Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Autumn gardening

Autumn is my favourite season. The weather is mild and the garden just loves it.
Here is Durban autumn and winter are actually our biggest growing season as many of the veggies I love to grow find the summers too long, hot and humid.
I think I was a bit late with the planting this season, but it has taken quite a while to cool down enough to plant many of these crops. My cabbages are still wilting in the warmth of the day and its nearly winter.
So here is what is going on in my garden this autumn

The chilli's are going crazy. I cannot keep up with them. Last week I harvested about 50 from our 3 trees and today they were so full I could have harvested another 40. I need to give some away.

Fennel is popping up everywhere after I left our one plant from last season go to seed. Even though I harvested hundreds of seeds, many got dispersed throughout the garden bed

Nasturtiums, which have also popped up everywhere, are starting to flower. They are always such a welcome sight in the garden

The sweet potatoes in the concrete pot are doing well 

As is the chard in the other concrete pot

Coriander has bolted, but that's okay because I will harvest the seeds and plant more

I have far too much rocket for one family, and I don't even like the stuff.

Brinjals are still producing, which I am so thankful for. They are one of my favorite veg at the moment, so the longer they fruit the better

My sister in law gave me a baby elder berry plant and it is doing really well. Will need to re-pot it soon

Brassica seedlings went into the office garden last week. They are doing well and so far it looks like I have lost just one. Not sure exactly what each one is, they are a combination of cabbages, broccoli and kohlrabies.

A few gooseberries  have sprouted out of the compost, so I will let them grow and see if we get any good fruit from them

A couple lettuce seedlings next to one of the other chilli bushes. I have scattered the lettuce seedlings around the garden wherever I have found a gap.

The office garden looks a bit bare, but I have sowed quite a few seeds directly into the ground so hopefully it will look full and productive soon. Waiting to germinate is carrots in the front bed, beetroot, radishes, celery, chard, coriander and amaranth. 

The peas have just come up but only about 50 percent germinated so I need to reseed where they didn't.

Some seedlings to replace the ones that don't make it, or I will find another spot for them

The granadilla I planted over a year ago has finally taken off. Hoping that when summer comes around again we will be able to have fresh granadillas

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A very tasty leafy green

Firstly I would like to wish every mother out there a very happy mother's day. I hope you have had a lovely day spent with family, the way Sundays are meant to be.

Today I discovered the wonder that is amaranth. I have never tried it before, but had a few seeds in my collection so sowed them straight into an open area I had. Apparently they grow well all year round and will probably even be fine during our long and humid summers. I didn't think much of this odd looking bush and it took me a while to even taste a leaf. But while checking my brassicas for caterpillars this morning I past the amaranth and gave it a try.
Wow, was I surprised! It has the most delicate, yet tasty flavour that I have not had in a leafy vegetable to date. It has more flavour than lettuce, but is milder than chard. The leaves are easy to chew and not hairy like some other greens.
I think I might be hooked. I have read that the young leaves make great salads (I am quite sure they will) and the older one are good in stir-fry's and soups.


There are many amaranth species, but the one growing here is a red leaf amaranth. My plant is already going into flower so I will definitely be saving lots of seeds.  From now on my garden will never be short of an amaranth plant.