Sunday, August 21, 2011

A limestone garden bed

We have certainly made the most of the sunshine this weekend in the garden! Simon (with some help from Clancy) put the garden bed together from salvaged limestone blocks, which sits in the middle of the backyard, cutting the space in two - part of our backyard project (we do love projects). In addtion, we will build a sandpit for the kids too, under the grapevine to make the most of the shade there.

The limestone is simply lovely and the bed breaks up the space to be more user-friendly. Hoping we can keep things growing during the hot summer months and will rig up the greywater system to service this bed too. We may need to supplement with town (potable) water, but hoping to minimise this as much as possible.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegetables all year round

We had a productive day in the garden yesterday; cleaning out old brassicas (keeping some for seed as well as the last little flowerettes of brocolli), dosing up the peas, beans, garlic and fennel with seasol solution, as well as reconditioning all the potted plants (of which most are flowers such as azalea, peace lilly, pansy and Clancy's 'fairy flowers').
End of the winter garden

We planted some seeds too, of purple running beans, target beetroot, baby carrots, and rainbow Swiss chard. I also transplanted some coriander seedlings and parsley. Now we have a rather full plot which is great!
purple running beans over fennel

The beetroot, carrots, chard and beans can be planted for much of the year in Perth given its mild climate; all seasons but the hot dry summer really (unless you can provide good shade and adequate water for seeds, seedling and young plants). We will see how this summer shapes up and decide if we should put up a shade house at some point.

More generally, the garden layout is beginning to take shape now. We have the terraced corner garden in place, plus I have some hanging basket frames to work with and am on the hunt for secondhand large pots for bushy herbs and small shrubs like lemons and rosemary. As mentioned in a previous post, once we get some paper, mulch and compost down on the terraced bed, we will put in the lemongrass, rhubarb and herbs, plus some oak leaf lettuce that has self-seeded in our planter boxes! Am still looking out for raspberry canes too.
Corner terraced garden

So much to do and the whole of Spring to do it in!

Happy gardening!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Truffles down south

truffle by margoc
truffle a photo by margoc on Flickr.
It's truffle season down south at the moment and we brought back this beauty from a recent trip to Pemberton, from Stonebarn, out near Quinninup. We were hoping to view the dogs in action sniffing out the truffles, but didn't make it down in time - well, there's always a next time.

I think this is the French variety, the Perigord black truffle.

The aroma is exquisite, sweet and earthy, not to mention the fresh, pungent flavour when served on top of free range scrambled eggs! Freshly cracked pepper and some shavings of parmesan top off a full and luxurious brekky.

We also tried truffles on top of creamy mashed potatoes with fillets of ocean trout for dinner - yummo! I can see why truffles are fast becoming a lucrative industry in the lower south west!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Goodbye winter, hello spring

With barely two weeks left of Winter, I'm quite excited to spring into spring! Recently I visited the Mt Claremont markets and grabbed some hydroponically grown tomatoes, a green striped 'zebra' variety. They were so full of flavour too. I scooped the seeds out of one and have saved them to plant in a few weeks, once I kick some spring seedlings off.
Mt Claremont Markets

Have to say that the broccoli and cauliflowers did better than I expected - both small varieties. Of the 6 cauliflower seedlings we got 4 decent heads. And of the brocolli (about 10 plants we got about 5 small heads and perhaps no more than a 1kg of smaller bits - not as productive overall, but lovely and very green! :o)
mini caulie and dwarf broccoli
mini caulie
fennel and broccoli

The peas and beans are starting to move as the weather feels slightly warmer, although we've had such a lot of rain, I've been worried they'd get mildew - so far all is OK. Hoping the white moths won't monster them either!

I have some coriander seedlings to go in, some beetroot - a striped variety called "Target" and a baby beet variety (beta vulgaris). And will put some carrots in as well (we had sown carrot seeds in a large planter, but Clancy keeps "digging for worms" there!).

We have an extra bed now that Simon lined up some limestone blocks in the corner of the yard and cleaned out the grass there. It is quite a large-ish corner, so will terrace it to have two levels. We will put the more permanent things there like galangal, lemongrass, rhubarb and I'd like to also try some raspberry canes along the western lattice fence. Be interested to see how they go in Perth's mild climate. Given they need protection from the afternoon sun, the small shed on the western side should provide some well-needed protection, especially in the hot summer.

Until then, happy gardening!