Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March : Obtain a Yield

I love this year's permaculture calendar, where each month depicts one of the 12 permaculture principles. This video explains better than I can, three of the principles:

(If only I could obtain a yield of mangoes here in Tasmania!)

I am obtaining a yield, however, and today's consists of more big, thick, juicy mushrooms from my $4 bag of mushroom compost as well as green fennel seeds to go in my rye sourdough bread and in so many other things I love to cook.

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imageAbout this time last year I sowed fennel seeds. Most formed nice bulbous bottoms, which I cut and ate. This generally put out more shoots and a few of them I eventually let go to seed, so I could chew the fragrant, sweet, spicy flowers as well as save some seeds for cooking and some for sowing. The stalks are now taller than me and laden with huge heads of very large, plump, green seeds.

A few years ago I discovered something about fennel seeds.... once they dry on the plant it is almost impossible to collect them without getting any of their tiny flower stalks and that these miniscule stalks are REALLY irritating to eat in an otherwise fabulous meal!! It was only last week, when I had run out of bought fennel seeds, and wanted some for cooking, that I thought "Aha! Usually when you buy fennel seeds for cooking, they are green! Maybe there is a clue there about when to pick them for cooking." Sometimes I am really slow and really dumb! I have now picked several large heads of green fennel seeds and they are soooooo easily removed from the stems without getting any little stalks. Each head consists of about 1,000 seeds so I will be saving more green ones and less dried, brown ones (for sowing) from now on. The trick will now be to let the green seeds dry well before I attempt to store them or they will go mouldy. I cannot think of many other vegetables which have seeds that are also a spice.

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Suddenly I feel like a Turkish spice merchant, with my pile of exquisitely fresh, colourful, fragrant fennel seeds on display.

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Pickle.... snoozing whilst keeping alert for the sound of a rabbit hopping by!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you really already having frost in your garden? We have two weeks left here in AU, then I will be home, digging out my garden from the snowbanks for planting. I can hardly wait. Say hi to Pickle for us. Allie

africanaussie said...

What a good tip - now I just have to get my struggling fennel to grow - think it may be too hot for it here. The amaranth is eventually doing well here - at long last! maybe it needed to become acclimatised!

Paul and Melanie said...

I'm just thinking about what herbs to grow this year (growing season just starting up here in the UK) and I'd not thought of fennel, but you make it sound so good I may take the plunge! :)

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

Kate your posts are always like a breath of fresh air to read.
Keep doing your spice merchant work, Pickle is very sweet laying like that, and love your frosty lettuce pictures.

HAZEL said...

Oooo1 I have never grown fennel before and I just planted some seeds the other day. After reading this post I am even more excited by the prospect of having it in my garden!