Update from a lapsed blogger

1 Jan

Well it’s the day for it, isn’t it? New year, resolutions and all that? Actually it’s just that today is as good a day as any for an update on what’s happening around here.

In October I had more demands on the family front and decided to switch off the computer in the evenings. I started playing jazz music after the kids went to bed, took up competitive canasta with P and enjoyed a few months of down-time from the Internet. Our end-of year is always crazy with 5 family birthdays, our wedding anniversary and all the usual Christmas events so the timing was good. This year I’m back but I’ll be blogging more ‘sustainably’. That is, at a schedule I can maintain rather than pushing myself to update every Monday on harvests (and the like).

I’ve still been gardening and harvesting, but I admit that I have dropped the ball a little over December. So first the walk of shame:Image

I killed one of my Nellie Kelly blueberries! I let it carry too much fruit and it dried out one day in the summer heat. The rest are OK, and I’ve harvested almost a kilo of blueberries so far this year. The lesson I’ve taken from this is that I really need to thin the fruit, because the fruit size seems to be inversely-proportional to the number of fruit set. My younger plants with less fruit are producing enormous blueberries.

And my tomatoes. They look terrible.

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The ones in the main bed have suffered terribly from fungal disease and lack of nutrients. Despite this they have actually fruited well. I’ve used them fresh and even canned a few bottles for a later date when I don’t have an excess.

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I’ve discovered a new variety that I love – Speckled Roman.

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I pulled put my dwarf mulberry tree because it was getting too big and donated it to friends who have more space. Now I have an ugly gap that I need to fill, but I’ll probably just space out the dwarf citrus trees that are already there.

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And my banana:

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Strangely the flower stopped descending, but the bananas themselves are still developing.

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But there are highlights too. My caper bush is loving the hot weather.

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The apple trees have been really productive. I’ve lost no fruit at all to fruit fly, even the ones that I didn’t bag. I guess the eco naturalure trap has helped with that.

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I let about 30 fruit develop on the trees this summer and most of it has been quite sizeable.

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The Golden Nugget pumpkins are sprawling across the front lawn as usual preventing proper mowing.

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And the chillies are really exciting. My tobago seasoning chilli has set loads of fruit

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I also have many young plants, such as the mini mana capsicums and scotch bonnet chillies grown from seed from Liz and the jalapenos grown from seedlings this year.

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I managed to kill my old reliable bird’s eye chilli over winter, but my friend Vincent gave me an established (that’s understatement) plant to replace it.

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This variety first came from Sarah, who gave small homegrown chilli plants to some of her friends for Christmas. They ripen from green to black and then red, and we’ve all loved this variety ever since. He’s is one of the ripe bird’s eyes with the tobago seasonings:

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I’ve had dreadful trouble with broodiness in the chickens. It’s common for us to have 4 of them broody at once, and it really impacts the egg production. But they have still managed to keep us supplied with eggs, albeit with no excess for gifting.

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And on the preserving front – I reestablished my supply of bottled tomatoes with my friend Emma in November when we processed a large tray of fresh seconds from a tomato farm local to her in-law’s place. I’ve been topping up my store a few jars at a time when I have a small glut in my home grown ones. I’ve also canned applesauce made from my home-grown apples and made loads of Liz’s bread and butter cucumbers.

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And just today I’ve pickled 2 jars of jalapenos from the ones I picked today. The plants are loaded with young jalapenos too, so there should be more jars to come.

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Well that’s what’s happening around here. Now I’m off to see what everyone else in the blogging world has been up to over the last 2 months.

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12 Responses to “Update from a lapsed blogger”

  1. Digging up the dirt January 2, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Happy new year to you. Nice to see things are still going great guns at yours. Love the speckled roman. Wow the apples look fabulous. I have a massive area on a slope at the back of my place that need fruit trees, think I might have to try a couple of apples…

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 2, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks Jen. I really recommend the Tropical Anna and Golden Dorset varieties. Despite living in the neighbouring suburb to where Granny Smith came from I’m not getting enough chill hours for the granny smiths or pink ladys. My granny smith has only set 3 fruit despite being an older tree.

  2. Daphne January 2, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    I love those apples. I can’t wait to get some here. Next year they will be three, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for at least a couple. Happy New Year!

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 2, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks Daphne! That’s about the same age as mine, so it’s definitely possible.

  3. Lilian January 2, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    So relieved that everything is well with you. I always worry when a regular blogger suddenly goes AWOL. My walk of shame is so much longer than yours. 2013 is set to be a year of revival and refurbishment in the garden. My blueberry plant is suffering too. Thornless blackberries have given us a crop but they are a bit too tart for the kids.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 2, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Good luck with the revival.
      I’ve all but given up on the cane berries. They just aren’t doing well in pots and I’m loathe to put them into the ground. My friends have them in a boggy part of their yard in North Rocks and they do fantastically. My block has too much drainage anyway.

      • Lilian January 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        Yes I’m going to need the ‘luck’ and drive to get some revival happening. The ‘to do’ list just keeps growing 😦

  4. Liz January 2, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I never know when to worry when people stop posting. I see that you have been productive whilst I have been writing about the idea of being productive….hmmm perhaps time for less talk more action on my part – i’ve run out of bread and butter cucumbers and its just all too distressing….. Great round up of your garden though – really shows how much warmer Sydney is than Melbourne – I reckon most of your crops are a good couple of months ahead of ours.

  5. Louise January 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Yay – welcome back. I too didn’t know whether to worry or not. But it is also good to take it easy at times too and it sounds as though your end of year is a busy one – mine was too with a China trip and the move… I plain didn’t have a moment to scratch myself let alone pay you a visit in response to your invitation…

    Great produce – love the Speckled Roman! I have very little produce with the move and all, just some chillies, the odd zucchini and a few herbs all of which I brought with me from Sydney. The only produce raised here is rocket and radish and some lettuce. I sigh when I read back over last Jan and see what I was harvesting from my established bed in Sydney. Oh well, it will take time to get going again.

    Your apples are lovely. Have a great 2013.

  6. sarahskitchenadventures January 5, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I saw this recipe the other day in the paper and thought of you – it uses tomatoes, peppers and eggs! (also healthy for when P goes on his diet…)

    http://www.dailylife.com.au/health-and-fitness/dl-nutrition/healthy-food-with-michelle-shakshuka-eggs-20120803-23jlb.html

    • sydfoodie January 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      Oh I love shakshuka! It’s one of my fave slow brekky morning dishes, especially when you toast some soy Lin toast soldiers. Glad to hear you, the garden and the family are all well.

  7. veggieauds January 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi there, I’m keen to know how you pickle jalapenos. We go through store bought jalapenos like crazy and I would be keen to give it a go (never pickled anything in my life before…) Great blog by the way.

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