Archive | 7:23 pm

Around the traps on a drizzly day

28 Feb

Tiny bay tree, awaiting its permanent pot

We finally got some rain today. Not heavy, but a reasonably constant drizzle. Perfect weather for wandering around and checking out the garden without getting fried.

I have been more and more conscious lately about pesticide residues in food, and that is partially why I am trying to grow as much of our own food as possible. One way to reduce pesticide exposure considerably is by growing your own herbs. In Australia, the vast majority of the dried herbs you buy are imported. From where? Search me… Looking through my herb and spices cupboard I could not find a single local ingredient, and of the imported products, very few actually specified their origin. My sesame seeds are from India, my sumac from Turkey, but my basil? Imported. Oregano? Imported. Who knows where they are grown and what they are sprayed with!

Over the weekend I picked up a tiny bay laurel tree – I’ve been eyeing my friend Em’s one off jealously for years, and I finally got sick of buying bay leaves. Not a bad deal for about 6 bucks considering how much you pay for a bag of bay leaves. Hopefully I’ll never need to buy them again.

Dill, Parsley and Coriander in the experimental herb garden

Everyone’s bugbear in Sydney is coriander. Everyone tries to grow it, usually from seedlings, and either it struggles, or it thrives then bolts to seed. I’m determined to crack this nut. I have a garden next to the garage that receives light from about 9am till 2.30pm in the summer, and probably doesn’t get much at all in the winter. I ordered some seeds of a slowbolt variety of coriander from Green Harvest, and I’ve planted them in the bed along with parsley and dill. I hope that the warm weather will help with germination and establishing the plants, then the cooler weather will set in and stop them from bolting. I plan to save the seeds of the slowest bolting plants, then plant those ones again. I may have to plant them in a different location for a supply over the summer (when the garden gets blasted by midday sun), but I think the location will be good for the cooler months through to late spring or early summer.

My celery forest

Common wisdom is that celery is hard to grow. I didn’t realise this when I whacked in the seedlings on (probably) the first weekend after we moved in. Luckily the brilliant soil in the raised garden bed we inherited has paid dividends, and I now have a celery forest. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do when it’s ready, because surely no-one can use this much celery. So far I’ve just been hacking away individual stalks as needed. Now I’m considering whether to ‘blanch’ the celery or not. Blanching is when you cover the stalks of the celery with paper or soil to make them go white. Apparently white celery is more tender and less bitter. I might try it with one or two of them, and see how it goes.