Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Today's Garden

One of the most pleasant experiences of being at home, is the ability to watch the process of food in the garden. Whether or not you have a "real" garden, it might be possible to grow a few things in pots on a porch or  patio. Pumpkins can be cooked in
the oven and then mashed, to make a pie or used other ways. 
Yellow apples have a mild flavor and store well in a bucket or bag on a cool floor throughout the winter.
Berries for pies and jellies and flavorings are just so beautiful to look at, although you practically have to dress like a bee keeper to be protected from the stickery vines.
The purple plums are almost ready, too.
The grapes are coming along nicely...
The corn was perfect so far, with not a mark on it. There was no fertilizer of any kind or pesticides used in this garden.  I didn't have time to weed much of it and I suppose the bugs just couldnt get to the food very easily through the thorns and thistles.
The cabbage was very sweet, sauteed in olive oil in a frying pan.
One vine gave a full bucket of red potatoes, which made great fries last night. We will be saving some seeds from all this produce, to use in the next garden.
The tomatoes were sweet and there was an abundance to give away.
The onions are getting very large and there are still a lot of cucumbers and heads of lettuce. Green peppers and green beans, as well as hot chilies, are growing, and being used for daily salads, salsas and spaghetti sauce.
It is a lot different than going to the grocery store, when you shop in the garden.  One advantage is  the beautiful view of the sky through the aspens, whose leaves sound like jingling bells in the breeze.
This has been a very busy season for me, but I am still sewing, and just need to get pictures. I have made a dress to wear to a mountain wedding, and next week will be at a rose garden wedding, and following that, a beach wedding. I have made cotton dresses to match each of these locations, which can be worn anywhere, any time, and at home with aprons.  Sewing these kinds of garments is much more practical than buying formal dresses that cannot be used every day.  I hope to post about it soon.  Coming up, there will be an article about discouragement, for those looking for something to help keep their spirits high when there are obstacles to overcome.
Sunflowers seeds were planted along the edges of the garden. It looks like the bees have returned. If you remember, there was some concern in years past at the lower populaton of honey bees and pollinating insects. Planting a garden seems to have helped the increase of the beneficial insects.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the article about discouragement. I deal with that a lot. Thank you so much for your blog!

~ Karen ~

Anonymous said...

Thank you dear Lydia in all your busy-ness for sharing photos of your fruitful garden and ideas on how you use the produce. Marvellous. We adore fruit and vegetables. I'm looking forward to any of your new posts as usual. Thank you so much. Love from Linda

Anonymous said...

What a lovely garden and orchard you have. I know what you mean about busy in the garden. My sewing room has been screaming for me all summer, but it will have to wait also as there are things to harvest and still some weeds to pull in the garden.
Thank you for showing the garden produce photos in your blog. Wish the happy brides and grooms blessings from us. We'll be praying for them. Looking forward to more of your sewing projects too.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
You are truely a blessing !! I look forward to your "newest" posting and appreciate the encouragement that comes with it. Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
I just love growing my own garden. I live in Florida and just last week I had the pleasure of eating fresh pineapple. Pineapples are such a beautiful fruit. I used them as decoration until I wanted to eat them. I am looking forward to try and grow many other fruit and vegetables. I also wanted to comment on your beautiful dresses. I just got back from Epcot and it was so nice all the different countries had all the ladies in traditional clothing of their country. All the costumes were were long dresses and very modest and beautiful. It was so nice to see all the ladies wearing dresses or skirts and the men wearing pants. I was also impressed that many female guests at epcot wore skirts and dresses. Who knows Lydia maybe women are returning to proper womanly dressing and you are helping by inspiring many women who inspire many other women. God bless you for helping us look and act like women and serve and love Jesus!!!!

Anonymous said...

Also looking forward to the article about discouragement! Sounds like you have been busy in a good way. Enjoy the weddings.

~ Ann

Anonymous said...

My grandparents on my dad's side of the family have a garden. Sometimes, when my grandma comes to see me and my dad, she'll bring over tomatoes (both big ones and small "grape" ones...the latter which actually aren't bad with bacon and eggs), zucchini and/or cucumbers from said garden.

When I was still living with my mom, there was one year when she had a small garden of her own. The only crop that made it though was the tomatoes. They were small tomatoes, mind you, but there were lots of them up until September or October of that year. They were kept in a clear plastic bowl in the kitchen until they were used in a meal or until someone randomly grabbed a few while passing by the bowl (which Mom also encouraged), whichever came first.

You mentioned that your red potatoes made great fries. I've had homemade fries, too, with both what I would call "regular" potatoes and sweet potatoes. Both are pretty good too.

You also mentioned green peppers. Have you ever looked into a recipe for "stuffed pepper stew"? I don't remember what all is in it (besides meat and onions, I think, which are stuffed into green peppers), but that's pretty good.

Overall, I'm glad your garden's doing well, and I wish you the best of luck with it in the future.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
It is so nice to be home, and to have the joy and peace of picking your own produce. Cooking your own meals, sewing your own cloths.
It is a tremendous blessing to be a keeper at home. I had to go out today approx. an hour away and shop at a big box store for the every other month trip, and I was so relieved to be back home.
Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort. I often try to extend the time to 3 months between trips. But oh how nice to be back home.....

Anonymous said...

You have described perfectly the pleasure of shopping our vegetable gardens! My tomatoes are slow to ripen, but I did pick enough today to add to a soup, & soon there should be a few more, giving me some to process. My lettuces were very good, & we are still enjoying a few salads here & there. We have high hopes this year of making cider from our apples (4 trees); last year we didn't even bother to set up the press!

I am eager to read your upcoming article about discouragement. I'm sure it will prove helpful on rough days. :o)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you made a post I thought you were sick or something because its been a week. That's a great garden.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

Love all your vegetables and fruit.

I started growing fruit and vegetables when I first got married, almost twenty years ago now. I too get great pleasure out of growing our own! I know what you mean about watching the process of food being grown. I think it makes us more intimately aware of our surroundings and what God provides at each time of the year. I love watching buds form and spring into life on our mulberry, and now our plum. We are fortunate in Australia, we can grow all sorts of fruit and veg. all year round.

I must send you an email with pictures when I become more technologically proficient!

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...


What a fantastic vegetable patch you have, and orchard!! Oh me!!

Even in our shoebox townhouse, we've a raised garden bed in the front garden (not enough room in the back, and with two digging doggies, hmm...

Our carrots are coming up; we harvested for dinner last night and the night before; same goes for Desere potatoes, and silverbeat. Our garlic will be ready by Christmas; we've three cauliflower; the leaves are huge; over a foot long, but the head has not formed; Do you think they will 'flower' or should we simply resign ourselves to using the leaves in similar manner to boc-choi etc...

We use no pestacides; never did on our lemon tree, but it carked it around two months ago and the new sapling we planted has suffered transplant stress, dropping its leaves, almost ready to meet its maker too!! The soil was prepared beforehand, maneur, B&B, a water of gentle seaweed and fish emulsions, left to sit for a fortnight before the tree was planted. We're going to try planting the new one out the front.

I've also got one pot of strawberry; its dormant at the moment; We're too hot in Sydney for many pom fruit to take; citrus is our best bet. Even though we're far less able to feed ourselves completely, as you're able to (and some of our country extended family is), the feeling of independance picking that veg on Tuesday night was brilliant!! No carbon footprint, no lying around in the market for a week, no ten days of road transport, no herbicides or insecticides, prudent use of water.................For those of us in crammed suburbia, could we moreso embrace the concept of the community garden, where families where space is at a premium could come together and manage a community garden together; in apartment blocks, could body corporates look at rooftop gardens? not only would this help a little bit, but rooftop gardens cool the building beneath them, make good use of rainwater, if properly established do not lead to structural problems with said roof or leakage...

Local councils might also look at residential streetside treeplantings on the naturestrip and consider fruiting trees; it wouldn't cost too much per year to deter pests, and healthy trees attract less pests to tree and fruit anyway...

This might sound utopian, but with so many millions living with little or no garden of their own, or no common allotment, we need to think about the entire way urban living is organized.

Once again, I'm inspired!!!!!!!!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I loved the part about the bugs not being able to get to the veggies because of the weeds.

I'm embarrassed by how the weeds have popped up in our raised bed garden. I'll look at it now as bug control. :)

Lydia said...

If you live in the city or the suburbs, a garden makes the air around you smell so nice! We have rosemary in abundance, as well as chives and thyme. In some of the old Victorian homes, they planted thyme and other short herbs on the steps and walkways so that every step you took was scented.

If you have one potatoe plant, it can yield quite a large bucket or basket of potatoes. I store them with the dirt still on them, in a paper bag, packed with springs of lavender or rosemarry, fold the top of the bag down and put it in a cool and dark place on the floor in the house. Those bags of potatoes last all winter and there are some left for seeds in the summer. The herbs keep them fresh and seem to keep the potatoes from shrivilling up, and from what I saw, the potatoes did not tend sprout til I removed the lavender or rosemary.

Lydia said...

I think everyone feels terrible when the weeds grow so high, but in hot weather they can shade the plants. You have to weed at least once, really well, and in some climates, by the time the weeds grow up again, it is time to pick the food anyway.

Lydia said...

Here is a family custom handed down to me through generations: If you have a problem with bugs, take your rhubarb leaves and lay them around the plants you need to protect. BUgs dont like the rhubarb, and the rabbits dont seem to like it either. The rabbits ate a patch of green beans on the edge of the garden and left the ones inside the garden alone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

What a good tip about storing potatoes. I've never heard of storing them in a paper bag with a sprig of rosemary of lavender. We've tried to store them in hessian and this was not very successful as they would green and sprout. We found we had to use them up as quickly as possible.


Anonymous said...

I was pleased to see the picture by Helen Allingham,she is my favourite artist, and luckily she painted many wonderful pictures of domestic life.The cottages that she painted are beautiful,and many of them are still lived in today.

Lydia said...

I kept the dirt on the potatoes and layered them with lavender stems and some bags with rosemary stems and it kept the potatoes very firm and they did not sprout until just before planting season. I am trying it again this year. I also wanted to remind anyone growing potatoes that they must be stored in the dark, so roll down the paper bag or cover the box you have them in. I dont think you are supposed to use plastic containers or anything air tight. If you have a dog that likes to dig holes, you can get his help digging potatoes (which is back breaking work). A good digger dog ignores the potatoes and digs the dirt loose all around them, thinking he is going after a mole or a prairee dog. My dog has helped me quite a bit and digs well enough that I can simmply pick up the potatoes and put them in a bucket.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful fruitful garden the Lord has blessed you with. Do you use compost? What is your trick for getting a great harvest such as this?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this will sound silly, but is there a garden reference book out there that is really good? I would love to plant a garden this spring (or now, if that's possible!) for me and my children to garden. My mom loves to garden, but she seems to think everything is common sense, and well, for me, it's not. I need something portable because I know we will be moving (within the same city) sometime in the first half of next year. Any help? Thanks!!!

Your garden is my dream come true...only, can you get them same results without all the work?

Anonymous said...

For beginner gardeners, an older australian DVD/video 'Patch from Scratch' put together by Peter Cundle (long time host of 'Gardening Australia' goes through everything from transforming a simple bit of grass in the back garden to a three part crop rotation system, what to plant, when to plant it, how to rotate it, what goes in when, what to plant after your previous crop has been harvested, how to keep them healthy, natural insect deterrents etc...

Though we've only got one raised bed, we use the 'three part rotation system' in said bed; I've got to take a look and see what I can plant (Early Spring in the Southern Hemisphere) when this crop's done.

One tip for Aussie Garlic growers - Plant on ANZAC Day for harvest around Christmas time.

Lydia, we'll try the rosemary potato storage method; My rosemary is tiny; I'll buy fresh from the greengrocer until my own is large enough to use for this purpose.

We can use a box and paper bags covering it with a piece of cardboard 99% over the top and store in our garage.


Oh, and the 'Patch from Scratch' DVD has the Gardening Australia Herb programme also!

This is so exciting!!

Keep up the good work.