Saturday, November 19, 2011

Earthy delights

It is early Saturday morning as I sit and write this week’s update. There has been thunder and lightning since around 5.30am. The rain started in the early hours of this morning. Yesterday was an oppressively hot and humid day, so the rain is a welcome relief. What is even better is that Frans mowed the lawns yesterday, so the rain is most welcome.

Sunrise earlier this week. No orange sky this morning.... just grey clouds speckled with lightning

Frans took this pic on one of his early morning walks

My week began with digging. And digging. My garden motto at the moment is “trial and error”. In September, when I first dug over the garden bed in that held last season’s potatoes, I pulled out all the potatoes that I could see and planted a variety of pumpkins, squashes and zucchinis. They all sprouted beautifully and started to grow. Then up came the potatoes again. I thought I could leave them and that the zucchinis and pumpkins would grow in between them. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the potatoes smothered everything. So I decided to start again. I really don’t want so many potatoes at the expense of the other vegies I would prefer to grow. So three days later, I finally had the garden bed cleared. I started by carefully working around any surviving plants I had planted, but it took too long. So in the end I just pulled out everything I could see. In the process I gathered over 10kgs of lovely new potatoes. I was then able to replant some corn, rockmelon, cucumber, zucchini, gem squash and pumpkin. Hopefully I can now keep the bed under control. If any potatoes show themselves, they’ll be coming right out!
The garden bed denuded of potatoes. I've left a few garlic stalks

This potato was enormous! But we didn't eat it. It was gnarled by a bush rat and would have been too watery as it was last season's seed.

Growing around the garden beds under the bird netting are clusters of garlic. I’ve not identified the variety yet, but I believe the garlic is “Russian Garlic”. This variety has single purply bulbs, not a cluster of cloves as we would usually buy in the supermarkets. The aroma is strong and heady.

This is what the garlic looks like when just pulled from the ground
My garlic plaiting skills leave much to be desired and I obviously need more practise. I'll have to see if there is a tutorial on Youtube!

The garlic planting guide is quite specific. Plant garlic before the longest night of the year, and harvest it before the shortest night. Well, it’s not yet December, and I’ve started pulling some garlic out of the ground. I figure if I can see the bulbs poking out of the soil, and the top growth is starting to wilt, then it must be ok. So there is the “trial and error” philosophy coming into play. I have pulled out a bunch of garlic and have plaited up a few hanks. They will need to dry for a week or two before the garlic will be just right. I refuse to buy imported garlic. To buy organic Australian garlic costs a fortune.  Why can’t Australians grow garlic?  I am more than happy to have our own supply of chemical free, farm grown garlic. We cannot use the term ‘Organic’ as we are not certified. In other words, we have not paid some organisation hundreds of dollars for the right to put a little sticker on our produce to say that we have complied with the principals of organic farming. Ridiculous. In the mean time, we will continue to practise organic farming methods. Ie. We will not use chemicals or artificial fertilisers. And we will not grow any genetically modified seeds.

If you are interested in Genetic Modification and the effects of this practise, then I recommend you watch a video by Vandana Shiva.
In the garden this week

And finally, the few evenings that I've made it to the lounge and watched a bit of telly, I've picked up my needles and have started another baby blanket. This one is being made using 100% cotton. I just love the candy stripes.

The pattern is very simple. Cast on 2 stitches. Knit a row. Then cast on one stitch on each end every two rows until you have used up 5 balls of yarn. Then simply start decreasing one stitch on every alternate row until you end up with 2 stitches again. This little blanket is great if you're knitting blankets for charity. All it takes is 10 balls of yarn. Depending on the yarn thickness, the size of the blanket will obviously be different. You can of course use any amount of balls you choose. Give it a try. I've made a couple of these blankets and they're great to knit as there is no 'purl' and you can almost knit it in the dark!


  1. I started to harvest some of my garlic this week. It is beautifully formed and smells divine! I'll see how my plaiting goes.

  2. Erica, I found heaps of tutorials on Youtube. Enjoy your garlic!