January 25, 2007

New Seasons from My Garden [when I'm not attending the kitchen]

Once upon a time, a cook was shocked to find her basket where she put all of her garlic cloves empty. Tragically, she forgot to put it on the shopping list, and there's no way to go shopping on Sunday! She felt like dying, but at the same time wondered by the fact that she's depending so much on garlic to flavour her dishes on daily basis use.

Yes, that was me. Therefore, when I read in a book that garlic is a companion plant for roses and can be acting like a safeguard to prevent diseases, I certainly took it for granted. I've got to grow my own garlic for my 30 rose bushes. Imagine that I can plant 6-10 cloves around each rose, how many will I harvest in the end of Summer? I did the math. Surely, I then planted garlic everywhere I can. No space could be found without a garlic or two. I even crammed them in amongst my annuals and perennials. That worked!

This year, I harvested more garlic than I ever bought in a store. And the flavour is much stronger than I've ever tasted before. I am still learning to dry them properly, though. The earth-floored and no-door garage we have provides plenty of sunlight to help it drying. At least, that's the place I think the best. Well, that's what I have.

Frankly, our vegetable garden is not really well-looked after like we used to do last year or the year before, yet I could maintain colors in the garden with a row of roses, wildflowers, as well as annuals and perennials. John has been too busy with his handy-jobs around the house and farm. He just seemed got no time to do some weeding. But, fortunately he doesn't forget to grow potatoes, and plant an abundance supplies of green beans and butterbeans, as well as peas. Maori potatoes (I forgot which sort) are always a treat to dig out from the garden. I just love the flavour of the purple flesh, it's my favourite spud! This year, we haven't got much crop of them. Is Kay Baxter still running Koanga Garden?

Our perennial runner beans are still growing well and are giving us more bunches of its plentiful crops each day. And there's also patches of broccoli, to mention a few, which I've done frozen them for Winter supplies, just in case, Onewhero is snowy and icey that will be blocking our way to do groceries—which is impossible. The fact that frost we had last Winter slowed down the crops in Pukekohe, so I read. We had to stop buying the florets as the price was knocking on the rooftop.

This year, I also grow corianders, a bit further than trial and error I did last year. I successfully grew them from seeds I bought from a garden centre and germinating them myself. I didn't only plant them on a patch in the garden, but also did cram them in front of my sweet peas patch. Looking good, mingling with sweet peas with various colors. Perhaps, this way my garden is called informal garden or cottage style garden? I don't know. But to me, I feel good about it.

One thing I am feeling absolutely puzzled is that my red spring onions turning into red onions! How could it be? I was surely reading the packet correctly: red spring onions which will produce red stems instead of white stems. I thought that will be good! And it's new to the garden, new to the cook! So, I germinated, transplanted, watered, and then was surprised to see the result of what came out now. Probably, it's just one thing to be grateful of. It makes me pondered, though, whether red spring onions are actually red onions? But

And I don't forget my own herbs garden. I just used one part of our backyard, used to be Angel Trumpet's bushes which made the backyard be dark and dangerous. I don't want to provide any toxic plants in and around my garden, for my children safety reason, so I had John to chain-saw down the bushes which was apparently trying to grow more through the roots. It seemed that we just pruned them. So, the final battle was to brush diesel and oil on to the wounded roots. And they surrendered. Then, I had to cut all the rest of the bushes which are shooting out from the roots of the big tree on the left side of the house. I can't help that. I just need to cut them back each year, before they're developing trunks! Ouch, no more trees! Short version is that I managed to grow my own herbs there, which I crammed parsley (flat and curly), onion, spring onion, shallots, garlic, oregano, marjoram, spearmint, rosemary, thyme, chives, and coriander. Not bad for me who's a newbie learner as well as grower to Western herbs and culinary world.

I think I've made the most of my time attending the garden and kitchen. And, they're both playing an important role to produce better flavour, especially vegetables. It's just very simple and humble as well as handy at the same time to have kitchen garden to supply what I need for the kitchen. It's not happened to be the best garden in the world, but to me it's just something to be grateful for the opportunity to have such a beautiful land and a willingness for a hard work. I'm not only thinking about myself, but I'm thinking about the people around me. It's such a very good feeling to be able to share the fruit of my labour to the people who care and who I care about.

Apart from that, it's the nature who grows them. I'm just the planter.

[Alright, I'm off to soak in with my kids. It's pretty hot in here.]


Barbara said...

I wish I could grow a garden. Sadly I just don't have green thumbs.

Kalyn said...

Thanks for visiting. It's fun seeing what you're growing while my garden is buried in snow.

eliza said...

your garden looks wonderful! all the plants are thriving and fruitful. my garden is sadly empty, albeit a few herb plants, since it's still winter here :)
have you planted any indonesian herbs or plants and successfully grow them?

Arfi Binsted said...

barbara-oh, well... i don't consider myself a green thumb. i'm just the planter hehehe...

kalyn-hey, thanks for dropping by. i'm sure you can grow plants when the snow is over.

eliza-we've tried to grow ginger, but they became rotten in Winter. but our lemon grass is still coming up, though it's not multiplied yet. and, yes, it's my dream to grow oue herbs!!