Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's on in the garden

  1. Harvested this week: beans, beetroot, pattypan squash, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, figs (pictured above). Also, passionfruit, white peaches, the first of the Golden Queen peaches, the last of the Mariposa plums, grapes, the first ever Jonathan apples off our tree (v. exciting) and as ever, silverbeet and lettuce (cos and radicchio).

    Planted: 12 lettuces, 6 broccoli.

    Maintenance: Tended the compost heap and worm farm, sprayed Eco-Lure around the citrus, because even though there hasn’t been a sign of a fruit fly, yet, as far as I’m concerned you can never be too complacent. Topped up mulch. Weeded, as ever.

    This morning we had some cloud cover, so we dashed out to get some work done in the garden. We’ve missed the sweltering 43 degree temperatures being experienced in southern Australia at the moment, but we’ve had constant 33 degrees and high humidity for most of January. Gardening in a steambath is no fun, so the respite was welcome. I’m glad we got busy this morning because this afternoon it’s back to steambath conditions.

    As you can see in the picture, dealing with zucchini is a pressing issue. How about those baseball bats, hey? AND I have two more in the fridge. I really have tried to pick them small, but if you miss one, they seem to grow to these monstrous proportions overnight.

    I love zucchini, but the thing is, there is too much zucchini, even for me. And I can’t give these monsters away. My neighbours and friends look askance at the bats, they probably don’t know what to do with them.

    So this week it will bNumbered Liste Operation Zucchini. Here’s the plan:

    Make 2 zucchini pies and freeze one.
    Make 2 zucchini loaves and freeze one.
    Blanch zucchini slices in water and freeze for winter.
    A side dish of sautéed zucchini EVERY night (except perhaps when we have zucchini pie. That could be stretching the friendship a tad).
    Make a BIG batch of ratatouille for lunches this week.
    Make another batch of zucchini pickles. I made my first batch ever this week and they have been a bit of a hit.

    Looks like a lot of time in the kitchen, which normally isn’t a problem. However, our kitchen is particularly hot at this time of year, because we have skylights in the kitchen ceiling. Great idea in July, not so great in February.

    As far as planting is concerned, I decided to try out planting by the moon phases. This is something that is discussed often on Aussie Organic Gardening, and I’ve come across the idea in various books. The Australian Women’s Weekly used to always include a planting by the moon calendar too. I haven’t read an issue in ages, so I wouldn’t have a clue whether it still does so. My uncle, a flinty, unsentimental Italian, is also convinced about planting by the moon. (He also reckons the moon’s phases affect when you should bottle wine too, but that’s a story for another day).

    As I understand it, planting by the moon at its most basic level means that you plant upwards growing plants - like lettuce and broccoli- when the moon is waxing, or between new moon and full moon. Downwards growing plants are planted in waning moon. I know it’s more complicated than that but that’s as complicated as I want to get at this stage.

    Early January during a waxing moon I planted a bunch of seedlings and have noticed that the lettuce and broccoli, pumpkins and squash have done really well, while the beetroot and carrots have languished somewhat. Could there be something to this? So I thought this month I’d apply the principles on purpose and see what happens.

    Now, I have to go and look up my books. We have 28-spotted ladybirds decimating our potato tops, and if I don’t figure out what I need to do soon, they’ll be history.


Linda said...

My Italian uncles' brother used the moon too.

Paola said...

Yes, Linda, I think it's pretty widespread among the Italian community at least. My Italian neighbour is the same.