"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 27 November 2013

Spring garden goodies

Welcome to dreamer - my newest follower.  dreamer is from southern Scotland - an area called Cairnsmore to be specific.
dreamer doesn't appear to have a blog / web page - if I'm wrong, dreamer, please let me know, and I'll gladly insert the link.  Thanks for hitting the followers button.

Update: dreamers bog can be found at : http://dreamer-dreamingofasimplelife.blogspot.co.uk/

She has a very interesting blog - won't you pop round and have a look?


The first plants to start producing this spring were my strawberries.  They were so eager that they started flowering at the beginning of July!!
I have never known strawberry plants to produce
flowers, never mind fruit, in July...
...in South Africa?!?
The three ducks that we inherited from one of our neighbours over a month ago, found they had a taste for strawberries, and proceeded to wipe out as many as they could, Until I caught them in the act.  And here I blamed those poor field mice again...

So - that resulted in my buying some bird netting from the local co-op and draping the entire 25mtr long bed.  And here my poor brain thought bird netting was only for the flying kind...
Strawberries - some for eating and the rest
I popped into the freezer until I have enough
to make jam...
The strawberry plants have produced a fair number, but not all at once.  So, apart from those we've eaten fresh, I popped the other strawberries into bags which I keep in the freezer.  I figured that once they stop producing, I can take the strawberries from the freezer and make jam with them - in my solar oven. Yum - can't wait :)

I've harvested about 5 kgs so far...
The plum trees were the first
to blossom - t'was stunning to
Then the fruit trees - the plum trees were the first to get those gorgeous, uplifting, awe-inspiring spring blossoms.  And loads of fruit - which the wind proceeded to blow off.  Ah well, I think the trees are only two years old and still need a year before they should be allowed to keep their fruit - so nature is guiding me well.
Peach tree in blossom
You recall back in May this year that I wrote about saving those onion bottoms and, after allowing the dried roots to re-hydrate in a small bowl of water for a couple of days, planting them back in your veggie patch?

Well, the pic below is one of those "re purposed" onions.
Five onions gorwing from the old bottom of a single
onion - whoo hoo!
Here I thought each onion bottom would only grow one onion, but this one has produced 5!  Happy days :)

Apart from the onions, I also have garlic (which I've harvested most of already), tomatoes, the swiss chard is growing in profusion again (and that's given me a hint of what to make for dinner tonight - creamed spinach with a fried egg and toast), as is my zucchini and pumpkin, and the saved seed from the Franchi Sementi purple and yellow bean plants from last years harvest - and a nice crop of chickpeas and carrots is also growing.  It has already been too hot for my lettuce - even in the shadecloth veggie patch - and the plants have all bolted, but I am going to make a plan to turn up a couple of the re-purposed sub-irrigated Styrofoam containers (that I still have) into  raised veggie patch boxes, literally, and place them in the shade - with light being bounced off from a nearby wall.  That should sort out the overheating / bolting problem.

Those re-purposed styrofoam containers have been brilliant - I've used them for growing plants in, for using as deep drip trays for propagated lemon trees, and as a bath for the newy adopted ducks, amongst many other uses.  S'funny, talking about the ducks - whoever owns them has not come looking...? Maybe they have too many?  But, they're free to return home - the way they came - however that was...

None of my chilli and pepper seeds has peeked above ground yet, and I have still to buy a tray of aubergines seedlings from the local nursery - it would appear that I am completely unable to rear them, so I leave that to the experts LOL

And finally, for the first time, I have managed to grow cabbages - I companion planted them amongst the strawberries LOL  So  - there is lots of coleslaw in the future, as well as stuffed cabbage leaves cooked in the solar oven, and cabbage cooked in milk, instead of water, with garlic, butter, salt and pepper - quite delicious :)  Maybe I'll try fermenting some cabbage too - if it's not too hot...


  1. Looking good, Dani! Coincidentally, I emptied my small chest freezer yesterday to put 6 gallons of cider in the bottom and do a quick inventory. I was thrilled to find that I had frozen even more strawberries than remembered!

    1. Quinn - The joys of finding hidden treasures at the bottom of the freezer LOL

  2. It's lovely to read about your garden being productive when the days here are now cold and grey and the garden has been put to bed for the winter.
    If it's any consolation I never have any success getting aubergines started either :)

    I do have a blog it is -

    1. dreamer - Thanks - I have updated the welcome :)

  3. Makes me want to have Spring all over again. It's even cold for our neck of the woods but will only last a couple of days which makes it quite enjoyable.

    1. DFW - S'funny - I generally feel that too, as we head in to winter and the overseas blogs are all showing pics of spring. But, then I console myself that if nature can take a break, I should too :)

  4. Can I just tell you how nice it is to read about planting and growing things right now??? We are cold, wet and soggy in this part of the US. I am sitting at my desk right now dreaming up my spring garden and wondering how many straw bale gardens I should do.
    *sigh of contentment*
    That's AMAZING about the onion ends. I'm totally doing that as soon as I get home. I replant green onion bottoms out in the beds and regrow them but haven't tried with just regular globe onions.

    1. Lindsey - I am giving you a peek into a future blog posting - I am trying to grow pumpkins three different ways - in the ground (which dries out rapidly in the heat of winter), in a stack of 3 car tyres, and in some straw bales. I'll let you know which one produces more...

  5. Funny to think of it being spring there. It's icy and freezing here on my mountain today. Just going out to put water in the animal troughs is tough.

    1. Harry - the yin and yang of life... :)

      Stay warm.

  6. I just started growing strawberries, but they never make it inside - I reckon they are the gardeners treat!

    1. AA - That used to be the fate of my strawberries too - but now I have so much growing space, and so many plants that making jam is feasible - provided I manage to keep them until I have enough... :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.