Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90

A couple of parting images.  Here is one of the trout looking very healthy.

And the 10 day challenge.  Here is an image of the latest planted grow bed.  When I return in 10 days I will post another pic to show how much its grown.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89

Thursday we are off on Holidays for 10 long days.  I wont be posting for the whole time as we wont be picking.  It will be interesting to see how things are going in 10 days.

We have a family member feeding the fish for us so they will be fine.

So to all of you who have been following the blog, Have a safe and Happy Easter and we'll see you in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87

Now that our get together yesterday is over we decided to get picking in the patch and take out some of the yummy things we have been waiting to try.  We left a few things in just so people would see the on the day.

So today was a big pick.  A rock melon, cabbage, chilli's, radish, beetroot and rhubarb.  Now you may notice the rhubarb isn't red.  Thats totally fine as not all rhubarb goes red.

I really wanted to make some rhubarb and ginger jam but looking at the green rhubarb I knew when it was cooked it would go a brown colour.   I thought red food colouring would do the trick but really wasn't happy with using artificial colours at all.  That's when I hit on an idea.  Beetroot juice!  A perfect rich red that would add flavour and a strong red colour to my jam.  The beetroot we picked today would be perfect.

And here is the result.  It was late in the night so I couldn't get a great shot with the low light but its a gorgeous red colour with out looking fake and we used an organic veggie from the patch to help bring the colour and not something artificial. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86

Today we hosted the Melbourne BYAP Autumnal Meet Up and it was a huge success. Over 20 people attended and shared experiences, food and drink.  We fired up the wood fired oven and cooked many pizzas as well.

We were very happy about how the system was looking on the day and got some great feedback.
Here is a group photo of the people who attended.

Having a look over the system and chatting.

Many eyes looking over the system meant many things were found.  I think over 20 caterpillars became fish food and this little crab spider was left alone as he is a good hunter of aphids.

A big thank you to all who attended.  We had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed your company.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 83

Not a lot has been happening.  We have been working on the patch getting it ready for the aquaponics meeting we are hosting on Saturday.  It's really looking good and we have been trying not to pick anything so it's at it's peak for the day.  

We'll pick a heap of stuff on the Saturday to have for lunch so I'll post some pics after the event.  We planted the heritage seeds just 5 days ago and already today we have sprouting.  It will be fun to grow some of the different vegetables we haven't tried before.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 79

When all the cows were sleeping
And the sun had gone to bed

Up jumped the scarecrow
And this is what he said!

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow
With a flippy floppy hat

I can shake my hands like this
And shake my feet like that!

My daughter has been singing that song for the last few weeks so we decided to make a scarecrow today.  We are using "the patch" as a way of teaching our kids about where our food comes from.  How it grows when it grows etc.  We are trying to make it fun for them too and things like the scarecrow are ways they can join in and have some fun.

This is a photo for Chris who was asking about more photos of the whole system.  This one shows a little more of the system we have built.  I'll try and get an even better one soon.

We welcome comments on any part of what we are doing.  Feel free to ask questions or even just let us know what you think.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 78

An exciting new veggie has been picked today from the patch.  Breakfast radishes.  These are long rather than round and are were crisp and hot.   

We made a radish butter with some sea salt butter and thyme mixed in which topped of a 100 day grain fed steak just nicely. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 77

Its time.  Our new heritage seeds arrived and its been 6 weeks since we planted out last seeds.

To keep in rotation of our grow beds to ensure we have a continuous crop we decided to pull out the zucchini, the squash and a few other things.  Its so easy and fast to just pull out old plants and put in new seeds,

What I did find in the midst of it all was our eggplants.  No fruit though as I think the plants were not getting much sunlight so I've kept them and transplanted them.  We'll see what the do and if the continue to grow.

So tonight we planted a mix of heritage seeds including Aquadulce Broad Bean,  Purple Podded Pea,  Purple Dragon Carrot, Medio Enana de la Halle Brussel Sprouts,  Cherokee Wax Butter Bean,  Red Russian Kale,  All Red Leaf  Amaranth,  Superschmelz Kohl Rabi,  Autumn Giant Leek and Sicilian Violet Cauliflower.  Its going to be great growing some of these things we've never seen or eaten before.  

We once again mixed the seeds up and scattered the all around.  We are finding its a great way of deterring in pests and helping the plants stay stronger.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 76

What is the weather doing?  We have massive rains one day, the next it's 34oC, and then its beautiful Autumn days.   Summer has ended here in Australia and I'm looking forward to hearty winter vegetables and using our summer preserved ones. 

Beans have started forming on the vine and even the start of some early snow peas.  

Our bean crop should be full and abundant from our seed experiment.  This image below is just 46 days from when we planted the seed.  That's less then 6 weeks and the growth is amazing.  Heaps of buds and flowers starting to poke their white faces out to greet the Autumn sun.

Here we have Zucchini flowers poking out as well.  Just short of six weeks from seed.  We planted these  right at the end of the season but as they grow so quick in the aquaponics we think it will be fine to catch some at the late end of the season.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72

Today isn't about picking but more about how our rhubarb is going.  The leaves are huge.  I haven't seen rhubarb growing since I was a kid in my parent backyard so I cant really remember how big it got but these leaves are huge.  I could use one as a blanket for my youngest daughter.  

I cant wait to poach the rhubarb in sugar syrup to have with some sheep's milk yoghurt.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 71

A glorious day at the end of a long week and nothing better than holding on to a bit of summer by picking one of the last lettuces for a crisp, light salad.

Not sure what this variety is but it had a pleasant bitterness.  I'd welcome any comment on what this one might be.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 69

Today I ordered a heap of heirloom seeds and there's a few reasons for this.  

I want to grow things as they were many years ago before they were modified to suit transport methods etc.  To grow things I have never eaten or seen before to open up our food tastes and I'd like to learn seed saving so we can plant from what we grow each season.  By using heirloom seeds we have a better chance of growing from seeds produced in the garden.

The seeds I have ordered are Aquadulce Broad Bean,  Purple Podded Pea,  Purple Dragon Carrot, Medio Enana de la Halle Brussel Sprouts,  Cherokee Wax Butter Bean,  Red Russian Kale,  All Red Leaf  Amaranth,  Superschmelz Kohl Rabi,  Autumn Giant Leek and Sicilian Violet Cauliflower.

They all sound very exotic and different and I cant wait to have them growing in the patch.  They are all suitable for the current season so we will plant as soon as possible over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 68

Silver beet, what a treat.  Crisp green leaves and snow white stalks.  That was our pick today from the patch.  Just sautéed in butter, salt and pepper.  Very simple but very tasty. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 67

With a long weekend on offer we disappeared to a favourite location of ours down the coast.  The fish would survive for three days without out us but I feed them up a little to make sure.  

While we were away the biggest storm for the last forty years went through Melbourne and we registered 51mm of rain at home.  We had no idea what we'd come back to but with stories of 10cm hail I was hoping it wouldn't be too bad.  On our return the only thing that we had was the rain.  The tanks were full to the brim and we have around 240 lts in reserve for any evaporation over the next few weeks.  Our system has an overflow between the large tank and the small one which operates in such a way to provide fantastic aeration.  Its great to see it working to its full potential now.

The plants were doing great and some extra seed we'd planted last week is sprouting.  

Tonight we just wanted an easy dinner so some wilted spinach with scrambled eggs was a great easy meal after a weekend of camping.  

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 64

Is it a giant squash? Is it a tiny rock melon?  Did you pick both?  If you did you'd be correct.  I discovered this squash as large as any i've ever seen and also found this rock melon bobbing in the tank like the last one.  The melons are falling off the vine at the moment and this is the third to do so in as many days.

It's the labour day long weekend and we'll take these little beauties on our camping trip.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 62

Growth in the patch is hurtling along now, so massive thanks to the trout.

We've had 3 small rock melons growing for sometime now and today I noticed a fourth.  They have slowed right down in their growth though which is a little disappointing.  A combination of the less nutrient and the end of their season I think is the main causes but tonight one was missing.   At first I thought one of our dogs had taken it but I soon found it bobbing in the tank.

The suicidal rock melon.  It's only about the size of a softball, maybe slightly bigger.

First it jumped from the vine trying to end its short life only to end up in the tank to try and drown itself but I was there just in the nick of time to take care of the situation.

I quickly sliced it in half to release the most amazing aroma.  Ripened on the vine to the point it falls, shows just how these should be eaten.  I can still smell it.  The flavour was intensely sweet and the texture was firm but melted in your mouth.  This is probably the highlight of the aquaponics for me so far and will become a seasonal favourite.