Sunday, January 23, 2011

A homegrown meal

Garden harvest
Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow?

Quite well, at the moment. It's so lovely to see my zucchini plants and 25+ tomatoes taking off. I had a lovely meal last night, mainly harvested from the garden. I made a couscous salad that included beetroot - chioggia (has red and white concentric circles), lettuce - cos purple freckle, mint, purple sage, a squeeze of lemon and the first tomato - a yellow cherry tomato! Very happy with my harvest, which I dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus a chévre (goat cheese) from nearby Milawa Cheese Factory.

I have either grown my vegetables and herbs from seed or from cuttings from friends and the lemon tree was here way before me.

Comparing paying for seeds to seedlings is huge. If they don't all germinate, oh well, you haven't really lost much money. Just a few cents. So just give it a go. Not all the beetroot germinated but that's ok. So if you want to penny pinch, buy a packet of seeds and try it out. Go crazy with all the different varieties available that won't be sold as seedlings.

You'll end up with too many seeds than you can use in a year, so share amongst your friends. It's a bit of an insurance policy, too. The germination rate of the seeds will decline over time, so if a few of you are growing a variety then if one of you should run out, someone else will have them. I shared my seed box with my workmates. It did a lap of the office before it got back to me. It made me happy that others were going to use them.

About six or so beetroot grew, but I gave most to my Mum so the remaining one in the garden is for seed harvesting. Try and buy the seeds once, save them from the next harvest so you never have to buy again. What an investment! Apparently, the chioggia beetroot was grown as a staple in 1583 in Venetian cuisine!

 Beetroot Chioggia