Monday, 29 December 2008

mutant tomatoes and everything else

Isn't this a brilliant time of year in the garden? Frost is well and truly unlikely*, there's plenty of sunshine without it being punishingly hot, and everything's in fruit and flower. Including one of my tomatoes which has sprouted a strangely large yellow flower which I've never seen before on a tomato. I can't remember whether this one was a self-sown one or one of the seedlings given to me by a friend of my mum, but I think it's a bit of a mutant.

On Christmas day we put in a whole lot of Lemon Rush and Princess sunflowers which we'd raised in jiffy posts (see previous post). They're a bit boring looking in their rows but the reasoning behind the monotony was that we could support the lot with one stake at either end in a clothesline type arrangement. I knew there were a few submerged bricks but I was fairly horrified as to how many we found once we started digging. Anyone need bricks?

We manhandled up the dwarf fig tomato into a frame because it was spreading out of control and going right over/through the silverbeets and strawberries. Foolishly I'd assumed the "dwarf" thing meant it was a miniature variety but I think it only pertains to the actual fruit, which is indeed a tad on the smallish side. So the plant got well and truly bashed up getting pulled and shoved into a tomato frame but I think it will forgive us.

We put in the carrots (shown in jiffy pots in the previous post) in an drip-fed oval where we'd previously had spinach. You can barely see them in the ground so the right hand picture shows the close up.

While it was nice to have fresh baby spinach in salads it all seemed to bolt to seed very quickly despite constant picking of leaves. Maybe rocket rather than spinach in future salad plots. The great herb project, however, is a raging success. We are growing and using basil, chives, dill, kaffir lime leaves, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. Mostly in salads but generally over everything. Lettuce is going crazy at the moment so if anyone wants, we has.

The red capsicum now has two fruits on it which will hopefully make it to red and ripe without being attacked by a beastie. Possibly about time I put a plastic bag around the fruit but I worry that this would steam them on a hot day and I'd come home to lightly steamed underripe capsicum with the skins all fallen off. I think the reason I never grow things like capsicum is that they're a lot of fuss for so little reward. All this for (maybe) two capsicums!

Figs are looking good, as are the apricots. The figs are actually very large and surprisingly syrupy for so early in the season. Last year at this time the first flush of fruit was spongy and not at all sweet. The apricots are massive and I ate the first one just this afternoon - happy to report it was sweet and juicy and just how you'd hope an apricot to be.

The Jap pumpkin (or Kabocha to those who wish to steer clear of the slightly racist horticultural terminology employed by Australia and New Zealand) is doing well and will hopefully start stealing ground from the rampant spearmint patch.

Exciting news in the kitchen is the addition of a big red plastic tomato mouli thing for making and preserving sugo and apricots. Preserving jars and books have been ordered from the internets. Woot!

* being Melbourne one is ill-advised to rule these things out, especially in print.


Mel said...

I'm so jealous! My figs are still small and green, there are only three small green tomatoes on all my five tomato plants, my capsicum hasn't even started to flower yet and my lettuce is small and sad.

I put most of this down to having got going much later than you, but also you seem to be much better at cultivation and fertilisation than me.

The only thing I can begin to be proud of is my cucumbers. Starting to ramble up the fence where I have ineptly stapled some string in lieu of trellis, and beginning to develop some baby cukes!

Fluffy said...

Ahh! Baby cukes! I love them when they look like little pre-pickled cornichons. I've never grown cucumbers despite having been given a ready-to-go potted seedling by fellow Rake's Progress blogger Faith. Next year! And more strawberries. Never enough strawberries. And potatoes.

I need a farm.