Salt, garlic, strawberry trees, pizzica

by | May 3, 2018 | Baking, In the Garden, In the kitchen, Propagation, Soil

All the garlic, minus a few heads have been planted. I hope to double my harvest this year.
Ralf moved some of the rich top soil mounds and spread them to create a second kitchen garden.

At first I kept thinking, how am I going to manage so much space…how will I keep up. With this warm autumn weather the tomatoes in the first kitchen garden have continued to colour and just when I thought it was all over another 50 kilos of tomatoes blushed red. This has meant that I have not wanted to pull my tomato plants out. But where would I plant the garlic that I had so lovingly stored since December?

My initial feelings persisted ‘I don’t want to start working the second kitchen garden yet, it’s too big… then my thoughts metamorphosed into ‘thank goodness I have the second kitchen garden to work with, I can plant most of my garlic there!’ Trepidation evolved into liberation.

I took my hoe and gave one to Maria (my current workaway) and we began to dig deep trenches to soften and loosen the soil. We planted garlic cloves root end down even though I know seeds experience gravitropism. For reasons that defy common sense I found it hard to just release the cloves into the soil freely, instead I kept wasting time orientating the seed the right way. I am sure that after a few more years of large scale garlic plantings I will get over this need and just be able to drop the cloves in the furrows I have made.

After planting garlic we sowed various other seeds, carrots and wildflowers, onions and broad beans, more carrots and fox gloves. The frost has not hit us yet. The weather is as sweet as spring and hence I have pushed the boundaries a little with what I should or should not grow. I can’t wait for the rows we have dug to flourish with life and abundance. I am also preparing myself for failure as some of the seeds I have sown are old, some are very sensitive to drying out, some will have done better in punnets. I want to see what is possible.

I dug a seven metre trench, 30cm deep by 30cm wide and filled it with horse manure and straw. In spring I will sow asparagus seed.

And salt, it is May and we went to collect more salt, because we like food adventures, they get us out and about. I always wanted to spend more time in nature, I had hoped that flowers, native grasses and Australia’s beautiful fauna would catalyse these visits but it’s the gastronomic link that gets me out the door. I am a true Marchigiana.

And chocolate bread, now that I have stopped drinking hot chocolates because milk has become too rich, I occasionally make chocolate bread. With Maria’s help we have managed to make 6 of them in the last two weeks. We won’t be baking more for a while.

In the Creswick Forest there are lots of Strawberry trees. Mary Little Leaves said on instagram that they produce an edible fruit. Maria my venetian workaway searched the Italian Wikipedia and discovered they are indeed edible and that in the area where I was born, Le Marche it is a prized fruit.

The pizzica. It’s a simple Italian dance. Fun and a great dance to share with others. So for my birthday this year I invited my friends to join me in dancing the pizzica. Maria and I began (Maria is such a good dancer!!) and then the others joined in. And I celebrated 46 years on this precious, beautiful inspiring planet with a small handful of beautiful, precious inspiring people.

Salt at the Dimboola Pink Lake with Artemisia my 6 year old.

Salt details.

Under the salt surface the lake emerges.

Pots and pans, anything to help us with the harvest.

Salt detail.

Slowly cutting a square cake of salt.

Ralf always gets right into it while I sit back taking photos.

Back at our home in Blampied, Maria planting garlic.

Newly dug soil for more garlic planting in the second kitchen garden.

Garlic cloves.

Maria seperating garlic cloves.

Chocolate, pistachio and cranberry bread.

Strawberry fruit from the La Gerche forest in Creswick.

Top view of the beautiful and edible Arbutus unedo fruit.

A basket full for making jam.

Pizzica dancing for my birthday. Maria and I.

Pizzica dancing with my mum and family and friends.

1 Comment

  1. Jen

    Lovely photos Mara. Your salt photos bring back memories of childhood camping trips to the Pink Lakes. Love the Sunset Country.


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