Happy New Year!! For all of my original subscribers - thanks for hanging around and for more recent subscribers who may have been wondering what's going on - thanks for subscribing and welcome to the first post of 2023!
I think my last blog post was back in April so it's been a fair while but I'm back. I've decided that posting monthly is very doable and gives me a chance to share the happenings of that month. There is always something exciting happening and it brings me joy to share it all. Hopefully you will find some joy in these things too!!
The garden has finally come to life this month after quite a cool spring and start to summer. My efforts to increase the diversity of flowering plants in the front vegetable garden has been rewarded with the appearance of many spectacular flowers - a few of which are displayed above. There a few different types of sunflowers, hollyhock, zinnias alongside the usual california poppy, nasturtiums and globe artichoke flowers. It has me inspired to keep adding to the variety each year - we'll see how I go!!
With the warmer weather comes the fruit. The berries have been plentiful starting in December and continuing right through this month. I have a freezer full of boysenberries, blueberries and strawberries. Red and black currant harvests have provided enough fruit to make some jellies with, although they are still sitting in the freezer waiting for the day to come for that transformation!!
The birds were certainly on to the fact that my plums were ripening - beating me to quite a few of them before I caught on. No problem though, as I managed to harvest lots for fresh eating and for preserving. I still have quite a bit of plum jam, chutney and sauce from last year so most of this harvest will head to the freezer to be enjoyed later in the year.
The front veggie garden has been very productive which means my trips to the grocery store are few and far between. Yay!! Grocery shopping was never a favourite activity of mine - much prefer a stroll through the garden to decide on the days menu.
A couple of big harvests from the garden this month has been the onions and potatoes. It's really only my second successful onion year ever so I was pretty pleased with the 20 kg or so haul of onions. I use a lot in my preserving of other vegetables but I also preserve some with pickling, freezing and dehydrating to make the most of the harvest.
The potato haul was massive - so much more than I had anticipated. I started out just harvesting bit by bit to meet my daily needs but the birds messed with that plan by messing with my garden bed. They kept digging around and uncovering a lot of the surface growing potatoes which then turned green and in some cases started to re sprout. All the spuds had to be pulled out so the birds couldn't destroy them all.
Nothing beats the fun of a potato harvest. It really is like digging for gold haha! At the end of it all I had pulled out a massive 90kg of potatoes!!! I will be sharing some, selling some, eating now and preserving for later. I usually parboil then freeze for chips or roasting, mash then freeze and I'll also make a small quantity of gnocchi which is a bit of a treat to pull from the freezer and enjoy.
My 2023 plans (or wish list!!) were announced in a video earlier this month in a hope that that would hold me more accountable for getting them done! Well I have completed the first project from that list by installing a swivel pipe in my roadside swale. The water was leaking to the gully which was not what I had designed. The swivel pipe will stop that leak and give me better control over where the water heads - the gully or the dam - now it's my choice!!
Another project on that list was one that nephew Trent was in charge of and that is the building of the kiwi vine trellis. Happy to announce that he has now finished and has done an amazing job. He has created a very sturdy structure that should hold up a couple of vigorously growing kiwi vines well into the future. His payment - plenty of kiwi fruit in the coming years and a massive pat on the back!! Thanks Trent!!
The only livestock update of interest is the arrival of six cute ducklings at the start of the month. These lucky ducks have two devoted mums who haven't left these guys alone yet since hatching. I have three more ducks sitting on nests so these wont be the only ducklings born this year!
Well that's about it for the month. It's good to be back and I hope you've enjoyed this update. Be sure to look out for next month's edition at the end of February.
Enjoy the month ahead