Spring Week 4

Only 2 more boxes left for Spring Season!

Things look like they are really heating up this week, good timing too as we just turned on our new sprinklers for the first time. We are direct seeding lots of things for Summer this week and making sure we're ready for the 8th Jan when Summer season starts.

We picked our first zucchini a couple of days ago, and have been busy giving the tomatoes a feed with a biodynamic foliar fertiliser. We pulled up a few carrots and these will be ready for Week 5 and our Christmas boxes. The purple carrots are looking and tasting pretty delicious!

In this week's boxes you'll receive:

  • Baby leaf mix
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Shallots
  • Bunching onions
  • Leeks
  • Turnips
  • Silverbeet
  • Baby fennel - great baked or grilled and the tops are excellent chopped finely in a salad or soup
  • Garlic - elephant and purple

Spring Week 3

Well things are really moving along in the garden this week. We've been picking the first beans, there are tiny zucchinis and pumpkins forming and we have lots and lots of green tomatoes forming. We're hoping to get zucchinis for everyone in Week 5 and the first tomatoes in either Week 5 or the Christmas boxes, depending on how much heat we get in the next couple of weeks.

Over this week have trellised 800 tomato plants to support them during their growth, I've been to a pasture identification workshop and have checked on our two hives with the kids. 

We also turned on our new coolroom for the first time this week, but because we don't have it undercover we haven't been able to use it with all the glorious rain we had on Tuesday night. We're hoping to have it moved into place next week after things dry out a bit.

We've planted more beans and corn, which are coming up well, along with some more squash and spaghetti squash. Everything for Summer season is looking incredibly abundant. We will also have more seedlings arriving in a week or so from our wonderful organic seedling growers at Austral Seedlings. There will be more tomatoes, eggplants, capsicum, broccoli, herbs, greens and lettuces. This should mean we're all ready for Summer by the time Christmas comes around and we can have a few days off with our families.

Summer season will begin on the 8th Jan, but if you're away at all during the start of the season, just get in touch. We'd still love to have you and we can just subtract this off the final season payment. 

This week's boxes include:

Lettuce mix

Shallots

Stir-fry mix

Beans or snow peas

Silverbeet

Garlic

Parsley

Leeks

 Learning about some native and introduced pasture species commonly found in the Central West.

Learning about some native and introduced pasture species commonly found in the Central West.

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Spring Week 2

We're looking forward to the forecast rain this week - it's the perfect time for more transplanting and direct seeding. This week we'll be direct seeding some more rocket, baby leaf mix and corn and we have another 200 tomatoes and the first 200 capsicums ready to go in. We already have close to 600 tomatoes in the ground and their bushing up beautifully. We're hoping to have the first yellow pear and red cherry tomatoes by Christmas.

There have been a few other exciting things happening recently: 

  • We had our first article published in the current issue of Grass Roots magazine about starting a market stall
  • I ate my first bean today - they'll be prolific in the next few weeks
  • The tomatoes are flowering with some fruit starting to form - time to trellis them!
  • The zucchinis are starting to form their fruit - this means we're close to having to pick them every 2-3 days to prevent having foot-long ones
  • We're hoping to pick up a coolroom on the weekend which will make our work flow a lot easier
 Article in Grass Roots

Article in Grass Roots

This week's boxes will be full of more nutrient-dense, freshly-picked veg, including:

  • Baby leaf lettuce mix
  • Japanese turnips
  • Shallots
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Rocket
  • Kohlrabi
  • Asian greens
  • Garlic
  • Either cauliflower OR beans OR snow peas

There are some great ingredients for making a stir-fry. These are one of our go-to weeknight dinners. If you haven't really made many stir-fries before, I definitely encourage you to try it. It's fast and simple and can be served with rice or noodles, vegetarian or with some meat. A few tips though - make sure everything is cut the same size so that it cooks at the same rate, have it all ready to go before you start because it's cooks quickly, keep the heat relatively high. 

If there are any Thermomix users out there, I also really recommend the Quirky Cooking 'Fried' Rice recipe. It's super quick and easy, and makes a fair amount of food. 

Here are some other recipes for stir-fries:

Basic Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry - Taste

Basic Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry - Taste

For some great ideas about using kohlrabi, check out last week's blog post.

Again, let us know what you've been cooking. Feel free to post pictures or recipes on our Facebook page, or tag us on Instagram @providencehillnsw

Have a great week,

Edwina

 Last year’s beans

Last year’s beans

Start of Spring Season - Week 1

A big welcome to all our Spring customers - we're so pleased to have you as part of the season.

We had a big day harvesting on Tuesday to send out the majority of boxes on Wednesday. This week's boxes included:

  • Lettuces - green and red
  • Silverbeet bunch
  • Bag baby kale - good for salads or wilting
  • Bunch leeks - don't forget, the whole leek is edible and delicious, including the green tops
  • Bunch onions - tops can be used like spring onion
  • Coriander
  • Pak choy - Asian green with rounder bottom, great for salads or stir-fries
  • Choy sum - more slender Asian green, also great for salads and stir-fries
  • Radishes
  • Kohlrabi - like a swollen broccoli stem, great stir-fried, grated in a salad, greens can be sautéed
  • Garlic scapes - mild garlic flavour, great fried with a bit of butter - a real Spring treat, they are the flower stem of the garlic plant, and removing them sends energy to the bulb
  • Garlic bulbs - one elephant garlic (white) and one purple Monaro - can be left in the pantry to cure for a week or so, or use it straight away. Delicious either way!

 

For a few specific recipes for using kohlrabi, check out the following websites:

Kohlrabi roasted with garlic and parmesan

How to store kohlrabi, plus recipes for kohlrabi and apple slaw and kohlrabi chips

5 tasty ways to prepare kohlrabi

We’d love to hear how you’re using our veg. If you use social media, please post photos to our Facebook page or tag us @providencehillnsw on Instagram. 

Have a great week!

Enjoying some rain

Our market garden is breathing a sigh of relief after a couple of days of good solid rain the other week. We're really hoping for some more over the weekend. 

Everything is greening up, and our transplants and direct seeded crops are starting to really take off. 

We have started planting some of the staple Summer crops, with zucchinis, pumpkins, squash, spaghetti squash and cucumbers looking great and the first tomatoes and eggplants transplanted last week. 

For the first time we are using a silage tarp to cover one of our plots to prepare it for the next successions of cucurbits at the end of November. This creates a kind of 'forest floor' effect where the plants (mostly weeds) on the surface start to decompose in the dark, moist environment and it's the perfect habitat to encourage more worms. This should keep the weed pressure down, making some of the maintenance tasks on the farm a bit more manageable.

We are also making the most of biodegradable weed mat to help with our weed management. We cut slits in the weed mat and plant into it, giving the plants a weed-free space in which to grow. This is particularly useful for some of the vining crops where it isn't easy to weed around all the tendrils. 

 Petrina's Hives at Palette Dining, Katoomba

Petrina's Hives at Palette Dining, Katoomba

A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law also brought up a new colony of bees for our Flow Hive. They are settling in so well and I was pleased to see larvae, capped brood and hatching worker bees during my inspection, along with the queen herself! Petrina, head chef and owner of Palette Dining in Katoomba, was also able to catch a swarm from one of her hives, and she has kindly offered it to us. We transferred them successfully into our Langstroth hive and have moved them to the farm. All looking good so far!

The bees are an integral part of our veggie production as without them we would be hand pollinating all our zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and many other crops.

We also have plans for a bee-friendly garden with a mix of citrus, natives and herbs for year-round bee forage. 

 The inside of our Flow Hive. Everything looking great. Fed out a bit of pollen which can be seen on the top of the frames, just in case there's not enough forage around.

The inside of our Flow Hive. Everything looking great. Fed out a bit of pollen which can be seen on the top of the frames, just in case there's not enough forage around.

Gearing up for Spring

It's been a while since we posted on the blog, but we're back into the swing of things now after a busy Winter.

The market garden has grown from 4 (kind of 6) plots over Winter to 10 plots coming into Spring. We have been madly planting in our new plots, direct seeding carrots, peas, beetroots, spinach, silver beet, radishes etc. and transplanting more greens, bunching shallots, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower and more.

We have also just started planting out some of our key Summer crops like zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, spaghetti squash and regular patty-pan squash varieties. We also pick up our first batch of organic tomato seedlings this week and we can't wait - there is no comparison. Homegrown tomatoes are best!

Our Spring CSA shares will start on the 6th November and will finish up the week before Christmas. We are looking forward to the boxes getting better and better throughout the season as we have more and more things becoming ready in the garden. And we're expecting a great value Summer season as well. 

We're currently installing a massive new, automated irrigation system to reduce our workload in the warmer months, as well as a coolroom to ensure our produce is at peak freshness when it arrives on your doorstep.

 Installing our new 3-inch main line that will suck water from the bottom dam and fill our top dam.

Installing our new 3-inch main line that will suck water from the bottom dam and fill our top dam.

Also on the horizon is a particularly special event - we have the wonderful Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life coming to speak about all things reducing your toxic load and feeding your family with the best, nutrient-dense, food you can. If you haven't followed Alexx's work or listened to her podcast, check out the Low Tox Life website, and the podcast is available here.

Alexx will be speaking at Providence Hill on Saturday 28th October at 10am. Morning tea will be provided - Alexx's delicious recipes, of course. We'll also be providing a few lucky door prizes - 2 mixed veggie bags from Providence Hill Produce and a bottle of Martin's Hill Organic Shiraz.

Bookings for Alexx Stuart's talk are available here.

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Until next time, happy Spring!