Despite it being school holidays – or perhaps because of it – I managed to do all my seed sowing within the first three days of the designated planting period*. Seeds sown last month seem to be coming along nicely; apart from the sugar snap peas, which were admittedly almost two years past their expiry date.
I’ve been up to my eyeballs in apples this month and have become acquainted with a swathe of recipes to use up the glut.
And I have set up a sort of mobile playpen for the chooks, putting them to work under apple trees to eat up any harmful grubs and to scratch around in areas I intend to plant in soon.
We’ve enjoyed a spectacular crop of the most beautiful, multi-coloured beans and mountains of Wild Sweetie cherry toms that make a delicious burst tomato sauce for pasta.
The zucchinis and cucumbers have just about stopped now and the sunflowers are hanging their heads while I wait to harvest their seeds for next season.
I’ve harvested a couple of these pretty little Italian heirloom eggplants, although definitely not as many as the 3.6kg per plant yield spruiked on the seed packet. I think the tomatoes probably hogged the sunshine.
We have loads of bird’s eye chilli. Too much to use in our cooking with kid palates to cater for.
My Russian friend once told me of a traditional tonic made by infusing chillies in vodka and taking shots to fight cold and flu, so that’s also an option!
But the standout performer this month was once again the apple harvest. Kilo upon kilo of a mystery variety cooking apple that I have turned into litres of puree and juice, jam, muffins, cakes, breads, soups and even apple cider vinegar, although I’ll have to wait a few months to see if that turns out.
Of last month’s punnets the kale, iceberg lettuce and Australian yellow lettuce shrivelled up and died. I’m thinking I should plant all the lettuce-type, leafy things in pots to give them room to grow while guarding against ants and those bloody butcher boys, which are the bane of my gardening experience.
Radish and roquette happily sprouted beneath the beans and were doing well before the kiddos accidentally let the chooks into the vegie patch where they supped on the seedlings, a few cherry tomatoes and hard-working worms.
While I definitely count the apples as a win, there is something amiss with the tree, which has what I think must be powdery mildew. Something to get on to.
While shopping for something completely unrelated, I purchased two turmeric plants. My husband did the same thing, at the same place, in the same week; going out for cable ties and coming home with a fire pit.
Infuriatingly, the Garden Terrorist took off with one of the pots before I had a chance to plant it, breaking off the tuber root in the process. Nonetheless I have planted both pieces and hope for the best.
Other ornamental food plants in this month include rock samphire, which is apparently very hip, and caper bush.
Two dozen cloves of Flinders Island garlic are in and already sprouting beside nine successfully transplanted early variety onions sown in punnets last month.
Needing to stock up on leafy greens I’ve planted roquette, mizuna and black kale in amongst the transplanted seedlings of mini cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. And, as always, radish because they are quick and provide the satisfaction of seeing something sprout in a few days.
Having done quite well with potted fennel last year, I’m giving it another whirl using some disused foam boxes.
In punnets I’m having another go at iceberg lettuce, onions, cabbage and cauliflower for the last time this season. Habits being hard to kick, I’ve again planted a few things that don’t belong in punnets because I’m sick of the ants eating the tiny seeds directly out of the soil. So I’m helicopter gardening cornflower, poppy and comfrey, which are popping their teensy heads up in gratitude already.
Away from the vegie patch, I have transplanted a kangaroo apple that self-seeded in the front garden to a spot where it can grow to its full potential.
It reminded me of my idea to create an indigenous bush food trail to make the walk up to the letterbox more interesting.
But that project will have to wait as I direct my attention back to the worm farm, which has been neglected of late. Another chain in the unfolding food scrap disposal system.
*The designated planting period refers to the 11 optimal planting days each month as defined by the lunar gardening calendar. It helps keep me organised! This post explains it a little.
How’s your harvest been this month and what are you planting? Any favourite apple recipes to share?