Thursday, November 17, 2016

How does your garden grow, November 2016

This season I've taken a different approach to my kitchen garden. Instead of planting things out in neat rows and sections, I've decided on more of a laissez-faire strategy. By that, I mean that I'm letting seeds fall where they may. I'm letting things from the compost grow and revelling in the mystery of what comes up. Yes, it's a bit of a lazy approach, but it seems to be working pretty well.

I've got a new crop of chillies fruiting. The original plant was grown from a chilli Mr Fork's father gave me. They've got a great amount of heat, so I love these chillies. The plant is a prolific producer, so I've always got a well stocked freezer supply too. The kids don't tolerate heat as well as their parents do, so spiciness is always something we add at the end of the cooking process to individual portions. It doesn't taste as good in my mind as cooking the heat in, but what can you do? I hope to gradually build their tolerance up so we don't have to prepare quite so many separate meals. You can also see a small section of my chicken proof fence.
Part of my natural approach includes letting my plants with good properties go to seed so that I can save them for later planting (and let some fall where they may as well!). Coriander flowers are so pretty. I have this herb constantly growing as the Queensland heat makes them go to seed so quickly. I like the contrast of white coriander blossoms with purple eggplant flowers.
Speaking of eggplants, my sad plant has perked up with the recent rainy weather. I've got a bumper crop of eggplants. I'm never quite sure when the ideal time to pick them is, but they're a welcome addition to my cooking - such a versatile ingredient.
The weather has made my basil plant very happy. It's started to grow at a very rapid rate and keeps me busy pinching off the flowers so it doesn't go to seed.
I *think* this is some sort of purple basil. Mr Fork's aunt gave me a cutting. I thought I'd killed it but it seems to have come back with a vengeance. We use the leaves when we are making Vietnamese rice paper rolls. I'm not sure what else people use it in, but apparently it's quite hard to grow. It definitely smells and tastes delicious. You can also see my clumping sweet potato in the background. I grow it not for the tubers, but for the leaves which are great in stir fries and similar.
I found a few organic corn seeds left from last year so popped them in garden bed too. They're about six inches high now and looking very happy. There's also some tomato seedlings coming up, I think some lettuce seedlings, and I admit I have no idea at all yet what that round leafed plant in the top left corner underneath the corn is.
The rough leafed pineapple I planted from a leftover top some years ago is fruiting again. I'm quite glad as the chickens ate all the other pineapples I had planted in the garden so this is the last one left. It probably only survived because it was in a pot and it has the most delicious fruit, so I'm looking forward to that, and also having a second top to plant out too. Waste not, want not!
Finally, here are Vanessa and Jemima, greedily eyeing my vegetable patch. Chickens are much messier and destructive than I ever imagined, but they're so useful. They eat my scraps and leftover plants, they do fabulous things for the lawn and give me a great source of fertiliser. My family and neighbours are also grateful for their eggs as well. While not technically in my edible garden, Mr Fork has recently put lots of effort into the lawn and it's lovely to see it looking so lush.
How is your garden growing lately? I'd love to hear tips about when to harvest the perfect eggplant.

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