It's finally the time of the year when the dehydrator is working full time, and there's currently a bunch of herbs drying in the dehydrator.
First up is coriander, which is currently on it's second harvest for the season.
Next we have dill, which has also been harvested for the second time this season.
I've also just harvested celery for cutting for the first time this season, and I'm hoping to turn it into celery salt.
And also, there's finally enough basil to start dehydrating. I've just did the first harvest, and there was enough for both making a small amount of pesto, and also for some to dry.
And finally, I've just harvested lemon balm for the first time ever. It's used a lot in the teas I often drink, so I'm hoping to make some for myself.
Have you got harvests coming on? I love early summer in the garden, it's full of so much potential.
Have a wonderful day.
My winter citrus gardening project is finally completed. A couple of weeks ago, I dragged the citrus trees out of the glasshouse, and gave them each a trip on the wheel barrow out onto the patio. The next task was digging three very big wholes into the ground to make space for the citrus trees.
The first tree to go in was the lime tree. It only took a couple of bangs on the outside of the pot, and it loosened up enough for hubby and I together to lift the heavy plant into place.
Then it was just a task of filling in the hole, sprinkling both citrus fertilizer and water retention crystals onto the soil, and then watering the lime tree in.
Next up on the list was to do the same to the lemon tree, which is now sitting quite happily underneath the kitchen window in the herb garden.
And last of all was the mandarin tree, which is now sitting in front of the newly painted white fence in the front garden. If you've noticed the three green pegs in the ground, they're soil water monitoring sensors, which I can keep an eye on to see how much water each plant is getting. The pegs are connected to our weather station system, and I can check them online whenever I want.
I've repurposed the now empty large pots, and they're now housing three of our tomato plants, a yellow Honey Bee plant, a Pomodoro plant, and a Juane Flamme plant.
And last of all the planter box has been painted a pretty shade of sage green, and it is now full of annual herb plants.
I'm really happy with how this garden project has turned out. Now all I need to do is paint our patio garden furniture sage green, and then the whole area is spruced up. Over the summer I need to come up with a plan to protect the citrus from frosts and snow over winter, but for now I can just enjoy the fruits of my labour.
Have a wonderful day
Recently I told you about my winter citrus garden project. At that time I had cleaned up all the areas the citrus plants are going to go into, and I had prepared the areas for painting. Over the last month I have painted the board white in front of where the lime tree will go.
I also spent time water blasting, prepping, and then painting the fence in front of the patio white as well, it looks quite good when it has plants like these daffodils in front of it. The other bonus of the fence now being white is that it's much easier to see when driving down the driveway, and it'll be far less likely for courier drivers to nearly hit it whenever they drop off courier packages because they failed to see it...
The other thing we did was to go to our local garden center and order a planter box for in front of the fence on the patio side. When the lemon tree goes into the herb garden on the left in the next couple of weeks, we lose much needed herb garden space, so this planter box will fill a much needed void. I plan to grow annual herbs in this box.
Until I get a chance to paint the planter box, Miss Luna cat from next door has taken to sitting inside it. It's less than a week now until Luna and her family move houses, and we won't get to see her anymore. I'm quite sad about this, she likes to follow me around in the garden, and has been a good kitty friend over the years.
Hopefully by the time you next see this project, it will be finished. The lemon, lime, and mandarin bushes will be in the ground, and the planter box will have been painted, filled with potting mix, and have herbs inside.
Have a wonderful day
During last year's growing season I had a Serrano chilli plant growing in our glasshouse, and over summer it gave me an abundant harvest of both green and red chillies. I picked so many chillies that I had no idea what to do with them all. I gave away as many as I could, and then with the rest I decided to dry them. We mainly use chillies as dried chilli powder in the kitchen throughout the year, so this method to prepare them was the best way to use all the left over chillies.
I waited until I had a big chlli harvest (some had already started drying out whole), and I cut off all the tops off before splitting them down the middle and removing the seeds (while wearing gloves). I then dried them in our dehydrator on trays at a temperature of 50˚C.
The smell was quite pungent, so initially the dehydrator was sitting outside under our veranda for the day, and then in the garage after that.
Once the chillies were dry, they were stored whole in a plastic container until it was time to grind them.
Last week, I finally got around to actually grinding them in our coffee and spice grinder. So as not to stink out the house with powdered chilli, I placed the grinder under the rangehood with it turned on.
It didn't take very long to turn the chilli into powder. It didn't make as much as I thought it would, so I think that this year I won't give as much away, so we'll have more chilli powder for ourselves.
And we've already used our new chilli powder in a meal, we made chilli con carne that very night. It wasn't too spicy, but it had a really great flavor that we liked. I'm definitely happy to make even more chilli powder this coming growing season.
Have a wonderful day
I finally started planting out my potato tubers for the spring growing season. I meant to do it a couple of weeks ago, but more urgent gardening tasks got in the way. Every year I grow four different varieties of potatoes in the garden, and each variety we use for different reasons.
The first potato variety I grow is Rocket, it's a 1st early potato which only takes 60 - 70 days to maturity. I like planting these in early to mid-September as it means they will be the first potatoes to be ready to eat in mid-November for boiling and roasting. The second variety of potato I grow is Jersey Bennes which is a 1st early potato that reaches maturity in 80 - 90 days. When planted at this time of the year the potatoes will be ready to eat in time for Christmas, and we eat them boiled and also in potato salads.
The other two varieties of potato I grow are Ilam Hardy and Haylo, but they won't be planted until October. Ilam Hardy is a 2nd early/main potato that takes 70 - 80 days to maturity, and is great for mashing, baking, roasting, chips, and wedges. We mainly use this potato for turning into gnocchi, and also in potato and leek soup. The last variety of potato I grow is Haylo, which is an improved variety from the Agria variety potato. It is in my opinion the best roasting potato, and we in fact did an experiment one year to test this. I grew Ilam Hardy, Agria, and Haylo one year, and compared roasting them using hubby's double cooking method for making roast potatoes. Haylo was by far the best tasting roasted potato variety. Haylo is a 2nd early/main potato, and matures in 80 - 90 days.
With these four varieties of potato growing in the garden, we are self sufficient in eating potatoes pretty much throughout the year in various forms, thanks to storing gnochhi and potato and leek soup away in our chest freezer.
I began chitting both the Rocket and Jersey Bennes potato varieties back at the beginning of August, and it wasn't long at all before they started growing, and by the time it was actually time to plant them, they'd unfortunately gotten too big. A disappointment for sure, but they were still fine to plant into the ground, I did so very carefully, taking care not to break any growing shoots.
After digging two trenches in an area of the vegetable garden, I sowed five of each of the Rocket and Jersey Benne tubers into the ground. I always plant them in order from right to left, with the Rocket on the far right, then the Jersey Bennes to the left of them. Experience has taught me that the Rocket variety will indeed rocket up and produce a copious amount of leaves which will smother any other growing potato plant varieties, and block them from sunlight given half a chance. If I do it this way, any new rows of potatoes will get morning sun preferentially to the rocket potatoes.
It didn't take very long to plant those potato varieties, and then gently cover them over with soil. For the next few weeks as they grow up they'll be safe from any late frosts, and once they're above ground, I'll cover them with frost cloth every night until the last frost has passed.
In a couple of weeks it'll be time to plant the Ilam Hardy and Haylo potato varieties, but before that can be done, I need to transplant some dye plants I have in that part of the vege garden. But before that can be done, I have to prepare another area of the garden for the dye plants to move into...
It's pretty much a big juggling job in the garden right now, with the most urgent tasks being done first, even though they may not be the tasks I want to do. And I'm now behind in seed sowing as well, but I will get there I'm sure. The next rainy day in the garden will be a huge seed sowing session, and my aim will be to sow everything else that needs to be sown.
Have a wonderful day