Upon my return I was a bit too busy to work in my garden, and a bit scared too. We were away for 7 months and 2 days, a long time for a veggie garden! But it wasn't bad at all, there were a few weeds, of course, but mostly the big type, easy to remove in one go (or two). Before leaving NZ I covered the garden with a very thick layer of bark mulch, spread all around the vegetables that were already growing there (and were eaten by my house sitters). The mulch kept the weeds at bay in a fantastic way! And Nature is amazing: a few plants self seeded, I found some tomatillo plants, some with flowers and tiny fruit, a few tomato seedlings, borage and strawberry. The rhubarb looked dead, but after a few days it sprouted again (maybe it was waiting for me?), and there was plenty of green, red and yellow silver beet, plus a few leeks. Mint took over half of the garden, and while pulling it up I discover quite a few new potatoes. I did a big cleaning and this is what I had at the end of it.
Not bad! But then I turned the soil, put compost down and planted some seeds and seedlings... and felt that in a matter of week the weeds (the small annoying types) would appear on the fresh turned soil, so I gave my seedling something to read.
The zucchini got the Italian and Spanish papers, the tomatoes and capsicum the real estate pages, and the celery and new leeks the sport section. Beans, corn, cucumber etc, strips of current affairs. I don't know if it will work, but it looks... well, different! Pots and stones keep the papers down for now, and when I have time I hope to find some more mulch.
And now to my first harvest: The leeks differ in size, I grow them because they do better than onions and garlic in the rainy bush, and they last a long time in the soil. I have quite a few.
Then my first lot of potatoes, they are all different types. To tell the true I never 'plant' potatoes. Sometimes I buy them, and if they have a root I cut the piece off and bury it in the garden. So I have new potatoes all year round.
Ah, I also had a last rotten celery plant that only had a crispy top (the rest had to go in the compost). I used that too and made a soup. Self-sufficiency except for adding a little organic vegetable stock.
In the end I didn't have enough potatoes to get a very thick soup, and after blending it I added a bit of Vietnamese mint (of that, I have plenty!) to add flavour and compensate for poor texture and strange colour! It wasn't my best soup, but it was OK.
Silver beet... too much! I washed it and washed (at least 7 times, my mum told me) and recycled the water for the garden. I do the same with the potatoes, too much good soil in that water!
In the last four weeks I put the silver beet in lasagne, use it as a side vegetable, done quiches and frittata, and (like in the photo below) rolled it inside filo pastry (just a few sheets, no need for oil, just brush the top and edges with water, a trick I discovered so that it doesn't burn). In the filling I put cooked chopped-up silverbeet, tofu, salt, Moroccan seasoning and smoked paprika. And next to it my second harvest of potatoes, previously boiled and peeled (it took a long time, had to do it with fingernails). The potatoes too had salt, Moroccan seasoning, and smoked paprika, plus olive oil. Maybe I should have done them differently, but I really like them like this!
I baked everything and served it with green beans (not mine, yet) sautéed with olive oil, garlic and oregano (and a pinch of salt). Sorry, no photos of the inside... sometime my family likes to eat in peace without me taking photos of everything :-)
Then the other day I had my last harvest of potatoes, for a while I think! Look at them, washed, boiled and peeled with fingernails! Not so many... enough for a little salad for two...
I added mayo and capers and, instead of spring onion, a chopped baby leek. Good to discover that raw chopped baby leeks taste better than spring onions!