We continue to enjoy the bounties of spring, with the beginnings of the broad bean crop, asparagus, artichokes, beet root, a lovely variety of broccoli that is sweet both raw in a salad and cooked, white and green cauliflower, red and green cabbage, fennel, spring greens, lettuce, rocket, spinach and rhubarb . The peas are in flower. And there are plenty of herbs and edible flowers which help to make flavoursome dishes and colourful salads. There is also the spring surge of fresh eggs from the chickens.
Seasonal menu items from our kitchen have included a huge variety of spring salads with tender greens, spinach, rocket, herbs and edible flowers; asparagus, lemon thyme and chive tart (and any other tart to try and use up the eggs); spinach, nettle, thyme, parsley and garlic chive omelette; steamed broad beans with butter, pepper and salt; buttermilk curry with cauliflower (a delicious companion to home-grown, grilled, marinated leg of lamb); steamed artichokes with a tarragon dipping sauce or melted butter with fresh ground pepper; fresh whiting with asparagus and a lemon, chervil sauce; coriander pesto; beet root, slivered almonds and Main Ridge Dairy goats milk feta salad; and rhubarb cake.
Meanwhile the spring planting continued this week. The summer share seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, and melons have started to germinate in the greenhouse. The broccoli which germinated last week has its first true leaves. In the field, our first crops of beans and corn have germinated as have the carrots. They look so tiny in the photos...and yet filled with so much potential! They are all enjoying the rain that we have been having. The tomatoes, capsicum, basil and eggplant will be transplanted in the next few days. And today we planted potatoes and parsnips. Although we have planted lettuce and other greens, radishes, spinach, summer squash and zucchini for the house garden, it will be another few weeks before we do another seeding for the summer share boxes.
As we set a specific date for our summer trial, we continue to try our best to plan our planting so as to ensure crops will be ready by 20 January. While we have used previous season notes to help with timing, at this stage, many of the crops are now in the hands of the season. If it is a cold and wet spring, some crops may be later to ripen. If it is a hot spring, they might be early. We have programmed consecutive plantings into our schedule. Even still, as we start to plant into the field, the control we as farmers have shifts to working with what nature brings.
The planting continues in the coming week. As crops germinate, so do the weeds. So we will be out weeding, thinning, planting and possibly watering (depending on the weather).
This weeks companion planting article is Herbs and Perennials in the Mandala. The mandala borders are looking beautiful with the artichokes, apple tree blossoms and sage and foxglove blooms.
Gardening notes for this week have also been posted. These gardening notes offer an insight into the biodynamic and sustainable farming practices that we are using.