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Gardening with Hellish Weather

Today is the day after Christmas, 2018, and at the moment the temperature is hot, hot, hot! Neither gardens nor hounds do well outside in such conditions, so as a good dog owner, and as a sometimes gardener, I am taking actions to ensure the dog, and as many of the plants as possible, survive.

Missy goes outside in such conditions for only brief periods to do hwat she needs to do, then she comes back  inside to recline once more upon her ‘throne’! Her sofa is situated in one of the coolest spots possible, with the cool air from the air conditioner blowing onto her. I think this is why she goes outside and lies down on the grass, and has a bit of a roll on the grass too, to warm up before cooling down again.

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Of course, with the plants, it isn’t that easy. You can’t bring inside plants growing on our property, they’re roots connect them to the soil outside. We can water them too, and today the usual plants will get plenty of water, once the sun goes down a little bit. I think over the next few (stinking hot) days, the potted plants will get more frequent quenching, and with luck there won’t be any big losses …

Having MS (multiple sclerosis), makes it more tricky to do too much outside in this weather, and I’m glad my husband, who is also my carer, is well and truly up to keeping our outside plants watered and living, for the most part. Most of our vegetable growing is over for now, with only herbs in pots still going, as well as the polystyrene box of Purslane, which is absolutely thriving, along with the chocolate mint growing in one of the vegetable beds.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with growing some vegetable produce indoors, to see if I can usefully do that, to help out in the kitchen. I saw an opportunity, and jumped at was was on offer – this was using the last of our our Spring onion crop, which was pulled up several weeks ago. I grabbed the few weedy looking plants, and popped them into two used ‘jiffy pots’ that have been in our kitchen, on the windowsill for years.

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(The plant above is the first of the jiffy pot ones)

So once I’d put two extremely weedy little plants into the jiffy pots, I grabbed the four  smallest remaining ones, and put the others, (after rinsing off the dirt) into a plastic bag in the kitchen. I put those four into an old glass, and partly filled it with fresh water. I then committed to keeping them all safely hydrated (watered).

I had the idea that throwing away spring onion parts, the bottom end, with roots attached, was possibly wasteful, and maybe I could grow them inside, in water, or something. So I grabbed a cut off part of one of the spring onions from the fridge, and put that one in the water, with the others.

I’ve been watching, waiting and watering, and am pleased with the results so far! I’ve had new growth on all of the ‘plants’, and I’ve been able to snip off the strongest leafy parts to use in cooking. It hasn’t been a lot yet, but who knows how it will go? You sure can’t get any fresher than grown, cut and cooked within minutes! The window sill, chopping board and stove top are all within about two metres apart!

I’ve also taken some cuttings of the chocolate mint, and some thyme, and am seeing whether they will grow roots in water. I have no expectations, just a simple hope. If no roots come along, it doesn’t matter, the parts can all become parts of a lovely hot chai choc drink, or better still, choc chai mocha drink (if I get some coffee involved too)!

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(spring onions growing in water, note the cut off tops, they were in dinner last night)

 

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(chocolate mint is larger leaved one, and it has roots growing! the thyme, being a woody stemmed plant may not be as successful, but I have more growing outside, so that’s fine)

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A Garden Catch Up

Well, it’s been a while since my last post on this blog, and there have been lots of things happening out in the garden. Summer has arrived, with quite variable weather for the final parts of Spring, and into the ‘hotter’ season. There were some stinking hot days at the end of Spring, and our poor mandarin tree suffered hugely because of it.

That lovely crop of tiny mandarins we had covering the tree have  all frizzled up in the hear and dropped from the tree. There will be no mandarins this year, not from our tree … This should teach me to stop counting the fruit before it ripens, shouldn’t it?

We have had successes with other produce growing here though, at various levels. We have had two strawberries so far that made it to the table, nice and ripe ones, though quite small. There were a few more strawberries coming along too, last week, but the birds got to them before we could. We are going to put some netting up to save the strawberries from the birds, this time …

We have a tremendous crop of Purslane growing in a box outside, and I’m trying to eat some in the morning every morning, because my gardening expert has told me they are more beneficial regarding Omega 3 Fatty Acids, if eaten then. I don’t manage to do that every single day, but manage it several times a week for sure. Is it actually doing me any good? Who knows, it certainly isn’t doing me any harm, and I’m feeling good …

My husband, who does most of our cooking, has included some of the purslane in the occasional meal, and I think he’s coming around on thinking it may be a worthwhile addition to some of our meals. I keep thinking I should do more research on possible easy ways to use purslane in meals. At the moment, I eat it raw, sometimes as is, other times mixed in with a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. It has no flavour, really, but it has a nice ‘crunch’.

So what else? We have a fine crop of chocolate mint growing, and it has been adding interesting notes to some of our meals. I’ve also used some of that mint in an interesting Choc Chai coffee on some days. Interesting, and quite different to my usual white coffees I have in the morning, every morning (unless I am have fasting bloods done, like I am next week). I added a little thyme to the chai on occasion, that we have growing in one of our hanging baskets on the back veranda. As I said, interesting …

What else is out there? We grew our own spring onions this year, and have been using them at times. Graham pulled them up the other day, because he wants to use that vegetable bed for something else. I saved a few of the tiny plants, and I’m growing them in water, in the kitchen, just for a bit of interest. I’ll need to do some more studying on the best ways to grow spring onions inside in water, I think. I’m not sure the way I’m doing it at the moment is ideal …

We grew garlic this year too, and it has been harvested, and once it is all dried, and we’ve used up the garlic from the Adelaide Central Market, we’ll use our own garlic, for as long as it lasts. What else? We have been growing our own parsley in one of the vegetable beds too, and there is still some of that growing, lovely and green, but I’m not sure how long it will last.

I think that’s it now, nothing else edible growing, unless you’re a dog – our dog Missy likes to eat the grass growing in the back yard, not always, just every now and then. So overall, we’re doing an ok job of providing ourselves with fresh fruit and vegetables, but there is still a long way to go before we could ever be self-sufficient …

If you grow your own, I’d love to hear about how your garden is going.  Feel free to leave a message here!

 

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