Posted on November 04, 2012
Spring has sprung all around our home vegetable gardens. Due to late frosts we have had to wait patiently before planting out too many frost tender seedlings or sowing any seeds that need it to be a wee bit warmer to germinate. To give you an example of how long and harsh our Winters can be, we had a -3 frost just last night. One of those frosts is all it takes to kill off any tomatoe or courgette seedlings that have been planted out too soon and ruin all our hard work so it does pay to be cautious but do I get very impatient. We are very lucky to have a number of polytunnels which help to protect any tender seedlings until the weather settles down and warms up for the season. When it comes to planting out I'm like the child in the car 10 minutes into a six hour journey saying "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Belinda, my wife and the gardener, is in charge of when we are “there” and she tells me when it is finally time to plant out the seedlings and sow the seeds. We have some amazing seeds going in this year including 24 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 8 varieties of Zucchini, 6 varieties of squash and lots of edible flowers. This year we are trying white borage, alongside the more traditional blue variety, and some different varieties of calendula and nasturtiums. We will also be sowing heirloom carrots, lettuce, rocket, cucumbers and the curiously named Badger Cross Marrow, to name a few, plus some Spaghetti Squash which we've never tried to grow before. We are particularly excited about that one.
They are all destined to be on the menu at Whare Kea at some point over the Summer.
We do have some produce popping up now as a few Winter refugees and early starters are finding their feet. We have some late Silverbeet and Leeks ready and the Artichokes, Broad Beans and Rhubarb are forging ahead. We have little featherings of Asparagus in our starter bed, that we are still a year off establishing properly, and lots of different herbs in the herb garden.
Some of our Leeks.
A small sample of our courgette seedlings.
I try to let the seasons write the menu for me. The dish below is the epitome of early Spring and includes our own eggs, asparagus and artichokes.
A 63 ºC Egg Yolk with Asparagus, Artichoke, home-cured dehydrated Pancetta and Truffle Vinaigrette.
Mog, one of our Brown Shavers, enjoying an apple
Some of our beautiful free range eggs
The Asparagus seedlings. Ok, they're small but I picked the best ones.
A lovely view of one of the Globe Artichokes.