Enjoying some variety

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Rhubarb, white beetroot and new potatoes

Some weeks, it seems like the garden has a one track mind: all cabbage all the time, all silverbeet, all snowpeas.

So it’s nice to be able to pull a mix of things out of the garden, and to cook them all for dinner an hour later. In this case, we harvested three stalks of rhubarb, a white beetroot and handful of new potatoes (ranging from tiny to full-sized).

From these, I cooked:

  • chicken baked with rhubarb (a Scandinavian recipe, odd but good!)
  • grated beetroot cooked with butter (a Stephanie Alexander recipe)
  • baked potatoes

Chinese cabbages and more

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Chinese cabbages in the ground, sugar snap peas on the climbing frame

It’s surprising how much can be grown during a Sydney winter. With no frosts (at least near the coast), and less bugs, we’re getting plenty out of the garden each week.

The chinese cabbages are my current pride and joy. These grow very quickly, and are just about ready to be harvested. They have, however, had a mixed track record to date. Last year, they rotted in the ground, after non-stop rain for a month. This year I protected them with plastic, but the slugs have found them. Picking 3-4 slugs off them each day has meant they’ve been growing faster than they’ve been eaten, but it’s a close-run race.

I’ve also tried a different approach to climbers. The teepee structures I used last winter were fine, but took up a lot of space. So this time around I screwed together some garden stakes and attached wire mesh. So far the sugar snap peas are very happy!

These are just two of the above-ground plants we’re growing this winter. In addition we have:

  • savoy cabbages
  • mini savoy cabbages
  • purple cabbages
  • silverbeet
  • warrigal greens
  • pak choy
  • bok choy
  • kale (two varieties)
  • snow peas
  • rhubarb
  • salad greens
  • herbs (various)

(I’ll list the root vegetables in the next post.)

Rhubarb plants

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Four rhubarb plants, ready to be planted into the ground
Four rhubarb plants, ready to be planted into the ground

I’ve been cooking a bit with rhubarb recently, including a home-made rhubarb-and-apple pie  last weekend (yum!). I’ve wanted to grow fresh rhubarb for some time now, so last week I ordered four plants from Greenpatch Organic Seeds. Four working days later, they arrived!.

I planted them into the front corner of the garden this afternoon, in between showers of rain. They should be able to grow happily there without getting in the way of anything else. I also don’t think they’ll be very appealing for light-fingered passer-byers.

While I was in hurry to order the plants, I’ll now have to wait. All my gardening books say that rhubarb can’t be harvested in the first growing season, making it two years before we’ll be able to savour the red stalks. They say patience is good for the soul, ask me in two years…