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Thursday 5 December 2013

It was rather cool evening for our Christmas drinks and barbecue on Friday, 29 November but the weather held all right despite the early showers. More than 20 volunteers and families got together in the park to celebrate another successful year of community gardening.

Many thanks to Rex and Wendy for bringing in the barbecue, cooking and organising bits and pieces, and to everyone for preparing nibbles and lovely salad, etc. Special thanks to Limor, Shahar, Adar and Shalev to come in the middle of moving houses to light up Hanukah candles. It was a beautiful moment! And Joan Switzer’s famous cheese cake was worth waiting for – yum!

The following Sunday we went back to the garden for work and welcomed a new volunteer Graham Steer who enthusiastically dug up many potatoes – thank you! These potatoes, some small and some decent sizes, included Ruby Lou, King Edward, Dutch Cream and Nicola varieties. We should be able to enjoy another few weeks of potato harvest.

We found there were more purple climbing beans than we can reach for as they climbed up to the top of the trellis. We also harvested a few more daikon, radish, red spring onions, spinach, rhubarb, rocket, purple shiso (perilla) and other herbs. Some volunteers asked me how to use shiso. It is a Japanese herb, a bit similar taste to basil. So I use them thinly sliced in salad and noodle dishes. They can also be preserved as pickles.

As I ended up taking a bucket-full of shiso, I picked each leaf from the stem, rinsed and bundle them with a rubber band to stand in a glass with 1cm of water, so they are kept moist like cut flowers, then cover the glass with a cling wrap to keep in the fridge. After 5 days, the shiso are still looking fresh and I’ve just used them as a garnish for Thai beef salad with sliced red spring onions from the garden, cucumbers and tomatoes, not from the garden as they are not ready yet.

Although some tomatoes started to turn red, it may still take a few more weeks to enjoy our first tomato harvest. Having said that some cherry tomatoes can be ready in the meantime. So, if you are in the garden and see ripe cherry tomatoes, you are lucky to taste it on the spot before bugs get into them!

See you soon.

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