Sunday, September 15, 2013

Panfry: One turn is the answer

Whatever it is and how welk done you want it - the answer is in one turn. These foreqaurter lamb chopas have been on a (low) heat for 15 minutes. They're juicy and bleeding from the top. A single turn and thre minutes (all low heat) will do it.
Better get to it now.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Capeweed. What a scourge!

This shit is the worst. At the dropzone where I hang out it's everywhere. I hits twitch some broadleaf weed killer and we'll see how it goes. But this stuff is crap.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Asparagus: Painstaking

Their second year. 3 of 5 made it through to shoot, now we just strengthen it up all year. But it's a 20 year asset.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Late winter sunset

Early peaches and rocket in flower, almonds and loquat in fruit, a nice 22 degree day. Bring it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Low fat ground beef

You don't need to spend extra for low fat mince. But you do need to lay it on paper towel after the first fry. Not brain science or rocket surgery, but it does save $8 per kg. Eight dollars I need these days. The chooks love the leftover paper towel, too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Potato and Leek

I'm sure I did this post last year but when leeks are $1 each (good), potatoes are plentiful and the freezer is full of stock you'd be crazy to not make this.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

French onion soup - yeh!

My lovely girl Mia once referred to me as "the user", mhm. Can I rephrase that to "the user upper" although discussion could be entered into.

I use stuff up. These days when I cook a meal I don't serve for myself. I just eat what my family doesn't. We've had the discussion about spit. When there is too much broccoli I cook broccoli dishes. Too many eggs welcome to the quiches.

So I found myself (through too much buying and a really good price deal) with too many brown onions. I wish I could feel different but shit, the French are good at lots of things. So with a freezer full of stock and too many onions I found a use. And it's gourmet!

Technique can turn boring stuff into brilliance.

The one I did was basically a French onion process with a few mushrooms extra..

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Lessons from packaging: put your bread in an airtight bag

Yeh sure. It comes in a bag with holes in it. But that's so that whoever cooked it can throw it straight into a bag while it's hot and steaming.

As soon as the bread is room temperature you're losing value.

Get it into a plain bag.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Complete Mineral Mix on bare soil

Garden Check

Make the most of this rain. It'll be gone before you know it. Here's my list of what a garden should be like now:
  • Stone fruit trees, grapevines and roses pruned. I like to prune these ones hard.
  • Leaf litter and all that junk raked up from under the trees and grapevines and composting - you want bare soil here at this moment to minimise the fungus and insect disease lifecycle.
  • Some sort of fertiliser on that bare soil. I'll put complete mineral mix or citrus food out, but sometimes for some organic touch it can be dynamic lifter or blood and bone. I put cow manure out, about three weeks ago - same deal.
  • Get onto your citrus. In particular if you have bloating on the stems cut the stuff out, burn it or put it in the green waste. It's citrus gall wasp - leave it there after Aug and the wasps will hatch and resettle on your tree. It a few years your beautiful citrus tree will look like the elephant man. Be brave.
  • Notwithstanding the above, cut your citrus hard, right now. As the soils warm you'll get beautiful green shoots. I have cut all my citrus back to 30%.
  • After all pruning, spray with a garden oil. The type doesn't really matter at this time of year. Winter oil, pest oil, eco oil. It protects against many insects and fungus problems.
  • With stone fruit, spray with a copper fungicide as the pink tips of the flowers/leaves just start to look like they're breaking. It'll help with curly leaf and other problems.
  • Cut the lawn a little high, but keep in mind that kikuyu is about to go into a strong growth phase so over the next four weeks you can reduce the height down to where you have it basically scalped by mid september.
  • I'd throw some organic lawn fertiliser out (upsurge/blade runner) about now.
  • You could start "promoting" your pot plants now. That is repot them up into a slightly larger pot with some fresh soil. It's like letting them out to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

So that's it. Bare soil with fertiliser on it, more tidying. But the season is set to explode. There will be a perfect time to get the mulch on and lock all that moisture in, but it's not right now.

Lighting a fire - seriously

I know a couple who (ostensibly) share the task of lighting the fire to keep their place warm. Person A argues that it should be done using newspaper and kindling. And when one has all the stuff it works fine. Person B does it this way:

I've taken to doing ours this way. Two minutes of gas. I'm very glad that Sylvia is OK with it - it can be a little confronting. My friend person B is trying to ban the bottle, gas bottle. But they make about 10% of the fires in the place and do none of the firewood - including kindling - acquisition.

I like using a piece of 4x2 as kindling. I chop too much firewood as it is. I'm sticking with the bottle.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Broccoli pasta rocks!

We've got a fair bit of broccoli around at the moment. Cheap in the shops, and the garden is producing some.

Fast Eddy from BH&G put a recipe over that Sylvia saw on tv, and she liked it. I also like the idea as she told me so I hunted it out. Chop the florets really short, grate the stem. Fry off shallots, garlic, capers and Chilli in olive oil and throw the broccoli in on top. Sweat it off, don't cook. Toss the whole lot through al dente spaghetti.

I'd suggest drizzle as much olive oil - again - as you like, or butter, and serve with grated Parmesan.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Fire chips and Orchid mix

I shook out all that chaff that was left in my driveway from the last delivery. I can use the big bits as kindling and even better - all the fines that I had left over make a perfect potting media for a groosly potbound Orchid I bought four years ago.

Early flowering

That's why I bought an almond last year. First flowers of the season. Followed closely by that miniature nectarine.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kale: A winter grower

Sylv has wanted kale this year and I managed to get some going. One month of winter left and we'll see how we go.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Citrus: Don't be afraid to cut

Right now is a great time. Cut citrus as hard as you like. It'll thank you. I've cut mine pretty hard and laid cow manure underneath. In early september I'll throw out some granular citrus food (yes, chemical) and spray with eco oil.

In mid October I'll do a foliar spray of zinc and manganese,  and some eddha iron chelates into the soil.

It's not magic, its just that nature needs a little hand here.

In many cases cutting hard really is required otherwise the citrus gall wasps will stay on the march.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

That's no hen! Free now.

"Malteser" the rooster goes free. When Jonah asked if I could take one of the chicks that they raised in class at the end of last year I was bloodyminded.

"Make sure it's female because if it's a rooster I'll kill it, and cook it."

Jonah assured me that a chicken sexer had come out and that I was, for sure, getting a girl. Bupbowwwww.

Fast forward six months to where it starts trying to hump my hens, stands a foot and a half tall, has laid no eggs and recently has crowed from 6am until 2pm.

The good news, Jonah and myself had agreed that being male (for Malteser) did not warrant execution. So I rolled up to a pleasant place in the hills, and he has his freedom. That may last only one night or he may live longer than me. But he's free now.

And so are we.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Frangipani success

Lovin' corporate leftovers

At the end of the function when the organiser is saying "do you want to take this home?". I held back but when everyone had gone I was happy enough to take all that bread and cheese.

Yeh sure I have kids to feed. And man, can I make thode ingredients sing! First world problems.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A phantom Jerusalem Cherry

It sprung up in a pot I planted out. I didnt know what it was but it looked yummy.

So then I ate some, got sick and I googled a bit on "Solanacae red berry", and found it was a Jerusalem Cherry. Poisonous for sure, but they are really good perennial plants and apparently easy enough to grow.

You just need to deal with the worriers who think it's up to everyone else to keep their kids and pets safe from poisonous plants.

But I'll be growing a few for next season.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Decline: A good thing

I lobe the way rhat gardens force you to tie into the rhythm of life. And so to see my corn (that failed) ready to o go ti compost is just a part of the game.

Wrlcome to the game.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Overwintering a Pandan Plant

My friends from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have lamented that they can't get fresh pandan leaves from a garden. So I'll have a go at getting this one through winter, under glass.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A "help me" regarding a phantom plant

This plant with (now) the orange fruit self seeded into a pot where I was growing succulents. It's clearly a Solanacae of some sort - the flowers looked like capsicum flowers and the foliage looks like capsicum, tomatoes and even (ugh) deadly nightshade.

So my obvious question - what is it? The plants range from poisonous to yummy (deadly nightshade to Chilli) and I'm wondering whether to pull it out or go with it.

We'll see if Malcolm Campbell has some ideas.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Anatomy of a graft

This graft took. Just a strait angle cut, match up both layers of the wood and tape it. Interesting to see how the scion wood has grown into the rootstock.

But now we have Nonno Guissepe's peach growing in our driveway, on the same (wild) rootstock where I have a funky espalier donut peach.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Goji berries: rare fruit

Rare alright. I've had three plants in for about four years and had about ten of these tiny fruits. But they are available dried, really cheaply in Asian grocers so they must grow well somewhere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Road trip: Bordertown

I have a real soft spot for this place. I travelled here selling Crovac bags from 1995-2001 and have some great friends here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Citrus: Resist the urge to prune in late summer

The window for pruning here in Adelaide has more or less shut, as fat as citrus goes. I'll tell you why.

Pruning stimulates new growth and that growth is green and soft. At the end of summer the citrus leaf miner comes out and destroys those new leaves. As it happens you'll just be pruning all that deformed shit out next spring.

So my advice is that here in Adelaide you should just let it run. Its good to have a lot of leaf through winter. Citrus are tropical and need all the photosynthesis they can get when the soils get cold, the days short and they're trying to ripen their fruit.

Then, here on the plains in Adelaide, prune them hard in October. If it's a strong tree you'll be rewarded with an explosion of new green and a bunch of flowers.

Why nature rules: Living in the moment

Saturday flowers. Monday flowers.

The garden waits for nobody. When the fruit it ripe, eat it. When the time is right to spray, spray. When the flowers are there, enjoy them.

Tomorrow is tomorrow. Now is all we have.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Donut peaches late this year

I'm not complaining but the huge setback from green aphid has meant that I'll be eating mine in Feb while buddy Steve had his before Christmas.

But I should get about 10kg of fruit this year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why nature rules: Always an opportunity to learn, and teach

Walking down to the beach at Sellicks today gave me a great chance to tell one of the kids about millions of years of geology. Very simple, very obvious layers in these cliffs.

Just like millions or (hundreds of thousands at least) years all bottled, for us.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Repotting a Yucca

Take that, you shit. It was hard to get you out of the pot but I can now put you into a bigger one. You did fight me, though.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My trees

Well, they're on my property. But who really owns a tree?

By at this time of night and with the light just right, looking up at them is a pleasure.

Watering just when it matters

A 39 degree day and if you loo hard enough you should be able to see the spray where I'm watering for a half hour. As the sun goes down and for these plants - it's just when it matters.