"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

Monday, 17 December 2012

Pesky solutions

Because of the building chaos I started planting my seedlings late this season.

Before I did that though, I came across these fellows - left-overs from last year.  And what whoppers they were too.
Hidden treasure - and what a treasure :)
Ginamormous carrots and parsnips.
The carrot measured 21 cms long by 8 cms wide.  Who cared if they were a tad nibbled - I'm willing to share our harvest - to a point LOL

Who says you have to keep left-overs in the fridge?  Mother nature provides the best storage solution of all, I reckon.

But, speaking of nibbled.

I discovered that we have a family of hares who have taken up residence in our garden at night.  And, topping their list of midnight snacks was... 
Whose been eating my porridge corn?
  ... my mealies.  Hmmm, again sharing is caring, but c'mon guys, let the corn grow a little first - please!
Hare prevention proceeds.
I didn't get as many corn plants in the ground
as I'd hoped, but, hey - 
there's always next year :)
So, this called for a solution.  I had read somewhere that to create a stake of poles round a (small) mealie patch allowed one to provide support for them in windy areas.  So - poles went in at each corner and at mid-point between the corners of the small corn patch.  With cross poles too.
The poles and cross members go in
Round and over the poles...
Protected corn bed behind, and my beautiful
oes in tyres in front - they appear to
love their special beds, and it makes
harvesting them sooooo much easier, especially
as our soil hardens to a 
consistency of cement 
in the heat of summer.
...I draped bird netting - nice, perfect bird netting just waiting to entangle a paw or two - which never happened.  Clever hares :)
Grow little mealies - grow...
It worked!  :)
A bit of TLC, and look - my mealies had a
chance to grow and they're saying thank you
When the corn was high enough I simply removed the netting and allowed the corn to grow skywards.  And then had to drape the bird netting over the strawberries, as the birds have taken a fancy to a meal of them.

But, I have left the poles in situ - for when the plants are taller and might need some wind support.
Sunflowers, corn, beans and squash
happily sharing the same bed.  Thank

goodness for the porous pipe - in the
heat we're experiencing, it's taking
care of all the watering that's
needed :)
This is my first year of growing sunflowers, corn in any quantity (I didn't plant enough, but I've learnt my lesson for next year) and members of the squash family.  In our town house, with it's sandy beach soil garden, squash didn't perform - no matter how much compost I put into the ground. 

The soil on the farm - well now, that is a different matter.  Everything, thankfully, seems to love it.  Or is it because I prepared the beds with plenty of compost and combined growing corn, squash, beans and sunflowers in the same bed?  Whatever.  I'm thrilled :)

I love my sunflowers - their burst of yellow brightens up every day.  Even if they are a little confused and aren't facing the sun.  Guess the hectic winds we have blowing may have something to do with that?  Speaking of wind - or was it the hares...?
Broken and deformed  but
determined to make something
of it's life this sunflower
beat the odds
Whatever it was, something broke this sunflower stem - I thought the plant was a gonner.  But I left it in place, and it rewarded me by growing none the less.  So it's shorter, and it's deformed.  But I love it :)
Good morning day :)
Who could be grumpy when viewing this first thing in the morning?

So, what have I harvested from my garden which I planted late ?

Firstly, the ever faithful swiss chard :)  Bowls and bowls of yummy creamed spinach (or should I say creamed swiss chard?)  But you know what I mean.
Swiss chard - bolting a little
due to the heat
I've picked armfuls of the stuff and there's still more and more growing in the shadecloth greenhouse.
Yum - I can taste the creamed spinach swiss chard
DD, WGuy and MKid arrived late on Saturday.  MKid and DD came to inspect what was growing and then joined me in harvesting ... ta da! - my first ever marrows.  And gem squash.  And, as you can see from the pic below, we also harvested...
Broad beans, gem squash and no-so-baby marrows LOL
... broad beans!?!?!  In December?  Delicious they were too.  Added to a salad their cold, pre-cooked crunchiness added a special something extra.  I had left the base of the plants in the ground at what I thought was the end of their season in order to allow them to share their nitrogen with the next crop.  But, they obviously had decided that they wanted to produce more than nitrogen LOL

Does anyone have any recipes for preserving (baby or not so baby LOL) marrows - they're growing voraciously!


Linda said...

I love sunflowers! They are the happiest flowers you could ever grow. Your garden looks great and you seem to be keeping in front of the pests and problems. Well done! There's power in observation.

tami said...

Nice to see your garden pics, Dani. SM and I were talking about running some fencing down the middle of our gardens for vertical veggie support this year.

Love to see the sunflowers! As Linda says above, they are a "Happy" flower.

Dani said...

Linda - They are, aren't they :) Thanks, but as I said I should've planted more corn...

Yup - only way to garden is to be observant, especially if you are not using pesticides, etc. :)

Dani said...

tami - Where we are veggie supports are vital against the howling winds we experience.

Sunflowers - I don't have the where with all to make sunflower oil, but love eating the seeds. But, I'm definitely going to grow them next year - they are just too cheery not to LOL

quinn said...

That game little sunflower made me smile - thanks!

tffnguy said...

I'd call that a farm for sure.Sure wish I had decent soil around here!

Mrs. Mac said...

Looking good there in the garden!

Dani said...

quinn - You're very welcome :)

Dani said...

tffnguy - Must be tough - I'd find it difficult to live out in the country, as you do, and NOT grow something.

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - Thanks :)

Kris said...

Nice net job on the vegs! And how I wish I had your knack with chard. I'm good with kale, but chard eludes me. Love the sunflowers. It's so grim and gloomy here the past few days and a bright yellow face like that would be welcome! :-D

Leigh said...

Dani, your garden is looking great. Such a cheerful thing to see now that we have wintry cold upon us! I do know it's a challenge to keep up a garden in the middle of a building (or remodeling) project. Glad to see you are being diligent!

Dani said...

Leigh - Thank you. I am diligent now, but was slack when I should have been at the beginning of the season. Hope my crop isn't going to suffer too much...

Dani said...

Kris - Apologies for the delayed reply - we had such a heat wave yesterday that the fridge and switching on the freezer took preferential power :)

I've never seen kale available here, but surely kale and swiss chard must belong to the same family?

The sunflower pic was specially for all of those in the throes of winter in the Northern Hemisphere :)

Kris said...

Kale is of the brassica family (cole crops) while chard is a member of the beet family. Each have their own nutritional profile, but both of them are delicious! Glad each of us is successful with at least one of them. If you can find Tuscan (black) kale seeds, I highly recommend them.

Dani said...

Kris - Cool -thanks for the info. I've never seen anyone talk about kale in South Africa, but I will have a look out for seeds...

JaneofVirginia said...

Dani, Everything looks amazing. Merry Christmas to you and to yours with love, and I can't wait for planting season to be back here again !

Dani said...

Jane - Thank you, my friend.

And Merry, Merry to you too :) God Bless.

Jody said...

Great job with the hares! You're really working hard over there. I'd like to hear more about your "creamed spinach" recipe.

Dani said...

Jody - Thanks LOL The creamed spinach recipe is there - hover your cursor over the words :)