Monday, October 24, 2011

Slugs and snails and puppy dog's tails.

Well, slugs and blackbirds really. And also little boys.

A station wagon worth of market plants. All ready to plant in your edible garden.
Slugs and blackbirds are giving me a run for my money, eating seeds and newly germinated seedlings. At times it feels like an uphill battle. I have my brilliant friend and horticulturalist, Sam, helping me one day a week, but the rest of the time it's pretty much just me against the slugs, birds, escapee chooks and all of the other challenges a gardener faces, together with the usual things I have to fit into a day as the mother of two gorgeous garden fairies.

But a little (big) boy is about to help me win the battle.

I started this thing hoping to grow it slowly, to have a viable business to give me full time work when the littlest garden fairy starts school. But things have been going well. The people of Hobart are giving us great support at the Farm Gate Market, and a couple of amazing chefs have come along for the ride with us, offering support, sharing their amazing knowledge and advice, taking the good with the bad while we get the garden sorted.

So, now we've decided it's time that I gain the help of my partner in crime, the gardening chef.

The gardening chef in action.

For 11 years he's worked at Mures Upper Deck, creating gorgeous dishes with Tassie seafood. As our garden has grown he's started spending long stretches before work wandering the garden seeking out the lushest, most interesting leaves, flowers and veg for his plates. He cultivated, sowed, jealously guarded and nurtured his own patch of salsify, and this patch, I think, gave him his first real taste of fork to fork cooking. He roasted the salsify, blanched and blackened the kale then served them both with a few slices of melting Tallegio cheese. It was good. Bloody good!!

He is neat, organised, disciplined and precise.

I am chaotic and hopefully knowledgeable enough to counter my lack of discipline.

He cooks. Awesomely.

I garden. Rampantly.

He's decided to give up the head chef caper and take up some work in one of our favourite restaurant kitchens where he can be part of weaving magic with the best produce to be found in Tassie, and spend the rest of his time in the mud. With me.

So, between the two of us, some kitchen garden magic will flourish. And, either out for dinner, or at the Farm Gate, we'd love to share the fruits of our labours with you.

Shungiku, or Chop-suey-green flower. We have seeds, plants
and cut greens of this available at market. Tasty!

We'll be at the market this Sunday, the 30th of October, hopefully with the gardening chef and garden fairies in tow, for the Farm Gate's second birthday celebration.

Littlest garden fairy admiring a sundew, Drosera sp. in our 'scrub'.
This is why we want to use the minimum land to produce the maximum food.
To leave room for these important treasures.

The biggest garden fairy gathers and labels our eggs for market.

Calendula officinalis, double form.
Use petals in salads, on cakes or medicinally
in tea or ointment.
We grow it to attract beneficial insects.
And because we like to make posies.

Tiny 'National Two' radishes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More tomatoes

 We've got tomato plants coming out of our ears!

This week at the Farm Gate we'll have:

Staking varieties:

BLACK CHERRY - Dark purplish fruit to 3 cm across, produced in trusses on tall vigorous bush. Sweet, juicy flesh with a rich, smoky flavour. High yields. Really delicious!!

DEBARO - Medium sized, red, egg shaped fruit with smooth skin, to 4cm across and great flavour. Productive.

BRANDYWINE -American Amish. Large (huge!) pinkish red, flattened, globular fruit. Great for slicing.

STUPICE - Czechoslovakian heirloom, cold tolerant, with abundant sweet 2-3inch red fruit. Hardy, delicious and productive. *Our most productive here, early, delicious and cold tolerant.

LEICESTER JONES- Tassie bred by a naturopath 25 years ago. Large pink, ridged fruit, good for Tassie. (low numbers of this one).

RED FIG - Red, sweet skinned, pear shaped, cherry type.

REISENTRAUBE - German heirloom, produces big, prolific bunches of small cherry tomatoes with a point on the tip. Great flavour, generous plant.

TIGERELLA - Red tomato with orange stripes. Small to medium fruit, firm flesh.

WILD CHERRY - Species tomato, producing masses of tiny, less than 1cm, fruit. Vigorous grower.

Bush varieties:

GRANNY'S GOLDEN GLOBES- Low growing cherry tomato. This little gem comes up like magic in my Mum's garden each year. It produces masses of tiny, yellow fruit with thin skin that burst in the mouth, or can be picked in trusses and roasted. Holds fruit until late in the season. Delightful!

GEORGE (that’s not its real name, but I couldn’t understand George through his thick accent when he told me!) Fat field type, from George near Margate, seed scavenged from a sauce tomato. This is a bush variety, I use up-turned pots to keep the fruiting branches off the ground.

PURPLE TOMATILLO, produces big crops of small purple-tinted fruits on a pretty, small bush.

GREEN TOMATILLO, our favourite. Makes fantastic salsa when chargrilled. Heavy cropper, easy to grow.

Our Tassie natives are staying home, however if you could use any of the plants from here please let me know and I'll bring them in for you.

We'll be at the Farm Gate this Sunday, the 23rd, and the following Sunday, the 30th, with our ever growing selection on edible plants, and plenty of cut herbs, edible flower posies, and other tasty things from the garden.