When I wrote last month’s Garden Share Collective post, smoke from bushfires in the Adelaide Hills dulled the sky. Worry about friends in the Hills combined with a lesser concern that a run of 40+ degree days would destroy all the work I had done in the garden. Those who say you shouldn’t meet trouble half-way are right. By mid January we had over 35mm of rain, well over our monthly average of 19mm, and temperatures stayed below 35 degrees for the rest of the month. So instead of a depressing, dried out mess, my February garden is looking unexpectedly abundant and healthy. And while February is often a real stinker, it looks like this one may not be too bad. A little more rain would be perfect, but I don’t have much to complain about overall.
This post is part of a monthly Garden Share Collective where participants write about what they’re harvesting, planting, and a to-do list.
I’m currently harvesting eggplants, capsicums, eggs, chillies, too many zucchinis, limes, cherry tomatoes (including some crazy, self-sown ones climbing my plum and lime trees), Amish paste tomatoes, lemongrass, nectarines, herbs and green onions.
With January’s vegetable harvest I made eggplant parmigiana, baba ganoush ratatouille, marinated, grilled eggplant, vegetable soup and pasta sauces. Some of my excess tomatoes were dried in the oven and others turned into passata.
January was the month of the plum at our house, thanks to an enormous crop from my five year old Satsuma plum tree, the first fruit tree I planted here. I bottled plums and made plum streusel cake, plum crumble, upside down plum cake, plum jam, and Maggie Beer’s plum sauce. Although it’s not citrus season yet, a few fallen limes led to a double batch of lime curd, some of which went into a lime curd sponge cake.
The biggest challenge I currently face is using zucchinis up creatively. I check the plants each day yet somehow new giants escape me. Fortunately, I was able to offload a few monsters at this morning’s food swap. If you have a zucchini glut too, check out the zucchini recipes on Rachel’s blog.
Normally I wouldn’t plant anything in February due to its extreme weather conditions, but I’m feeling (perhaps foolishly) optimistic and think I might get a start on some winter veg. This morning at the food swap I picked up locally harvested seeds of oak leaf lettuce, broccolini, silverbeet, green mignonette lettuce, red cabbage, green dragon broccoli and mizuna greens. Hopefully, if I sow them in seedling pots on our shaded patio and water them regularly they will survive until I plant them out in autumn.
As always in an Adelaide summer, the biggest task is ensuring that my plants get at least enough water to survive. I also want to keep preserving anything we can’t eat, and of course, share produce with friends. Some parts of the garden could do with extra mulch and it’s time to summer-prune some of the fruit trees.