Monday, 25 February 2008

Bread and potatoes

After a few months of "life" my sourdough starter is producing fantastic tasting sourdough bread...and after much trial and error I can also get bread that won't break your toe if you drop it!!

I confess that I do let the breadmaker do most of the kneading and the initial proofing - but I enjoy the rather therapeutic punching down and final kneading...particularly after a stressful day in the office!!!

Yesterday I also cleared out one of the potato beds and sorted the potatoes into "eat now" and "store". I now have about 7 kg of potatoes in a hessian sack in the utility room, and a couple of kilos for eating in the potato draw. There are probably still about 40 potato plants to harvest in the garden too.........

Friday, 22 February 2008

Bottling tomatoes

With the tomato harvest in full swing my fowlers unit has been getting a good workout. Yesterday I did 5 bottles using recycled pasta sauce jars (collected from Jerry's work colleagues) and new pop-top lids (purchased from the excellent Green Living Australia ).

I halved this variety of tomato (can't remember the name they self-seeded from last year!) and put in the jars with a couple of basil leaves, a bit of citric acid and then filled almost to the top with water. THen it's into the fowlers for about an hour. In the last pic you can sort of see that the pop-tops are in various stages of pop-ing in as the vacuum seal is forming in the jar.

I also put a couple of batches of smaller tomatoes (red fig, cherry, tommy toe) in the dehydrator overnight to make a few jars of semi-dried tomatoes in oil. Fingers crossed this year they work last year they all fermented and fizzed all over the shelves...YUCK! (and what a waste!!!)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

what's in the basket 19 Feb

Silverbeet, scallopini squash, rhubarb, tomatoes, courgettes, leeks, and a family sized potato!

Monday, 18 February 2008

last night's harvest

Last night's harvest - there's just over 3kg of tomatoes in the basket!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Wicking plant box

Today I've made my first wicking planter box, using information I found on Scarecrow's blog , and the waterright site. The general principle is the water goes to the bottom of the box, and is pulled up through the soil by the plants. Worms help keep the soil "sweet".

First a bit of leftover perforated hose went into my broccoli box - one end jammed up against the side of the bed. Then I covered that with a bit of cheap "chux" type cloth. This got covered with a combination of straw mulch and mulch cubes to hold the water. Oh, and I put in a small drainage hole too.

Filled the box with compost, mushroom compost, and a handful of worms and worm castings from the worm farm. I put in an upturned drink bottle (with the end cut off and some holes cut into it) filled with food scraps to provide worm food. I've chosen to plant a few strawberries.

Looks good - but will it work?? We'll just have to see how it goes......

Monday, 11 February 2008

The attractive sleeping poses of Freddie

What can I say - the boy is all class!!

Jerry the handyman

Jerry the handyman was hard at work this weekend (well, for an hour or so anyway!!) doing a few odd jobs. Firstly he converted the broom cupboard into more useful shelving space for the preserves and dried goods. The big space at the bottom fits the flour bin and the pressure canner. Then he added a couple of wall brackets so I can hang the clothes airers that were in the cupboard up on the wall out of the way.

What a handy Jerry he is!!!

Friday, 8 February 2008

it's in the can

er, well in the jar actually...but it's the same kinda thing. Recently I bought a canner - a lg pressure cooker that you can use to home preserve low acid foods like veges, meat etc. Think home made soup, pasta sauces, home made baked beans, or just plain veges.

Today I overcame my fear of the scary warning labels and used it for the first time. Nothing exotic, just a few jars of carrots. They seem to have worked! You can see them along with the tomatoes I bottled this morning, and the pickled beetroot and cucumber I also made this morning.


The cupboards are starting to fill up with chutneys, jams, bottled fruits and tomatoes, home dried foods, and a growing sack of home grown potatoes!

and finally here's todays harvest. No, it's not a mutant carrot - it's the beetroot (Burpees Golden) that time (and I) forgot!! The potatoes are kipfler, and all came from the one plant.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Garden update Feb 1

With recent rains, the garden is looking a lot greener than usual for this time of year!

L-R: courgette, tomato, the raspberry jungle

Cucumber, corn, sunflowers

Turks turban pumpkin, "mystery pumpkin", squash
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