Friday, 20 April 2012

Autumn Hues

Autumn is such a fantastic season in these parts, and one of the main reasons I wanted to move back to the Canberra region.

I went for a lovely extended early morning walk in the fog with my furry child today. The air was crisp and clean, nobody was about, and it was beautifully quiet, peaceful and serene.

I walked up the driveway to this dazzling display of autumn colour from our crab apples. They have been in about 2.5 years, but this year has been their best autumn colour by far (although the photos don't do the colours nearly enough justice)

Life is good :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Autumn Harvest - Take 2

Easter has now been and gone, chocolate overload - and associated undesirable behaviour from too much sugar and preservatives - is toning down, and we have had our first frost of the season this morning. Today, I have been watching the last of the summer veggies wilt and die from the frost, and thought I best escape to the garden to see what I could salvage.

I am pretty disappointed with my pumpkin haul this year. Last year we had over 30 butternut pumpkins and this year I only got two butternuts from the vines I purposefully planted, and the rest were self sown. I think it had to do with where I planted them. Although the spot on the hill running down to the tank is perfect as they can spread to their heart's delight, better preparation of the soil over winter is in order to hopefully ensure a better crop next year. From the top I have Queensland Blue, Kent, Butternut and three veggie spaghetti.

Here is what else I managed to salvage from the garden - the last of the tomatoes (although I did get a 10L bucketful the day before), cayenne chillies, two lonely eggplants, quite a few more capsicums than I thought I had, and a motherload of apple cucumbers. Nobody in our house eats them except for hubby, who obviously didn't keep up his end of the bargain! Anyone know of a good pickles recipe?

Here are our lovely loofahs in the greenhouse. I have never seen a vine die so quick from a frost as the loofah vine. I picked all the ones that were a decent size and read somewhere that they are meant to rattle (with their seeds) when they are ready. None of mine did that so I am hoping to dry them out for a couple of days and then it will happen! I am pretty happy with the haul considering only two vines survived and we are in a cool climate area, which also had a cool summer. Oh, and you can probably see the tomatoes hanging in the centre there. I read/was told by someone somewhere that if you hang the unripened tomatoes up in a warm spot they will still ripen. Its an experiment.

I tidied up the greenhouse today too as it had become a bit of a dumping ground over summer. The mice have had a field day in there (I would have thought it was way too hot?), and am a bit worried that their slithery friends higher up the food chain have also made residence in there. But everything is back in order and ready for the cool season ahead. The potting bench has been cleared in anticipation and luckily I already had the cos and mignonette lettuce, tomato seedlings and rocket in there or I would have lost them this morning as well. Over the weekend I managed to finally plant out the garlic, clear some beds for the onions (the seedlings are in the background), and readied the other half of the pea bed for more peas, snow peas and broad beans. I was meant to plant them yesterday, and then today, but it has still yet to happen. Maybe tomorrow :)