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Quick August update and fortuitous meetings

Hi All,

Imagine my surprise today when I saw (I should say though - that she saw me as I'm hopeless) Sophie and Frank today at Bunnings and had the most lovely chat there and then they came back to my place and I had an impromptu garden visit where I showed off a little bit :)  You should see the yard now though Sophie, my husband mowed it and I cleaned out the front wicking beds and replanted with flowers -> Looks heaps fresher :)

So my trip to bunnings yielded an Alstromeria tuber which I resisted the temptation to buy more until I see if they survive, 2 x beautiful scabiosa plants (again - hoping they will survive and would definitely buy more - so pretty), and snapdragon and pink ruffles petunia seedlings.  Here are the flowers from the scabiosa and the climbing rose which is still pumping out heaps of roses despite my merciless mission to kill it off.

Made 6.5 jars of cumquat marmalade out of about 1/3 of the fruit on the tree.  This time it set - YAY!! but it is a really odd colour - maybe I boiled it too long?  Tastes fantastic regardless - even my son ate it! 

1.8 kg of fruit chopped up and deseeded.

The jam and other bits from today's wander around the garden.

Did you see the MUSHROOMS!!! I bought some mushroom compost about 1 month ago from a guy at Bribie Island and had mulched it in around the new plantings in front of the house that gets only small amount of sunlight in winter.  They came up there and I have a few more popping their heads up.  AMAZING!! I'm going to get some more next time I head up there and put it under the lychees where it is mostly shade and see if I can get some mushroom harvests happening every now and then.  Finally starting to harvest beans - there'd be more except I ate about that much on the way up to the house :) 

Pulled up the potato patch this weekend - this is what I ended up with from 8 seed potato's.  This would have been amazing had they all grown to size!!  I'm still trying to work out this potato growing thing.  The plants were so healthy and then I decided to mulch up around them and within 1 week, they had started to die back.  Next time, I'll try to bury them deep and then leave the plants do their own thing after that.  I don't think sweet potato and potato's are related?   Anyone know if I can plant a sweet potato patch in there next?

First Cauliflowers Yay - One is the violett sicilian which Mr Fothergills try to tell you is a broccoli but it is NOT -> will not sprout so once you pick it that's it.

Well that's about all from me this week.  Seedlings have taken off and I've prepped 2 beds ready for them so next post will be about them.  Just waiting for last 2 cauliflowers in old brassica bed to finish and that bed will be a third ready for some spring things.   Need to get out to the *extended* backyard and compost it up ready for some pumpkins this year -> had no luck with them in my yard last year so might as well try my luck with the extended backyard.   Looking forward to seeing everyone at Rob's garden visit next weekend.

Happy gardening guys.

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Comment by Susan on August 14, 2016 at 21:49

Lol Andy, I only post the good stuff :)  James, tried your method for some also not set guava jelly.  Ended up with it all through the microwave cause i got distracted and it still didnt set.  Next time, i'll try a tall dish and not a breakfast bowl  :)

Comment by Lissa on August 12, 2016 at 5:46

You make jam making sound so simple James. I've pretty much given up. Not that I eat much jam - if I had a whole family consuming it like the good ol' days I might make more effort.

Comment by James Rosenlund on August 11, 2016 at 11:01

Great work Susan. May I suggest a remedy for your " Runny Marmalade "? I use a microwave to bring my jams to the perfect consistency. Just do one bottle at a time,  when you need to open a new bottle, place all of the contents into a glass bowl and "Nuke" keep an eye on the jam and if it bubbles up too high push the stop button. Remove from M W and stir allowing the moisture to escape and to judge the consistency. Place in MW again and repeat until you are satisfied with the consistency.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 10, 2016 at 21:39

Yep, it's not runny marmalaide - it is Kumquat sauce.  Did you hang the seeds in the mix while it boiled?  They contain all the pectin.  

On a different note - damn woman!  You are becoming the Garden Queen!  Crops doing well, flowers looking great.  How good is all that?!  (He says whilst stabbing the Susan vodoo doll.)

Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 10, 2016 at 19:57

Also the runny Marmalade can be made into a sauce for Roast Chicken or Pork, or a Stir-Fry Sauce. I stuffed my Roast Chicken with Cumquats this week, gave a lovely flavour through the Chicken.

Comment by Sophie on August 10, 2016 at 19:23
Runny marmalade is DELICIOUS on icecream!! ;)
Comment by Susan on August 10, 2016 at 18:27

Kids... Help???  Well they helped to eat the product :)  Yeah Sophie,  I think that overboiling was the problem trying to get the jam to actually set.  Last time I did a soak method AND I didn't boil so long - beautiful colour but I had to throw it out cause it didn't set and I have no use for runny marmalade.  Elaine, I've put in some peas for now and will probably put in a Melon crop soon in that spot.  I decided I'll dig up the alyssum s under the beehive and put the sweet potato there. 

Comment by Lissa on August 9, 2016 at 5:10

My eyes popped at the potato harvest! Well done! My potato plants are starting to flower so it won't be long before I do some more cropping, but did dig up one plant yesterday that I saw it was dying and found some really good spuds. Lots more to go so I have high hopes for a good yield this season.

Love the purple cauli. Always stunning to grow the coloured varieties of things we normally eat.

What a job de-seeding all those little cumquats. Did the kids help?

Comment by Sophie on August 8, 2016 at 7:18
Thanks so much for your impromptu GV Susan! I was going to post a photo of your gifted banana baby in situ but we got distracted with house cleaning and the poor guy is in a pot until I can bring myself around to digging a hole in the clay :) Was great to see your beautiful and productive garden. Makes me wish we planted fruit trees in the ground when we first moved in...! The hive is a success, I think it's on our christmas list. Re cumquat marmalade - Stephanie Alexander suggests to cut into quarters (not slice) and cover with water and soak overnight before the jamming process. This is what I did in the past and it gave a delicious bright orange, though you said you didn't had this discolouration last time using the same process?
Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 8, 2016 at 6:11

Fabulous Harvest. Your efforts have really paid off too fold, and you have really got this Vegi Garden thing pretty well down pat. I am sure you will be able to supply your family with all or just about all their Veg needs this Spring/Summer.

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