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:
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.
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.
I’ve discovered a new variety that I love – Speckled Roman.
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.
And my banana:
Strangely the flower stopped descending, but the bananas themselves are still developing.
But there are highlights too. My caper bush is loving the hot weather.
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.
I let about 30 fruit develop on the trees this summer and most of it has been quite sizeable.
The Golden Nugget pumpkins are sprawling across the front lawn as usual preventing proper mowing.
And the chillies are really exciting. My tobago seasoning chilli has set loads of fruit
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.