More harvest than festival

???????????????????????????????After picking flowers, I couldn’t resist laying out some samples of the autumn harvest. I didn’t get too obsessive. There is much that I forgot to include – a good potato crop, sweet corn, another year’s supply of dried beans (not sure we have finished the 2013 bean harvest yet) and I forgot entirely about the show-off avocados which we have in such abundance that we are giving them away by the supermarket bag full.

What I can tell you, as we personally move more to a diet dominated by plant-based protein rather than one heavy on animal protein, is that anyone who says that you can be relatively self sufficient in food on a few metre square raised beds and an hour or two of work a week hasn’t actually done it themselves! With a lifetime of experience, it takes Mark a great deal of time and space to generate a wide range of food that we want to eat. Most of it is organic and we are also interested in the whole issue of nutrient density – more on this another time.

We are swapping surplus tomatoes and melons with a friend for eggs and pumpkin and appreciative friends also reciprocate with jars of preserves made from our surplus produce. It is a satisfyingly simple way of life that we followed in our twenties in our hippie days and we are enjoying rediscovering decades down the track.
The melons – both rock and water – take some effort here. Mark starts them early under a cloche in almost pure compost. The cold, wet spring meant that stone crops were sparse this year but the abundant melon crop is an indication of a good summer.

The yellow fruit by the melons are chaenomeles (japonica apples). I have boiled some down and strained off the liquid to use later for some conserve or jelly. The green fruit, for non New Zealanders – is the feijoa, a South American fruit we have almost made our own here. The oranges are one of our staple fruit here – we can harvest all year round, especially from the Lue Gim Gong tree.

Sadly, while we can grow sapotes, macadamia nuts and other marginal crops, mango and papaya are never going to grow here. We do still buy some extra fruit and vegetables.

I have even made Cape gooseberry jam again this year.

I have even made Cape gooseberry jam again this year.