Kitchen Garden Guides

Monday, October 6, 2014

No work and all play makes me very happy today!

A friend came by and brought me some of her wonderful asparagus this morning and all day, on and off, I have been thinking about how I would have it tonight….. raw in a salad, steamed as a vegetable, baked in a tart…. or what!

So, about 5pm I wandered out into the garden with my basket to see what was there that would make up my mind for me about cooking the asparagus. (I had already eaten quite a bit raw during the day.)

First there were the chooks to say hello to and some eggs to collect. Next I noticed that one of the chicories was stretching upwards before going to seed, so I decided to cut most of it off, as I really love chicory. The rest of it will shoot again and go to seed which will self sow and give me next more chicory next winter and spring, without me having to do a thing.

Near that chicory is a self sown red cabbage that is simultaneously growing a wonderful cabbage and sending up shoots with flowers, in a circle around the head. I picked one of the flower shoots and it was so sweet that I picked most of the rest of them, leaving the head for another day. I left a few shoots to continue flowering and set seeds which will self sow and provide me with red cabbages next winter and spring, without me having to do anything.

Earlier today I did some mowing and noticed how wonderful the dill is looking. These dill plants were dug up from a self sown clump that was very congested and moved to a more open area where they have done really well. So, I cut some fronds. I am surprised they have not gone to seed yet but soon they will and I will leave a few to self sow so I will have dill next winter and spring without any work at all from me.

There is one enormous frilly mustard reaching to the heavens. This gorgeous, lime green, frilly, beautiful plant is self sown. I am not sure why I didn’t get many this year but I will let this one go and hopefully it will give me more next year, without me having to sow any at all. I picked some of the pretty leaves as I passed by.

I looked over into the paddock next to my vegetable garden, where dairy cows sometimes graze. There, pecking away at this and that, were 3 of my chooks. I opened up the bottom of the chook yard fence a few years ago, just enough for a chook to get under, so my lucky chooks have free range over maybe 20 acres or more but they don’t don’t go that far away. I threw them some snails I found slithering through the perennial leeks and watched them fight over them.

While I was there, I cut some of the leeks which are so dense now that I just cut them at the ground and use them like spring onions, green tops and all. I love this patch which multiplies by growing little nodules around each leek which then grow into more leeks. If I thinned them out it would take me hours so I don’t bother. I love them thin and sweet. Eventually they will go to seed and grow fabulously beautiful heads of flowers that the bees will flock to and next winter and spring I will start picking the fresh leeks again, without having to do anything in the meantime.


By this time my basket was full and dinner was pretty much worked out, without me having to decide a thing. So, I slowly stewed the chopped leeks and most of the rest, in olive oil with the lid on then added the asparagus, s and p, and several beaten eggs mixed with some milk. When it was nearly set I grated over some good, sharpish, English cheddar (one of my ridiculous indulgences!) and put it under the grill to brown a little.

As I sat and ate my dinner I thought of the lovely 20 minutes or so I had spent in the garden, the fun it was tossing snails over the fence and watching the chooks race to get them and how nice it was that Erika had bothered to drop in on her way to work early this morning to give me some of her asparagus. And how I don’t even have to sow any seeds or do any work at all for this dinner to grow itself in my garden and my friend’s garden next year.

Life is good. Let things go a bit and watch them come back.

Look at the colour of that!
Red cabbage shoots about to flower.
                       I love dill.
Fat Bastard asparagus from Erika. Beautiful.
The final result of 20 minutes in the garden and 10 minutes in the kitchen. All of which made me smile! And there’s leftovers!
image   Punnets of cucumber  seedlings from yesterday’s Cygnet market. Soon to be a summer lunch ingredient.
And so the seasons go round and round….


Jenny M said...

Thanks for sharing your walk around your garden, you have so much growing! And your dinner sounds and looks delicious, and how wonderful that it all came from your garden.

africanaussie said...

Quite a few years ago you sent me some amaranth seeds, and they keep coming up all over the garden without me having to do anything..... One of my favourite plants. Who would have thought it would do so well in such a different climate! Those purple cabbage flowers are stunning.