FIMBY offers advice and hands on help for people who want to grow their own food. We hope you enjoy our vegetable newsletter!

24 September 2013

It was so heartening to get all your warm and friendly emails after the last newsletter. Nnnnawwwww, you're all just lovely! I've heard from some of our first FIMBY clients from 4 or 5 years ago, and its great to hear how their gardens and lives have evolved. So now I'm inspired to try to get this out fortnightly-ish and include the things that you've said you like. Recipes, planting and harvest guides, and links and info to vegetable happenings around the place. And a few snippets from the lives of some of our FIMBARISTAS (that's what I'm calling you all until someone comes up with a better suggestion).

Pity the weather hasn't been so warm and friendly. If your potatoes or tender perennials got crunched by the frosty snowy weather recently, just remember that it not over yet. We can still get frosts into October - that's why the folklore is to plant tomatoes after Hobart Show Day, which is theoretically after the frost danger has passed. See our post on the FIMBY website for some advice about frost protection and response. 

Coriander pesto

Coriander grows well through winter, and in the cooler weather it doesn't bolt quickly to seed like it can do in the warm months. I always sprinkle around some coriander seed when I'm planting peas in Autumn. It can take a while for them to germinate in the cool soil, but eventually you can have a lush forest of young coriander plants. If they come up thickly, then whole plants can be carefully removed to thin them out, and well washed coriander root is a valued addition to curry pastes. 

In a few more months the plants will start to 'bolt' to seed. I love leaving some plants to flower, as coriander flowers are gorgeous, and attract heaps of beneficial insects. In the meantime, all that lush leaf can be condensed into a beautiful bright green pesto, perfect for tossing through fresh pasta, or dolloped over roast vegies.

Big bunch coriander (about 2 cups)
2-3 Garlic cloves
1/4 cup nuts of your choice
(cashews, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts)
Chunk of parmesan or pecorino
(about the size of two golf balls)
Top quality olive oil

Finely chop the coriander, garlic and nuts. You can use a food processor or mortar and pestle, each method giving slightly different results. Stir in enough oil to get a workable consistency (start with about 1/3 cup).  Finely grate the cheese and stir it in.

If you're not using it immediately, put it in a jar and pour a thin layer of extra oil over the top. A small jar of freshly made coriander pesto makes a wonderful bright green offering to any dinner party host.

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Low tech teepees

We recently installed a new garden bed at Rosie's gorgeous place in Berriedale. We had to remove an old section of teatree fence, and when Rosie said she'd like something to screen off the clothesline, we immediately went into recycling mode. Pictured here with her daughter Alkeiya, Rosie is delighted with the teepee garden we created, and will plant scarlet runner beans to twine up the poles when the soil has warmed up in a month or so.

Seed sorting

I've just tidied up my seed box. You've probably seen the little blue and white esky that we bring along to your gardens when its planting time. Most seeds will remain viable for longer if they are kept at a stable (preferably low) temperature. Because we keep our FIMBY seed boxes in our cars, which get hot and cold in fast cycles, we use a small esky to try to look after the seeds. 

Some plants, like lettuces, are regulated by temperature. So if your lettuce seeds get a bit warm, the seeds behave as if they've been through summer. Ie they don't germinate, even if they're still viable. You can fix this by putting the seeds in the fridge for a week or so (inside a plastic container is a good idea). Then they have "experienced" winter temperatures, and will happily germinate when you put them out in the garden. We notice quite a big difference in the germination rate of different lettuce varieties, so if you're having trouble, try a mixed batch and see what does best in your conditions.

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