20 December 2014

I Went Away for a Week…….

A very cute baby pumpkin, one I'm hoping will grow into a nice big pumpkin
I went away for a week, leaving the garden, worms and compost in the kids' capable hands.

The garden was just starting to set fruit (or vegetables as the case may be). There was one tiny pumpkin. Baby Queensland Blue pumpkins are so cute, they look like tiny little green crowns. One tiny Mortgage Lifter tomato, although all the bushes had gazillions of flowers. One cute little green capsicum. The tiniest of little cucumbers. The very beginning of an eggplant was forming. The lime, mandarin and orange trees were covered in blossom. The lettuce were doing well and the basil and mint were starting to grow.

I was away for a week, I came home to a transformed backyard.

The pumpkins have taken over. They've spread over the compost heap. Grown along the western fence and down the side of the house. Crept out of their bed and sneakily followed the edge of the garden to grow almost three metres, sending tendrils out into the grass. And there are more babies - another three little Queensland Blue "crowns". I'm so excited, last year's pumpkin crop was dismal and I ended up buying a couple over winter.

The tomatoes have shot up and those gazillion flowers have started to turn into tomatoes. Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste and for the life of me I can't remember what the other ones are. They are all producing fruit and I picked the first tomato for the season tonight! We are all busting to have fresh tomatoes again for our salads and sandwiches.

The six eggplant are all covered in blossom and have grown around 15 centimetres. They are all setting fruit. We love eggplant, either on its own or in Moussaka or baba ganoush. Yum!

That little capsicum was big enough to pick, which is what I did last night and used it in our dinner. The other five plants have all set fruit and it looks like we'll have a bumper capsicum crop this year too.

Sadly the lettuce bolted! I've pulled them out and planted more. The basil has bolted too, so pesto and drying what I can are on my list of chores for tomorrow. I've pinched off the flowers so hopefully the leaves will continue to grow and  we'll have fresh basil for the summer. I usually pinch the flowers as soon as they appear to keep the plant going, hopefully leaving it a few days won't matter.

The fruit trees are covered in limes, mandarins and oranges. We've never had so much fruit on the trees. I'm looking forward to making marmalade and cordial as well as eating our own fruit this summer.

The beans are going great guns. I've picked and processed two handfuls every day this week. The stack of beans in the freezer is growing.

Our veggie patch is one of the prettiest things I've seen in a long time, it brings joy to my heart. It is already feeding us, and will continue to feed us through the summer into autumn and with what I preserve well into winter. Maybe longer if it keeps growing the way it has the last week or so.

Wayne's just come in and said the pumpkin vine has grown around 30 centimetres (a foot) since he cut the grass on Thursday afternoon. I can believe it and I'm grinning at the thought of all those pumpkins.

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