Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Jan 2021 - I've been a bit slack with blogging.

Hi all, 

I'm sorry I've been absent from blogging with any regularity lately.  My husband was ill for a while and then holidays happened and as usual it all got away from me.  Luckily, the rain has been kind and my garden is not looking to bad.   Though, my garden still doesn't grow much in the way of veg over summer.  

Here is what I harvested today - these carrots are way overdue for harvest and were planted back in July so I don't really count them as a "summer" harvest.  Nor these spring onion bulbs - the big ones have been in over 1 year while the smaller ones about 8 months - again, not a summer harvest but a me being lazy and not getting round to clearing out the beds harvest.  :)  Good news is that I've managed to clean out 2 garden beds so that's a bonus!

I am harvesting eggplants and silverbeet as well and suprisingly, tomatoes.  I always have a lot of trouble growing tomatoes over summer - even the cherry types have issues.  I bought 5 seeds for $4.75!!! of the sungold from Mr fothergills and had 2 plants in and I must admit they are worth the money.  Only tomato producing in my garden right now and very sweet.  

As usual, the fruit is fantastic at this time of year.  So many dragon fruit, I've been putting them on the road with a "free" sign.  This box was 3/4 full when I put it out and had some taken before I thought I should take a photo.  Some lovely person even left me a jar of strawberry jam to say thankyou. 

The mangoes and lychees have been just as prolific

I also have an abundance of figs and macadamia for such little trees

All those magoes, I've processed into dried and bottled magoes and also frozen some so we can enjoy mango all year. 

Now, for years, I have wanted a shelving unit to display all my preserves but it was one of those things that I had put off.  My workmates wanted to do something nice for me (I;ve had a pretty tough last couple of months) and they knew I was a mad gardener so they made this garden bench for me. 

I took one look at it and saw the potential.  It was exactly what I wanted and I also wanted to cherish my gift.  The first step was giving it a rough sand down and I added an extra shelf and decorative brackets.  I then used Chalk paint and wax to make it beautiful.  

Lastly, was to make the curtains to go round and then add all my beautiful preserves.    The underneath shelving holds my dehydrator, canning unit, spare bottles and some appliances that I previously stored in my hallway cupboard.  The preserves were also in that cupboard.   So once I moved everything out, the next job was to clean out my closet and I now have a whole 1.5 m shelf empty!! Lol! 

I absolutely adore it and think it looks amazing.  The guys who made if for me could not believe how it turned out.  Well that's about it from me guys.  I'm looking forward to Dianne's garden visit at the end of january so hopefully I can make it and get to see everyone.  

Happy gardening guys. 

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on January 22, 2021 at 20:54

Hi Susan, You have been a busy girl, Love it and your new shelf if fabulous. I do hope you husband is well now and you are back to your old self, your friends must really think a lot about you. I too love using Vacola Bottles, it just makes me feel so "Back Then". I made so many preserves etc. last year that I didn't need to do as much this time, but as soon as I can pick up a couple of boxes of good tomatoes it will be Passata, & other tomato preserves being made. It will be lovely to see you at our GV on the 31st, kind of looking forward to it, I am way behind how I would like to have been in preparation, but as Graham says, "It Is What It Is".

Comment by Susan on January 17, 2021 at 19:35

Thanks guys.  Christa, I got the bottles from my mum who got them from my grandma.   I have bought about 20 new ones too and of course the ball ones. I don’t like them as much as vacola though but won’t get rid of them as that’s just wasteful.  I ordered new lids and bands just before Xmas because I picked up another batch of jars when I was up at mums.  I am up at the farm as I type this now :).  Just a quick trip by myself to water. Yeah, our house is much better now.

.   Andy, I have teenage kids living at home so I make what we need for them.  Zack went through the 16 jars of mango pretty quickly last year, so this year I upped it to 24 jars.  I imagine that won’t be enough even but it’ll just have to do :) 

Barbara, most of the fruit harvests are actually pretty quick to do.  I wish I had more variety in terms of veg over summer but my garden just does not like the heat. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 15, 2021 at 20:17

Holy cow!  I love that shelf/bench.  I thought I'd been doing okay with my preserves - but well, yeah - nah!  You never fail to impress Susan.  

Comment by Christa on January 15, 2021 at 14:05

Wow, Susan, you transformed that great gift to suit your personal use. I love the mango preserves and you used the old fashioned vacola bottles.  I have boxes of them under the house (just waiting to buy some stainless steel lids) Those lovely curtains make your place like an old fashioned cosy kitchen style hutch. 

Remember the old check gingham curtains used in granny's kitchen.  We hope everyone is OK now, Have you had a chance to go to the farm?

Comment by Barbara Tealby on January 15, 2021 at 7:26

You're right, it does look amazing and the preserves look splendid. What is also amazing is how much produce you harvest when you haven't spent any time in the garden.

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