Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out-of-body experiences

I think I just had the closest possible thing to an out-of-body experience you could possibly have without doing something that is illegal in most countries.

I ate this plum.

In fact, I only ate half of that plum. The wife was standing next to me with the other half, discovering nirvana. It wasn't until I finished the plum that I realised there was purple juice running the length my arm - it was a measured effort not to lick it up. Okay, so maybe I licked a little.

Its the first piece of awesome gifted to us from our Mariposa plum tree. I only put it in last year, and typically you'd remove the fruit in the first few years to let it put some growth on. But I decided to let it fruit this year because I don't like the thought of it becoming the giant it wants to be. I'm certainly not regretting this decision now - twenty minutes later, and the syrupy sweet goodness still lingers at the back of my mouth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reaching New Maximums

This year's pursuit of the Onionous Maximus came to an abrupt end yesterday when I realized that my crop had been enjoying the generous amount of rain we've been having a little too much. Every top had died off, and the soggy foliage was already not much of a grip in the game of tug-a-war with the soil. Any longer out there in the wild, and I reckon they'd start rotting.

It was difficult to accept, but I decided I had to pull out of the running for the "Massive produce: Onion division" prize at next year's Royal Easter Show.

Oh well. There's always future seasons for reaching new maximums. But in consolation, I achieved a new personal best this season: 918g. Just look at it. It looks like a bludgeoning weapon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I call it "unintentional companioning"

I don't intentionally grow tomatoes any more - mostly because I don't like the taste of grubs. Grubs have this horrible acidic bite to them - but even more to the point, I don't like having the mind-scarring feeling that accompanies the bite when you realise tomatoes aren't supposed to taste like that. But such is the extent of the problem we have with grubs in our area, I'd rarely find even a single slice of tomato finding its way onto a sandwich.

Still, allure to the home-grown tomato is easy enough to explain. If you knew nothing about plants, you could be forgiven for thinking that the store-bought tomato is the tasteless, leathery cousin of the tennis ball - so I rarely find myself eating these either. But occasionally in winter, the wife will whip up one of her ripper tomato soups, and a small army of seeds will find its way into the compost. Six months later, and I'll be growing tomatoes from every garden bed in the plot. Sometimes even in the pots of the unexpecting ornamental.

Because I'm always so reluctant to pull out anything that bares fruit, I inevitably end up growing tomato with everything. Some might describe this behavior as just weak. I call it unintentional companioning. So while the tomatoes haven't benefited too well from growing with the cordylines, I've been extremely surprised to find the crop of tomatoes growing amongst the carrots is completely grub free.

Now this could be for a number of reasons really. Maybe the strong aromas of the carrot jungle is keeping the pests away... Maybe its just the wrong time of year or weather for the usual suspects. Its also extremely likely that these store-bought minions of the "tennis ball" cultivar are impenetrable to anything that doesn't have access to an angle grinder.

So I got to wondering - has anyone else had any luck with the "carrot shield"?

Although, if all you have to say is "its only worked for me with purple carrots", then maybe you shouldn't say anything at all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Maximum Onion

This is not a tribute to succession planting.

This is what happens when you buy a punnet of onions and plant the whole thing out at once. Towards the end of the crop, maximum onions are inevitable.

But let this not serve as a warning to you, my friend. Unlike other things of maximal proportions you can grow, in our 700g of experience, a maximum onion tastes just as good as say, the pictured minimal onion.

It just takes six times longer to eat.