"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

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Harvest update

My tomato harvest this year may not have been the greatest - the field mice took care of that.

But I have been blessed with other goodies.  Swiss chard by the armfuls again.  And capsicum...
The aubergine's are busy producing...
And then all the Mother Hubbard (squash) varieties...
Baby butternut
I'm completely gob-smacked that the tiny "flower" is butternut shaped - toooo cute!  All my maternal instincts rose to the fore, and I rush out each morning to check on the progress of this little bit of presciousness LOL
Gem squash
...Gem squash - I haven't seen them appear on blogs overseas, but gem squash are brilliant!  Filled with mince, and topped off with grated cheese, or (for me) filled with mixed chopped vegetables and nuts and a bechamel sauce, or just dressed with a nob of butter and salt and pepper, or finally butter and a teaspoon of honey - kids love it that way.  Especially if you let them tuck in with a teaspoon :)

Gem squash are very easy to grow and are producing madly.  Thankfully they keep for quite a while, so we have time to consume the masses that are being produced.
 ...And zucchini have also been a great producer...
But the one above has me very confused.  This one was growing happily, without the flower having been fertilized.  It is about 19cms in length and inside there are no seeds whatsoever.  Is this normal?
Giant 38cm zucchini
And if you don't pick the zucchini in time then you end up with a 38cm marrow... LOL

The gem squash, pumpkins, zucchini and butternut were all grown happily together in the same beds with the corn and sunflowers.  Being totally honest, I must confess that I didn't prepare the holes for any of the squash adequately - next year they will be much deeper, with more compost, and a layer of straw covering them to help retain the water.

Next season I am going to focus more on gem squash and pumpkins and I'll give butternut another go - with fresh seeds.  Zucchini - they produce too many for us to happily consume in time, and they don't keep.  I prefer to grow produce that can keep, or that can be preserved, so that we can enjoy them when the garden is not producing in winter.
Giant red onion
Talking about giant - I left a red onion in situ from last season, figuring it was too small to do much with.  What I have ended up with is a 14cm red onion!
14cms red onion
I wonder how many tears it is going to produce when I cut into it...


  1. You've grown so much food! We've had no rain for months. It's hard to even imagine good crops again. Surely it has to rain again sometime! And I love your little pumpkin! I'd be keeping an eye on it too.

    1. Linda - I feel for you - big time. Honestly, I couldn't have grown anything without our irrigation system which switches on at 4.30a.m. and irrigates everything via the porous pipe.

      Without that I would have the same story to tell that you do. Hang in there - the rain is coming...

  2. Two courgette/zucchini plants are more than enough eating. Was it in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that there was a funny bit about how people would randomly leave bags full of them in neighbour's cars, hanging on doorknobs etc, anywhere just to get rid of them. LOL

    Don't forget that they're good for using in baking as well (muffins and what have you). Because they don't keep well I tend to have them a lot during the couple of months they're available - by the time they're gone I don't miss them but by the time they come back again I can't wait. I also use them a lot making chutney so whenever I do get my own garden again I suspect I may usually have more than two plants every year. The gem squash looks interesting - I think I've seen it in cookbooks before but I'm not sure I've ever seen it in real life.

    1. Moonwaves - LOL two zucchini plants are MORE than enough.

      The gem squash are brilliant and are as productive as zucchini, and are definitely more versatile, so I will definitely be planting more of them next season.

  3. So many wonderful varieties growing in your garden! I, too, love butternuts! Didn't grow a single one last year, though, because I mistakenly planted pumpkins instead! Ugh...

    Anyhow, hope that giant onion doesn't drain you of all your tears when your cut into it! Man...I cry like a baby while cutting onions!

    1. Bee Girl - I made the same mistake. During the move the seeds go mixed up, and what I thought was only pumpkin, was butternut, zucchini, squash and pumpkin LOL

      A tip for cutting onions - store them in the fridge, and always cut the sprouting end (not the root end) :)

  4. Well my veggie growing has been pitiful even though I planted with the moon... I got a good crop of beans, about 1 kg - and half a kilo of peas and 10 zucchini. Bringals, swiss chard beetroot and even tomatoes never produced any thing. Perhaps not enough composst. Will I try again next year? I don't think so. I spent R 160.00 on seeds and got R 60.00 in produce. I will rather support our farmers

    1. Brat - Aw - sorry to hear about your crop failure. But, as you say, perhaps more compost. And regular water? Why not try just growing a couple of your favourite plants instead of a range. Btw, I normally grow peas as a winter crop - like sweet peas which are planted in March...


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