Recipe for Preserved Lemons

Here is my Preserved Lemons recipe that I was talking about with Anne-Marie Middlemast on ABC Local Radio recently. You’ll need; 10-12 Lemons 220g coarse sea salt 4 fresh bay leaves 2 cinnamon sticks Cold water Sterilized jar Squeeze the juice from 6 lemons into a bowl. Cut a deep cross into the top of the remaining lemons, cutting almost, but not all the way, down to the bottom of each lemon (making sure they are still joined at the bottom). Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt inside each cut lemon then push the halves back together and place in the jar. Layer the remaining salt, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks between the lemons. Keep doing this until you reach the top of the jar. Pour the remainder lemon juice and top up with water. Seal and keep in a dark, cool place and after a month they’ll be ready to...
June in the garden

June in the garden

Winter is a time to rest, but there are still a few things you can do in your veggie patch to make sure the produce doesn’t slow down too much too. Clean up around the garden by removing dead or diseased growth. Collect leaves for your compost and sharpen your blades for some pruning. We prune our fruit trees in winter to continue to get a quality crop on a manageable tree size.  When pruning cut branches that are competing against each other, open up the framework and don’t forget the safety glasses. Also note to self, don’t prune when you are in a bad mood and take off too many branches. (Speaking from experience don’t take it out on the tree or else the tree will take it out on you and give you no Golden Delicious Apples!…ask my 6 year old who has declared her love for them) Other things to get your deciduous fruit trees through the winter. Apply well- rotted manure and compost to the base of the tree Any plants in pots move them closer to the house to protect from frost. If you have a young plant in the ground place some shade cloth over it using stakes to protect it from frost. Mulch – keeps the ground warm and toasty for those veggies Start thinking about what your aspirations are for your garden for spring. What do you like to eat? What fruit trees are drought tolerant? Do you need fence an area off, maybe think about espaliered fruit? Write down what you want from your garden and start planning.  One of the...
Organic ways to beat garden pests.

Organic ways to beat garden pests.

Permaculture is all about living more sustainably and creating a site that caters for the needs of all its inhabitants…including the cunning, clever pests! I’m more than happy to work with mother nature, oppose to against it, but when it comes to sharing my hard earned work with these little creatures, I simply can’t roll over that easily.  So here is a list of ways to prevent, deter and hopefully keep garden pests off your produce, using no chemicals. Keep an eye on this list and pest problems can change seasonally and I would love to hear any of your tips too! Snails -these guys are ruthless and no matter what I do, these guys comeback tour never ends! Beer traps – You can buy a beer trap from a gardening store, fill it with any beer that you aren’t planning on drinking and then watch for the snail, drink, drive and crash. Crushed egg shells – place these around your plant/seedling, they hate moving over the top. Coffee Beans – Sprinkle a layer of grounded coffee beans around the base of your plant, they hate the stuff and won’t go anywhere near it. Note: if you’re going to use the crushed egg shells and coffee beans for your seedlings remember to always water first, this not only keeps the eggs/coffee beans in place it prevents changing the PH of the soil too much. Nasturtium’s – not only can you eat these colourful flowers, but they act as a great lodge for snails and keep the soil moist during the hotter months. Snail shed – To prevent snails getting onto...
Magical moment in the garden

Magical moment in the garden

Look at these little beauties – after 3 year’s this has been the best Almond harvest yet!   Harvest is not only a time to celebrate our hard work by eating what we’ve grown, but it’s also a special time that brings people together. After harvesting all our stone fruit I invited my friend and her mother to come and help me make some spicy fruit chutney. Women sitting around a table preparing food is nothing new, but what I discovered today changed my understanding of just how powerful it can be. My friend’s mother has Alzheimer’s and was diagnosed less than 12 months ago. This cruel disease is slowly taking her away from her family but today, as she used her hands peeling apples and removing the hulls off the almonds, she was able to share stories of when she preserved fruits with her friends and what that meant for her then, and more importantly now, as she remembered.  Thank you for the lovely memory and helping prepare this year’s apple, zucchini, nectarine and peach spicy chutney. Recipe below.   Apple, Zucchini, Nectarine and Peach Spicy Chutney (I double the quantity to make about a dozen jars, but not the sugar. Peaches give the chutney enough sweetness for me.) 4 Apples 5 Ripe Nectarines or Peaches (I use both) 2-3 Zucchini’s (if you have over grown zucchini’s, they are great for this recipe) 3 Onions 5 Garlic Cloves 0.5 Litres of Water 0.5 Litres of Red Wine Vinegar (can use White Wine Vinegar) 2 tbsp. Curry Powder (Add more to make it spicier) 130 g Sugar (I don’t double the sugar for fear...
Sow and Eat Now…

Sow and Eat Now…

  It’s been a great season and a walk through our patch see’s zucchinis’, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, broccoli, kale, strawberries, raspberries, currants and a couple of 2 year old pear and apple tree’s. Unlike their sisters in the chook run who didn’t give us fruit for the first 2 years these guys have loved being espaliered next to the veg and we are looking forward to tasting their hard work.   Hard to believe its time to sew our autumn and winter seeds when the weather has been so consistently hot!   Once you have the seeds you want to eat start to plant use a planter boxes with a clear lid to give the seeds a good start.  Dependent on the plant I also use seedling punnets and then stack them in a tray alphabetically.  If you don’t have any of this check out your recycle bin and see what you can find to grow plant’s in. Cut the top off a yoghurt tub, milk cartons – anything that will hold soil, water and then you can start to grow food.  Next step put some organic potting mix, some compost (if you have some) into the pot you’ve chosen and sow your seeds. I find the heirloom seeds guidelines are much more accurate to the climate where I live than the commercial hybrid brands.  After you’ve buried the seed, water in with seaweed fertiliser and don’t forget to label them. To save some coin, I use a flat bit of bark or an icy pole stick to create labels for each seed so I don’t get confused and most importantly know where they belong when...
Happy Harvest Happy Heart…

Happy Harvest Happy Heart…

We started our summer fruit harvest on the weekend and after the crazy storm on Friday night there were some casualties. Seeing fruit, looking lifeless on the ground being infested by a colony of bugs and insects that I’ve never seen before, is to be honest quite heart wrenching. Like children what you put in you get out so I’m comfortable to say, with hand on my heart, I love these tree’s. I planted them with my hands,  I feed them, I keep them clean and trimmed, I check them regularly and I know that one day I will have to face the fact that I may have to say goodbye to them. Saturday morning is all hands on deck with Daisy (6), enthusiastic harvest assistant and Harry (3) the casual gardener, coming and going as he pleased. Checklist included recycled empty cardboard fruit trays from the local grocer, ladders, secateurs, hats, sunscreen and a well-rehearsed David Boon catching technique.  ...