Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Patience of the Gardener

Very little has been done in my garden for a few weeks.
We’ve had some extended periods of rain and some weekends away visiting family so the garden has been neglected for a while. The recent rain has been very welcome. I’ve enjoyed the sounds of the hidden waterfall within the new tank (which is now close to full).

The last significant gardening I did was to prune half of the roses. In previous years I’ve pruned them towards the end of winter after being advised that frost would damage the new shoots if they were pruned too early. Unfortunately the late pruning meant the flowering season was much shorter. By the time we had a good show of flowers it was almost summer and the heat possibly did more damage than the frost would have done.
This year I’m doing a little comparison by pruning some plants early and leaving others until later to see which is best.

I’m now approaching my fourth year of trial and error gardening and I’m slowly learning a few things about the things I’m trying to grow. Unfortunately it can take months to find out whether something is working or not and then the lessons learned often can’t be put into practice for almost another year. That is the frustration of gardening, everything takes so long to get right, and it can often take years of trying different things until something works.

I also planted most of the new plants that arrived from the Digger’s Club – and again patience is required. How long must I wait to enjoy the fruit from the blueberries (at least two years), the raspberry and the gooseberry? The two Chilean Guava plants are still in pots waiting for me to find time to plant them out.

After work yesterday I had a short wander around to see how things are going. I noticed the broccoli is looking a bit unhappy. Their leaves have increasing brown patches which I guess is some kind of mould caused by the constant cold dampness of recent weeks.
At least the onions, leaks, garlic and broad beans seem to be progressing well, so we should get something productive out of the winter veggie patch even if we have to wait until spring and summer to get the benefit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gourmet Farmer

Here’s something I’ll be looking forward to seeing in the New Year. It seems like SBS will be screening a new show called Gourmet Farmer.
It follows food critic Matthew Evans’ move to a farm in Tasmania and his journey of learning about the production of food
The series is expected to start early in January running for 10 episodes.

Information is scarce at the moment, but see the following for a few more details.

Airdates: Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam, Gourmet Farmer, Italian Food Safari


Newcomers add zest to culinary scene

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kitchen to Garden

Several weeks ago I ordered “Chocolate & Zucchini” by Clotilde Dusoulier.
I came across the website of the same name by accident and loved the title. I couldn’t resist ordering the book from my local bookshop.
I picked it up on the weekend and don’t regret the impulsiveness of judging a book by its title. When I get the chance I intend to have a go at making her Beef Bourguignon: perhaps attracted by her use of chocolate in the recipe. The mere fact that I’ve been inspired to make a meal that needs to be prepared over a couple of days and requires more than three hours of cooking is a significant endorsement of this book, considering my cooking ventures to-date have been very limited.

Continuing with cooking related matters, the first series of Masterchef is over, and Julie came out as the winner. On the night of the final I think she was clearly the better of the two contestants despite the almost immediate claims of the result being rigged.

Overall I think Justine’s record throughout the series showed that she was more worthy of the title “Masterchef”, having won more of the shows challenges than any other contestant. The show’s format was not necessarily geared to finding the best chef/cook in the competition but was primarily focused on entertaining the viewer. That aim was certainly achieved considering the size of the regular audience which reportedly rose to a peak of 3.73 million for the finale.
Halfway through the last week the show also out-rated State of Origin football. Maybe next year the Blues and the Maroons should head for the kitchen for a cook-off if they want to regain their usual TV audience.

Finally, moving from the kitchen to the garden, the last part of my order from the Digger’s Club has arrived. Now I need to find the time to plant the following:

Blueberry ‘Northland’
Blueberry ‘Denise’
Chilean Guava x 2
Raspberry ‘Willamette’
Gooseberry ‘Roaring Lion’

I also received two free plants of Salvia Azurea and Comfrey.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I very recently found a very interesting and inspiring site at the following link:

It is owned by a couple who are achieving what so many of us only dream of doing. They have converting their average suburban block from swimming pool and concrete into a very productive garden.

The website is full of interesting articles detailing the journey they have taken. Their experiences are also heavily illustrated with before and after photos, and their progress is also recorded on video.

Even though their experiences in themselves are a great inspiration, the website has additional interest for me because they have a block of land the same size as mine and they are based in Wollongong where I grew up.

The only negative aspect of their project is that it shows me up for the lazy unimaginative person that I really am. What I’ve dreamed of doing and what I’ve planned to do – they have actually DONE!!!