Seasonal Produce

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There are many good reasons to eat what is in season where possible.  Food miles are reduced if you eat local seasonal produce.  It is more likely to have been picked ripe and have better flavour.  An abundance of a particular crop will invariably see the best prices for the consumer.

Most of all though, if you only eat items that are in season you will appreciate the wait for those crops which only bear at a particular time of the year.  Like the first sweet bite of a new season mandarin.  In our climate we pick fruit from our mandarin tree during June and July which are our winter months.

Once the fruit are ripening I have to cover the tree to protect the fruit from the local scrub turkeys.

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You can also see one of the orange trees next to the netted mandarin.

This afternoon I removed the netting and picked the last of the fruit.

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We have picked a lot of mandarins over the past month or so but these are the last 30 of them.

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We will savour these fruit as we know it will be another 10 months before the next crop is ripe.  In the meantime, there will be plenty more seasonal delights as the months roll by.  Imagine if I could eat these all the year round.  They would no longer be anticipated longingly and the delight of that first burst of delicious flavour would soon become ho-hum.

We are fortunate because we live in a temperate climate so many crops can successfully be grown during most months of the year.  However, seasonality still exists for the citrus trees, raspberries, mangoes, passionfruit and avocadoes.

What is in season at your place?

This was our glorious winter day here today.  No, it has not been photoshopped – the sky really is that blue.

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Garden Progress

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After our visit to the Garden Expo on Saturday, we spent Sunday afternoon out in the garden.

Our first project was to remove the old bird netting from the peach tree and to prune it.  This is what it looked like before we started.

Peach tree
This is one of the nets which we bought at the Expo.

Fruit tree net
The nets will protect fruit trees or garden beds from birds and pests, including fruit fly.  I had been looking at them online but when I saw them at the Expo I decided to go ahead and buy 2 of them.  Here is the website.  We bought the 2m ones.

It is recommended that you do not put the netting on until after the fruit has set otherwise it impedes pollination.  Since it is likely that the time to install the netting will be while we are away, we decided to have a trial run after pruning the tree.

New netting
While this would be sufficient to keep the birds away, you need to gather the fabric up and secure it around the base of the trunk to be sure of eliminating any fruit fly infestation.  We will ask the housesitters to put the netting on at the relevant time and hopefully look forward to a crop of unblemished peaches.

We also pruned the fig tree, grapefruit tree and one of the lemon trees.

Next weekend I will be planting as I have ordered some rhubarb crowns and asparagus.  I had a phone call today to say that they are ready so I will pick them up on Thursday.

Don’t Forget the Peaches

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Most of the sewing I have been doing recently has been clothes for various members of the family but I have been doing other things as well.This bundle of fabric has been in my sewing room for a couple of years since I bought it at the op shop with the vague idea of using it to exclude fruit fly from the stone fruit.  We have since removed the peach and 2 nectarine trees that we planted because, although they produced heaps of wonderful fruit the fruit fly infestation was just too awful to contemplate.

However, we did keep the dwarf peach as it seemed less vulnerable to attack by the fruit fly and also it would be easier to manage some sort of exclusion since it is a relatively compact tree.

I had hoped to use this fine mesh curtaining to cover the whole tree but that was not an option so I have been making bags to cover at least some of the fruit.

I sewed the bags and then threaded kitchen string through the mesh using a large, curved needle to make a drawstring.

The finished bag ready to be used.

Here is the peach tree and the photo below shows a close-up of some of the fruit.  I hope I am not not late in covering the fruit.  I do know that I will have all my resources prepared and ready for next spring.

Here are some of the bags in place protecting the fruit.  I am looking forward to a harvest of unblemished fruit.

I have about 12 bags on the tree so far and about another 20 to finish making.  Some will be a sleeve with drawstring openings at each end so that I can slide them over the branch where there are a lot of fruit along the length of the branch.

We are very lucky in our garden as we generally do not have extremes of temperature, frosts or long periods without rain.  Too much rain and fruit fly are our only real challenges.  What pests and hazards do you have to cope with in your garden?