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Welcome Autumn in the Vegetable Garden

Garden Share Collective March 2015

 

End of Summer Garden Colour

My garden is not yet on notice that Summer has finished. This weekend just past I started to remove some of the Summer plants to make way for new autumn seedlings, however,  overall everything is still producing beautifully and will continue to do so for at least the next month before it starts to look a little worn out and in need of removal.

Abundant Summer Vegetable Garden

The cooler days and a little rain has introduced powdery mildew into the garden. It was spreading incredibly quickly so I have removed and disposed of all infected leaves and one zucchini plant. This has left the garden looking a little bare but it does let more sun shine onto the plants, where previously there was dense foliage encouraging the damp to spread. The little hanging pots and basket in the picture below will now see some of the sunshine and hopefully look a little more lush in the coming weeks.

Pumpkin

Unfortunately, in my big clean up of the garden this weekend I dislodged two pumpkins that were not yet ready to pick and broke a capsicum plant.  The pumpkins were close to being ready so I am hoping that a few weeks in the sun to harden will save them. I am more than a little annoyed with myself…If you follow A Fresh Legacy on Instagram (@kyrstie_afl)  you may have seen this picture already. I would love to see you on Instagram if you use it. I seem to spend a lot of time there lately…Drop by and say hi.

accidentally picked pumpkins

The herbs are looking (and tasting) fabulous at the moment. They are flourishing and are such a pleasure to use in cooking at this time of the year. I wish I had of tracked and recorded my weekly dollar spend this year at the fruit store. Over Summer we have purchased very few items, mostly fruit for the kids school/kinder lunches. All other vegetables this year have come from the garden. Summer vegetables are by far my preferred ones so while we have the space to do the same across the other seasons it does not excite me, or inspire me in the kitchen as much as the variety and abundance of Summer produce. That is the beauty of growing and eating seasonally though is it not?? You appreciate and look forward to the good things each season has to offer.

The tomatoes are still producing beautifully and the eggplant – I will say it….”I am sick of eggplant!” it is glorious, it has been amazingly abundant but I have had enough now and for awhile. Next year I will reduce the number of plants by half. I don’t know what possessed me to plant so many this year. They have gone totally nuts and as you can see from the image below, there are new flowers still coming and not really any signs of them slowing.

Eggplant

Zucchini – if you are a gardener you know that by the end of Summer this become a dirty word…..They are still coming but I don’t find them as difficult to use in a wide variety of meals as I have with the quantity of eggplants we have experienced.

Grow Fresh Zucchini

Tomatoes are continuing to thrive. The plant shown below was planted late but and has just started to produce ripe fruit this month. I can’t leave a tomato plant to develop laterals, I have tried but the whole bushy tomato plant thing drives me crazy so as you can see this one is not being grow entirely on string but I have added a string line for it to continue to grow on and gain support from.

tomatoes trained on string

Tomatoes

The other tomatoes around the various garden beds are producing 300-500 grams per day. I have been dehydrating lots of them for use in cooking the Winter months.  I have also made chutney, tomato sauce and am still enjoying them fresh each day. They will continue for the next couple of months at least. I also have at least 10 new self seeded plants that have popped up in various places. If I get the time I will move them into a sheltered position to see if they develop fruit moving into Autumn.

Planting:

  • Coriander
  • Rocket

Over the coming weeks I am clearing Summer plants that have run their course. I need to fertalise and allow that soil to rest for a short time and then I will begin to plant the seedlings that have bee developing over the past month. I will be planting this month:

  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Zinnia

Empty garden space

Vegetable Garden bed end of Summer

Harvesting:

I am taking produce to the neighbors as well as to school for the teachers as some days the sight of 5 zucchini and 4 eggplant on the kitchen bench is just too much pressure!

Freshly harvested Summer Vegetables

large backyard Summer Vegetable Harvest

Summer Vegetable Harvest

We are harvesting:

  • Capsicum
  • Chilli
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Herbs – basil, chives, coriander, oregano, mint, sage, tarragon, vietnamese mint
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

To do this month:

  • Turn over the compost heap and add as much as possible to the garden beds.
  • Push back any dense areas of pea straw to let the soil cool a little
  • Plant Autumn seedlings
  • Fertalise the Summer plants that are still producing well with seasol solution

I hope that you have had an amazing Summer in the garden and are ready to welcome Autumn. This post is one of a series of regular monthly vegetable gardening updates initiated and hosted by Lizzie from Strayed From The Table. A collection of vegetable gardening enthusiasts from around Australia and abroad gather each month to chat about their gardens. You can read other posts via the links at the bottom of this post.

How is your garden going this month? What do you love about Autumn in the vegetable garden?

Here is a little Flipagram I made showing some of my favorite images of Summer this year in the garden and kitchen. I hope that you enjoy it.

Kyrstie

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Marinated Eggplant in Oil

Marinated Eggplant in oil

I apologise to those of you waiting for regular recipes to return here. They will do so soon. Our vegetable garden is producing such a lot of produce at the moment that I am working to utilise and process it all so that we can continue to enjoy it in the coming months as the garden production slows and the cooler weather creeps in.

This year in our garden I most definitely over-planted eggplants (Aubergines). Way too many plants for us! I planted 8 this year. In previous years the crops have been small and this year I wanted to get some to cook with so….I most certainly did get that and more. This morning we have dropped 4 off at school and I have 4 more in the fruit bowl.

Eggplant producing fruit

I have been researching recipes to make a marinated eggplant that can be used on a platter, to add to cooking and things like pizza topping. This is a variation of a recipe I found in a beautiful book I have called A Year in the Village of Eternity by Tracey Lawson. As I was using my own home grown eggplants they are not bitter. I do not salt them prior to using. You may do so if you wish, or if you are using store purchased produce.

As this recipe uses a vinegar solution it does give the eggplant a bit of tang. It will mellow if you allow them to sit for 3-4 weeks prior to opening. I couldn’t wait quick that long…

Marinated Eggplant in Oil
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Marinated eggplant in oil. Preserving the flavor of Summer. This easy eggplant recipe is a delight to add to an entertaining menu or to simply add to sandwiches or the top of pizza.
Author:
Recipe type: Preserve
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 200 ml water
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar
  • 800 grams eggplant - cut into strips
  • 3 stalks of fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • approximately 350 ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. To a wide based pan add the water, vinegar, eggplant and basil and bring to the boil.
  2. Boil for 5 minutes until the eggplant softens and turns translucent. You will need to use a wooden spoon or similar to push the eggplant into the liquid as it softens so that it all becomes covered and cooked by it
  3. Remove the eggplant from the solution and allow it to drain in a colander
  4. Add the eggplant to steralised (still hot) jars, pushing it down as you fill
  5. To the oil add the garlic, oregano, sumac and chilli flakes
  6. Pour the oil into the jar/s on top of the eggplant. Jiggle the jar to ensure that there are no air bubbles and it is completely covered.
  7. Seal the lids and allow to cool completely then store in a cool location.
  8. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a week
Notes
As with any food that is kept in storage for a period of time discard if it is showing any signs of spoilage.
if you do not need to use all of the oil to cover the eggplants in the jar use it for cooking instead. It will add a herbaceous flavor to what ever you are cooking.
Unopened jars should be used within a few months

Home grown produce, that is cooked at it’s freshest makes a wonderful addition to your next entertaining platter, on sandwiches, added to pasta or salad, the options are endless….

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere and coming into Spring you may like to take a look at my notes on growing eggplants so you can give this recipe a try later on in the year.

How are you eggplants coming along this year? Do you also have an abundance? I would love to hear what you are making with yours if you do.

Have a great weekend.

Kyrstie

 

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