What’s growing in the garden – fruit, vegetables, and chickens!
It’s a good thing that our neighbours aren’t too close. If they heard me constantly talking to my chickens they might think I’m a bit nuts. The chickens have a large run called the Hen Mahal, but they are also allowed to free range. So from the moment they arrive as new chicks I chat away to them, ask them if they’ve been good, tell them how clever they are when they lay, thank them for the lovely eggs, and generally go on with a lot of nonsense. Like in this video.
Why do I talk to my chickens all the time? When they become familiar enough with their surroundings to be let out, they will wander back themselves when it becomes dusk. But sometimes I need to get them in earlier. Because they know my voice, I call them and they come! Here’s the proof!
Who would have thought that you can train a chicken. If you have chickens, do you chat away to them?
Spring in the Garden
Early spring in the garden is a transition time that sees some things come to an end as others are coming to life. The broccoli that I planted too closely together during winter did reasonably well. After harvesting the heads I continued to pick the side shoots. Since then the chickens have been allowed into the bed. They’ve been feasting on the leaves, cleaning up bugs, and turning over the soil whilst I think about what to plant there next. My second bean crop had some sort of wilting disease so had to be pulled out. The snow peas are doing well. I hope to be able to pick a handful every couple of days. Only 1 of the zucchini plants grew from seed so a small harvest is possible just once or twice a week. They are lovely tossed into curries, steamed with some broccoli, or grated into zucchini and smoked salmon fritters.
This is the second in a short season of posts to update you on my home and garden projects. You may have read recently about the completion (finally!) of my wallaby cross-stitch, and up next on the blog will be a post about early spring in the garden.
But for now, an update on our girls. We had some chicken sadness recently, losing our 2 newer girls to a dog attack. The owner, who we know from the neighbourhood, rehomed the dog within 24 hours. His family were devastated to Continue reading
Winter was a long time coming this year in the sub-tropics. This meant having to wait longer to plant cool weather crops like broccoli and bok choy. It was late April before it had cooled off enough to sow the seeds, and even through May we had many hot days. The bok choy came up fairly quickly and the leaves make a lovely addition to curries and stir-fried veges. The broccoli is all leaves at present, and I hope the heads start to show soon. As usual I’ve planted them too close. The spacing always looks ok at first! The bed looks particularly crowded partly because of this and also due to all the lettuce which self-seeded after I let last summer’s crop go to seed. What we don’t eat the chickens do!
There is nothing like the sight of 4 eggs in the laying basket to warm the cockles of a mother hen’s heart (that’s mine I’m referring to!). The 2 new girls brought home in late January are now both laying. They are generally getting on better with their 2 older sisters. Athough I am still having to referee squabbles over prized perch territory as they get themselves settled at night. Now that we have an abundance of eggs, my thoughts have turned to recipes to maximise their use. Here are recipes for some of my favourites, curried egg dip and zucchini slice. And what could be better than a simple lunch of boiled eggs, with a salad of tomatoes and greens, served with home baked bread and sage butter.
I am really keen to try Miss Chardy’s pavlova recipe which she advises is ‘the easiest recipe in the world’. I’ve never tried to make one before, so we’ll see shall we? Before I try it, I’ll get myself organised with recipes to use up the yolks, rather than putting them in the fridge with good intentions.
Summer can be a challenging time for the garden in the subtropics. Weeks of long hot days and almost drought-like conditions followed by days of constant rain and high humidity do take their toll on the soil and vegetables. Sweet potato however thrives in this weather, and as mine had been in for the last couple of years it was time to dig it all up (with some help from 2 of my girls!) and plant a fresh crop. This has meant lots of sweet potato dishes – curried sweet potato soup to freeze for cooler months; sweet potato and lentil patties; and chocolate sweet potato cake. They are also delicious simply roasted or made into sweet potato chips.
Just the one Jarrahdale pumpkin grew from recently planted seeds that my cousin in north Queensland gave me. I made some pumpkin soup and froze it for winter. If you have an abundance of pumpkins you can also make pumpkin and prune cake and pumpkin pie. I’ve planted some more Jarrahdale seeds, which have taken off with the recent rain we have had.
The beans were short-lived but reaped a handful every few days. I grew a few beetroot – nice when roasted, grated raw in salads, and I love this beetroot dip. My basil and coriander were briefly lush and made some great pesto, Continue reading