Winter Wrap Up

Winter morning on the farm

Winter has come to an end and the first few days of spring actually felt like spring – warmer weather, bees buzzing and the sight and smell of blossoms everywhere. This transition into the new growing season and longer days has me feeling motivated and energetic after months of spending more time indoors recharging and cozying up by the fire.

This blog post is about what I’ve been up to over winter – what happened in the garden, what I’ve been cooking and what I’ve been reading and watching.

Growing

Winter vegetables

The winter vegetable garden was somewhat successful. I grew mostly brassicas – cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Using bug netting for the first time was so worth it. Apart from some slug damage, there were no signs of those pesky little green caterpillars that have destroyed my plants in the past. The brassicas were still quite slow to grow but overall I was happy with the outcome. A slight mishap with the ducks getting under the bug netting and enjoying my plants also set me back.

My first time growing turnip and swede was also a success.I just need more ways to cook them as just adding them to soup and pasties was a bit limiting and come to think of it, I still have some sitting in the fridge that need eating!

August was seed sowing time for my spring and summer crops. I started with vegetables that don’t need the heat to grow – lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, spring onion and spring flowers. Then later in the month I sowed the heat loving plants – tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, corn, capsicum, watermelon and zucchini. They are all sitting up on tables in front of north facing windows in our living area where they get lots of sunshine and I remember to water them!

Cooking

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Cooking in winter has been all about comfort food. We usually have soup at least once a week – potato and leek and roast pumpkin are our favourites served with crusty bread or grilled cheese on toast. Other meals that appear on the menu regularly are meatloaf, stir fry, chow mein, roast chicken, lasagne (meat and vegetarian), homemade pizza, vegetable pasties, chicken pies and pierogi (Polish dumplings filled with mash potato). Vegetables from the garden we have enjoyed included fried cabbage and cauliflower (with cheese sauce or just roasted).

With less sunshine in winter I experimented with cooking on the wood heater to conserve electricity and minimise our gas usage. I’ve cooked soup, chicken casserole and sausages on the wood fire and have also reheated foods for lunch which has been much quicker then using the oven or air fryer and it doesn’t tend to dry out.

Watching and Reading

Some amazing fungi I came across on a bush walk this winter

I haven’t read as much as I usually do in winter but here are some books I enjoyed and a documentary I watched on Netflix:

  • 470 – By Linda Woodrow This book intrigued me when I heard about it. Set in NSW Australia in 2031 as the affects of climate change start to take hold. I love dystopian novels but this one was a lot closer to home and realistic. Although it was scary to think about what it might be like in 10 or so years time if we don’t make drastic changes now, it showed how people can live a sustainable lifestyle within community without grid electricity, town water and internet.
  • Soil – By Matthew Evans I’m currently half way through this and loving it! Matthew takes all the scientific information about how important soil is for the earth and our health and converts into language non science people can understand. It’s fascinating and I have an even greater appreciation for the ground upon which we walk and grow our plants.
  • Fantastic Fungi A documentary about fungi – how it interacts with plants and trees and improves our health. I love all things fungi and doco was so interesting it inspired me to sign up to Milkwood Permaculture’s online mushroom course so I can learn more and start growing my own

Well that’s a wrap. I’m now looking forward to the new season of Spring – lots of gardening, spring cleaning and dare I say it, weeding! Windows will be flung open to let in the fresh spring air and with lighter mornings I hope to get out for walks more often and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Stay safe everyone and let’s hope lockdowns are soon a thing of the past and we can all enjoy each other’s company in person again.

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