There has been some harvesting going on here at the Homestead. The sun has been extremely sly and evasive this season, which agrees with me in everything except how the fruit and veges have been delayed in ripening. The Billington plums were a week or two slower but the tree rewarded us very well. We very much enjoyed eating the plums; a certain small person being particularly fond of them. When they were all gone it was kind of sad! But we did preserve some, since they came in abundance over a short space of time. I made an Indian Plum Chutney from the book Ladies, A Plate: Jams and Preserves by Alexa Johnston. This was an excellent idea, as it is very tasty. It tastes good with most meats, on salad sandwiches and wraps, on pizza and more. One recipe made 4 1/2 small jars of it, of various sizes. This is highly specific, I know. I just can’t remember what sizes the jars are, except for the biggest ones, which are 500ml. Next year I will double it. Or triple it. We love our chutney! I also froze 3.5kg of whole plums, since we didn’t have time to do anything else with them.

The Little Fulla helped me to harvest the potatoes. He started off very keen, putting all the potatoes into the wheelbarrow for me, but the novelty wore off towards the end of the first bed, the big Agria bed. Now he knows that potatoes come out of the ground. We did the second, Ilam Hardy, bed after our holidays. Ilam Hardy is a new variety for us. We will have to do some taste tests between Ilam Hardy and Agria. I only mounded the potatoes once, since I was short on mature compost and space. We ended up with 20.6kg of Agria and 9.8kg of Ilam Hardy. Or so I thought. Then I looked at my Vege Plan and realised that one row of the ‘Agria bed’ was Ilam Hardy. Oops! That’s why the ‘taters from that box had two different colours of flesh. My Vege Plan kind of fell off the edge of the earth after the initial planting. One day I will have enough time to keep on top of things better, but, realistically, probably not until I get most of the rest of the garden whipped into decent shape…

The carrots have been going strong and we have plenty to eat at the moment. They are the one thing I have been able to successfully succession plant this season. Priorities have just been elsewhere. They are nice and large but some have forked, probably due to lots of organic lumpy bits in the soil. So far, I have only seen one with a hole in it from carrot rust fly. The spring onion and sweet alyssum barriers are working for me again.

The lack of sun (but also lack of rain) has most noticeably affected the tomatoes. Everyone has had the same problem: plenty of tomatoes on the plants but not going anywhere. Since the sun has ramped up in the last few weeks the tomatoes have too. Our two yellow Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes have been amazing. They matured early so got us onto the tomato train while all the others loitered around. They are also delicious and prolific. Definitely a keeper in my books. The Black Cherry tomatoes were next to join us and are very nice too. Then the Sweet 100, Amish Paste, Black Krim and Gardener’s Delight started coming in dribs and drabs. Gardener’s Delight is the star of late summer and autumn so I wasn’t expecting much from it yet. The big tomatoes, Amish Paste and Black Krim have been the most affected by this weird summer season. We still had some tomatoes lurking in the freezer from last season (oops!) so last Sunday The Husband finally used some of those and some of the fresh ones to make tomato soup for freezing. And then the water ran out.

Yikes! We had been scrimping on water for a little while as we hardly had any decent rain for months and months, but there was still some water in the tank. It turns out there’s a particular point where the pump doesn’t work anymore and we discovered that point. Good to know. Fortunately, I am organised, particularly after living through the Christchurch earthquakes, so we had two containers of water to use until the water truck arrived two days later. We do need to get another water container though, now that there are three of us. Knowing now that we can’t expect there to be enough rain to fill the tank up over the summer and autumn months, we have to be a lot more careful with our water usage throughout the whole year. With particularly good timing, The Parents-in-law got us a front-loader washing machine to swap with our top-loader for their granny flat. This will save water, so we are most grateful! Naturally, the forecast finally decided to play ball and rain arrived a couple of days after we bought water. Yup. We only acquired about 1/3 of a tank though, so with the few days of really good rain the tank is now at a very good level. Just another country skill to learn.

Back to the harvesting and preserving train, last night The Husband made another batch of tomato soup, as the tomatoes just keep coming! The freezers are being well-used. We also got 1/4 of a beast again through one of our friends, which will keep us in beef for a while. I ordered 5kg of peaches and 5kg of apricots online from an orchard. The apricots arrived a few days ago and the peaches will come a bit later. Some of these will be eaten and some will be preserved. We have missed the apricot chutney that I made from the above recipe book two years ago, so that is on the to-do list. I would like to dry some apricots too, but that will depend on how many get eaten…

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2 thoughts on “Harvesting Some Goodness

  1. What an abundance of delicious looking fruit and vegetables. I love this time of the year and looking forward to this season here.
    We had the same problem with our tomatoes last year. I think I just picked them in the end and put them in a chutney. Yes I’m with you, I love making a great chutney!
    Envious of your crops! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is quite exciting being able to preserve things and although it’s time-consuming, knowing that we’re using things we’ve grown ourselves and saving money is very pleasing. I can see a lot of chutney in our future too!

      Liked by 1 person

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