Steps in my Spring…

Success” on our weekends tends to be measured in major infrastructure projects. This month I have been keen to build, install and plant ALL the backyard garden beds in one hit (more below) but life has, as usual, got in the way. Still, there are plenty of achievements if I start looking…

  • Harvested about 1.5kg of carrots to clear part of the bed for a compost bin. This is in preparation to rejuvenate the bed and plant climbing beans on a bamboo-framed trellis around its perimeter. It was surprising to see how well many of the carrots had grown in spite of being packed in like sardines!
  • Cleared about 8m2 of kikuyu from the backyard – a bin full.
  • Bedded the second of five new timber raised garden beds into the backyard. These will form a continuous garden along the back and side fence and adjacent to the garden shed, with a view to growing pumpkin vines from the raised bed up to the shed roof! As all the old concrete has now been cleared, there are no flat surfaces left for assembling the remaining garden beds. May have to colonise the footpath for half a day…
  • Tied up the tomato plants which are rocketing along as the weather warms up.
  • Yesterday turned the contents of my first mid-garden-bed compost bin (this is amongst the tomato plants) and found to my surprise that it was really warm inside and rotting along nicely. Also packs a powerful pong when turned! This was in contrast to the neglected bin which I’ve moved today. The difference? More frequent top-ups of scraps, and watering the compost whenever I water the surrounding garden bed. Let’s see if the same recipe works for the new bin!
  • By the way, compost turning in the bins is with a compost screw – MUCH easier than poking a fork or shovel into the bin, or removing the bin altogether for turning, especially if the bin is dug into the ground a bit to deter rodents.
  • Pulled out the insanely prolific sweet peas that had finished flowering, and used them to deep mulch inside the eastern fence. Hopefully they will give a nitrogen boost to the citrus trees inside the fence and also provide some shelter from afternoon sun and westerly winds for the newly emerging baby carrots and spring onions just outside the fence.
RECIPE:
Last night’s dinner was a winner: Garden Gado-gado. Here’s how it went:
6 warm boiled eggs
lots of fresh cos lettuce
2 cups chopped blanched wombok (Chinese cabbage)
3 grated carrots
1 cup blanched green beans
1/2 cup raw baby peas
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
a few baby red radishes, thinly sliced
Peanut sauce
For the peanut sauce, warm the following in a saucepan until just blended and thick enough for pouring over the salad:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tsp fresh finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp palm sugar, chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
chili powder to taste
dash of ketjap manis
To assemble, arrange the cos lettuce as the base on each plate, then top with wombok, grated carrot, beans, peas. Pour sauce over this lot, then top with quartered warm eggs and sprinkle with the spring onions and radish slices. Spectacularly colourful and the plates were licked clean.
You could use any vegies really, and bean shoots would have been good too. The purple cabbage that I had proudly harvested was rejected at the last minute thanks to the millions of slugs and earwigs hiding in it. Never mind, great fodder for starting that new compost ;)
PS – PESTS IN THE VEGIE GARDEN:
Which reminds me: cider traps for slugs, snails and millipedes really work. The tame local magpie doesn’t. She’s great for catching mice but slugs are not her thing. My veg seedlings are still disappearing as fast as they pop their heads up, but the little jars of cider yield a handful of critters each morning. I suppose they are dying doubly happy then, with bellies full of baby lettuce and cider. Next time I find one of those infested purple cabbages, I think I’ll try leaving a few of its leaves upside down around the vegie beds and collecting them along with their slimy inhabitants in the morning.
Any slug success stories?
This entry was posted in garden design, organic gardening, recipes, vegetables and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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