It's been awhile since I've posted a blog - two months in fact! Why did I stop? Well I just felt I had nothing extra to share than what you could see in one of my videos or on instagram and perhaps I just ran out of enthusiasm as well! But I'm back! Hopefully for awhile at least. There is actually plenty extra to share especially at this time of year with the garden going berserk and lots of produce heading to the kitchen. So let's get in to whats been on the go this week at Huttons Valley Permaculture!!
My bees have been very busy since the weather has warmed up and even my newest colony has had a super added to it. The super is the one I've excluded the queen from so only nectar is added here then turned into honey. No eggs or larvae are in this box so the comb is nice and bright and clean. I haven't been up to the bees for awhile, the evidence of this you can see in the second photo above. All of this comb and honey has been removed from the lids of my four colonies. Normally with regular inspection the burr comb (this extra comb built in wrong places) is removed and the bees encouraged just to stick to the frames, but with a bit of extra time they can really build a lot of comb and store a lot of honey. This honey/nectar is headed to mead making as I'm not sure how much moisture is still in it. Mead is easy to make and a great way to use this produce.
The garden is really starting to look beautiful and finally it's heated up enough for even my cucumbers to start growing. These are my first two cucumber babies which makes my happy!
I've got a patch of crispy oak leaf lettuce growing that I have covered with mini shade structures to help protect from the hot sun at the moment. They're growing well and making for great salads to enjoy on these beautiful summer days.
Third photo in is a bunch of rhubarb stalks I've harvested and sent to the kitchen. It's destined to become strawberry and rhubarb jam :)
In one of my recent videos I planted quite a number of golden nugget pumpkin seeds. Happy to report that they all germinated and are growing quickly. Hopefully there's still plenty of time to flower and form some pumpkins before cooler weather hits. My plan is to limit each plant to one or two pumpkins by trimming the growing tip. By doing this I hope all of the energy of the plant will be directed to pumpkin formation. Anyway like lots of things around this place it is an experiment and I'll just have wait and see how it pans out!
Been harvesting plenty of lettuce seeds at the moment. In my photos above is a lollo rosso lettuce which are a deep, beautiful burgundy colour. You can see some of the seeds that I'll save in my hand!
A while back I planted some painted mountain corn and the cobs are nearly ready to harvest. Hopefully the mice don't get into them before I do! When I harvest the cobs I'll be leaving the stalks in place as they form a trellis for the frost beans that I planted a few weeks following planting the corn. These beans are a beautiful bean that will be harvested as a dried bean to be used in soups, casseroles or even a hearty baked bean dish.
Another colourful vegetable thats growing in my garden is golden beetroots. If you haven't grown beets other than the standard maroon colour one give it ago. The colours vary but the vibrancy is just the same, and of course, I think they're beautiful!! These have headed to the kitchen for pickling.
Finally in my images above are my Satsuma plums. You'll see this tree in my video due out this Sunday so be sure to check that out! They are nearly ripe and I keep forgetting to get out there with a net to secure them from the birds. I better do that or they may not leave me any!!
In the kitchen this week I've managed to get some carrots and ginger fermenting. Such a great way to preserve an excess of carrots. At the moment I'm still thinning my bed by taking the largest carrots and leaving the small ones to get bigger. If you are interested I do have a video on how I go about making this.
The beets made it to the kitchen where I boiled and sliced them before bottling with a pickling solution. It'll be about two weeks before they are ready to enjoy.
With so many strawberries coming in from the garden I just had to make a batch of jam. On this occasion I added in the rhubarbs and mixed with sugar and left overnight to macerate. This morning I'm turning it all into yummy jam!
Something I've been meaning to make for awhile is another batch of fermented tomato salsa. I've still plenty of frozen tomatoes and chillies from last year so are trying to move these on before this seasons harvest comes in. I made 16 large jars of this salsa last autumn but I ran out. Probably have to make about 20 jars this year and see how that goes. There is absolutely nothing better than this to add to your breakfast eggs each morning!!
It's been great to have my nephew Trent staying here half the time. He is a paramedic and is stationed now at Leongatha, not far away! He has already started to help around the place with chopping up, and moving fallen branches. Yes!! These activities are hard to get to with so many other things to keep me busy at this time of year. Thanks Trent!!
Any way I hope to keep up with a weekly blog starting again with this one! Please leave a comment to keep me encouraged to do it!!
Thanks everyone - have a great week!