Strawberry bed

The strawberries are looking really good. However, they are still very small and green. The structures are in place - so that we can put netting over the bed when they ripen up. So, grow, strawberries, grow! :) We are ready!

Miner's lettuce flowering

Spring is such a beautiful season!One of my all-time favourite winter veggies is now flowering. Miner's lettuce.I let it go to seed every spring, and come autumn after the first rain, it pops up again. No work involved. :) What's not to like about this?!


The fruit trees are covered in blossoms and the bees are busy buzzing about.
The whole orchard looks a treat!

Apple blossoms.Bee busy on apple blossom.
Some pears have already set.Getting excited about our potential fruit harvest! Fingers crossed. :)

Cooking red cabbage

The whole place stinks of cabbage, and its no-ones fault but my own!


There’s something friendly about red cabbage that I’ve never felt for its green relatives, and I suspect that its because I get to grow it in summer rather than in winter when the green cabbages thrive under frosty conditions. Something went wrong last year though, and I planted the red cabbage late in summer, with the consequence that this last lot soldiered on through the winter and produced lots of small cabbages that I’ve now been cutting up for the cook just to get the darn things out of the garden to make way for Spring crops.

DSCN0010Normally we’d keep some of these red cabbages for salads, but this time we’re in a rush, and so we’ve cooked the 2kg of shredded cabbage harvested and will store this in jars.

Onions and apple are chopped and fried in butter and oil before the finely-shredded red cabbage is added. Sultanas, raisins, a little sugar, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and a bay leaf are thrown in, and after some frying the whole operation changes to steaming in a large pot with a lid on it, reducing the whole to a half.

DSCN0012Like so many things to do with cooking and gardening, this seems like a great deal of work for a small result. But that perception probably arises from the little we see these days of food preparation in a society fed on factory foods processed out of sight and designed for convenience, allowing one to spend ones days sitting before a television set instead of spending healthy time in kitchen and garden.

DSCN0017 I’m sure I’ll appreciate this home-grown recipe some time in the coming months, just as soon as the smell goes away.

In the meantime, I’m escaping the kitchen and grating duties to head out into the garden and plant more Dutch red cabbage. This time on-schedule…

Purple Cauliflower...

I know, I know. Purple Cauliflower. Again. Sorry. But I think this should be the last one for a long time. Until next winter, hopefully.

Everyone was curious to know, what colour it would have when cooked. Here it is, sautéed in a little butter.
Served with some home-made, spicy beef sausages and hand-cut chips (from home-grown potatoes).Gosh, it was good! :)

Midway mark for the garlic, onions and leeks

The allium family – chives, garlic, onions, leek – are the slow-growers of the vegetable world, needing six months from mid-winter to mid-summer to mature. As September rolls to an end and Spring is all around, three months of those six are now behind us since garlic-planting took place on the shortest day of the Australian year – the 21st of June.

Onions, leeks and garlic planted three months ago along drip-lines are to be packed around with pea-straw to hold in what will probably prove to be the last of the winter rains.

That the allium bed is in such good shape owes everything to the cook this year; she weeded nettles from the bed when the onions and garlic were small and vulnerable and so gave them a chance to survive.

In the past week we’ve been blessed with 35 mm of rain; today she was out there once more, packing pea-straw mulch between the rows to lock that rainfall into the soil against the coming heat.

Fitting perfectly between the rows, the cook lays blocks of pea-straw mulch delicately between rows of onions. Note the yellow-flowers of a 'kale' plant in the foreground, saved for seed, and the lettuces doing well among the garlic. There's no need to be a purist in a kitchen garden; what grows and has value gets to stay on.

And why is the cook doing this, not the gardener? While it’s true that she’s half my weight, twice as flexible and has four times the stamina, its a matter of logistics – at this time of year, the pressure to get crops in needs both cook and gardener. So there’s a ‘trade’ going on; the gardener is chain-sawing and mulching trees that the cook wanted sorted for her flower garden, so the heavy labour is elsewhere…

And the grapevines planted and mulched last week? Perfect timing for once; the rain soaked through the pea-straw and they’re doing well.

Barely visible against the background of pea-straw mulch, sixteen Isabella table grapevines have struck and are holding their own in the enclosed orchard next to the allium bed