I have been a busy boy in the garden over the last few days. Friday I made some trellis out of some bamboo sticks I had previously used as tomato stakes. The trellis is for the Purple Podded peas (I saved the seeds from last season) and Snowpeas to grow up. They are a very simple construction, with four sticks in a pyramid shape and fastened at the top with a cable tie that I had spare. Then across the top lay another stick to finish it off. I then planted the seeds 5 cm apart in troughs around the base of each pyramid and watered well. The seedlings should be poking through in about 10 days. I couldn’t do the entire row as you can see the eggplant and chilli bushes are still producing well because of the recent hot weather.
Adam and I moved Ben’s little garden bed to the other side of the house where the main vegetable patch is. I had a spare bit of land that gets decent sun most of the year round, so it was the ideal place. Yesterday, I planted the winter salad garden into it. I sowed Wild Arugula, Mizuna mustard, Mesclun mix and, Goldrush lettuce. These are all loose leaf varieties that you pick as you need. There should be enough to feed the entire family for the winter. I just checked the root crop bed and the three types of radishes have sprouted and burst through. They really do not take very long to germinate!
Today, it has been raining on and off and all the excess rainwater is topping up the swimming pool. Not that it is pool weather, but it is better than going down the storm drain, as the tank is full to the brim! I started off the day early, and took Megan to the dentist for a checkup, and she had to have a filling (poor girl). Then we walked to the supermarket to buy a few things I needed for making some pickles. We got back home at about 0930 and I started to make a Green tomato pickle to use up all of the green tomatoes I had left after pulling the remainder of the tomato vines last week. It took about an hour but was well worth it. It tasted great! Then I made a second batch of Brinjal Pickle which is essentially eggplant in character, with some onion and chilli. It is great with curries, and we are half way through the first batch as it is so nice.
After the Brinjal Pickle was most of the way through cooking, I started to make a Hot Chilli Chutney to use up the glut of Jalepeno chillies that I had. The recipe was simple enough, and called for 450gm of chillies. I had more than that, so I used up all of the red chillies I had and left a lot of green chillies on the bush to ripen. The chilli chutney is very oily and I have modified the oil content for when next I make it. As you can see from the photo, there is about 1.5 cm of oil in the top of each jar, and by hell, the oil is hot. Maybe I should just siphon the oil off and put it in a small bottle and call it chilli oil! I finished it all off by processing all the jars in the Folwer-Vacola preserving pot for 45 minutes at 93 degrees C. This kills all the bacteria and creates a vacuum so that the food will last for over 6 months. You will notice that I used a few left over jars that have the little button on the top. I have found that these work just as well as the proper preserving jars, and you can process them in the same way.
We are all looking forward to Earth hour tonight, but as it is overcast and raining we probably won’t be breaking out my telescope to have a look at the very dark night sky. Kim and I have a Chickpea curry for dinner that we are going to share by candle light, with some of the condiments that I made today. The kids are going to play monopoly by candle light which should be interesting. I will make sure that all of the candles are in a safe place so that we don’t end up with a house fire instead of an environmental statement! Kim wants to walk around the neighbourhood and put little notes of shame for all of those people that don’t have their lights off at 8pm, but I told her that this is bordering on extremism (but a great idea though). I am, however looking forward to the TV coverage of the event to see what difference it made throughout the world. Here is hoping, anyway.