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Friday, June 17, 2016

Homegrown macadamia nuts

Macadamia nut trees can grow up to 12 metres tall. I have a dwarf version growing in a pot and it's still a good 2 metres high though the nuts themselves tend to be smaller than those available commercially.

I harvest the nuts when the outer casing splits though sometimes they will fall off the tree before this. Macadamia nuts are notoriously hard to crack, especially if they haven't dried enough to shrink from the shell, but I find the Crack-A-Mac handheld nut cracker works well on my home-grown macadamias.

Here's a 30 second video showing the process:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pumpkin suprise

Update: the vegetable patches have been neglected for quite some time due to other commitments, and doing other creative things like knitting, so I was surprised recently to go outside and find a vine sprawled across one bed sprouting a bulb which I initially thought was a watermelon.

It turned out to be a pumpkin of course but unfortunately was harvested too early. I did however save the seeds - half of which I roasted as a snack, and half which have been put aside to sew next season.
We continue to generate some produce from fruit and nut trees like this handful of macadamia nuts, and oranges which have just been turned into juice. We had a glut of lemons and grapefruit. The rosemary bush is still growing strong, and we continue to get the occasional capsicum. Other than that I've been a bit stumped by the milder weather and long periods of dry followed by heavy downpours resulting in flooding and saturated soil. Perhaps I need to stop thinking temperate and start planning a subtropical one!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leaf spider

There are lots of leaf spiders in the garden at the moment, so called because they usually make their home in a rolled up leaf. This enterprising leaf spider used a snail shell. I'm reminded of the story of the three little pigs...

We spent a few hours at the beginning of the week weeding, adding some new soil to the garden beds, and sewing seeds. Lots of green shoots are now beginning to appear which hopefully in a few months will end up on our plates. Gardeners - turning dirt into food.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sparse harvest

It seems you can have too much of a good thing and we've had too much rain in NSW. The trees are loving it - especially the Ballerina apple and dwarf macadamia - with lots of new growth to be seen. But the veggie garden has stopped producing. Not enough sunshine for strawberries and tomatoes. The pumpkin, zucchini and squash are delivering tiny little specimens not worth harvesting. The only thing that is producing well is the eggplant/aubergine. The one below was sliced, coated in breadcrumbs and eaten schnitzel style.

Today I managed to find a lone pak choy to put with a shallot and a half-size capsicum as part of a sweet and sour pork dish. There are more eggplants to be harvested but no seedlings (too wet) so hopefully I can find some time this weekend to sow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carrot cake

I had a request for carrot cake so I harvested most of the remaining carrots. None of the carrot seeds I planted last month have sprouted so our carrot crop is almost depleted - I don't know if this is due to too much rain or if the seeds got damaged somehow. The garden has continued to be neglected due to all the wet weather and though we have capsicum (which we had tonight, grilled, in sweet chilli chicken wraps), zucchinis and tomatoes doing well, there's nothing new growing. So the plan for this weekend is to top up and fertilise some of the garden beds and do some sowing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low maintenance sustainability

Due to the school holidays, the garden has been left pretty much to it's own devices for the past few weeks. Apart from regular harvesting and occasional watering (due to all the rain we've been having), I've hardly spent any time outside. Last weekend we spent a good couple of hours weeding, clearing, mulching and re-sowing. I discovered a self-seeded cherry tomato (from last year), a self-seeded cucumber and a couple of dwarf bean plants that appear to have regrown from last year. I also have two capsicum plants that are producing well having survived from last year (capsicums are usually treated as an annual) and a self-seeded capsicum in a pot. I have no idea how that got there!

This is what we harvested during the sort-out:

Onions, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and the yellow thing is a cucumber that I possibly harvested too soon. (Not sure why some cucumbers are going green and others aren't.) Some of this was used to make spaghetti bolognese. Last night we had chicken wraps with cos lettuce, tomato, grated carrot and fried onions - all from the garden.

Growing your own vegetables doesn't have to be time consuming - once it's established it pretty much grows itself.