Thursday in the garden, according to the schedule is the small beds and containers around the dome. Technically it should include the dome itself and anything in it that needs a bit of love but today I had something else in mind instead of doing the dome.
The first thing I got onto was something I’d been curious about for a while now. My kumara containers had by pushed askew by some unknown force, presumably a big fat sweet potato or two, that may have escaped the container and continued to grow in the ground. The anticipation was intense. A sign they are ready to dig up is yellowing leaves, and a thorough inspection found a few leaves were yellow and that was enough for me. Besides today is the day for containers so who am I to argue with the schedule.
I chopped off all the foliage and then carefully and expectantly removed the soil from the pot and found that within the confines of the container was nothing but kumara noodles. Long skinny sweet potatoes that could be cooked as is and fit well within the definition of chips! This is no surprise; it is pretty much the best I’ve ever done. But there was still the mystery of the askew pots… something must be causing it. So, I took my garden fork and starting wide so as not to mistakenly skewer a possible bounty, I dug up the sand beneath the container. And I dug and dug and dug and finally found 5 kumara of I size I’d never grown before! They aren’t huge but good enough for me!
The small beds in the Thursday zone really didn’t need much help. The Jerusalem artichoke bed is empty because they didn’t come up in the spring and the yams are almost done. (I’ve never had much luck with these but will continue to try.) These 1 x 1 metre beds are exclusive for these crops because you can dig them up as much as you want, but they will never be completely gone, so it makes sense to give them a permanent home. The globe artichokes and rhubarb are long term crops, so it makes sense to give them their own space too! The nursery bed is in control and the wild flower garden only just finished being filled. So aside from feeding the still flourishing and watering the lot, I didn’t really have much to do.
I looked at my feijoa trees as they are in the container area and they felt dry again, so I took them out of their pots and found they were a little root bound. I couldn’t leave them like it, so I teased out the roots and repotted them into larger pots. I’ll let them settle down and let the roots find themselves before planting out in the ground.
Before heading inside, I noticed a big fat bumblebee dancing around my broad bean patch, and I felt confident that my beans flowers were being pollinated. But something in the back of my mind niggled at me so I looked it up. Bumblebees have short tongues and can’t get into the broad bean flowers to access the nectar in the usual way so poke holes in the base of the flowers. So, no there won’t be bumblebee beans anytime soon…
Then I came inside to deal with something that was becoming a problem. My red onions were starting to go soft and I’d been meaning to do something with them for ages. The whole Make May Count was just the push I needed and turned half of them into a delish red onion marmalade. I needed to slowly caramelise the onions and then with a few herbs and spiced chucked and some red and balsamic vinegars, the whole lot was reduced to a lovely jam like consistency. I started with a lot of onion and in anticipation sterilised 6 jars. However, the reduction process was quite thorough, and I ended up with only three jars, three very awesome jars of deliciousness.
So I may not have got as many kumara as I would have liked or as many jars of onion marmalade, and the bumblebees have been wrecking my broad beans, I’m still happy because I still have a personal best for the kumara, a limited amount of marmalade is better than none and I don’t actually like broad beans so I’m not bothered.
Come again soon – tomorrow is the fruit section in the attempt to Make May Count.
Sarah the Gardener : o)