This post is part of the Garden Share Collective, a group of gardeners from around the world who photograph and write about what they are growing each month. The theme for February is ‘preserve’.
The biggest change since I last wrote about my vegetable garden is that I’ve moved the chicken house and run. Now the chickens have access to the area that was previously my veggie patch and their old run will be used for veggies for the next year or two. I am doing this to improve soil fertility and to eradicate the bugs and plant diseases that tend to build up in vegetable beds over time.
You can see the old patch below, which is full of pumpkins almost ready for harvest and a few potatoes that the chickens have dug up.
And the area below is where I plan to grow veggies next season. It’s larger than in looks and the soil is very fertile, having been dug over by the chooks for the past three years.
Although my plum, peach and nectarine trees are now finished, the limes and apples are coming along nicely. Our meagre apple crop (only about five fruit) will be eaten fresh but the limes will be used to make all sorts of delicious treats, like lime curd and lime delicious pudding. Also, until my lemon tree fruits I’ll continue to use limes wherever lemons might ordinarily be used.
Every year in winter I cut my chili plant back hard and every year it recovers. I mostly use chillies fresh but recently I included homegrown chillies in spicy nectarine and ginger chutney and they are the main ingredient in my homemade sweet chilli sauce.
This has been the best summer for preserving I’ve had since moving here in March 2010. As I wrote in last month’s GSC,
I have more blood plums than I know what to do with. So far I’ve made plum and strawberry jam, plum jam, plum sauce, plum crumble and plum fruit leather. My nectarine tree is loaded with unripe fruit, the peaches are on the edge of ripeness and even the almond tree has done itself proud.
I love preserving homegrown produce; it gives me such a feeling of well-being and abundance. You can find my preserves page here, or go to the top of this page and click on COOK, then RECIPES, then PRESERVES.
I recently started some seeds for winter crops like coriander, lettuce and broccoli in seedling trays and they’re coming along nicely.
In February I harvested the last of the plums and nectarines, along with herbs, cherry tomatoes, chillies, eggplants and limes. After the seven 40+ degree days (Celsius) we had in December I’ve had a terrible season for capsicums and the larger tomatoes.
This month I’ll clear the last pumpkins out of the old veggie patch and put them on the patio table to dry out. I also plan to remove the remaining tomato frames from the patch and the next time it rains I’ll plant out some winter veg seedlings.
What’s happening in your garden this month?