Imbolc to Alban Eiler 2011: What we harvested

Harvests this 8th…

In the vegie garden

Snowball cauliflower

Snowball cauliflower

Brassica leaves

Look mum, no grub holes! Youngish broc and cauli leaves








It’s broccoli and cauliflower time!  Little things excite me, and this is one of them.  I’ve never really grown brocs and caulis properly before – in Sydney, somehow the cabbage moth caterpillars always got them before anything resembling heads developed.  But this year I watched hawkeyed for any little sign of nibbling, and so far, no little green grubs.  Perhaps they just haven’t found them yet?  Or was it that the chooks went on the patch for a few weeks before we planted?  Or perhaps the netting of the summer garden fence keeps the white moths out so they can’t lay eggs?  Oh, the questions…

The yakon is also getting good and ready for harvesting.  We’ve been bandicooting (digging up and scoffing the immature roots) for a couple of weeks, but now the tops (which are signposts to where the underground yummies are) are really dying off.  It’s time to dig them all up before we lose them.

The nettles are also looking good and juicy, and starting to flower.  Big unblemished leaves, still stinging like %@#%$.  We pick the nice-looking stalks (with scissors and gloves), and hang them to dry in front of the fireplace flue.  Takes a couple of weeks to get them really dry, but then you can break the leaves off the stalks and smoosh them into jars, for nettle tea, and making chook food mixes, and even adding to soups etc if you don’t have any fresh on hand.  Dried is easier than fresh because it doesn’t sting as much (still does a bit though).  But as soon as you put hot water on, the leaves no longer sting.  Took us a while to start using nettles for food, but apparently they’re very healthy, so we grasped the nettle, so to speak.  Haven’t looked back.  Yet.

We also picked a first pineapple, but impatience got the better of us.  Perhaps a bit too soon – was hard and tart.  We’ll be waiting until the next one goes completely yellow!

Turns out that 10 snow pea vines produce way more than 2 people can eat, even including “garden snacks”.  We’ll have plenty for seed if the mice don’t get hold of them.

Snow peas

Snow peas getting a bit fat because we're slowing down on the harvesting. They'll make nice seeds.

As for the rest:

Weird-arse chinese mustard

"Weird-arse" chinese mustard

For other greens, we’ve got rocket, silverbeet, mustard, chinese cabbage, kale, chicory.  We also have an abundance of a red chinese mustard that we’ve named “Weird-arse” – it came up among some bought rocket seeds we sowed a couple of years ago.  For a while it was the Weird-arse Rocket, until we saw a similar picture of it in a seed catalogue.  So now it’s the Weird-arse Chinese Mustard.  There’s quite a lot of it, so the chooks are getting a fair bit, along with the silverbeet.

Nasturtium leaves and flower that survived the onslaught of the chooks

Nasturtium leaves and flower that survived the onslaught of the chooks

Herbs etc we’re picking are rosemary, oregano, basil, mint, tansy, garlic chives, aloe vera, lemon myrtle leaves, nasturtium (leaves and flowers).  The comfrey is dying off, but new shoots seem to be sprouting even before the old leaves have died.  Is that because this is the subtropics?  Or is that normal for comfrey?  We don’t know yet.  Sigh.

As for roots, yakon’s the easiest one to eat (for me), but other ones we’re getting at the moment are sweet potatoes, bandicooted Sebago potatoes, and turmeric (all of which you have to cook, which is nice if you like to cook.  I don’t, so it’s lucky I have Felice, who is very good at it.  And at cooking :-))


Bananas!  Oh god, the bananas.  We just had a big bunch of Cavendish ripen.  There’s more than we can eat, which is saying something, because I can eat a lot of bananas.

Sweet lemons – I eat them as “garden snacks”, sitting in the orchard contemplating the big ironbarks down the hill.  Finished by Sept 16.

The last grapefruits and mandarines.  Sad to see the end of the citrus for the year, but the cordials and jams should last a few months longer.  Not quite as nutritious as fresh fruit, though…

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