Hope you have had a happy and safe festive season, and welcome to 2013!
This week we turned about 2.5m2 of garden bed into 11kg of carrots – enough to last our little family for the rest of summer. The bed is now fertilised, mulched and eagerly awaiting a cool change for its next planting of late summer seedlings…
Here in Adelaide it’s 39 degrees C today, and forecast to be over 40 for 3 of the next 5 days. Some would say that’s just not gardening weather! On the contrary, here’s a few odd jobs to squeeze in before settling down to a fresh, fruity breakfast with a good gardening magazine…
- Deep watering for fruit trees and vegetables – check the soil moisture level first. Try to water during the coolest possible part of the day so the plant can absorb the water more efficiently and be well prepared for the heat. Deeper and less frequent watering encourages roots to grow deeper where they are less vulnerable on days of extreme heat. A drip irrigation system makes this much easier.
- Top up mulch around sensitive plants.
- Protect seedlings and vulnerable fruit from sunburn, using shadecloth, old curtains, or paper bags over fruit. Move potplants into a shady location if necessary. Be particularly wary of exposed west-facing positions which receive the harsher afternoon sun.
- Harvest any ripe fruit and vegetables before the heat hits, so you can save on watering and enjoy that produce at its peak.
And after the sun goes down, preserve and share the harvest… e.g.
- Make jam from apricots, nectarines, strawberries, etc.
- Bottle and preserve apples, peaches.
- Turn excess tomatoes into sauce, passata, chutney and relish.
- Dry fruits in a dehydrator.
Mammoth zucchini are a running joke around here… every summer we turn our backs for five minutes and then discover that a few rogue zucchini have grown to submarine proportions. My current favourite use for them is zucchini fritters (very kid-friendly and you can hide extra vegies in there as well) but I’d love to hear yours too!
- 2-3 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup cooked or tinned corn kernels (drained)
- 1 large handful grated tasty cheese
- 1/2 block chopped fetta (optional)
- 1 handful of fresh herbs, chopped (e.g. basil, parsley)
- 1/2 small onion or small bunch spring onion, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- about 1 cup self-raising flour
- light olive oil, to shallow fry
Mix all ingredients with a fork in a large bowl or jug, adding the flour last and using just enough flour to create a sloppy muffin mix consistency. Heat frypan and add olive oil a few mm deep. Dollop large spoonfuls of mixture into the hot pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel and serve with Greek yoghurt and chilli sauce or your favourite dip and salad. A platter of miniature fritters with dipping sauce make great party food.