Summer VegPosted: 03/02/2013
I love this time of the year, not because I particularly like the sometimes harsh temperatures of a South Australian summer, but rather because I love growing my own food and at this time of the year, the summer veggies are all coming along and we are picking more tomatoes and zucchinis than we can eat. We are enjoying the sweet juice of homegrown corn heated briefly and accompanied by a dob of organic butter. We have cucumbers just starting but probably not enough to call a glut. And gigantic rhubarb which I planted after I left the chook tractor on the garden for a week or so.
The compost that I used to fill one of our raised garden beds has sprouted something – actually multiple somethings – pumpkins I think, but time will tell. I have never successfully grown pumpkins before, I have never had the patience to hand pollinate them – my philosophy is that nature should take its course if the plant is any good and it should be able to produce fruit if I provide the right environment for it. So for many years I have successfully grown pumpkin vine which has run out of the garden beds and over the pavers, heading for the northern sun, but never produced anything from it. This year is different. This year we have pumpkins on the vines.
The only thing I can credit for it is the busy little workers that we have introduced into the garden this year – approximately 40,000 of them. They live in this box…
They have buzzed around and pollinated my pumpkins which came up from seed. Free food – there is nothing better in my book. A seed which came from the compost, pollinated by its neighbours. I just apply water occasionally.
The thing I love most about a glut of summer veg is the culinary challenge of not letting any of it go to waste – what can I do with 2 kg of tomatoes? How can I do zucchini differently? How many ways other than soup can I use that pumpkin? I made a beautiful roast tomato pasta sauce inspired by the River Cottage Veg Everyday book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which I just love for its recipes and inspiration. I’ve made 10 litres of zucchini soup and frozen it which will be lovely when autumn comes and the evening cold comes early again.
I am going to attempt zucchini chips – thinly sliced zucchini sprinkled with olive oil and a bit of salt, crisped up in the oven … mmmmm sounds nice doesn’t it Better go and get slicing…