Off The Sofa – September 2017

Have you ever snapped a piece of celery or a crisp apple and eaten it straight from your garden. Its full of moisture and tastes so delicious you can easily just gobble it right down. What about a sweet peach or sugar snap peas? So sweet they feel like you’re eating dessert straight from your garden!

All these things cost money if you are buying them at the supermarket, but most of them you can grow or trade. I can’t seem to grow carrots but I can grow magnificent broccoli and am happy to swap. It’s like you are ‘growing your groceries’ and when you need something, its super easy to pop out to the garden and pick all the things for say, a salad. It can take some careful planning if you are trying to grow ALL your greens but whatever you grow is a help and apart from saving you money, it tastes so much better.

Broccoli for example was about $3 when mine were ready. The packet of seeds cost $3 and we raised at least 20 seedlings, so each seedling cost me about 30c and I can usually collect up at least $5 worth of salad bits if I have capsicums and tomatoes growing. You could try keeping a budget and see just what is going out on seeds and coming in to your pantry. If you have fruit trees and hens you will be saving a heap of dollars. One of our young apple trees alone gave us almost 20 kilos. That’s a lot of apples! If you can make some time to bottle or freeze all this goodness, then you are REALLY saving money..

In your planning it makes sense to plant things you know you like and will need. Most people plant tomatoes as they are great in salads but also to preserve into sauces and purees and worst case, just freeze them whole and use in stews. Some things we grow extra of, if I know the children will eat them raw also. If I want peas to cook, then I have to grow two lots as they hardly ever make it to the kitchen at all. It can be fun to grow things you maybe have never grown like spaghetti squash which is easy to cook. Sometimes you might be given something to try that you have never had before. The children can’t wait to harvest our yacons this year, which they love to eat raw, straight from the garden, whereas I love them roasted, so its a bit of a race!

The biggest problem some people have is the birds. I am going to hang old CD’s in my trees this year but something that is always fun to do, is to make an annual scarecrow. It can be very simple, or very complicated. Its entirely up to you!

The most traditional way is to take two sticks and tie or nail them together to make a cross. Pull some old overalls or trousers up the centre stick to be the scarecrows legs. Push the bottom of the cross into the ground or attach to a post in your garden. Pop an old ball or fashion something into a head shape to go on the top of the centre stick. Now slip an old shirt over the ‘arms’ of the scarecrow. You can stuff the arms and legs with armfuls of gathered lavender if you like to give more ‘body’ to him. A hat if you have an old one looks superb too. To be sure to scare the birds away, something dangling from the hat or his hands that moves in the breeze and perhaps glitters in the sun might help too.

Take Care,
Tricia

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