rhubarb plant has been battered by wild winds and is struggling to become established. I think it will be fine with a little TLC but am looking forward to harvesting it next year....mmm dreaming of stewed rhubarb on porridge and rhubarb crumbles.
The wee Pak Choy are now nearly ready to add into stirfrys. We improving at planting in smaller successive crops this year. We have a row of carrots ready to start eating with another two rows about six weeks behind them. Carrots are not my favourite vegetable when cooked but homegrown ones are so much sweeter.

Rhubarb pre the gale force winds, and baby Pak Choy

The broad beans are starting their upward climb, these poor fellas were in the $1 bin at the Nursery so came home with me. That first meal of broad beans I can nearly taste...although many don't make as far as the kitchen. So tender and sweet will when fresh from the pod..YUM!

Broad beans
Sweetpeas have been on my mind. Not sure if I have missed the boat this year so will have to do a little research. Pretty sure they were meant to have been in the ground weeks ago. So that note it might be time to boil the jug and reach for the gardening books.

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