Summer is stretching its legs, at last!
View this email in your browser

14th January 2014

You know you're a real vegie gardener when you'd rather stay home to look after the garden than take a summer holiday at a beach shack or camp ground somewhere! This warm week in the school holidays can raise quite a dilemma if there is a family trip right at the time your apricots or raspberries or other precious delicious soft fruits are right at their sumptuous best.

What to do? One solution is to cultivate your neighbours with vegetable diplomacy throughout the year so you can call on them when you really need to. Its amazing how far a few bags of excess peas, broad beans, or fresh lettuces will go. And we always of course invite our garden helpers to pick and eat as much as they can while checking up on things. In fact, there is almost a brawl in the street for the rights to garden watering when our neighbour's mulberry tree is ripening fruit!

Speaking of watering, remember to water deeply and mulch well. The deep watering will encourage roots to go down seeking moisture. This is preferable to a light sprinkle every day which will encourage surface roots that are very vulnerable to drying out and getting hot in extreme conditions. The mulch will protect surface roots and keep them cool and well fed.

Pop up vegie patch at Taste Festival

Forgot to mention this in the last newsletter! FIMBY helped to organise a pop up vegie garden on Parliament Lawns next to the Kids Kitchen during the Taste event.

We sourced six multicoloured colorbond beds from Phil Garrett, and beautiful vegies grown in large pots by the Hobart City Council nursery guys. FIMBY gave them guidance on what to grow and when to plant it, and they did an amazing job with very beautiful looking plants. We then set up the beds with 'guilds' of companion plants that work well together in the garden. Workshops and talks throughout the taste festival gave the public a chance to look, touch and taste from the array of leafy greens, beans, carrots, beetroot, potatoes and masses of herbs.

The garden beds were for sale, and so on pack-up day some excited people came to collect them. The plants, including many kilos of carrots, beetroot, spuds and salad greens still growing in their pots, were donated to various organisations around Hobart, including Colony 47.

A big thanks and congratulations to Karyn Rendall from Hobart City Council who coordinated everyone's inputs with calm good humour! This year was a start - we hope it will be even bigger and better next year.

Hey presto: Pesto

Our basil is thriving this year - it loves the warm weather as long as you can keep water up to it. One of my very favourite summer scents is the spicy rich smell of a bunch of freshly picked sun-warmed basil. Mmmmmmmmmm!

You can make pesto in a food processor, or a mortar and pestle, or by finely chopping everything by hand. Depends how purist and patient you want to be. There are taste differences with each method, and you definitely get maximum bragging rights for the 'all chopped by hand' version.

Whichever version you choose, the basic ingredients are: basil leaves picked off the stems; a few garlic cloves, some salt, some pine nuts (or use other nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds), olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional). Once you've got the pesto to the consistency you like by blitzing or bashing or chopping, you can add some finely grated parmesan, or crumbled fetta or other cheese of your choosing. Or you can leave the cheese out . . . so many options!
You can enjoy your pesto as is, on crusty bread or scooped up with crunchy baby carrots or celery sticks. You can toss it through cooked pasta, dollop it onto a steak or into a soup.

Last night we had our friend Bec from West Australia with us, and she made a sublime salad of shaved carrots and julienned zucchini, all raw, tossed with freshly made pesto. So delicious!
I also love to use pesto to stuff mushrooms. Simply break the stalk out of some good medium sized mushies, and fill the cup with a teaspoon of pesto. Pop in a medium oven for about 20 minutes, then stand back and wait for the applause.

If you make a huge batch and want to store it, you can freeze it very easily in ice cube trays. Best to leave the cheese out if you're freezing it. Or to store in the fridge, put it a jar and cover with a thin film of olive oil to stop it oxidising.

Pumpkin magic

I love growing pumpkins. I have my firm favorites: golden nugget for the well behaved bush growth habit and the small, tasty, eminently stuffable fruit. I grow as many of these as I can fit. I also love butternuts for their great flavour, edible skin, and their high return of flesh to volume of fruit. And the best tasting pumpkin I've ever grown was a blue hubbard - amazing!
This year I'm excited to be trying a new variety - Red Kuri. Its supposed to have a chestnut flavour, and so far the vines seem to have set plenty of fruit that are growing well. I grow vining pumpkins like these and butternuts in "spare" areas like up in the orchard with the chooks, or down in the bottom corner where the vines can ramble all over the comfrey patch and around the base of the lemon tree.
You've probably noticed that pumpkins are the first thing to wilt on a hot day. You can help the plant get maximum access to water and nutrients by helping to expand its root system. If you look carefully at the vines where a leaf joins, you'll often see a little pale bump, which in the right conditions will grow into a root. You can tuck this little rootlet into a patch of good soil, cover with soil and mulch, and Voila! The plant has an extra root system.

Tomato bondage

Do you tie up your tomatoes? Your answer doesn't reveal so much about your, err, proclivities, as it does about your gardening style. Everyone is somewhere on the spectrum between Neat-and-Tidy at one end, and Jungle at the other. I'd say that I waver around the Neat side of centre, but with occasional forays towards jungle.

Tomatoes can create jungle very quickly once they really get going. There's nothing innately wrong with that, but you can lose fruit in there unless you mount an Indiana Jones style expedition. If you decide you want to keep your tomatoes well organised, you will need discipline and vigilance. Discipline to pinch out all the unrequired side shoots, and vigilance because they grow so fast.
And, OK, who's already eating ripe tomatoes? I know there are at least a few of you out there. Mine are still a way from ripening (sigh) but the plants are looking very strong and healthy so I'm counting on a long harvest over many months.

Don't forget our Garden Tour
This Saturday 18th Jan

10.00 am Meet at Christina's place
10.10 am Car pool to Uta and David's 
11.10 am Car pool back to Christina's
12.20 pm Lunch provided

Please RSVP to Christina by Thursday 16th January for catering planning purposes.

Its such a fun photo (right) that I had to use it again! 
If you like our newsletter and know others who might enjoy it, please forward it on. If you'd like to get it to your inbox, please subscribe.
Forward to Friend
Subscribe to our email list
Copyright © 2014 FIMBY, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp