Monday, 5 May 2014

Work versus 'work'

Having just spent the last few weekends and the period in between Easter and our Anzac Day public holiday (another long weekend) scraping, sanding and painting my way through the last of our bathroom and laundry renovation (thankfully we had professionals do the rest of it!), I can confirm I won't be auditioning for any home renovation shows soon. After about day 4 of trying to strip of 80 years of paintwork off the bathroom window I have decided if I have to do manual labour I will stick to the garden and looking after 'livestock'. Anyway in between it all I somehow managed to get my garden under control and hopefully ready for winter- so hopefully now there's more time for sitting back and other activities like blogging.

Its funny how the time spent out in the garden digging, weeding and collecting chicken poop for the compost bin doesn't seem like work to me and painting does.... but my increasing efforts to grow and expand the productivity of my own garden and to take on additional growing space is paying off!  This April I have met my challenge and included homegrown food on the table for every day in the last month! (apart from a few days when we have eaten out with friends etc). Last year I came pretty close but this year there was a lot more variety and multiple ingredients.

A summary for the top ingredients for the month of April is as follows:

  • egg plants
  • capsicum
  • tomatoes
  • beans
This year these mini heritage eggplants that I grew from seed saved from last years fruit (my first successful attempt to germinate eggplant seed) were my best yielding eggplants. I have mostly been including in various versions of Thai style curry and combined with my regular 'Lebanese' eggplants to make 'Chinese chilli' eggplant' with free range pork mince.

Italian heirloom- Listada Di Gandia - from 'Diggers' seedling stock 
Here are the very last of some sad end of season tomatoes- no good for salad but can honestly say there's no way you can tell the difference in the flavour after they have been slow cooked with a pork shoulder for a couple of hours and popped into a tortilla from our local yet authentic 'tortilleria' called La Tortilleria.

Sad tomatoes- the yellow ones have me stumped- they refuse to turn any shade of red- but seem ripe as is. I didn't knowingly plant any yellow varieties?

Its been a big month for Mexican with my first attempt to grow and harvest tomatillo, a massive success! I have yielded a couple pf kilograms from my two plants at the community garden patch. I have seen them  for sale for $19.99kg at gourmet grocer at the Vic Market. My girlfriend and I are therefore seriously contemplating whether we turn the community garden plot into a tomatillo farm. Last year I posted a recipe for tomatillo green salsa which I have subsequently found not only makes a great topping for tacos, but also for poached eggs and as a spread inside ham and cheese toasties- YUM! other friends have been experimenting as a topping for pork chops and in a 'vegan' Mexican dish..... 

A bowl of tomatillos, 'surprise' padron chilli and the finished salsa.

I think May could be a more difficult month than April- as I am waiting for winter crops to come on board. Thankfully I still have the last of the eggplants, heaps of capsicums and chillies and tomatoes in the freezer. The beans (that went in late) are showing no signs of letting up yet and I have one hen still laying for now!


  1. PS- ok so google tells me the yellow tomato looks like a 'Big White Pink Stripe' - not exactly what I was imagining- but makes sense given I planted them!

    1. Yes, that is BWPS - I found some really really ripe ones has a slight reddish bit near the stem, but they were mostly yellow. The only part of the name I agree with was 'big'

  2. They are impressive eggplants! I wish mine had grown, I got not a single fruit from 8 plants! I think they went in too late though. I love la tortilleria!
    I agree, I don't feel like gardening is 'work' and I would much rather ramble around the garden deciding what to make for dinner than struggle my way through the supermarket!

    1. If its any consolation these were the only ones that did any good. My Lebanese ones were very disappointing- even though they were growing side by side with the ones pictured.