This blog has been bought to you by the letter P

Peas, peppers, pumpkins, peanuts and preparations and presents and a ‘P’eetroot.

I need to apologise in advance as this is a little long but I have had a huge weekend in the garden. I now ache a little in all the usual places that hard work brings aches.  I should be used to it by now, but doing a little moaning can still bring some sympathy and often that comes with a cuppa tea.

What a glorious day
What a glorious day

After the storms and rain and wind and general yuckiness of the last week you wouldn’t think it would be possible for the sun to come out at all, but it did, and with all its blue sky magnificence and not a cloud to be seen.  Now it is almost hard to imagine such yucky weather was possible – except for the fact it is still fresh in my memory.   It is getting a little cold outside.  I think we are being a bit wussy as we have had the  fire on a few times already even though the temperatures are nowhere near zero, however it’s the cosy factor that we are looking for.

This weekend was best because it had mother’s day in it and I was truly spoilt.  I was given a lovely thermal cup so I could drink my cuppa teas outside without them going cold and a hat by the thoughtful Joeyosaurus, Tim the Helper gave me beeswax moisturiser – which I might add he made himself at boy scouts and it is really amazing – perfect for a gardening mum like myself.  And the big present was also pretty cool.  James Wong’s Home Grown Revolution.   I have been eying it up for ages but could justify the cost.  I want to read it cover to cover on an upcoming break, but it is taking a lot of self-control not to read it now!

My kids think I'm the best mum in the world!
My kids think I’m the best mum in the world!

So we have this upcoming break – well a working break, I have to do some speaking about my book and my garden and stuff.  Who would have thought writing – which is a solitary occupation causes you to stand up in front of people and talk!  To be honest I am really nervous about it, but I love my garden so much, once I get going I think it will be difficult to stop me.  I think the whole world should garden, so maybe I’m just the person to tell the whole world they should.

So anyway, my garden is being left in the hands of a more than capable garden guardian – my mum, but I still need to prepare as it would be a little rude of me to expect my wonderful mum to be the one to do all the chores that leave you with that gardeners ache, so I got stuck in and prepared the garden for my absence.  I harvested a load of peas and sowed some more.  I transplanted some free range spinach into a straight line – I must have order in my garden.  I cleared out the salad bed and in the process discovered a beetroot I didn’t know was there, but I’m not sure I will be able to eat it!  I planted out a new row of beetroot, but if they get anywhere near as big as the one I found then I haven’t left them enough room!

In my garden I can grow food as big as your head!
In my garden I can grow food as big as your head!

I also sowed some succession crops in my garden for the winter – more kohlrabi, turnips, parsnips, lettuce, radish and some fennel.  Then I repotted my leeks and spring onions and celeriac into larger pots, as they will just have to wait until I get back before they see their new homes in ‘the patch’.  Then I turned to the basil.  Frost will be here soon and I don’t want to lose my leaves, so I harvested them by clipping off the stalks, taking them inside and whipping off all the leaves, washing them in my super salad spinner and chopping them up in my food processor and flat packing them into snap lock bags and popping them into the freezer as fast as I could so they don’t lose all their goodness.  Now if I want basil over the winter I just need to snap off a chunk.   But the thing is – the plant in the garden had a thick woody stem – nothing like the stems of the live basil you buy in the supermarket.  So I wondered if it was something that will come back in the spring – so I left it… watch this space.

The remains of my basil plant. What do you reckon... will it come back in the spring?
The remains of my basil plant. What do you reckon… will it come back in the spring?

With the impending frost in mind I also harvested all my peppers and chillies.  Some chillies I put in my dehydrator, some have been put aside to make the last batch of hot chilli sauce for the season and then all the peppers were chopped, de-seeded and put in the freezer for the winter.  The freezer is now pretty full.  We shall be eating like royalty over these next few months! But I forgot to wear gloves – don’t do that!  Oh my goodness my hands were very ‘warm!’ Luckily it was a cold night, so I could get some value from the intense burning!

Just a few peppers....
Just a few peppers….

While I was harvesting things I thought I’d dig up my peanuts.  I’ve never grown them before and so was curious to see what I’d find.  And guess what I found – peanuts!  Loads of them.  I grew peanuts!  I am so stoked!  Next year I am going to grow more because The Joeyosaurus wants to make peanut butter!  How cool would that be!

I actually grew peanuts!!! It's the coolest thing in the world!!!
I actually grew peanuts!!! It’s the coolest thing in the world!!!

Then I thought I’d better dig up my cheeky late crop of potatoes and so I grabbed a large bucket in anticipation.  I needed have bothered with the large bucket…  a coffee mug would have done the job of holding my harvest.  I got more peanuts than potatoes!

Hardly worth the effort - but I shall eat them nevertheless
Hardly worth the effort – but I shall eat them nevertheless

The last thing that needed my attention was the pumpkins and it became a family affair as I told Hubby the Un-Gardener where they all were to pick up as some were heavy and he took them to Tim the Helper who hosed them off and then the Joeyosaurus washed them in a bleach solution and Hubby the Un-Gardener stored them in the shed.  We have a lot of pumpkin to get through.

It's a shame Hubby the Un-Gardener doesn't like pumpkin soup!
It’s a shame Hubby the Un-Gardener doesn’t like pumpkin soup!

It also became obvious that now was the time to judge the Annual Giant Pumpkin Growing competition for 2013.  But due to the drought and neglect – seriously they are all talk when it comes to the sowing and planting, but then they forget all about their pumpkins for the greater part of six months.  I don’t think I’ll make gardeners of them – but I won’t give up trying. Any way there was only one misshapen pumpkin as all the others had stopped growing and rotted away.  So there was a lot of argy bargy about whose pumpkin it was, so I carefully followed the stalk back to its roots and it stopped at the foot of the label belonging to The Joeyosaurus, the undefeated reigning champion of our Annual Giant Pumpkin growing competition.

The winner ...  again!
The winner … again!

Oh and I mowed around the veggie garden – It takes longer now as I have brazenly stolen more land!

This new bed looks silly all by itself...  what it needs is to be part of a row!
This new bed looks silly all by itself… what it needs is to be part of a row!

So as you can tell by the amount of words, it was a huge weekend with a lot achieved. That should hold you for a while – while I do my speaky thing…. Wish me the best of luck.

Come again soon – my garden will continue to grow and on my return I’m sure there will be loads to do.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

17 thoughts on “This blog has been bought to you by the letter P

  1. Interesting…I’ve been wondering if we could grow peanuts in the South but maybe not warm enough? My husband doesn’t think so.
    I stopped to browse your book last week in the shops, well done Sarah, it’s great 🙂

    1. Hi there. I’m so sorry it took a million years to get back to you but I have been away from my garden and it was difficult to connect with my blog.
      More often than not, the south gets better summers than the north and so I figure – why not give the peanuts a go… start them early in the spring and if you need to build a wee temporary greenhouse over them if the autumn chills come too quickly. Give it a whirl I say. What have you got to lose? Oh and thank you so much for your kind words about my book.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi there. Sorry about this late reply – I have been away from my garden and couldn’t get to my blog. The beet was actually that big, I’m not sure I’d be able to fake a photoshop one without it being blindingly obvious. I was worried it would be a little woody so I put it aside to deal with later and I have to say it is still sitting where I left it. So now I’m really not sure what to do with it! I love it when you accidently grow something enormous!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi there, I apologise for this late reply but we have been away and the internet access wasn’t all that great. The most logical thing to do with all the pumpkins is to make pumpkin soup – only my family don’t seem to like it, so they will either learn to love it or I’m going to have to figure out a way to hid it in our diets!
      The garden expansion plan shall go ahead, no matter how reluctant Hubby the Un-Gardener is about the thought of digging all the dirt to fill all the beds!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Sarah you LUCKY girl! I just headed straight to the library and put a hold on James Wong’s book and his “Grow your own drugs” book as well. To anyone who doesn’t know James Wong, Sarah and I are NOT starting an illicit drug growing operation! James Wong is an ethnobotanist who shows people how to make their own natural minor medications and salves. I love the adventure of gardening. I love the experiments that sometimes work…sometimes don’t. Even if you just keep a few pots of herbs in your window you learn so much from keeping them it is worth the effort :). WOW! Those peanuts grew? That means that I should be able to grow them here! I am SO excited Sarah! I was waiting to see if they would grow. When do you plant them? I adore pumpkin. I get my way through a HUGE pumpkin a fortnight all by myself because Steve doesn’t like it. Hugs for the speaking thing. You get better and better as you do it. I used to lecture for an Easy slim group and although my very first lecture was a tangle of nerves, I realised after about a week that everyone who was there WANTED to be there…they actually wanted to hear what I was talking about and showing them and that made it just a large group of prospective friends having a chat together and learning something new. You will be wonderful 🙂 See you when you get back…don’t forget to send us all a postcard 😉 By the way, take that beetroot as an exhibit…nothing makes the male gardener more at ease than an ENORMOUS vegetable. You will gain kudos simply by displaying it 😉 (then the Joeysaurus can cut eyes into it and hollow it out and make a beet-o-lantern when you get back and you can make borsht all round!)

    1. Hi Fran. Sorry for the late reply to this comment only I have been in your neck of the woods. Thank you so much for your support. When I read this – it was like getting a great big virtual hug. The speaking went really well and I really enjoyed it. I guess it really helps when you are passionate about what you are talking about.

      With the peanuts – they were just ordinary raw peanuts – out of their shells that I bought in the supermarket. I poked them into the soil about 5 cm in the spring and waited until the autumn. They could have gone a little longer but they came under attack by some dodgy fungus. Loads of fun – I’ll be growing them again next year.
      Thanks for being lovely.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Holy beetroot! That is the biggest I’ve EVER seen! I guess that’s what happens when you give them enough room to stretch their “legs.”
    And the basil, I have never seen a basil plant so large. Mine usually last one season then its done. I’ve never had one get nearly as large or woody as yours. Do you keep it potted and bring it in every winter?

    1. Hi Jenn. Thanks for your patience waiting for this reply – I have been away from my garden and my blog and I missed them both dreadfully.
      I have never had the basil grow as large before, but I discovered that it is really important to keep taking the tops off – whether I used them or not, and the stems grew big and woody. I have left it in the garden and while it has been quite cold, there hasn’t been a frost yet. The stalks look quite dead, but I won’t really know until the spring and I have nothing to lose by leaving them there. I can also sow more seed easily enough if I need to. There is nothing like giving it a whirl. I can’t wait to see what happens.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. Cool! You have peanuts! I live in the land of Scarlett O’Hara and peanuts are a staple crop here in Georgia. A delicacy in our area is boiled peanuts. I’ll admit I’ve never made any but I ate them as a child. It is an acquired taste. Good luck with your speaking engagements. It would terrify me to have to speak in front of a large crowd. You’re my hero! Good luck!

    1. Hi Sheila. Thank you for your encouraging words for my speaking trip. It went really well and as I was speaking about what I loved, it didn’t seem so scary.
      I shall have to try the boiled peanuts when I grow them next season, it sounds intriguing and I love to try new things.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  5. I borrowed James Wong’s Home Grown Revolution from the library last week and was totally inspired by him! He’s rather easy on the eye too which is always an added bonus (Alan Titchmarsh never did much for me!!) I am so desperately keen to grow the Cucamelons but I’m not sure the seed is available here in New Zealand……??? That’s what I love about gardening….there’s always something new to get excited about!.

    1. Hi Sarah. It seems gardening is now extremely hip and fashionable and no longer the territory of old fellas in their flat caps. Yay for us! I would love to try the cucamelon too. It sounds interesting. But I guess this is one of the frustrating things about living in our lovely land, is the biosecurity is so strict to keep it lovely. I’m sure it wont be long before one of the seed companies jump through all the right hoops to bring us this new and exciting veggie. Fingers crossed.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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