Cropping now

There’s nothing I like better than picking a crop of food. Our magic beans – probably flat Italian runners – have been enjoyed throughout the summer as well as packed into freezer bags for enjoying later in the year with some pods dried for seed for next year’s plants. King’s Seeds stock flat Italian runners.

Flat Italian runner beans, possibly. They can be eaten raw, pod and all, and don’t need much cooking. Full of flavour. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Down on the farm over Easter I spied enough walnuts on the young tree to be worth picking – next year the top of the tree may be beyond my reach. The green outer skins were splitting so easy enough to prise off (and an indication that it was about time to harvest them). We’re air drying them in the shell now, according to this website it will take about 2 weeks.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

My great-aunt had a massive walnut tree next to her home and harvested the nuts every year. I seem to think she had a wire-wove mattress base (or two) in a shed that she laid them out on to dry. Even if I’m mis-remembering, it’s a good idea because air can circulate under the shells as well.

The Vege Grower and I wandered around the paddocks a couple of times hunting for mushrooms and were rewarded with a meagre supply, although enough for buttered mushrooms on toast for lunch. Delicious. Freshly picked field mushrooms bear as much resemblance to supermarket mushrooms, in terms of taste, as champagne does to Adam’s ale!

With more steers than sheep now in the paddocks and several paddocks having been turned over and resown, mushrooms were hard to find – although we may have been a bit early in the season too. In the end, we took just as many from the farm house lawn as from the nearby paddocks. On our way home we saw a woman with huge bags of “field mushrooms” selling from the side of the road near Hunterville and had heard of a property near the farm where the paddocks were “white” with mushrooms. Ah, well.

Other images from the farm …

This buttercup has positioned itself between the boards of the fence, resulting in an odd shape and the problem of how to remove it. Photo: Sandra Simpson

As far as I know, the farm’s crabapples have never been anything other than ornamental. My mother once tried to use quinces but gave it up as a bad job. Photo: Sandra Simpson

At home we’ve collected 8 pumpkins off our vines (grown from saved seed) and have white onions galore.

All the tomato plants have come out now but as a last hurrah the Vege Grower made another batch of his delicious tomato relish (Edmond’s cook book). Photo: Sandra Simpson

And finally, our apples. We moved the Blush Babe tree from the front garden to a more open aspect in the back yard and this year have had our best crop of apples yet – thankfully, as the two columnar trees (Waltz and Polka) decided not to bear at all this year! Here’s a webpage about growing apples in smaller spaces, well worth a read.

Blush Babe apples. Photo: Sandra Simpson