Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hey Pesto!

Since the last update, the vegie patch mk II has been going well. The strawberries, tomatoes, capsicums and basil have all taken off. Even the parsley I thought had surely fried to a crisp on those hot summer days is making a comeback. Unfortunately the rainwater tank has run dry again so the patch is now dependant on my ability to lug the watering can up and down the yard.

The most productive plants have been the basil. They are all around 50-60cm high and full of lush big green leaves. I keep pinching off the flowers to spot them going to seed too early. And what does one do with an abundance of basil? One makes pesto, of course!

Phase 1 - Collect basil
There is something immensely satisfying about wandering into the garden with a basket and a pair of secateurs for a spot of harvesting. This collection made hardly a dint in the crop.

Phase 2 - Mix with other fine ingredients
Throw freshly picked basil in the food processor with some pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Whizz to a coarse mush. Stir in some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Scoop into jars. Cover with a layer of olive oil.

Phase 3 - Pesto!
I now have three jars of home made pesto. I didn't use up all the basil I collected (there is only so much pesto one can use and my folks are blessed with equally productive basil plants so they don't need any). The leftovers will be destined for bruschetta or pizza. I'm looking forward to having some simple dinners of hot pasta with pesto stirred through.

I'm really enjoying the harvest end of the gardening cycle. It's lovely to be able to eat fresh produce, straight from the garden. I've been enjoying our carrot crop, one carrot at a time. The rest get left in the ground until we're ready to eat them. The broccoli heads are getting to a reasonable size, albeit most of them are a tad mutated from pests getting to them.

My fig tree (Black Genoa) arrived a week ago. Silly me didn't transplant it straight away so it started to look a bit poorly. I've now transplanted it into a bigger pot, but it still looks poor (mostly because all the leaves dropped off!). I picked up some Seasol from the nursery today and will give it a good feed tonight and hopefully it will rally. Should it survive my appalling mishandling of it, it should grow to be a lovely bush with lovely plump juicy figs. It's staying in a pot as I don't want to end up with a 10+ metre high monster.

I've also ordered five apple trees and a cherry tree from Digger's club (I should really not be allowed near their catalogues). They're all on dwarf root stock so they won't get huge. They should arrive in a few months (Digger's only ships them when they're dormant to minimise damage). The local nursery has a good range of citrus and other fruit trees so there will be lemons, limes, mandarins, mangoes and whatever else looks good coming as well.

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