Spring and Summer have been a bit out of sorts this year. Spring was quite late which meant the vegetable garden was planted later than usual. But despite a few setbacks the plants have taken off and we are starting to see some fruits (or vegetables) of our labour. We have been picking and eating strawberries....that's if we can beat the birds and the Blue Tongue Lizards to them.
We had to relocate 2 fat Blue Tongues a couple of weeks ago and I think that they may have found their way back.......grrrr! I have been picking and eating the juicy raspberries from my rather messy looking raspberry patch....but there aren't many left so I am glad that I managed to freeze 2 bags of them for use later on. The excess strawberries are also ending up in the freezer. The golden shallots that I planted last Winter are ready for harvesting and should provide us with enough onions for quite a few months.....especially as the spring onions are also ready. The last of the lettuce are bolting to seed and I planted another punnet yesterday morning. The pumpkins and cucumbers are growing like crazy and have been loving this weather we have been having......warm/hot days with weekly dumps of rain. We grew them around the dam last year and although we harvested enough pumpkins to last us the 12 months (still have 2 left), they really didn't do that well. Russell put a lot of time last year into the ground preparation and it really looks like it is paying off......they look fantastic. This photo was taken a few days ago and they have even grown more since then. We planted some borage in between the rows to help with bees and pollination.
After spending quite a bit of money on buying fresh basil last year I decided to plant our own this season. It has grown that well the we decided to try and preserve some for future use in our homemade passata sauce (when our tomatoes ripen). After some fact searching on Mr Google, it was decided to try the highly recommended method of picking, washing and drying the leaves, and then vacuum sealing them into bags. Russell set about to the task and the whole shop soon smelt like basil. Eight bags later they were ready to pop in the freezer.
The next task for Russell was to dry some of the oregano....also needed for the passata. I recently read that in bought dried oregano 7 out of 12 brands only comprise about 50% oregano leaves.....and some were as low as 11%.....What the heck! So out came the dehydrator and 5 trays of oregano leaves are happily drying away and will be ready tomorrow morning for packing into jars.
Last on our list of green jobs for today was to pick the first of our pea crop. Although we only got 4 bags, it's a start and there are heaps more to come. Last year we ended up with 51 bags of peas and never had to buy any peas for the whole year.....in fact we still have 3 bags left....and we still have frozen beans too!
We planted extra peas down along the top side of the dam hoping to have a huge supply this winter. They came up and looked great.......that was until a hare came through and chewed the lot off! We will not be defeated by this furry beast, and although it is too late to plant another crop, there is always next season......and electric fencing!