Sunday, March 21, 2010

The March of Zucchini

And so it begins... The march of the Zucchini.
There is another one that needs harvesting today. The wildlife however is adding a new dimension to it - something had been digging up seedlings, so I set two traps. Well, this time around they caught 2 mice. The second I spotted in the torchlight at about 9.30 pm, when I suddenly relaised I'd forgotten to cover with plastic cups the surviving beans - my night-garden looks like a disgruntled kids tea party, with added nightmare elements as the gut section of the mouse had been eaten. I retreated to put on boots - which I was an idiot not put on in the first place.

This morning there was evidence of a wild and busy deadly night out there. Firstly the gate had been knocked down. Secondly there was a large dead rat in a bloody puddle between the beds. Cause of death - undetermined. Could it have been post- election violence, Australian style? Have I become a sleep-walking raticide? Was this the effect of cannabilistic excess?

The garden is - despite the depredations, coming along. My tyre-tower potatoes are nearly ready for another tyre.

We went to a harvest festival and barbeque on one of the farms on Summer road today. As it was spattering with rain, the entire thing took place in the farm shed. Corrugated iron... and it rained. It was rather like Nottingham Road's annual carol service (held in the sale-hall - with real sheep and calves and any kid under five that showed up dressed as either an angel or a shepherd in with them. Last time one of the angels got her hand sucked by a calf... it was one of few bellows that was louder than the inevitable drumming of the rain on the tin roof). This too was drowned out by the rain that bucketed down. Good thing too: the farmers need the rain, and I was singing. The rain stopped and we cooked snags (see, I learn. They are called sausages elsewhere) - we talked, kids rode bikes (a unicycle yet! I WANT one) a couple of chooks looked in and we were a world away from Africa. Or Venice, that I must now return to.


  1. I know, those critters can be a real pain! Perhaps when your get your cats and dogs, they will help keep the critters at bay. I have never seen potatoes planted in a tyre. Is that to keep critters digging them up?

  2. No it's actually to allow you to earth them up really, really high and harvest them easily and cleanly. (just push the tower over).

  3. I've been thinking about growing my potatoes the same way, but someone told me there was a danger of chemicals leaking into the soil. Sigh. No way to win. Jody has a wonderful way of cooking zucchini that has gotten me to eat it - frying it gently in olive oil, and then adding garlic alfredo sauce to it. Yummy!

  4. Dave: I like your potato planter, there. Must steal that idea.

    Hey - I knew you were due into this corner of the world, but I'd not heard from you. And being extremely flat-out busy, I hadn't gotten around to looking you up.

    It's good to know you made it here in one piece, you and the clan. Give me a holler next time you're on the Slightly Bigger Island?

    By the way -- all Tasmanian snakes are diurnal. You don't really need boots by night. Simple lightweight shoes will do the job just fine.

  5. Hi Dirk - nice to know about the snakes - a lot of ours liked warm evenings. And typically I was barefoot... I will let you know if I'm coming to the mainland (tas;-)) The potato system isn't the be-all and end-all but it works for me. How are your nut trees?

  6. Also instead of dirt in your tyre tower you can use mulch - straw/hay/sugarcane/bracken (whichever is avail), comfrey and manure. This way you have clean potatoes when you harvest and some ready to go compost. Or plant the potatoes in the garden in burrows with a few handfuls of dirt, compost, etc, then pull in the mulch around the plant as it grows till it's a big mulch pryamid - this allows for easy bandicooting of clean baby potatoes without disturbing the plant.

  7. ...I've never heard anybody use 'bandicoot' as a verb before.

    The nut trees are doing fine. Hazelnuts and walnuts were planted when I got here - both yielding well, despite that the walnuts are a timber cultivar, not a nut cultivar. And the chestnuts I planted are growing at a reasonable rate without much assistance from me. They've been in place about 18 months, and I expect at least a whole dozen chestnuts this year...

  8. (assumes lofty look)We South effricans bandy coot all the time. We just don't talk about it in public.
    I remember the hazelnuts and being very impressed by them - we might suggest doing some nut-for-sea-mutton trade here.