About eatmysilverbeet

GROW 🌱 SHARE 🧡 INSPIRE ♻️ photographer . gardener . lover of sunrise & wild places * BRISBANE @eatmysilverbeet instagram

Garden Updates – Covid Crazy

Well there is nothing like a lock down, as we all now know, to re spark up the sleeping projects.

So whilst it has been over two years since the last veg patch blog update, I have continually shared news and inspiration from the garden on my instagram page, same name! Check it out.

The funny thing that happened over on instagram was a rediscovery of my photography passion and I’m now living my dream of being a travel photographer – albeit the travel is around my garden, trips to the foreshore and the other odd trip here and there.

Now, due to the Covid restrictions, my travel is pretty much just around the garden. This also means that the garden is getting a lot more attention and I even have time to water the veg patch every day, which makes a big difference to its wellbeing.

The big news is that over the last two years we have done a bit of a reno on the house and rejigged the garden. I am so happy to restart this blog to share some of the beauty and peacefulness of my garden, as well as the veg patch exploits. So happy to share it all, photographs included.

Thanks so much for reading this, don’t forget to give it a like, and I’ll try to keep writing something often xx

Scene from the garden

Love Is A Loaded Passion Fruit Vine

Love Is A Loaded Passion Fruit Vine

Love Is A Loaded Passion Fruit Vine

I love my loaded Passion fruit vine during February. Passion fruit thrive in the subtropics and almost anywhere that is not frost affected. Our vine, is 4 years old now and produces the purple fruit, Passiflora edulis. It was planted to grow on the boundary fence, but amazingly it has grown over the safety net around the trampoline. The effect is magnificent, and is a very good use of the vertical space created by the net. The result is a bouncy, leafy bower, complete with dangling sweet treats.

Packed with Vitamin C and iron, the delicious healthy balance between acidity and sweetness lends itself to complement many deserts and ice creams, though most of ours are eaten straight off the vine. I will give away and process much of the fruit in the coming weeks as the crop quickly ripens. It is wonderful to pull out frozen Passion fruit pulp mid-winter for a treat.

Fun fact – a Passion fruit is actually a berry, and within each berry is typically 250 seeds.

Endless Passion fruit is sweet compensation for the lack of leafy greens from the garden at the height of summer, but for now the laden Passion fruit vine is ripening at the rate of 2 or 3 Passion fruit per day – one for me, one for you and one for the freezer, perfect!

Rain refreshed, it’s time to plant

REFRESHED AFTER THE RAIN make the most of a rain event which naturally refreshes the soil to plant the garden after the summer heat. The recent rains that accompanied the Super Blue Moon broke the spell of the dry summer and made it possible to grow greens again. Now is the time to plant silverbeet and lettuce.

I want to eat super tasty, fresh plucked organic greens from the garden each day.

Our backyard is set to be rejigged soon, and the raised garden bed will be moved, so for now the growing area will be on the ground along the south fence, a very sunny position.

PREPARE THE GARDEN, I have shovelled some of the soil from the raised veggie garden onto the ground to make a new garden, added compost and watered all. This garden includes container planting – 5 black recycled tubs – and not a lot of planning, it will be interesting to see where the veggies flourish.

PLANT SILVERBEET. For a spend of $35 on seedlings (silverbeet is currently $4 per bunch at the shops), and a bale of organic sugar cane mulch, I now have a potential crop of 10 silverbeet plants, 8 Cos Lettuce, 4 Rocket plants and one Tommy Tomato, oh and not to forget the several clumps of Chives. More garden space is available for a succession crop.

With regular water – it will be essential to water twice a day for a week until the seedlings establish, and in a couple of weeks we will be eating from the garden again.

So, just like that, after the full moon rain, the veggie garden is growing again. Silverbeet and lettuces will be ready to eat soon!

Rain refreshed, it’s time to plant!

Leafy Greens, Yes Please!

For a busy family, growing food in the backyard seems so simple and essential when the crops are blooming. From March to November last year, the garden produced so much silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage and parsley, as well as several crops of butter beans and green beans – enough to fulfil most of our ‘greens’ needs.

Post Christmas holidays the garden is run down, the only edible greens are a couple of clumps of parsley. It is tough to keep the plants alive through the heat of summer. Now the first rains of February have broken the spell, it’s time to plant, grow and eat greens from the backyard again… and never buy anymore silverbeet!

Hardy clump of Flat-leaf Parsley

Flat-leaf Parsley, a great low maintenance summer staple 

Sunny new garden!


When we first built this veggie garden, the big question was – will it receive enough sun? The tested answer was no.
Whilst the patch received enough sun for some leafy greens and some butter beans to grow, it was not enough for them to thrive. It was certainly not enough sunshine per day for any of the flowering crops, such as tomatoes or zucchini, to produce any fruit.

A couple of months ago we had the Leopard tree taken out. In the four years since creating the veggie garden, the canopy of that tree had almost doubled in size, completely blocking any sunshine from reaching the garden.

Now the garden receives full sun for most of the day. Hip hooray! And the field of silverbeet is luscious.

I’m sure there will be some issues around too much westerly sun in the middle of summer, etc. For now, though:

sun + water = delicious home grown food.


We eat at least 4 ‘bunches’ of silverbeet each week. So our self regenerating field of the stuff is a good investment in family health and for the family budget.

First harvest – silverbeet salad

1 handful of silverbeet

1 handful of butter beans

several basil leaves

1 kaffir lime leaf

Picked 10 minutes before dinner, sautéed with a chopped clove of garlic and a slug of olive oil. Serve immediately. I know where my dinner has been!

Fresh produce

First harvest – silverbeet salad

I wish for Summer Watermelons!

Today I planted the Sugarbaby watermelon seedlings  in a tub underneath sturdy trees that they can climb up – they do not naturally climb, so will require encouragement – and avoid spreading around the garden. The trees will shelter the plants from the rain, as I have a feeling that too much water will bloat the fruit and make it taste less.

The tub was layered with alternate layers of soil and compost to enrich the soil to grow tasty healthy fruit. Two seedlings, grown in the same pot, were planted together. To disentangle the roots of the two plants may weaken both, and it is better to see which plant grows strong, and then cut the other off at the stem with secateurs.

At the moment too much rain is not the issue, Brisbane has not received any significant rain for months. The 3,000 litre water tank in the garden hit empty today and I will start to siphon water from the kids’ bath to the garden to stay sustainable. The lack of rain means that mulching the garden properly is important.

Jobs – buy a bale of sugar cane mulch and spread on garden, and organise the siphoning.

For details on how to grow watermelon, and especially for reasons not to grow watermelons, see…..

http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-watermelons.html

Yummy strawberry jam

Here is the recipe for the jam I made recently. Strawberries were not from my garden, but in season and very tasty. The recipe can be altered to whip up smaller batches, which I did as an emergency when we finished the first lot.

P.s Apologies to the blogger whose recipe made it easy – I will improve at cross-referencing!!!

Strawberry Jam

8 cups strawberries

4 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

These quantities made 6 small jars of jam.

Method:

Hull the strawberries and wash. Chop to desired size – I like small chunks in my jam – and place in a wide, shallow pan. Add 1/4 cup of water and heat until fruit is soft.

Add sugar and lemon juice and stir. Keep stirring, more stirring!

The stirring takes longer that 15 minutes, this allows time to sterilize the already washed jars and lids in the oven for 6 minutes, just place them all on a tray. I find that a regular set of tongs is fine for handling the hot jars.

Test jam by blobbing a teaspoonful on a saucer that has been chilled in the freezer. When the jam cools to the desired consistency stop stirring and pour jam into the prepared jars. I use a small stain-less milk jug to do this, and it makes less mess than using a ladle.

Place full jars – with lids tight – into a pot of boiling water, boil for 15 minutes. Use tongs for this. Remove from the water. As the jars cool, they should pop, this shows that they are sealed. For the jars don’t pop, keep in the fridge until eaten.