With the cross over between spring and summer crops, the past few weeks have been filled with a variety of produce. We are harvesting the last of the little artichokes and broad beans, have continued harvesting beet root, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, coriander, lettuce, radishes, parsley, spring onions, sugar snap, shelling, and snow peas, silver beet, and spinach. And are now happily harvesting baby carrots, basil and zucchini.
Our seasonal menus have included a mixed green salad with radishes, calendula petals and nasturtium flowers; mixed green salad with grated beet root, hearts ease pansy flowers, borage flowers and raw peas; broccoli, bok choy and snow pea stir fry; grilled marinated artichokes; roasted beet root with marinated artichokes, spinach and feta; baby carrot, spring onion, sugar snap pea, and cashew stir fry; soy, ginger, basil sauce over steamed sugar snap peas and roasted sesame seeds; spicy fermented cabbage (kimichi); sauerkraut; mung bean sprouts, spring onion, cabbage, snow pea and baby carrot stir fry; Moroccan broad bean dip; and cream cheese and beet root dip.
With 8 weeks to go, Peter and I have been having a good look at all that is growing, the seedlings still to transplant, and marking the dates for successive plantings to come. This trial is different to actually working with the growing season - we are planting and planning everything anticipating a DATE for the Summer Share.
It is still too early to tell how our timing will work...will the broccoli come on a little early, will the beans be ready, will the spinach be bolting? The weather will have the final say. What we can say is that right now everything looks wonderful, healthy and glowing! There is a huge range of vegetables and staggered plantings of basil, string beans, beet root, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, carrots, celery, sweet corn, coriander, cucumbers, lettuce, leeks, parsley, parsnips, radishes, spinach, spring onions and zucchini are promising to keep them coming. Our plantings of capsicum, chillies, eggplant, and tomatoes, with a good season and continued plant health, will take us through the summer. And the pumpkins for the autumn have already grown more then 1/2 metre of twining vines. Spring is such an exciting season!
We have had our first big "pest" invasion with white fly finding the carrots. We sprayed them with seaweed brew and waited to see what would happen. All of us were thrilled to see the carrots filled with ladybirds a few days later. The carrots show no signs at all of having been compromised. There are still white fly about but they are not in the numbers that can really sap the energy of a plant.
The ladybirds are now right through all of the crops from potatoes to pumpkins. It is great to see the larvae as well as the mature adults. We love witnessing the natural balancing systems working.
We had the great pleasure to have Peter Webb visit the farm last week. Peter has been a large-scale biodynamic market gardener for over twenty-five years. He is an expert on biodynamic farming practices, especially compost making and working with the subtle natural energies. It was wonderful to talk with him about all that we are currently doing and also to receive his confirmation that the energy on the property is already 4 times higher then that of a commercial farm using chemicals. By continuing with the practices that we are doing, we hope to raise the energy to that of an established biodynamic farm. Peter is the first certified biodynamic farmer we have spoken with and we are thrilled to have him as a resource for our farming practices. Thank you Peter, Chrissie and Kate for making the trip!
Gardening notes for this week have been posted. These gardening notes offer further insight into the biodynamic and sustainable farming practices that we are using as well ideas for the home gardener.
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