My garden Pt 2

I appreciate flowers and beauty as much as any man, as my top photo shows, but my garden has to be productive too.

I have retired and living off super and that isn’t as much as it could be, thanks to the action of a business partner who spent the last three years of the business partnership incurring expenses and taking money but producing no income and finally left to go on the dole leaving behind $100K in debts that I had to pay. Consequently, super payments were non existent for a while.

So my garden must delight the senses but also has be “productive” that is, it has to provide fruit, veges and soon eggs to eat and some to sell. Eventually I hope the pond will be productive in two ways, provide fingerlings I can sell to live fish/aquarium shops and allow me to set up an aquaponics system where veges and herbs grow in water pumped up from the pond, absorbing its nutrients before the water returns to the pond.

My fish have been too lazy to breed LOL but I am getting good use out of the pond water. A lemon grass plant that had struggled and produced only thin stems for the kitchen but after a few buckets of pond water over it during the course of a summer it tripled in height and I now cut the thickest stems I ever have seen! Have to change over pond water anyway and so I routinely use pond water with seedlings I am transplanting or where I think plants are doing poorly. Perks them up no end!

I am looking to source water chestnut corms so I can grow them in my pond. Productive! Also fun! Am growing kangkun is a selfwatering pot next to the pond. Great trying new things!

I want chickens for the similar reasons, not just for eggs but as a way of recycling more scraps, especially meat scraps (my terrier doesn’t agree with me here) that otherwise would have to be thrown in the garbage bin. Now it will all recycle into compost. With a chicken tractor I hope to reduce the slater and earwig population in my soil, lost half a dozen tomato seedlings to the dratted earwigs! Grrrr!

Of course, to get anywhere near enough veges I had to expand from the backyard which has an established orchard of 8 established fruit trees I planted yonks ago and so with great glee got rid of more than half of the front lawn and replaced that with tomatoes, eggplant, zuchini, spaghetti squash and charentais rock melon. Enough tomatoes I have only just ran out of the passata I made from my own tomatoes, enough rockmelon I could make a rock melon melomel (mead flavored with fruit, fruit juice or edible flowers esp rose petals) just to use some up and enough eggplant to put aside a few jars of pickled eggplants!

Yes, I brew my own beer and wine, cordials and liqueurs. I brew by what is known as full mash brewing, starting from malted grain, water, hops and yeast. Prefer my beers to have some color—hate beers pale as maidens’ piss—and body and of reasonable alcohol content, less so for summer beers. A good glass of tasty beer is a nice way to end the day! And hot spent grain is lethal to any weeds while dilute wort is like vitamins to plants.

Not growing as many tomato plants as last year due to lack of space, this is my main tomato patch:

Seedlings I raised from seed saved from last years tomatoes:

About 10 years ago I planted two quandong trees in what I like to call my “native quarter” and this year actually had a harvest!

Feast or famine is the other side of a home vege patch/fruit trees. My attitude is, bugger giving stuff away for free! So I preserve fruit: peaches in vanilla syrup is a delightful breakfast, plum and cardamom jam oh out of this world! I made Seville orange marmalade with bought fruit and another batch of with my own blood oranges (OK I bought half a dozen really really “bloody” oranges to deepen the color.) Got tired of cutting up citrus peels pretty damn quick tho. Tedious!

Veges can’t be preserved, of course. The background picture is 5.5lb of broad beans I had podded (marathon podding effort I can tell you) out of pods I had picked before digging the broad bean plants up. Those beans got parboiled and put in my chest freezer. Wow they were nice: not too big so no tough skin, superb, deep flavor! I sold several kilos of pods, more than enough to cover the cost of planting them, and enjoyed quite a few meals of them, superb with pork and tarrgon jelly (home made, of course!)

Full picture:

Note the jar of plum and cardomom jam on the left there.

This year I have 100 strawberry plants already bearing luscious red fruit, artichokes that can be barvested in a few weeks, just about to plant jalapeno chilles and other peppers (I make a mean spicy salsa) and soon eggplant and rockmelon.

I hate pumpkin but in the space made avaible by having a graprefruit tree removed I have sweet corn, tomatoes—and pumpkin as a pure cash crop. I think I got force fed trombone as a kid but can’t hack pumpkin {shudder}

Alas, all this takes way too much time: just planting a dozen seedlings sees my arthritic hip erupt in pain, so it is like 20 minutes gardening and 2 hours resting. This is on a day when the hip isn’t flaming already. Man it sucks! If it wasn’t for the bloody arthritis I would still be happily running my home brew shop “Jovial Monk” and so far is sucking a lot of the joy out of my “retirement.” Early next year I have a hip replacement operation and if the surgeons don’t stuff it up that should give me a lot more mobility! Might even be able to go back to dog training: obedience, agility and tracking!

2 thoughts on “My garden Pt 2

  1. That is Red Russian Kale. I also have green kale (boerekool in Dutch “Farmer’s Cabbage) that I will take a picture of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *