In this issue:
- Seasons that defy the calendar
- Voila! Delicious dinner from whatever is growing right now
- Community gardens, workshops and events
- Trees x 10 pilot activities are underway
- Spring planting suggestions
THE WINTER THAT WAS – AND THE SPRING THAT IS…
Welcome back, gardenfolk.
It’s been a while… so long, in fact, that this little blog has stopped trying to be monthly and gone seasonal instead. So allow me to offer you some treasures of the wee winter that was and the spring that is announcing itself proudly in every birdsong and blossom! Here’s a pair of little apples that set in autumn instead of spring and have hung on all winter instead of summer. Who knows whether they will amount to anything or shrivel and drop off yet?
In further honour of our strangely wonderful climate, where anything from the cool temperate to the subtropical is possible, here’s the first of spring’s asparagus popping up under the mango tree (sorry, those are not early mangoes – they’re just the last of the winter oranges on the tree behind).
We have had a winter rich in the self-sown and the perennial, i.e. the garden gave us more love than we gave it, haha!
This quiche makes the most of those reliable late winter to early spring crops – silverbeet, rainbow chard, spring onions, parsley, lemon and lots of eggs. (Bonus points if you make your pastry and yogurt from scratch – I cheated). It’s one of those things that’s surprisingly quick and easy to roll out as a regular weeknight dinner – just vary the veg and herbs with whatever the garden offers.
GARDEN QUICHE RECIPE – INGREDIENTS (serves 4 with a leafy salad)
- 5 sheets puff or shortcrust pastry, thawed
- 2 cups sweet potato, finely sliced
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup grated cheese (or lumps of favourite soft cheese)
- ½ cup Greek or thick plain yogurt
- Large bunch silverbeet / spinach / rainbow chard / Warrigal greens
- Large bunch parsley and/or any other green herbs, finely chopped
- 6 spring onion leaves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
Deep quiche dish, baking paper and blind baking beans*
*A note on the beans – I keep a container of old beans to use over and over for blind baking pastry. And a piece of baking parchment to fit the quiche dish that similarly gets reused endlessly. Just let the beans cool in a bowl before packing them away for next time.
- Boil the kettle and preheat the oven to 180C.
- Lightly oil the quiche dish and press the whole sheet of pastry into it without stretching it. Then fill any gaps with pieces of the extra half sheet, overlapping the edges and pressing to seal together.
- Trim off any overhanging pastry corners. Line with baking paper, fill with dry beans and bake for about 10 minutes while you pick and prepare the veg and herbs and collect the eggs.
- Then spoon out the beans, lift off the baking paper and return to the oven for another 5 minutes while you mix the filling.
- Rip the stems out of the silverbeet/spinach, tear it up roughly and place in a deep bowl. Pour the boiling water over and blanch for about a minute. Drain off water and refresh with cold water. Squeeze out thoroughly until you have a hard green lump. Chop this finely. (If using Warrigal greens, the stems can all go in too, but blanch the greens for an extra minute or two due to the extra oxalic acid.)
- In the bowl, beat together all the eggs, yogurt, herbs, spring onion, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Then fold the chopped spinach/silverbeet and half the grated cheese through the mix.
- Let the pastry shell cool for a few minutes before adding the fillings: alternate layers of very finely sliced sweet potato and egg/greens mix. Finish with the egg mix topped with remaining cheese and pepper.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until just firm and golden on top.
- Serve with a leafy green salad dressed with a vinaigrette of olive oil, a few drops of cider vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and honey.
There has been so much happening gardenwise beyond our fences! July and August brought a workshop and permablitz at Fulham Community Centre, in collaboration with Permaculture SA and Wagtail Urban Farm‘s Steven Hoepfner. Over two action-packed days we explored the many roles of trees and perennials in design for climate resilience, and refreshed and renewed the centre’s tired old community garden. Pop in on weekdays and meet Kerstin to check it out and find out how you can get involved. And catch Steven at his next Growing Great Veggies course (this time in Campbelltown) with Nat Wiseman of Village Greens of Willunga Creek. I can’t speak highly enough of this course.
A fledgling community garden at Oliphant Ave Reserve in Marion received its first fruit trees in a local community planting workshop on National Tree Day, and then the proposed Dwyer Road community garden near Oaklands station had its first community consultation meeting, attended by a large and enthusiastic group of locals. (Contact City of Marion’s Community Gardens Coordinator here. The updated Community Gardens Policy is also open for consultation right now and here’s where you can add your two bobs’ worth.)
Trees x 10, meanwhile, has had its first little planting workshop in a home garden in Marion. The project is in its pilot stage, trialling a short workshop or ‘planting party’ format to share the power of planting trees for climate resilience. As a result of participating, one of the attendees was ready to add more trees to her own garden while others started to plan shared garden projects in community spaces.
The next pilot Trees x 10 event will be in October, celebrating the warming soil and subtropical fruits, with a couple of avocado trees going into a brand new garden in Warradale. Follow Trees x 10 on facebook for updates.
Meanwhile, we await Adelaide City Council’s decision on the proposed removal of 11 mature trees on North Terrace near the Lot 14 redevelopment site. These trees have received a lot of love lately, from their human, furry and feathered friends alike. It takes a long while to re-establish effective cooling canopy with newly planted trees (even advanced specimens) – and far longer to grow nesting hollows. Options to help save these trees include attending the council’s committee meeting tomorrow night and supporting this petition.
Other upcoming events…
SA Urban Food Network is hosting a Pot Luck Dinner and Film Night at the Joinery this Wednesday, 4th September, with a selection of short Urban Food Films from Happen Films and a panel of local growers to whet your appetite for productivity. Book via link.
The Port Environment Centre is springing into life, hosting David Holmgren’s ‘RetroSuburbia’ roadshow on Wednesday 11th September. UPDATE: this event sold out already! Follow link for waiting list.
Glenelg North Community Garden‘s open day will be on Saturday 14th September, with Sally’s home-grown fruit trees on sale. Drop by and catch me for a natter about Trees x 10 too.
Sustainable House Day is the following day – Sunday 15th September – register online to visit and search for open houses near you.
FINALLY – Spring Planting!
New growth is popping up everywhere, though the soil is still cool.
It’s time to get spring vegetable seeds sown in punnets, toilet rolls and seed raising trays. Bottom heat helps if they are heat-lovers (e.g. tomato, chilli, eggplant). A clear cover helps to maintain moisture during the day and warmth overnight, but as the days warm up, be sure to lift the lid each morning so little seedlings don’t get cooked when the sun hits their enclosure.
Select subtropical and citrus trees to be planted out next month and ensure that the soil is well prepared for them. This includes such delights as avocado, banana, mango, macadamia, guavas and all the citrus trees. If you have heavy clay soil, do a drainage test by filling a bucket-sized hole with water. If it’s still there an hour later, the soil needs help. Use gypsum (1kg per square metre), loosen the underlying soil with a fork and build up a mound of soil improved with well-rotted manure and compost to plant into. Do this now, get the irrigation prepared, and let it settle before planting those trees next month into a nicely warmed hill.
And take tip cuttings of perennial herbs and flowering shrubs to propagate in seed raising mix (or plant straight into the garden if you can remember to water them there!).
Veg & herbs to sow this season: (* denotes sow direct in bed. For the big seeds – pumpkin, zucchini, melons, beans – germination will be better in October when the soil is warmer. The remainder are good to go during September in punnets or your preferred container.)
Basil, beans*, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot*, celery, chilli, chives, chicory, coriander*, daikon, dill, eggplant, endive, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, melons, mizuna, mustard, pak choi, parsley, parsnips*, potatoes*, pumpkin*, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini*
If you enjoy this blog, how about sharing it with a friend? And if you are on facebook, follow Nadja’s Garden and/or Trees x 10 to keep up with local events, garden tips and food for the soul between blog posts. Grow well xx