Sunday, April 26, 2009

Growing Sweet Potatoes

Today I replanted my sweet potato vines. A friend showed me how they did it and I thought I would try it her way.

First you make mounds in the ground - like little graves. Mine are about 1m square - just due to my spacing. You can make them longer.

Then take a vine that has some red on the end and a leaf on the other and wind it up.

Plant it so that the red part and most of the stem is under the ground - I did two to a mound.

Voila - wait 3 - 4 months and you should have a decent crop!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Duck weather ---- what to do?

Ok, yes, these aren't ducks...but it really is duck weather. I woke this morning to our first Autumn showers which gave the garden a good dosing. But I had planned to start planting out some seedlings of winter veggies. The die-hard veggie gardener in me challenged me to do it, but my bed was so won the battle!

So instead I made some chili-tomato chutney...

And some pumpkin and sweet potato soup....

All ingrediants (bar the onion) were from our garden.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweet potatoes - we got them - and lots of them!

This is a story which started off sad but has ended up with me doing the happy dance around my house.

I planted some sweet potatoes at the same time as I planted my spuds - about 4 months ago. On Sunday I lifted my last potatoes to store so that I could plant peas and spinach. I then decided to check on my sweet potatoes. There were none to see or feel about 5 - 10cm under the soil.

A friend of mine had lifted hers on Saturday and they had a bountiful harvest. She told me how they had planted theirs and it had paid off.

So today when our gardener arrived I asked him to pull up the vines and I would start over...but as he dug he started finding them...and lots of them. The piccie below is only 2 rows in and we have 6 rows!!!

David said to me: "Mam, you need to move to a farm!" Needless to say both his family and ours will be eating sweet potatoes tonight! (And a few nights hereafter :-))

We ended up filling a 10 litre bucket with all sizes and they are truly delicious!

Grey water usage

I recently looked into chanelling all our grey water into our garden, but it is outside our budget at the I made a plan.

We had a spare pool cleaning hose that I now connect to the out pipe from the kids bath and when they are done I use it to water the pots in the back yard, the potato section or my few roses bushes we saved.

It isn't pretty - but it works!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rooti's - traditional South African Food

I try and cook from scratch as much as I can. It creates less waste, is healthier and forces me to use what I have in the house.

If I find something in a shop that I like a lot I will practice making it until I get it right. Rooti's are one of these...they are like flour tortillas, but not as dry. Here's how to make them:

Mix together 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons oil and 1.5 cups water. Make a smooth dough - I use my bread machine. Roll it into a sausage and cut into equal pieces - about 16.

Brush with some melted butter...This is my 7 year olds best part.

Roll up...

Tie in a knot and allow to "sit" for about 1/2 hr.

Roll it out again trying to keep them as round as you can.

Fry on both sides in butter or oil (very little is needed - they can even be dry fried.) They get all puffy from the butter layer and re-rolling.

Serve with traditional Cape Malay Curry. I used the veggies that I had in the garden - potatoes, beans, carrot, tomatoes and aubergines. You can add meat too.

Yummy Yummy Yummy Yummy

Friday, April 10, 2009

All these leaves

Most of our front garden is dominated by a very large Stinkwood. Each Autumn it drops tons of leaves. We normally can compost some of them but the amounts are just too huge to break down.

This year I have all these bags left over from the horse manure I bought so I am going to try my hand at making leaf mould. It takes 1 - 2 years to break down and if left longer it will make great seelding potting we will store the bags down an alley way for the next while and see what happens.

Basically you put the dry leaves into a plastic bag, wet them and tie it up. Simple!

Compost and chickens

Everyday our chickens get walk-about-time. I do wish we could leave them out all day but I fear the dogs would get them.

Each day they make a beeline for the compost. One of the chickens always goes into the "caged" compost and spends her time scratching there. The other 3 tend to stay on the older pile.

When it is time to come in I stand at their coop and call them and they come running, wings flapping and clucking because I treat them as they go in with a slice of crumbled bread. They are giving us 4 eggs a day and so much pleasure...

Nature has a way of beautifying (is that a word?) man made things, and we have a gem squash plant growing through the fence and over the compost cage...with it's bright yellow flowers it is such a gorgeous site...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Love it or hate it - rhubarb

I suppose when there are so many foods that are much more valuable one may wonder why it is worth it to grow rhubarb...we have it growing in a few places but it has grown best in a pot in full sun.

Last night I made rhubarb crumble for pudding...this is how:

Cut and wash your rhubard..

Chop it and put in a pot with a tablespoon sugar and tablespoon water, cook unti just tender.

Place on crumble crust. I make a low GI crust with 90g butter, 1/2cup sugar and 1 cup ww flour, 1 cup oat bran. Cover the bottom of your greased dish with half the crust, place rhubarb ontop and then cover with the other half. Bake for 1/2 on 180 deg C.

Serve with homemade custard.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our Autumn Garden

I thought I would share some photos of our main veggie garden now that the seasons are changing...

Looking right down the garden toward the coup(south)

Looking left toward my kitchen and neighbours home

The new coop we did about 3 months ago...we call it the luxury villa!

First bed - holds tomatoes, last corn, globe artichokes and basil

Second Bed - carrots, tomatoes, new cabbages interplanted with peas

Third bed - Chilies and sweet peppers in the front, celery in the middle and potatoes at the back

Fourth Bed - coriander, brinjals in the front, runner beans in the middle and lettuce (new) at the back

Fifth bed - Gem squash at the back, middle new leeks, lying fallow at the front with one lone italian tomatoe plant :-)

The last sections are right outside out kitchen door...on the left I have herbs in pots (thyme, rosemary, lavender, basil, oreganum), a nice healthy rhubarb plant and the vine growing.

On the right is a raised bed which has more chilies, tomatoes and melon, this is also our "nursery" where our seedlings grow until planting.

Lots going on, and lots more planned.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Potato Harvest

I think there is something special about growing potatoes and other root crops...maybe its the surprise factor...I mean you can see your tomatoes above ground and things like peas, squash and beans...but with potatoes they are down there in the soil just growing and growing.

This week we harvested one row of potatoes and were very excited to have a bucket full of them from 5 plants....

This is what they looked like on the surface after about 3.5 months after planting.

We dug down from the stem of the plant, had to dig deep and wide....

David found some "friendlies"....

This is how many we got from 5 plants....

He took it upon himself to clean them for me....

All ready for dinner...and I must just say, the flavour was unbeatable!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My green budget

Let's be honest...going green is not always more frugal in the beginning. Often things like my biowash balls are much more on the initial layout than what is possible in one month.

About a year ago I started setting aside a monthly amount which I use towards a greener lifestyle...This month I bought a doggie toilet (see and look for Good Boy!) and with my left over funds I bought 20 bags of horse manure!

They come from my daughters riding venue...and are nice and mature - no smell and light to work with!

What's new this morning?

Every morning I like to go out into my little "farm" and see what's new.

This morning I found this hiding away....

Our first Gooseberry!

In the evenings I go and see what I can include in our dinner...sometimes the offerings are bigger than others....sometimes its a few beans for a salad, others make the bulk of our evening meal.