Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Kitchengarden part two;

Fennel is a winter staple; this vegetable lends itself to create healthy, tasty dishes. It is good cooked or raw. As I use it mainly in winter, most of the time I cook gratins, soups, sauces with tomatoes or as a side vegetable.

Lettuce is grown through autumn, winter and spring.

The vegetable garden is on the third and sunniest level of our terraced garden. A Eureka Lemon tree grows near the veg. garden. Lemons are available all year round.

The old kitchen sink lends itself to wash and prepare the vegetables.There are always some lemons ready to use.

The hanging Geranium has a very strong smell and it attracts the small Mediterranean fruit fly which is a terrible pest. We only spray this plant with a insecticide and the fly feeds on it and dies. Since we have this plant,Tomatoes, Capsicums and Eggplants are not affected anymore. We do grow everything without pesticides.

Chinese snow peas are very tender and eaten pod and all. I cook them in a ceramic pot which is suitable for the stove top. It only needs a little butter or olive oil and a diced onion, no water, to make a very tasty dish.

We also grow beans; red onions, rockmelons, watermelons, corn and also different berries. Cucumbers, capsicums, aubergines and chillies.
Homegrown Beetroot is very very sweet and tender for salads or gratins or just as a vegetable.

Beetroot Nutrition
The dark red colour of beetroot is thought to be a combination of the naturally occurring yellow betacyanin and purple betaxanthin pigments. These strong pigments are potent phytochemicals and antioxidants that work to protect damage to body cells from free radicals. It is known that the more vibrant the colours of our fruit and vegetables, the more they have to offer in terms of nutrients to help protect our bodies from damaging free radicals.
Beetroot contains the all important nutrient called betaine. This nutrient is known as a mehyl donor which in effect helps make chemical processes in the body work effectively such as proper liver function and cellular reproduction. Betaine also helps the body make carnitine. Carnitine is a nutrient that helps the body turn fat into energy.

Coriander; flowers are very pretty and set seed for the next crop.

The fruit of the white Mulberry tree is very sweet and delicious. Spring is the time to grow its fruit.

Believe it or not:

A person who sows seed of kindness enjoys a perpetual harvest.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Darlings of spring;

Dendrobium Orchids;

Dendrobium aphillum; The dried stems of this plant are used as immune system booster.

The wonderful Australian rock Orchid; Dendrobium speciosum;

There are about 1500 different Dendrobium orchids.
If you are interested in growing this wonderful plants please click here

I grow these Orchids outside on and under trees; in dappled shade;

All pictures from my garden.

Believe it or not:
The stems and flowers of certain Dendrobium orchids are used as powerful immune system boosters in Chinese herbal medicine.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Celebrating spring; Purple Mist;

Please click pics;

Today I wanted to post "My Kitchen garden part two" it has to wait; because...

in the herb garden the Wisteria has broken out in a purple mist of flowers; a spectacular show of nature's abundance.

A few facts about growing one of these wonders;

Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae.

Wisteria vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counter-clockwise round any available support. They can climb as high as 20 m above ground and spread out 10 m laterally.

The leaves are alternate, 15 to 35 cm long, pinnate, with 9 to 19 leaflets. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes 10 to 80 cm long, similar to those of the genus Laburnum, but are purple, violet, pink or white. Flowering is in the spring (just before or as the leaves open) in some Asian species, and in mid to late summer in the American species and W. japonica. The flowers of some species are fragrant, most notably Chinese Wisteria. The seeds are produced in pods.

Wisteria species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail. It is also an extremely popular ornamental plant in China and Japan.

Wisteria, especially Wisteria sinensis, is very hardy and fast-growing. It is considered an invasive species in certain areas. It can grow in fairly poor-quality soils, but prefers fertile, moist, well-drained ones. It thrives in full sun to partial shade.

Wisteria can be propagated via hardwood cutting, softwood cuttings, or seed. However, seeded specimens can take decades to bloom; for that reason, gardeners usually grow plants that have been started from rooted cuttings or grafted cultivars known to flower well.

Wisteria can grow into a mound when unsupported, but is at its best when allowed to clamber up a tree, pergola, wall, or other supporting structure. Whatever the case, the support must be very sturdy, because mature Wisteria can become immensely strong and heavy wrist-thick trunks and stems. These will certainly rend latticework, crush thin wooden posts, and can even strangle large trees. Wisteria allowed to grow on houses can cause damage to gutters, downspouts, and similar structures. Its pendulous racemes are best viewed from below.

Wisteria flowers develop in buds near the base of the previous year's growth, so pruning back side shoots to the basal few buds in early spring can enhance the visibility of the flowers. If it is desired to control the size of the plant, the side shoots can be shortened to between 20 and 40 cm long in mid summer, and back to 10 to 20 cm in autumn.

Believe it or not:

The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.
- Gertrude Jekyll

Friday, 10 September 2010

SkyWatch Friday; Everyday sunrise;

A golden light is slowly infusing thegarden...
(Please click the pictures;)

gilding the branches of the Tipuana Tipu tree....

some stray clouds....nothing spectacular... on Friday, 9.September 2010 6AM.

Please follow the link to SkyWatch to see "more spectacular" skies!

Monday, 6 September 2010

My Kitchen Garden; part one;

Vegetables, salads, berries and fruit are a big part of our diet.

Over winter we can grow potatoes.There is nothing to compare with the humble potato when it is home grown .The skin is gossamer thin and must not be peeled off as many of the nutrients are contained in the skin of the potato.
Please click the pics)

In the cool season broccoli grows very well.

Through winter we grow strawberries. they grow and ripen through spring and early summer.

Left Spanish onions and leeks are grown through winter into spring and early summer.

Beetroot are growing very well in winter and are ready now to start harvesting. They are very tender and sweet. Summer crops does not so well they are quickly getting bitter in the heat.

A very big bush of Basil, small leaves, it is a great attraction for bees. Grows and flowers all year round and it is not attacked by grasshoppers like the large leaved Basil.

We grow three types of tomatoes nearly all year round. Roma, Ox-heart and a small version which is very prolific and tasty.

Most of the surplus is roasted and used later.

Near the vegetable garden grows this white Azalea with these unusual dark pink stripes and blotches. I find it rather attractive.

Believe it or not:
A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill
except for learning how to grow in rows.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

SkywatchFriday; Tiger grass;

Please click the picture;

Tiger grass; Thysanolaena maxima; the flowers making an interesting cross hatching against the sky.

For interest sake;
Although not a true bamboo species, Tiger Grass is a bamboo-like, tropical, ornamental grass with lush arrow-shaped foliage that fits a niche for smaller size single storey screens up to 3m tall. It forms a tight upright clump with older stems turning a reddish colour in full sunlight making it also perfect as a stand alone ornamental. Quite drought tolerant.

Please click here SkyWatch Friday;