"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Dinner from the garden - in more ways than one

This has been an interesting summer.  I have been able to confirm what I can, and what I can't grow in my garden.

What I can grow is (and in no particular order, but just as it pops into my head):

I am very proud of this beetroot
- my biggest yet - and grown in my new
raised veggie bed enclosed vegetable patch.
Aubergine (eggplant)
Corn - not that successful because of the strange position on the retainer wall, however I did plant a second crop in December, next to my new enclosed vegetable patch where they are more protected from the wind, and are in a more traditional 'block' planting, and they are doing beautifully!
Peppers (capsicum)
Potatoes - coming on nicely
Yams - spreading all over the place :-)
Lemon trees from pips LOL
Pomegranate trees from cuttings
and sundry other herbs

What I cannot grow are:

Pumpkins ) actually, to be fair, I don't honestly know about these, as RSon
Squash    ) accidentally trimmed off all the growing points with the strimmer
Zucchini    ) - and, yes, I did loose my cool... But they also got infected with mildew / fungus, and a spray solution of 10% milk with 90% water didn't help

I don't begrudge 10% of my harvest going to
the insects -its' only fair :-)  After all, I am
invading their space.


The latter three all got infested with slugs, teeny-weeny snails (too small to pick off) and I think, whitefly.  My eco-friendly spray didn't stand a chance against that onslaught!  My cucumbers didn't develop properly at all, and all appeared to have been "stung" by something.

RMan is quite happy that the broccoli didn't survive - he's not particular to that vegetable - are any of the menfolk? :-)

He's not that mad about aubergine either, and they are prolific in the garden, so for dinner last night I tried another dish.

I made a Butternut / Aubergine Curry with coconut milk (in the solar oven) and served it with sliced chicken fillets pan-fried in butter, solar cooked rice, the last of my dreaded broccoli and a (solar cooked) beetroot salad.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.

I hate it when I watch a cooking programme and the chef says "Delicious - absolutely scrumptious" and I have no way of verifying that, so, being in the same position now, I can only ask you to take my word for it, it really was good.

All in all, I'm more than content with what does grow in my garden - especially given the limited space I have to grow vegetables in.  Next year I will focus all my energy, and space, on what I know is successful, and, if necessary, will purchase the dreaded broccoli from my local greengrocer if I have to... 

All solar cooked dishes mentioned on this blog will be in my (hopefully) soon to be released "Free from the Sun" solar cookbook.


Jane said...

If you can get diatomaceous earth in your area, it works great at keeping slugs and snails off of your vegetables. It is made from microscopic shells and causes the slugs to be cut as they try to crawl over it. It also does not affect the soil and is non toxic. You have a very good selection growing in your garden this year.

Mr. H. said...

I have to say that it really surprises me that you can grow beets as I always considered them to do better in a cooler climate...really intersting and what a perfect beet in your picture. On the other hand I would think that heat loving squash, pumpkins, and zucchini would thrive in your warmer area. Slugs too, I thought they were mostly in damp or cool climates. Just goes to show how little I know of what others can grow. It sounds like you have a very wide selection of crops that can do well in your climate. Your meal does look and sound delicious.

Dani said...

Jane - thanks for the tip. Would you recommend adding diatomaceous earth as is in powder form or mixing with water and spraying on?

Mr H - Yeah - would've thought that squash, etc would've done well - maybe it's the coastal air affecting them - and maybe I'll have more luck on the farm...

Jane said...

Dani, Just sprinkle it on the plants dry. I think it only works when dry. You must reapply after it rains or you water. I had a huge slug problem in my greenhouse, but after using it in there, I have not hand any problem at all. It was like a miracle. It works on a host of other bugs also.

Dani said...

Jane - thanks for the info :-)

Leigh said...

I think your results are admirable. Learning how to grow various types of veggies is a challenge, and so is learning to eat them! LOL I like that you organized your post by what grew well versus what didn't. More and more I'm thinking I should focus on plants that like to grow where I live, rather than put a lot of energy and time into things that I like, but don't do so well here. It's always a learning experience, isn't it?

Dani said...

Leigh - I reckon by focusing on what will grow I will also be saving the most important resource of all - water! Experience is the greatest teacher :-)

Mr. H. said...

Hmm, your last post has no comment section that I can see?

Dani said...

Thanks Mr H - sorted. Dunno how / why my settings changed.