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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Taking the Time

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Today we met the housesitters who will be taking care of our home while we are overseas later in the year.  We invited them to come and have a look around, meet the animals and generally get a feel for the place. We spent a few hours showing them around and explaining various aspects of the property.  During that time we had lunch on the verandah as it was a lovely day.

As we discussed various things it struck me how much of our home and garden is simply taken for granted or gets forgotten in the myriad of tasks which make up our day to day routine.  Time really appreciate what we have.

After our visitors had gone GMan and I spent a while out in the garden.  Apart from the mass of sweet potato plants in one of the raised vegetable gardens we also had some which had taken root in an old cut-down water tank which is one of our compost piles.  It was becoming entwined with the raspberry canes so we began to pull them out and realised that there were potatoes growing.  I started digging and this was the harvest.

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The next job was down by the bottom fence.  We planted a new tree which we had bought a couple of weeks ago.  It is a tropical birch and according to the label will be perfect for our climate, deciduous with colourful autumn foliage.  It is difficult to see but look closely.

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A little further along the fence is a callistemon which has come up self-sown.  It was almost choked with wed and entangled in the fence so with a bit of care it will hopefully become established.

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Speaking of autumn foliage, the liquidamber is showing the first signs of colour.  A few golden leaves are peeping through the green.

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This is a broader view of the same general area with the liquidamber tree to the left of the photo.  Being in a high rainfall area, everything grows easily and well but unfortunately, that includes weeds and unwanted trees and shrubs.  Most of the foliage to the right of the liquidamber is not particularly pleasant or useful so we have finally made a decision to have a substantial swathe of it lopped and mulched so that we can replant the area with more suitable plants.  Watch this space for before and after photos.  Hopefully it will happen before we leave on our trip.

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This is a view of some of the trunks and undergrowth of the area we plan to have cleared.

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Behind the 2 water tanks is a clear area where GMan planted some pawpaw seedlings  a few weeks ago.  These had been given to us and they seem to be doing quite well.  They are difficult to see but there are about eight plants through the centre of the photo.

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Finally, here is the front verge which is a selection of native shrubs which we started planting about 9 years ago and have extended a bit more since then.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed some unusual foliage higher than the rest of the shrubs and it turned out to be a tree which we had not planted and already reached a height of about 5 metres.  I am not sure what it was but am certain it was non-native and almost certainly an invasive weed so GMan cut it down last week with minimal damage to the surrounding shrubs.  It is a reminder that we need to keep a closer eye on what is growing here.

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As always, the garden is a work in progress and we have lots of plans.  I hope you have enjoyed checking out a little of our place.

 

The Gorgeous Garden

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This weekend GMan and I have had 3 days at home so finally managed to catch up on some much needed work in the garden.  We have had a combination of plenty of rain plus some hot, sunny days over the past few weeks which has been a recipe for everything to grow crazily – especially the weeds.

Thankfully, the weather was not too hot and mostly fine this weekend.  GMan ploughed through everything on the mower and now I can actually see the vegetable garden area again.

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We also had a blitz in this area in front of the verandah.  The hibiscus we planted last year are doing really well and I think we need about 3 more.

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The weeds were going mad and there were piles of branches waiting to be mulched.  The mulching has been done and weeds mostly pulled up and discarded in the compost heap up the back.  The thickly mulched area in the background of the photo with cardboard/newspaper underneath has very little weed so we definitely need to get more mulch and finish the whole area.

This afternoon GMan planted the capsicum plants we bought last weekend and the 4 shrubs we bought at a new native plant nursery in Maleny.

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The plant in the foreground was a Christmas gift and has more than doubled in size in the 6 weeks since we planted it.  The one up closer to the road was also planted towards the end of last year.  The new plants are barely visible in the photo but can be identified by the areas were the lawn has been dug up.

Although it is not clear in the photo, this is quite a steep embankment and difficult to mow.  So, we have decided to cover the entire area with native shrubs and groundcovers.  Nothing will be more than a couple of metres high and we hope to have it densely covered and eliminate the lawn in this area entirely.  It may seem like a vain hope when you look at it now but here is a reminder of what can be achieved.

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This planting is along the front boundary a provides privacy from the road.  The whole area was just a wide expanse of lawn when we came here 10 years ago.  It took about 4 – 5 years to get this level of screening.

We have many grand ideas for the garden and look forward to getting more done but in the meantime it is gratifying to see how much we have achieved.  The chicken run, vegetable gardens and fencing in the first photo have all been established since we came here, the area in front of the verandah has been completely revamped and the native screening grown.  Many other areas of the garden tell a similar story.

I hope you enjoy seeing some snippets of our garden.

Trailing Tomatoes

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I have written before about the cherry tomatoes which grow in various parts of our garden.

We seem to have literally hundreds which keep coming up in the garden in front of the verandah.  I pull the majority of them out so that they do not smother the hibiscus which we are trying to get established.  However, a few plants have got themselves very well established, including this one which has grown about 2 metres up the wire fencing to the verandah and then continued to spill over the floor directly outside our front door.

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I finally got around to tying it up the other day so at least we can walk along the verandah unimpeded.

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I am looking forward to being able to pick tomatoes from right outside the door!

A Visitor

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When we arrived home this evening this fellow was sitting on the lid of the rubbish bin beside the driveway.  This is a tawny frogmouth which is often mistaken for an owl.

2015-07-07 01Despite the car driving past and then reversing into the garage as well as the dog barking he did not move.

I went upstairs and collected my camera and took a series of photographs getting increasingly close but still no attempt to fly away.

2015-07-07 02We see these birds from time to time, often in family groups of 3 or 4 on tree branches or perched on the gate or even the clothesline.  However, tonight I think that this lone one was searching for dinner.

Winter Morning

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Yesterday morning I walked along the verandah.  It was sunny but quite cool and this was the vision that greeted me.

002One of the newer hibiscus shrubs which has only been in the ground for about a month and there were half a dozen bright pink flowers.  I am hoping this is a preview of things to come as these shrubs grow and we have a mass of dense foliage and brilliant flowers in front of the verandah.