Thursday, 10 May 2012

Putting down roots


Now that we know exactly how much longer we will be living here in the forest I have put the brakes on our productive food efforts in the garden. We harvested the last of the cherry tomatoes and have pulled up our Jerusalem artichokes and a red onion or two. After 18 months observing light and rain and shadow fall on this hillside garden I have accepted that there is no one perfect spot with sufficient sunlight to grow very much in the way of vegetables here. Instead I have dragged my raised vegetable bed up to the lawn - the sunniest spot there is - and planted lettuce, silverbeet and rocket so that we might at least enjoy some homegrown winter salads before we move to our new home.

The garden that I will be able to call mine in two months' time is open to the northern light and has  rows of vegetable beds waiting to be planted and fruit trees in need of love and care. I am poring over my seed catalogue and dreaming of banks of raspberry canes and boysenberries bursting with summer sweetness. We have fruit trees in wine barrels dug from our garden in Fremantle which will soon be sending down roots into the rich Denmark earth. We will be putting down a few roots of our own too.

The rain and cold are here at last and we are retreating indoors, spending days drawing and sewing and baking. We really should bring in some more firewood to get us through the dark days ahead, but for now we are burning candles to bring at least the visual warmth of a flame. Sunny days still draw us outside for wet walks in the winter forest. And we are eyeing off the oranges - the last of the trees to bear fruit - and wondering whether they will be sweet enough to harvest before we leave.  Our new home has a trap door in the kitchen which leads to a cellar beneath the house. Perhaps some marmalade will be called for to fill the bare midwinter shelves.


7 comments:

  1. how exciting! we rent, so there's a limit to how much work we are willing to put in, but i always have lettuce, spinach, rocket, bok choy and herbs going as they are quick and easy.
    i really dream of having a bit of space to do whatever we wanted to do. fruit trees, berries and bees would be the priorities i think!

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    1. We have been renting, and lucky to have a half acre orchard thrown in with the house. I have given the garden an inordinate amount of love, but it will be good to be able to shape our next garden a bit more. I don't imagine sunshine is in short supply where you are!

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  2. Yep there is definitely no shortage of sun here! it's a great place for greens, melons, citrus in particular.
    We're becoming experts in veggie patches that can move with us - wicking bath tubs mostly.
    just last night our friends showed us their really impressive new aquaponic moveable veggie patch! now i am inspired...

    and did you grow that ginger? i would love to try that.

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    1. That 'ginger' is a Jerusalem artichoke, but it does look remarkably similar! We roasted them yesterday - quite nutty.

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  3. how do you cook jerusalem artichokes?? I am always a bit bemused by them when they appear in the organic shop at this time of year. I have so far been going for pumpkins and kumara instead but it would be nice to have a different winter vegetable. i really like the title of this post too. :-)

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    1. Roasted was good, as is a hummus with rosemary. They make a lovely soup and I make a standout winter salad with slices of peeled artichoke sauteed in butter. I can't for the life of me find the recipe this year, but I think it had kumara as well.

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  4. Oh how I long for the day that we can put down our roots once and for all...renting is like living in limbo and can be quite unsettling at times.

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