Friday, April 17, 2009

Change of Seasons

It definitely is the change of season time. Today I dug out a whole heap of tomatoes that were not ripening, and gave the lot away to pickles makers.

This is what Bed #1 looks like now:


This is what it looked like in December - before I had exactly worked out my photo naming system, so I am unsure of the date (I edit pics and lose the date taken)


There is one thing this has taught me, for sure. It is that I need to stand at the same place (ie a set place each end) and take the same photograph, month by month. Even now, I cannot believe how much there was in this garden in December and January.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tree Onions all Gone

The Tree Onion bulblets for this year have all gone. My Beloved wanted to try pickling some (in Beetroot Juice), as cocktail onions. He didn't like them, but it considerably reduced the number I had available.

If you would like some next year, you can register with me by e-mail and you will be top of the list for the next lot.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Random Thoughts on Green Tomato Pickles

We have spent most of Easter making an in-depth study of Green Tomato Pickles. The bushes are all still loaded (mainly the Romas), but they are not ripening, and the beds are needed. So out they come.

Waste not, want not.

So we have made two batches and are on the third.

All recipes seem to be a combination of tomatoes, onions and sometimes capsicum/peppers - usually red for colour.

Brining seems to be either wet (salt and water) or dry (just salt). What gets me is that a number of recipes don't suggest you wash the vegetables after brining. Imagine the overpowering salt that would be in them!

The vinegar and sugar (very high) seem around the same, but the spices vary. The first one I used had fresh ginger in it, which I liked. But there is also paprika, curry, mustard and powdered allspice.

So the batch we are making now is that of my Beloved's late Mother - and it is fascinating to see how few spices are in there - just curry (lots!) and turmeric (also lots). Thinking about it, he feels his mother would have had very few spices in her armoury - probably mustard, curry, probably not even paprika. Fascinating.

Has anyone heard of any of any other vegetables routinely added to Green Tomato Pickles?

(And yes, we did make a batch of Spicy Mustard Pickles in there - cauliflower, green beans, corn, onion and capsicums. We only had to buy the cauliflower.)

I can feel a batch of Zucchini pickles coming up - if we don't run out of bottles.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Keeping Records

Long time, no blogging. Life has been busy in the garden, but it is only with the Easter break that I am finding a little time again. And today, only after getting two large batches of pickles on to brine.

So, because I am at work in the kitchen, my mind has turned to record keeping. Years ago I tried keeping a paper diary for the garden, but it was too difficult. The only one I keep now is an exercise book in which I make notes about which pickles and sauce recipes I use - and how I vary them, what we think of them etc. That book has been going since 2000, and is really useful. My Beloved also has an exercise book in which he scrawls some details when he plants seeds.

The other thing that I have now settled on, is how I name and keep photographs. I have a folder just for garden photographs, within my photographs. Then, within each one, I create a folder for the month, naming it with the year and month. This month is 2009-04. That way the folders are always in order. There are also a few sub-folders in the main directory for themes such as Irises, when I am trying to work out which one is where.

Within the folder for the month, I name the photographs with the date taken, down to the day. Then each one taken that day is given a letter of the alphabet. This photograph is 2009-03-21h. In other words, it was taken on 21 March this year. That way I can compare the progress for this month with the same time last year.


So my main record now is this blog, which has been going for a few years. This is where I put odd comments about the unusual - such as that in our first year of growing Amish Paste tomatoes, which look a bit like Ox Heart, that this year it has grown a complete second crop. I picked the first, it flowered again, and I now have another heavy crop on one bush. All my other bushes for the Amish Paste

Has anyone else had that happen with Ox Heart / Amish Paste?

This was the second crop a few weeks ago - it is much heavier now.


And my first crop of green manure is in. I was quite impressed with it last year, so tried to get it in earlier this year than June.