Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vegetable update

I ordered some garlic from the Digger’s Club and it finally arrived today. I also received my member’s free seed entitlement. As far as I can recall they have sent me my first choice seeds – mini turnips, kohlrabi, barletta onions and nasturtiums.
I’m not sure what we can do with the kohlrabi. I had a quick browse through our books (both gardening and recipe) and couldn’t find any advice on how to use them properly.
I thought their inclusion in the free seed offer would give a good opportunity to give them a try. According to the sowing instructions they’ll reach maturity in approx 60 days.
I should be able to find room to sow some of the seeds. I have half a bed of bean plants to pull out when I get the opportunity. I also still have room in another bed alongside beetroot and Pak Choy.
The garlic is perhaps more of a problem. I should have prepared somewhere to plant them during the month I’ve waited for their delivery. They take so long to grown and mature that I don’t want to tie up my usual garden beds. I think I need to prepare a specially designated area for them where they won’t get in the way of other things.
That’s what I did with the Russian garlic, which I planted mostly in an area otherwise devoted to ornamental plants.

This year I’ve tried to keep track of how productive my veggies were, but I was only able to keep a reasonably consistent record of the zucchinis and the beans. The totals I compiled aren’t totally accurate because a few were given, freshly picked, to the neighbours over the fence and therefore missed out on being weighed.

Now that the crops of both have finished, the final results are:

Zucchini: 42.285 kgs
Beans: 15.95 kgs.

Unfortunately the zucchinis can’t be stored for long so what we gave a lot away. Some of the excess was converted to a delicious soup and frozen. We also tried freezing grated zucchini and that seemed to be successful too. Maybe next year we can try freezing more.

I am now able to pick a few butternut pumpkins. Most are still not quite ready, but I may have to harvest them anyway. Last year we were hit by an early frost and several pumpkins were lost when they started to rot before we had the chance to use them.

So far I’ve picked 18 butternuts and there are many more left – although nowhere near the 80+ that were grown last year.

Other productive plants are the two varieties of “spinach”. I have a healthy patch of silver beet and a very vigorous climbing spinach. The latter has a much firmer texture. It can be used in salads or cooked and has a milder flavour than the silver beet.