Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grow Parsnip in Container

The first time I bought parsnip and tasted it, I did not like parsnips. My children are not fond of store-bought parsnip either. I thought that was the first and last time I ever see parsnip in our kitchen. However, the first time I participate in our local Seed-Saver Group meeting, I received some fresh parsnip to try and grow. I sowed those fresh parsnip seeds on end-February and March this year in containers. The germination was really good. Home-grown parsnip tasted so much different from the ones on the store rack. Lucky our attempt to grow our own home-grown parsnip was a very good thing. It changes my whole family feeling of parsnip to a good one. No one in our family dislike parsnip now.
Parsnip seedlings. Germination was good even in partial shade. Although the location of our containers that we sowed parsnip seeds were shaded by pumpkin veins surrounding that location.
To grow parsnip required so much patience. It takes a long time to grow into this stage. Parsnips grow much much much longer than carrots to grow roots. No kidding, to make me not pulling the top out is by purposely forgetting their existence in our garden. 
Unlike carrots where you can see a bit of the root on top of the soil, parsnips has a more shy personality as the roots are always totally cover by soil. Makes it difficult to decide whether its has grown into a reasonable size to harvest.
Six month after I sowed parsnip seeds, I harvested them. These are parsnip that has been sowed in autumn and grown over winter. Now I wonder if spring-sowed parsnip in containers will develop much bigger root after 6 months since it will grow in much warmer condition. Will it make a difference? Can't wait to see the result after 6 months.
I was very stress out in September, the main reason for the long silence.
Silent September, Study Stress.
Thank you so much for encouraging comments.
Saved me from losing out to my weakness/depression and reminding me that to look at the garden that I have totally neglected this month is there for me to release all my stress out. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweet Scented Sweet Pea

Another new spring blooming flower in our garden that we tried growing for the first time this year. I have always been curious why many gardeners are fond to have this plant in their garden. Now I can understand the feelings. Oh this bloom scent so nice in the garden. Doing gardening task near where sweet peas are growing makes pleasant moments. I got these seeds from our local Seed-Savers group meetings early this year so I am not sure what variety it is. Nevertheless, growing them was worth it. Made me happy.
Sweet pea seeds were direct-sowed last fall. I was kind of worried that snails or slugs will munch on the seedlings but it remained untouched. Surprisingly, these sweet peas was not bothered with our clay soil . Looks happy even in partial shade.
Sweet pea climbing on our one and only garden arch which we can enjoy the view from our kitchen window. I found growing sweet pea much easier than our edible peas. Most of our edible peas are not growing very good compare to last year. Many of the plants succumb to disease and dying too early in this season. However, sweet pea is hale and hearty.
I hope legume member live up to its name fixing nitrogen back into the soil.
I still have not decided yet what to replace sweet pea for summer this year.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gift for Parents

Our garden/kebun has been very generous this month, although I have very much neglected our garden. Lenay and my brother has gone back to my parents home last weekend. They have brought back some vegetables for our parents. We are happy that we met some of our aim when we sowed seeds in fall for them to grow ready to be pick on the week my brother going back home. Visit Daphne's Dandelion Harvest Monday and see different part of garden in this world that gifted their gardeners who has given so much TLC in return. This week harvest photos are some part of harvest that we had for our parents. I have not taken much photo lately in the garden.
We had beginners luck with Florence fennel this year. Maybe this year is a good year for Florence fennel since I felt Florence fennel are selling cheaply this year in the local market and good size too. We had to harvest most of our lettuces since we had several days of warm weather, they have the sign to bolt.
Parsnip for my parents. First attempt at growing them this year last end summer.
Don't forget to sow some parsnip and carrot seeds this month quickly.
The germination rate was really good here in Adelaide plain.
Beetroots that were grown in container. It was my parent first taste of beetroot and I got a text with a request to post some seeds of beetroot after that.
Purple-podded peas season are almost over in our garden since those plants are dying. Those beetroot that received a haircut from my brother which I had to remind him several time not to trim near the root so much or it bleed.
Sprouting broccoli plants still providing generously.
This sweet potato is for us that were left growing in container over-winter. I was kind of worried that the tubers will rot in winter but I do not dare dig them out cause it was sharing space with Chinese Broccoli which I plan to harvest seeds from it. What a surprise when we dig out this 1.5kg sweet potato out. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ranunculus Florentine

Ranunculus smile brightly at us in this month of September during the day, and sleep at night.
I am glad that I tried growing ranunculas this year, the garden look so happy. 
Rayyan also enjoy looking at them very much.
We were surprised that ranunculus bulb look like this when it arrived in the mail box.
Yellow-coloured ranunculus, the first colour to bloom in our garden.
Different shade of red-coloured petals and layers.
Development from the first set of leaves until bloom. Ranunculus grow well in pot too. We mixed planting with jonquil in the same pot. Jonquil has long finished it season and now in its replacement in this pot is ranunculus turned to shine.
Ranunculus make such a good cut flower. Ilhan brought some for his kindy teacher.
Ranunculus remind me so much of poppy.
Spring fever in the garden this time of the year.
However, I have been knock down by virus at least a couple of time this Spring September.
It has been a Silent September in Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls Blog.
I feel much better and was cheer up by all the comments.
Mmmm...better in spirit but I just got another cold (second transfection).
It will take me sometime to visit and reply.
Thank you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Spring Harvest Monday

Last week my little garden helper has been following me around the garden to help with the harvest. He seems to know that our sprouting broccoli side-shoots need to be frequently cut as we have been experiencing many days above 20degree Celsius these days and wants me to follow him at that corner on the right side of this photo.
Its difficult for me to keep up with sprouting broccoli before they flower at the moment. This unusual warm weather early spring is making them flower easily. We had some tomatoes to harvest. My little helper keeps on stealing those yellow cherry tomatoes before we can snap some photos.
Our awaited Violet Sicilian cauliflower turn out to be green like broccoli (which I think it is broccoli). We freeze this "cauliflower" since we had enough for the kitchen. One red capsicum which is a treasure as it takes more than 3 months to wait for it to turn red. We harvested kohlrabi and dice it to make mini murtabak with mini cabbage. Kohlrabi was also grated for Sambal Salad with green mango.
Due to warm weather our first cauliflower for this year did not form proper head, it looks very ugly and smallish. I am hoping for some rain and cool weather so the rest of our cauliflowers will have the chance to develop nice curds. The soil is so dry. Due to this not so early spring weather, I did not realised that our bonica eggplants which I have neglected this winter but let it survive by its own surprisingly produce fruits. I was pulling out a dead tomato plant beside this eggplant and by chance found some eggplants. The colour is odd though, instead of the usual dark purple. The first time, that we actually harvested an eggplant in early spring.
Our purple-podded pea plants are dying. Peas planting on our garden this year look very miserable compared with previous years. Today, we also harvested some lettuce, Florence Fennel and Snowball cauliflower.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Edible Flower~Bellis Perennis

This is the second year we planted bellis perennis which is also commonly known as English Daisy. However, I just recently known that this flower is edible. Not only that, it does have some medical uses. It was traditionally use to heal fresh wounds. In ancient Rome, the surgeons who accompanied Roman legions into battle would order their slaves to pick sacks full of daisies in order to extract their juice. Bandages were soaked in this juice and would then be used to bind sword and spear cuts (source from wikipedia). I guess in this modern world, the mixer will do a perfect job on extracting healing properties from its juice. It is also used for other remedies (for further read on its other application here a link on more information). In Europe, this plant can be invasive and is considered as weeds.In certain regions can be grown all year round. If you are in the garden and got a small cut maybe English Daisy will be handy to have around. So far, English Daisy has not made in our garden WEED LIST as yet. We saved some seeds last year. We sowed seeds starting from end summer to autumn. It usually starts to bloom in our garden starting end winter through spring. This plants dislike our extreme hot dry summer I think growing in full sun. However, it does well in partial shade during summer.
Bellis perennis seedlings.
The first time I came to know bellis perennis was last year at a Sunday market in a six cell punnet tray because I wanted something pretty as a border for our edibles. From our experience, snail and slug really like to munch on its leaves. Was I working unconsciously with my six sense when I was choosing flowers? Not just a pretty face but edible and on top of that has medical values. Bellis perennis can be a distraction for that always busy fluttering white cabbage butterfly. Bellis perennis grows well with lettuces but I am not sure yet with onions though. Bellis perennis is a good container plant.
Bellis perennis as a border and growing next to garlic in our garden at the moment. I hope garlic don't mind to have bellis perennis as company. At the back row near the fence are supposed to be violet sicilian cauliflower but I am in shock. It does not look any close to violet colour at all more like broccoli. So is that cauliflower or broccoli? I was so hoping to harvest a purple cauliflower this year.
This is a good combination that always grow well for us~ Broccoli with bellis perennis. Well, if bellis perennis has been already considered as weed as least this will suppressed other weeds. Moreover, I have less water evaporation to worry about as the soil is not exposed when densely planted.
It was an educational week for us in regarding bellis perennis. Embarassing after 2 years on growing them, just recently I knew it is edible and has medicinal values.
Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crab and Florence Fennel Soup

Its officially spring here today!
The days are getting warmer and warmer.
Its time to wave goodbye to soups.
But its still cold at night.
From our last fishing trip we still have many crabs in the freezer and Florence fennels in the garden are  ready for picking. So what to do with them? I was flicking through pages of "The Food & Cooking of Finland" recipe book by Anja Hill and came across a crayfish soup recipe. It gave me an idea to adapt this recipe to crab and florence fennel soup.
Florence Fennel with English Daisy as companion in our garden.
It is our first time growing Florence Fennel in our garden this year.
Happy that we have beginners luck on this vegetable grown from seeds.
Crab and Florence Fennel Soup
50g unsalted butter
50g (1cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
700ml (3cups) fish or chicken stock
5ml (1tsp) paprika
1 egg yolk
120ml cup double (heavy) cream
250gram cooked crab/crayfish meat
15ml (1tbsp) lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper (seasoning)
15ml (1tbsp) chopped fresh dill (to garnish)
*Optional~ Florence Fennel (sliced)
1) Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour to make a roux and cook over a low heat for 30 seconds, without colouring. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the fish or chicken stock to form a smooth sauce.
2) Return the pan to the heat and, stirring all the time, cook until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3) In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and cream together, then stir into the soup and heat gently, taking care not to let the mixture boil or the soup will curdle.
4) Add the florence fennel, crab meat and lemon juice to the soup and heat gently. Pour the soup into individual serving bowls and serve hot, garnished with chopped dill.
During our fishing trip, there were bit of crab pieces on the jetty which Ilhan made many shape of it.
This is one of his imaginative product.
What do you think it is?
Ilhan's mama made a wrong guess!
Its a diplodocus.
Linking with Wendy's GTTC.