Harvest season. Golden and delicious!
 
 

15th April 2016

Phew it's still SO DRY isn't it? We're having some lovely golden Autumn days, and usually at this time of year there is abundant harvest of apples, quinces, still a few pears, pumpkins, corn, beans for drying, late tomatoes, and nuts galore. Plus fallen leaves from the gutter for the compost.

My rocoto chilli bush (shown above) is still producing heaps of fruit, even after I picked over 7 kilos in February. But the dry dry weather means that some of these fruit now are not quite so plump and glossy as they could be. And I haven't been watering enough . . . my poor rhubarb isn't looking its usual robustly upright self.

After my confession of garden neglect last newsletter, I received several responses from friends and fimbaristas, agreeing that our gardens reflect the priorities in our lives. I have to admit that my South Hobart garden is still a tragic dry mess of neglect. My plan is to do a rough cleanup of all the stuff I can easily pull out, then broadcast green manure seed everywhere, then cover with a layer of partially composted hay / rabbit poo / chook poo litter that has accumulated half a metre deep in the lower section of the back yard orchard.

Then at least I'll have something useful growing over winter, and the worms and soil life will be nurtured. Maybe I'll sort out my priorities in Spring! Meanwhile, lovely FIMBY gardens and people and projects are keeping my spirits up all around Hobart!

Going nuts

A few days ago, Juliet and Carol and I spent a pleasant hour or so filling buckets, tubs, sacks and crates with walnuts - picking them up from under the trees of a walnut plantation which hasn't been harvested for some reason. Carol knows the farmer, and we didn't need asking twice. This sort of task is always lovely, working steadily with our hands in the fresh air, talking about all manner of important and frivolous things. It always feels like a reset for my perspective on life to spend some time doing 'women's work' with great women like those two.
We were also imagining and listing ideas of how to use the bounty. Walnut pesto, waldorf salad, with pear and rocket salad, Rodney Dunn's potato, pumpkin and walnut gratin, pasta with walnut sauce, ground walnut tea cake (like using almond meal), any pecan recipe with walnuts substituted, candied walnuts, with grilled figs . . . the list goes on and on!

We're finding out if the farmer friend is amenable to hosting a FIMBY picnic in the orchard so you can all come along and scrounge too. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, there are two sacks of walnuts, complete with bonus husks and leaf litter, on my front veranda. Feel free to drop by with a bucket and help yourselves!

So now there is a big basket of lovely fresh walnuts on the kitchen bench seats, next to the hazelnuts from Tilly, the figs from Sue, the quinces from Anita, the tomatoes, zucchini, pears, pumpkins from the garden, the apples from mum . . . my goodness what riches!

Upcycled potting bench

Remember those broken milk crates from Ronnie at Pura Milk? Take 12 of them, stack 'em up, add cable ties, a pallet, some obligatory baling twine . . . and ta dah! A very sturdy and handy, zero cost, potting bench with built in pot storage.
I'm loving myself sick for this one!

Artichoke planting

This is a 'before' shot of the new artichoke bed at our Wielangta Farm. Pretty messy, but gorgeous soil from the post holes, hey? I had planted a few artichoke suckers a year or so ago with some friends, and we caged them after a stray rabbit (we think - hope - there is only one) ate them to the ground. Anyway, I've had visions of a big drift of handsome artichokes here.
So we've done the old sheet mulch trick: put wet newspaper on the grass, covered with horse poo (coz we happened to get a free truckload - thanks Kathy), covered with pea straw (coz we happened to get a free truckload - thanks Martine). Dug out the original planted artichokes and divided them. Dug more suckers from the garden in SoHo.

Fenced carefully. Using posts scrounged from our beautiful bush. Sawdust from milling a big tree last year on the pathway down the centre (that tree just keeps on giving).
Upcycled pallet for the back gate (for now, until Mick makes a proper one).
And then, finally, planting the little suckers, each one over a fertiliser slow release 'tablet' buried below the root zone. They'll have to work a bit to survive - no irrigation setup, just water and worm juice bucketed to them when we're there each weekend.
Grow you good things, grow!

The great mushroom compost muster

Well, there was a very long double row of mushie compost in bags on pallets down at Waratah Wholesale last Friday. Lots of plastic too unfortunately, but we reused alot of that to line people's cars to protect from mushie compost seepage.
Miraculously, and with very little fuss, the bags were all collected in batches of 5, 10, 20 or even 40 in the space of just two hours in the afternoon. Thankyou to everyone who came to collect for your patience, good spirit, hard work and positive energy. Thanks too to Peter and Tim from Waratah who helped to manouvre the pallets.

There was some very creative stacking into car boots and back seats, a few double trips, some big trailers, and lots of heave ho. But the rewards will be evident in gardens near and far in the coming months. AND, in kitchens in the short term too! We harvested a good few bags of little button mushies just from the strays and ones that got knocked off the top of the bags. Mmmmm, mushroom paté, fried mushies, and MARINATED Mushies.
This recipe is from an old book about regional Italian cooking. Its my favorite!

Funghi Marinati
Combine in a 10 - 12 inch saucepan:
8 Tbs olive oil
6 Tbs water
juice of 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, bruised with flat of knife
6 whole peppercorns
2 good pinches of salt
Bring to the boil over a moderate heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 mins. Strain this marinade and return to the saucepan, bring to a simmer over low heat.

Drop in the mushrooms (about 500 g whole little fresh ones) and simmer, turning them over from time to time, for 5 minutes.

Let the mushies cool in the marinade. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold. They will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Fimbarista file - Viv and Des revisited

Do you remember Vivienne and Des's garden which we profiled in our newsletter a year or so ago? I visited a few weeks ago to do some pruning, and just couldn't resist snapping a pic of their incredibly productive, 'galley style' garden. Its a great example of how much wonderful produce can be generated in a fairly small area.

They've planted raspberries on the southern side of their boundary fence, and used steel reinforcing mesh to create a barrier that they can keep poking the stray canes behind so they don't take over the path space.
Great gardeners, and prolific pesto makers! I'm going to enjoy watching this space.
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