Mixing it up with the local School.

Check out the Article written for our local school about how we are extending our efforts into the public space of the school garden.Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 12.31.20

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SPS NL Nov2017

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Early Autumn Ideas

Well; summer kind of never came and autumn has been super warm. It’s not a typical year but then what is?

While I am gathering these fruits I thought I would gather some thoughts too.

Tomatillos.

These have been an early autumn revelation for me. I don’t think I have convinced the kids yet but tomatillo salsa verde alone could consume half this crop! Today I will try to make a pickle or an “achar” out of them as we have the Maestro in the house. (Dominique’s mum is visiting.)

Tomatillos require better support next season. We used Wood and Jute but they would do better supported like tomatoes. The nature of the plant is to drop its fruit on the ground when it’s done so you need to be able to get in there without compromising the stalks too much.


So next year I will try to build a supporting frame as illustrated above in blue. The blue maybe wire or “rio”.The fruit can fall and be found easily.

Tomatoes.

It’s been a bad tomato year for most people. For us the tigerellas were the clear winner. Our support structures were over whelmed. Wire support needs to be under significant tension. “Rio” is again an option. The tomatoes need more space, more air, more support and more protection from birds etc. 

Pickling Cucumbers/Cornichon.

A great success. The only issue is that the crop comes and comes and comes and you never get enough the right size to pickle in large amounts. Thus you really need to pick every day and store in the fridge until you have a good quantity to preserve. I kept finding overgrown fruit, too big to pickle. This is a small daily job. The pickles are popular though.

Beetroot.

Root vegetable of the year for me. You can eat any part of it and so many ways. I’ll be planning more beetroot and possibly looking into some interesting varieties. Easy. Dependable. Yummy.

Rats Tail Radish.

Unbelievably productive. Next year I’ll be thinking of these guys as a companion to the cornichon. They are less fickle about when being picked BUT if left too long they get too tough. Still there is always enough to top up a jar of cornichon pickle and the two work well together.

Hawk Attack

A rather dramatic event yesterday evening about 19:45 when a large sea-hawk attempted to take one of our Chooks! We usually close the chooks into their Coup after 20:00 and they are usually out and about scratching at 19:45.

We were very lucky in that I happened to be sitting with the Ample Puppy (Rufus) in the kitchen and heard a bit of squawking. Normally this amounts to nothing but I jumped up. The hound jumped up! We both jumped out the door!

The hawk was on top of Marie-Antoinette and has his/her talons and beak in her! Two of the other chickens were jumping on the hawk! Which is pretty brave and I was touched by their devotion. Even I was a bit scared of this big bird of prey!

Rufus wasn’t. He sensed a chance to be the Farm Hound and he went for the hawk! Fortunately the hawk flew away before Rufus decided his duty required him jumping over or through the electric fence.IMG_0677.JPG

Marie-Antoinette was very shaken but has come good.

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The upshot was that the chooks all got moved today from where they were (the hot weather spot) to a new spot. Its well protected by trees. The kids swing has been annexed by Chooklandia.

However, lets face it, if the hawk wants to come back we are in trouble. Our only hope is that the triple combo of shouting irishman, team working chooks and excitable Irish Terriers all adds up to a bit too much bother for the terror from the above.

 

Disposition 

One of the lessons of the year is about disposition. 

Put simply production of the fresh food is only half the battle. Maybe less than half!

I have only one plan for so called “Pickling Cucumbers” and that’s pickling them.

That’s it. Just plan A. No plan B.

Next year I will still have pickles and Plan A will be totally useless. 

It’s fun though. Having to think of other ways to use and preserve. 

Overloads

After only a couple of days of not picking the fruits and were overloaded.

The courgettes are the biggest offender.

I’ve already used over 3kg in breads today & I would estimate there over 10kg ready to go!

Tomatoes finally started to ripen.

I’ve turned off the sprinklers for the tomatoes a week ago and that may have helped. Many locals are struggling with tomatoes. Dominique had kids in her plot which is only 120metres away.

Ho hum.