Tag Archives: Vegetable Garden

In the garden – November 2020

This was November in our garden!

The espaliered fruit trees needed trimming, the weeds were taking over, beds in the vegetable garden needed to be dressed and prepared for planting, and the list goes on!

Fortunately the flowers were not so discerning and provided happiness both in the garden and in vases indoors.

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A Stroll Through The Vegie Patch – The End of Summer

Today I thought you might enjoy a stroll through our Vegie Patch. Lots of photos and very few words – A break from the kitchen…

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Aubergine / Egg Plant

Beans

Beets

Berries

Brassicas

Corn

Courgette / Zucchini

Cucumbers & Cornichon

Flowers

Green Stuff

Herbs & Aromats

Onions

Other Stuff

Peas

Peppers

Potatoes

Pumpkins

Rhubarb from Navarre

Rock Melon

Seed Saving

The Bees

Tomatoes

 

My favourite pics…

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I hope that you have enjoyed joining me on a stroll through our vegie patch.  It’s one of my favourite places to be.  Can you believe that just three months ago, we did not have a vegie patch!  I am looking forward to working and watching it through the seasons ahead.

Until next time…

Happy gardening and…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

The Vegie Patch

Swiss Chard AKA Silverbeet

I have to say that Swiss Chard, or Silverbeet, as we knew it, was not a favourite vegetable of mine when I was a child. However, tastes change and more importantly cooking methods and an introduction to international cuisine has definitely changed that!

We all know Swiss Chard as a vegetable, and it really is such a great addition to any vegie patch as it is easy to grow and continues to produce for many months. But as I began traveling to France, I was to discover it’s value, in particular the coloured varieties, as an ornamental in flower gardens. The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, is the first place I think of when reminiscing about such beautiful displays. As I walked through the gates for the first time, my eyes were automatically drawn toward a stunning vision of rich reds and greens. I had never seen Swiss Chard used in such displays before.

You probably realize that Swiss Chard now has an important place in our vegie patch and in our meals, and as the flower garden is developed, I also hope to use it as a feature plant there too. Over the next several days, I hope to introduce you to some new ways to use Swiss Chard and make it star in meals you prepare. With the first recipe of this series being an old favourite – Weed Pies

Weed Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity of Savoury Potato Pastry
  • 350 g mixed greens (refer to note below)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 150g dry ricotta or feta
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)

Directions

  1. Rinse the greens and remove any yellow or damaged leaves.
  2. Finely chop the onion and any stems, and then finely slice the leaves, keeping separate
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and stems, sauté until soft, then add the leaves and put the lid on the pan and cook until the leaves have all wilted. Set aside to cool. Drain off any liquid.
  4. Preheat oven to 200˚C (Fan forced).
  5. Combine the cooled greens with the cheeses, eggs and oregano, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Lightly grease the pie tin(s).
  7. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking, paper, and line the pie tin(s).
  8. Leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, before filling.
  9. Cover with pastry, make a little hole to allow steam to escape, brush with egg wash and bake 25 minutes, until golden.

Notes

  • For your wild greens, use a combination of dandelion, mustard, chickweed, rocket, wild fennel, beetroot tops, turnip tops, silverbeet or rainbow chard. You could also add some fresh herbs if you want.

For those new to gardening or who would like to try and grow a few plants, I have also included a little information which may be of use.

Description  – Swiss chard, which some people mistake for spinach, is actually a member of the beetroot family. The ribbed stems come in a variety of colours, white (the most common) yellow, orange, pink and red (rainbow chard) and a very deep red (ruby chard). The stems support large crinkly deep green leaves and both the stalks and the leaves are edible. The green leaves are normally separated from the stalks when being prepared for cooking, as the rich green leaves require much less time to cook than the stalks.

Growing  –  You can either purchase seedlings, or grow your own from seed. Seedlings can be planted from early spring to Autumn in the temperate and colder areas, and all year around in the tropics. Swiss chard needs full sun and prefers well drained soil that has been prepared with compost and well-rotted animal manure. We use a combination of horse and sheep manure along with compost, in our garden. Why a combination of the horse and sheep manures – it is what my Uncle Paul recommended, so it’s what I do. A fortnightly feed of liquid fertilizer will also ensure a ready supply. For those without a vegie patch, I have successfully grown Swiss Chard in pots so if you are restricted to a balcony or a courtyard you can grow it too.

Harvesting  –  To harvest Swiss Chard, pick the larger leaves from the outside of the plant, simply by breaking the stalks downwards and sideways at the same time. Harvest regularly, but leave 4 or 5 leaves on the plant. The plants will keep producing and keep you supplied with this wonderful green all season, so no need to plant again until next season.

Uses  –  Soups, sides, omelettes, gratins, pasta dishes…

Until next time…

Happy Gardening & Bon appétit!

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We have a vegie patch!

It is safe to say that there has been a lot of hard work going on in the Corner Patch, particularly over the last week or so, and I can now, with much delight, tell you that the Corner Patch is now the Vegie Patch! Yes, on Monday of this week at about 6 pm we finished making the last of 12 garden beds. While we were both exhausted, we are both really pleased with the end result and all being in order, are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labour for many years to come. The fun now begins with planting up the beds, nurturing the seeds and seedlings into food for our kitchen and store, family and friends.

Just a recap on how we got to this stage:

  • Trees were cut down, cut up and removed.
  • Stumps were dug out
  • Plans were drawn up
  • 31 fruit trees were planted
  • A slab was put down for the garden shed
  • The garden shed was erected, and everything that belonged in it, relocated accordingly
  • Holes were dug for posts
  • Posts were purchased and concreted in
  • Holes drilled in the posts
  • Wires strained accordingly
  • An old gate that we found behind the garage was cut down and given a lick of paint before being hung.
  • Timber and pegs for the garden beds arrived
  • A bit of creative use of old posts, rescued from the pens on our family farm, before it was sold, have been put in place to stop the beautiful Duchess (border collie) from entering.
  • Careful measuring, cutting, nailing and screwing of timber into place to box each bed.
  • A mountain of soil was moved from one place to another and finally into each of the boxed beds.
  • Well rotted manure worked in
  • Seeds sown in anticipation
  • One inexpensive archway erected to train fruit trees over the entrance

Left to do:

  • Plant out the seedlings.
  • Plant seeds
  • Espaliering of the fruit trees
  • Three inexpensive archways to be erected, one more for the fruit trees over the entrance and two for the runner beans to trail up and over.

 Click here to see some of the activity leading to this point

While all of this hard work was going on, we did have a little reprieve with a visit from our son, Chris and his family, to celebrate his birthday. It was a quick visit, just one night, as they had to return home for his work. But while they were here, we enjoyed two meals together. I can tell you that seeing our little grandson, Cooper, enjoying picking strawberries, and eating blueberries straight from the bush was a real treat.

Don’t you love it when the little ones are around, it also meant we could have cake before our main course, because he had to go to bed and he made sure he got to take a bite of almost everyone’s cake – Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake of course!

When we did get to sit down to our main meal we enjoyed the beef brisket that I had had cooking in the smoker all day – another one of the Old Fat Guy’s amazing recipes, adjusted somewhat as the brisket I had was considerably smaller than that called for in his recipe. I also slightly changed the rub, given that I did not have any onion salt – I used a combination of home made porcini mushroom salt, together with celery salt. There was plenty left over, so we were able to send a container full home with them, together with other goodies. The rest has been sliced, vac packed and frozen for quick meals when we need them.

Until next time…

Happy Gardening & Bon appétit!

 

Links:

The Vegie Patch

Chocolate Sponge – AKA Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake

The Old Fat Guys Beef Brisket

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The Grand Old Dame

 

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The Magnolia Bed

The Humble Hock

It has been a really busy week in the garden, so not to much time in the kitchen. Gary has been working tirelessly to get the trellising done for our fruit trees in the corner patch, and I have been helping him when needed, but also getting on with other jobs in between.

The two blueberries and the mulberry have been planted,

and the bed around the magnolia

has been weeded and mulched. Seedlings for the vegie patch are being nurtured in readiness for their new home too. There have also been trips to the timber yard to collect more posts, and order the timber to edge the garden beds with, and a few to the local hardware as well.

With this all going on we still need to eat, but it needs to be quick and simple., so some of the pre-cooked meals from the freezer have come in handy. However, I have still managed to cook up a few things too. One morning, before breakfast , I quickly made a batch of mini banana & walnut muffins (gluten free) – they have been a welcome sweet treat.

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Mini Banana & Walnut Muffins (Gluten Free)

Then yesterday I just couldn’t get my head around what to have for dinner. I had put one of the smoked ham hocks, that I had brined and smoked a couple of week’s ago, into a pot with some water and aromats to simmer away, thinking that I would just can the stock and freeze the meat because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it – it wasn’t exactly pea and ham soup weather, and I wasn’t so sure about making choucroute.

I finally decided that we’d have a mushroom risotto, easy to make, and delicious… However, while working outside, I started to play with the idea of making a risotto with the meat from the hock that was gently simmering away on the stove inside. Then it came to me – use similar ingredients to the traditional pea and ham soup, but freshen it up using some frozen peas and lovely fresh mint from the garden – so that’s what I did . I made Pea and Ham Risotto with Mint, it worked and it was delicious, and it gave me another way to use the meat from the humble hock.

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After another hectic week at Tranquility…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Smoked Ham Hocks

Pea and Ham Risotto with Mint

Mini Banana & Walnut Muffins – Gluten Free

The Corner Patch

Magnolia Bed

Glossary

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