As the sun sets on summertime, I thought I'd give y'all an update from our Patch.
Summer, this year, started out pretty grim. Bushfires swept through our town and the land for miles around. Our farming community - on the brink of a record harvest - were devastated with lives, homes and crops lost, along with vast tracts of bushland. This included nearly all of the known habitat for the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot in Cape Arid National Park. A few months on, green shoots are emerging amongst burnt scrub but there is much healing, for people and place, to come.
Our little Patch of edibles was spared and has remained an oasis of peace for quiet contemplation through a sombre holiday season. In the wake of the fires, we were unexpectedly bestowed merciful summer rains - right when we needed them most - allowing at least, our home crops to reach their full potential.
As summer grinds to a close, I wanted to share the garden at it's most productive, green peak. Most of these pics were taken over the last month or so... but as I write this, it's looking pretty dry, wilted and spent, after some forty plus heat.
The star of the Patch this summer has to be the Glass Gem Corn. I was lucky enough to be offered this interesting variety by a generous soul in a seed sharing group. The Glass Gem Corn was bred by a retired farmer named Carl Barnes. He spent his twilight years reconnecting with his Cherokee roots and experimenting with old and heirloom varieties of corn. He selectively bred the most colourful specimens he came across resulting in many rainbow hued varieties. I'm glad he did because they are just spectacular!
Tromboncinos are a staple for us now and we eat them when they're about zucchini sized and treat them much like...well - zucchinis - but they're way more entertaining! They never fail to amuse with their sinuous contortions, the best of which was illustrated by this year's favourite - a cobra!
And tomatoes, always tomatoes...you just can't buy ones in a shop that taste like home grown. I'm percolating a new recipe for a tomato tarte tatin but in the meantime, treat yourself to this awesome tomato pie if you have access to any lovely homegrown toms.
We planted out several varieties of pumpkin this year but there was some definite clear winners. The Turks Turban (pictured left above) always wins for style - grotesque and yet so beautiful. The Queensland Blue (pictured on the right) takes out the prize for abundance. We've harvested a heap but still the vine is pumping along, pushing out more and more pumpkins as it goes. Dang thing has a life of it's own.
However, for sheer ease of use, the Trombone pumpkin holds the crown (in the middle of the middle pic above...looks a bit like a butternut but with a really long nose?...hose?…handle?...trunk? What do you call that?) It's easy to peel then slice off the knobbly end with the seeds (lucky chooks!) and the rest is easy to carve, pumpkin-ey deliciousness.
A special mention must go to The World's Largest Pumpkin. This features every year in our Patch with differing levels of success - and I have to add, that the moniker 'World's Largest' is by no means a claim made on our behalf, but simply the proper name of the variety. Although hours are spent through winter trawling you-tube videos seeking out tips and tricks from the true pumpkin masters, we do garden in fairly average soil with restricted access to fresh water so we'll never compete against the big guys and gals.
On the left above, is our 2016 attempt. As you can see, great care was taken to erect a shelter against the elements which ended in a pretty big and healthy looking pumpkin of 27kg. Alas, we still fell short of our best effort in 2012 that weighed in at around 50kg (pictured on the right) and just shy of the current World Record holder from 12th October 2014, grown by Beni Meier in Switzerland. His whopper pumpkin weighed in at 1,054 kg!
And finally... a gratuitous pic of that gorgeous Glass gem Corn once again because ... it's just so pretty!
Now to the autumn Patch, what's planting in your patch right now?
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This year, it's time to sow… quite literally. Tanya's back to sowing seeds, getting her hands dirty in the potting mix whilst I'm cranking up the vintage Singer and getting touchy feely with fabric, friends and Boomerang Bags...
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