Bugs, dammit!

19 October, 2011

My little baby seedlings are becoming adolescents and now have to go out into the big, bad world and see if they can make it. So I have started planting out some of the (hopefully) more frost tolerant seedlings. Cucubits (cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, rock- and watermelons), corn, basil and most of the tomatoes are still coddled in the cosy warm of the indoors. Dwarf beans and the earliest of the tomatoes have been kicked out into the cold. However I haven't been entirely heartless, after all I have a vested interest in ensuring these plants don't die (so I can eat them, which is not entirely philanthropic, but anyway). My comprimise is to cover the poor seedlings with old milk bottles, so they are not completely at the mercy of nature.

The idea is these provide a mini-greenhouse environment, particularly to protect the plants from any potential frosts. They are also supposedly helpful in protecting plants from bugs that like to eat tender new seedling leaves. However, some of these covers are failing in their duty, and the odd bean has been lost.

This poor bean has been eaten down to a stump! I blame the bugs.

The tomatoes seem to be holding up, but we shall see...

Popping corn...

09 October, 2011

Last year I grew corn specifically for popcorn. I was slightly sceptical about the process, but prepared to give it a go. So I had 6 corn plants that I left the developing cobbs on (painfully - it was so hard not to eat them!) the plants to fully mature. These were then picked and further dried and looked like this...  

Then I spent a lazy autumn afternoon rubbing the kernels off the husks. An hour or so later (which resulted in a oddly located blister on my thumb) I had a jar of popping corn. And that’s where it stayed until the other night when I was feeling a bit peckish.


I hadn’t made popcorn since I was a kid, but vaguely remembered my mum on the odd occasion putting a seemingly tiny amount of popping corn into a pan, waiting for the pings to subside and then feasting on hot buttered fresh popcorn. 
So I followed the tried and true method above (note to self: a quarter of a cup of popping corn will satisfy the most crazed of snacking cravings) and lo and behold, there was fresh popcorn. It still seems somewhat magical to put hard corn kernels in a pot and watch fluffy, buttery corn scented deliciousness emerge.

I since have made plain salted and buttered popcorn, smoked paprika chilli popcorn and my personal favourite (so far) cinnamon and clove popcorn. Yum!

Almost, almost strawberries...

04 October, 2011

The Fraises des Bois have their first baby strawberry! I’m so excited, I can hardly wait to try it. This is one of the many alpine strawberries which apparently are intensely flavoured tiny little strawberries from which the big (and so often tasteless) supermarket strawberries have been bred.
That said, the bigger berries can still be pretty tasty when home grown. Most of the strawberries (in the ground, in pots, and in the strawberry wall) are sending out flowers left, right and centre and some also have tiny fruits forming. Yay!

The berries under glass are more well developed, but not that far ahead. Though they may ripen up faster under the glass than relying on the inconsistent Melbourne sunshine.

Though this one is clearly way out in front! Though not for long...