Friday, July 25, 2008

New harvests

Well down at the "weed acker" stuff is growing like mad. I harvested yesterday about 600g both of mane tout and normal peas. I had no time to stake them up this year, but they cropped okay. Fennel bulbs and kohl rabi are doing well. I picked a load of swiss chard which is rapidly becoming a favoiurite veg since you can fry it in garlic, olive oil then mix in mushrooms and dump it on a pizza. This is in fact what I did. However since I made those swiss card pasies my interest in shortcrust pastry has increased, especially since we have millions of apples lying around. Perhaps even a bash at some wine for cooking. The plums on my trees make excellent sherry for Chinese dishes.

Finally lugged out of the car the freezer sis in law gave us - we need to stroe our harvests as they are coming in thick and fast.

Spoke to several locals who all say the tomato harvest is very late this year owing to the rains. Some of mine don't even have flowers. So it goes. Hoping for enough later to make my fave chicken cacchiatori (speling?)

Well now we are off to weed the plot before the sun gets to hot!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Season in full swing

Well it has been a while since last post but here goes.

The Sonnenacker is producing well in spote of the onslaughr od weeds after our Corsican sojourn and the inablity to water in the new seedlings. i was carrying coolboxes of water there which my son thought was fantastic and proceeded to scatter the scarce resource everywhere when we were there.

We've got loads of potatoes, lettuce of many kinds, peas, mange tout, beans, courgettes, swiss chard, loads of brassicas - I am having difficulty in figuring out what's what in the Kale or "Kohl" department to be honest.

Back in our garden the success story has been the lettuce. To be honest I am getting a bit fed up with them. We went from hardly eating any lettuce to eating the stuff all the time. I'd lace it with parsley from my veg bed which has an intensity I've never tasted before in shop bought stuff. The biggest surprise is rocket. A year ago I'd buy it but not have a clue what to do with it. Not its sits proudly on almost all my pizzes added at the last minute with lemon juice, salt and pepper. I have ten plants and they are getting out of hand on my veg bed.

All this produce and I've had to move fast: the swiss chard was used as a filling in a sort of spinach type Cornish pasty and was delisciuos. The courgettes are oozing out of the ground and are being sliced in a food processor then buttered and garlicked in a warm pan - mmm.

Biggest challenge at the mo is apples. The St James "Jacoubi" apples are dropping all the time. Jamie Oliver has an Eve's pudding reipe which I want to do. I made it a while back and loved it.

Thanks to the recently acquired freezer from sis in law we will be able to store the produce.

However it's one thing to get access to 80 sq m of land to plant. It's quite another to use it properly. I thought it would be great for the kids but my youngest simple walked all over it. He's only two. I got home and noticed how little attention I was giving to my own somewhat big garden, and how much space I was wasting there.

Nope I reckon I won't do the Sonnenacker thing for a few years at least until the kids can help with weeding and digging and not mess it up. In that time I need to organise my own garden better, expand my veg beds and move lots of plants to better positions. I admit ambition got the better of me this year. It seemed more stress than pleasure. All seemed a chaos of different veg coming at all angles.

Shall I tell you what I now believe to be the best way to organise a garden? Since the aim is to produce food, let the food dictate what is grown. Let the cuisine dictate what is sown. For example, the foundation of Western cuisine is what is known as the Mirepoix mix of carrot, celery and onion. The secondary stuff is the herbs say bay, thyme and parsley or yopur "bouquet garni". However since we are more global now and some of us have been lucky to travel, other food cultures can enter our mix. Eastern flavours such as coriander and cumin may be planted and I did see Thai lemongrass seeds on offer in a seed catalogue. Given that I still hev chilli powder from last years chilli harvest, I wonder if it possible to grow most of a veggie Chinese stir fry? Mushrooms and beansprouts even? Ginger and garlic certainly can be grown. Lets drop down to Italy and get ourselves supplied with tomatoes, basil, oregano and also our fave garlic as well!

So my new task will be to try to organise my garden on a cuisine basis, rather than haphazardly trying to struggle with gluts of stuff when they come. I'll comment here agin when I have had a think.