Thursday, 12 October 2017

Our generous garden

We were greeted by a mountain of oranges on the table in the garden office. Having exhausted recipes for citrus, we decided to turn the mountain of oranges into cordials for a refreshing drink in summer. Adding soda water with or without ice to the cordial, makes it a life-saver when working in the garden in the heat of the day. Or one can give it a more mature edge with vodka and ice for a sunset cocktail after a hard day’s outdoor work.

The property is repaying all our hard work in abundance. The lawn is looking better than ever following the winter scarifying. The well-pruned fruit trees look as though they are going to have a bumper crop too. Even the slow pear tree is covered in blossoms.

I have made new bait stations for the Mediterranean fruit flies with smaller holes to prevent any bees from accidentally ending up in them. Thus far, I have noticed very few of these fruit flies in the traps. I hope that our good management of the orchard last year has finally turned the tide on this unwelcome garden pest.

Green feast, mange tout peas and strawberries
The peas are producing at a pace. We could even pick our first bowl of early strawberries. On Sunday morning we made lemon and bitter orange cordial. Although we are very busy making optimal use of the produce from the garden, we take time to enjoy the garden as well.

We make sure to enjoy a lunch on the lawn, have refreshing walks in the garden, or just watch the promising rose flush and keep an eye on the seedlings in the vegetable garden. A walk in the garden always involves assessing the different needs of the plants. But, we still find time to enjoy the pleasures the garden offers.

The view from the bedroom into the orchard lifts the spirit. The sheer brightness of the leaves of the fruit trees and nasturtiums and bougainvillea flowers, sets the tone for the day.

The organic garden-fruit allows us to use every part of it. We are discovering the use of citrus peel for sweet and savoury delicacies. Reading through historical cookbooks and even home management guides from the 14th century and earlier, makes me realise, there are not so many ‘new’ things we can do with food.

If one reads wide enough, you realise that cooks throughout history, used fruit and food more economically. There seems to have been a lot less waste and more innovative ways to flavour dishes with fruit and herbs. Discovering that there were cookbooks dating from 500AD or as early as the 4th or late 5th centuries, was very exciting. I am still studying these to see how the recipes can be translated for use in the modern kitchen.

What leftovers we cannot use of the fruit, goes into the compost bins. Eventually it returns to the garden in another form. In this way we also reduce wastage.

Our garden is a commitment and testimony to a healthier lifestyle, living closer to nature and honouring time-tested methods of growing food.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an interesting post. It demonstrates admirably how a garden that is well integrated with the culinary pursuits of a kitchen, can provide for a lifestyle well worth living!


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