Operation Clean up

We are continuing to work hard to reclaim our little slice of paradise from the insidious creep of weeds that has occurred whilst my butt was firmly planted in my rocking chair by the fire over what has been the coldest winter in 26 years or so they say.

Farmer Orik, out in the garden and helping with the weeding

Farmer Orik, out in the garden and helping with the weeding

My winter garden is nearly non-existent. I planted enough garlic to ensure planting stock for next year and the same for potato onions and multiplier onions, broadcast some purple broccoli seeds during a mad fairy dance (dancing like a mad fairy, throwing seeds to the winds) and that’s been it. There are a handful of broccoli that survived the weeds and 3 beds of garlic. However, with the reappearance of the sun, my moods have cleared like the sky and funnily enough, with the return of motivation, so too has bare soil returned. Well, not for long. I intend to fill it before Mother Nature does. 🙂

Underneath the copious weeds chook food, I have found a thriving crop of chives which I harvested to dry out for times when fresh chives aren’t so readily available.

Inefficient perhaps but willing for sure.

Inefficient perhaps but willing for sure.

I also harvested the unopened flower heads from my kale plants to blanch and freeze for broccoli although with my kids browsing the kale patch like cows (no photo sadly but yes, they roam around, check for bees then bite!) it was a small harvest. With the wheat heads from the random patches of wheat drying and ready to harvest to sow again, over 40 strawberry plants in (excluding what was already in place), 50 asparagus crowns, carrots coming up, snap peas planted and all my seeds in for summer crops I feel like the winter spent inside hasn’t been entirely wasted. I’ve achieved a heap these last 2 weeks and managed to salvage a winter harvest too so feeling good. 🙂

A basket of chives. It's jam packed full and no small basket either.

A basket of chives. It’s jam-packed full and no small basket either.

The bounteous chives were harvested, washed, chopped up and then thrown in the dehydrator. I ran the 1st batch through at top temperature (75°C) which had them crispy dry in about 5 hours but I didn’t want to run the dehydrator like that overnight so dropped the temperature to the lowest setting (35°C) and after 12 hours or so, the same crisp and bright green chives.

Chopped up and waiting its turn in the dehydrator.

Chopped up and waiting its turn in the dehydrator.

Given the sap inside was running like a tap when I diced them, these were very moist chives. I’m impressed how dry they’ve become. 🙂 In the meantime I still have an abundance to pick fresh in the garden.

Otherwise I’ve been in the kitchen and bottled up a batch of beer, started in on the soap making again, and continued on with my new favourite hobby of crochet. The weather is not yet so warm as to make it unpleasant to work with wool. 🙂 The cherries and pears are in bloom, the apples and grapes are at or near bud burst and the birds are pilfering anything worthy to make their nests. My seeds are in and sprouting nicely in their mini water wicking greenhouses (clear plastic crates with lids) and so it’s just a matter of keeping on in the garden, weeding and clearing and getting ready for spring. 🙂

What’s the news in your gardens?


8 thoughts on “Operation Clean up

  1. Sue says:

    The kids have grown so much over winter! – dare I say it, like weeds 😉
    Sounds like you are certainly getting back into the swing of all things gardening. Looking forward to spending some time in our mountain garden in the next week – if Im brave Ill share some before and after shots ( unless of course you cant tell the difference in which case I will just tell you how hard I worked and you’ll just have to take my word for it 🙂 )

  2. The kids HAVE grown, so much so that I can barely keep up with their clothes! I’ve been letting down trousers taken up mere months ago almost as often as I mend holes!
    Be brave and share photos Sue. I did. You saw my “chook food” right? 😉

  3. Michael says:

    Funny, winter had the exact same effect on me and our garden. We have some self seeded veggies (carrots, parsnips garlic) and other odds and ends plus more parsley than we know what to do with except madly drying the excess for “give aways” and to use later on.

    Have to restock the chook pen after a fox got in two months ago and wiped our all six. It is a lot more fox proof this time (I hope).

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks of drying herbs to share. I did wonder if a bag of dried chives was appropriate for adding to a Christmas gift though or not. 😉 Sorry to hear about your chooks. Here’s hoping this time Mr Fox is thwarted for good.

  4. Jo says:

    Whee, spring!! So glad to see you back, and bouncing as ever! You may have spent the winter in the rocking chair, but my goodness, you have bounced back with a vengeance. For me it’s spring cleaning, and weeding, transplanting bits and pieces and feeding fruit trees on the weekend, then seed planting next week. Fun, but overwhelming…

    • Not sure about vengeance unless it’s against the weeds! I’ve been reading your spring cleaning posts and thinking that I wish I had your energy for the house! Thanks for the reminder. I must feed my fruit trees too. Spring is overwhelming but oh so much fun isn’t it? 🙂

  5. Lynda D says:

    “Chive Talking” yep that’s you. You forgot to share your clover count. Even doing nothing, you are growing something it seems. More than I. Post coming.

  6. Leigh says:

    I would love to have helpers like yours! Weeds are a plague in every garden and mine is no exception. I call mine “goat food” however. 🙂

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