Kitchen Garden Guides

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Time to sow and reap

Sowing seeds sends me into raptures of delight, dreaming of meals to come. I know it takes months from sowing basil seeds to picking the first decent amount of leaves but I drool as I sow, none the less, picturing brilliant green pesto and recalling the aroma of basil leaves and tomatoes on toast, last experienced 8 months ago.

And so it is that I am picking my first basil leaves now from seeds sown in November. I am growing a variety called ‘lettuce leaf basil’ as it seems to germinate fast and well and grows much faster than any others I have sown here. The flavour is fabulous and the bigger leaves are the key to its ability to put on good growth in a cooler climate and short season ….. but I do grow it in my hothouse. After a week of good summer temperatures, this next week is forecast to be cool, with snow on the peaks!

Is there anything more worthy of exclamations of delight than a ripe apricot from your own tree, eaten warm only seconds after it falls into your hand when touched? I was tossing an armful of weeds into the chook yard when my eye was caught by a ball of orange on the ground, across the yard. “Oh lalalala” I exclaimed, almost breaking the gate latch in my rush to get to the fallen apricot.

Amazingly the chooks had not even touched the 6 fallen apricots I found, nor had any other birds found the 7 I picked from the tree! I stood there and ate one, in raptures of delight as last year there were none. Ok, so a crop of 13 is not great but each will be eaten when I have a moment to focus entirely on it.

“Why grow fruit and vegetables? I am too busy / I just get everything from the supermarket / Can I buy some of yours?” This is what I hear constantly. There is more to eating from the garden than just the taste. It is an experience you remember, savour and tell those who understand. Seeing 6 ripe apricots on the ground in the chook yard is a story that has soul, makes the teller and the listener smile and brings us closer to the earth. I will remember it every time I eat one of the 13 apricots and I will remember it next year, when am watching for ripeness on the next crop.

Why was I carrying weeds to the chook yard yesterday? I was clearing a spot to sow carrots and leeks for winter eating. In a nearby bed some carrots went to seed a while ago and I expect that now I have cleared away the weeds, staked up the flowering lettuce stalks and watered the bed, carrots will appear by themselves. Such is the joy of the self-sown garden. However, I will also sow some Merida, a variety developed locally.

Leek seedlings are germinating around last year’s leeks, from their fallen seeds. So much for crop rotation; something I regard as superfluous in the home, self-sown garden where each bed grows whatever comes along. I also need to sow lettuce but if I don’t get around to it, I am sure some will appear, self-sown, when they are ready. Lazy gardeners like me, who leave most seeds to fall where they will, are never hungry!



The raspberries in my garden have finished. There were enough to freeze some and eat too many, if there is such a thing as eating too many raspberries! On my Hughsli, for breakfast. Summer is here!



Naturale. Cibo genuino. Roba nostra. (page 11, From a book called ‘A Year in the Village of Eternity’, given to me recently by Frances. The perfect summer afternoon read.)

The local blueberry farms are beginning to put out their ‘open’ signs. Interestingly there are 4 such farms almost next to each other, just a few kms away from me. The conditions must be perfect for them there as I have never had such fabulous blueberries as those I bought last year. I loved a variety called ‘Denise’ which many big growers have removed as they have a short season and don’t store well but which are still grown by the 2 organic farms.


chaiselongue1 said...

It's wonderful to hear of your apricot harvest, when ours is just a dream and a memory reinforced by the apricot leather and jam we made last summer. I hope the terrible fires I've just been reading about are not affecting you.

Dave said...

Hi Kate

The Basil"Genoa" seeds from southern harvest I got from you have done fantastically. Sowed in hot house in October and we have been picking the bushes in pots since December.

I have a Greek Basil also now about 30cm high and being picked. I used to love the big Greek Basil bushes in Qld which lasted years out in the garden.

Energiser Bunny said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've been growing my own for some years now and still get excited when I pick something, especially the first of the season. When I come back up to the house with a basket full of food, I feel incredibly rich. And yes, we do give excess to friends and they love knowing its grown locally, but they don't get that thrill I get every day. And I think its worth the effort.

narf7 said...

I was hunting for information about Amaranth growing in Tasmania and ended up here at your wonderful blog. I want to grow Amaranth on our property in Northern Tas to supplement our food forest, along with chia and quinoa. I know where to get local quinoa but chia might have to be purchased from a health food shop. I just put your wonderful blog into my rss feed reader and look forward to reading local content from a fellow vegetable and garden lover :)