Thursday, 15 May 2014

Homegrown soup

Back in February, I posted about a surprise vegetable sprouting in my garden after burying some veggie scraps in an effort to improve my sandy soil.

It grew happily without much attention from me and it turned out that it was a pumpkin vine.  Unfortunately I only got one pumpkin off it, and only a small one but I turned it into the most delicious soup!

Just a baby pumpkin

Which strangely didn't have any seeds!

I used this recipe from taste.  Surprisingly, I actually followed the recipe too.  Fairly rare for me.  The only thing I changed was  just a smidgen less cumin than suggested so it wasn't too strong and using sour cream to stir through instead of natural yoghurt.  I also used my own homemade chicken stock.  I get such pleasure out of making and using my own stock.  It makes everything taste awesome and I feel so organised by have it in the freezer all ready to go.

I hadn't used this recipe before but to be honest, it's the best pumpkin soup recipe I've ever tried and I've already used it again since.  That's a pretty good referral from a not-really-a-soup-person. 

What's your favourite soup?  I'd love a recipe recommendation to try out.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Garden growth

While I was having lunch with Mum last week, she mentioned that the weekend was the best time (according the the planting moon calendar) to plant Spring bulbs.  Mum is quite a good gardener and she does all of her planting according to this calendar so I thought I would give it a try.  I am a middling gardener at best.  About half the things I plant either die or never seem to grow.  Plus, it was the day before Term 2 started and gardening seemed like some good productive procrastination.

Autumn has finally arrived in my part of the country with the weekend also bringing our first really good proper rain for the year.  The mornings are crisp and cool, the days are mostly sunny - the type of sun that is best for basking in - and the nights are best spent with slippers, jumpers and rugs.  I haven't turned on the heater yet but I've been a bit tempted.

I spent an hour outside, clearing a few weeds, removing old agapanthus leaves and flower spikes, planting the bulbs - some tulips, snowdrops and bluebells - pulling up the dead part of the pumpkin vine and burying it over in the right hand corner to compost.  There's still a few bits of it growing, it seems to have taken root again?  I'll just leave it to do its thing.  We only ended up getting one pumpkin off it (so far?) and that's reminded me to post about it next time.

After I had finished, I stood back and thought about how much our garden has grown in the three years it has been since we bought the place.  Certainly not all of it, but this part of the garden looks so good with the frangipani trees really taking off in height now, shading the plants below in Summer and letting the sun in when the leaves drop closer towards Winter.  I've planted the bulbs in under the frangipani trees.  I'm hoping the leaves will create some shade for the flowers in our very short Spring and help them to flower better and last longer.

The photo below was taken when we moved in.  It's a bit of a different angle but look at the change.  

So many differences.  I'm reasonably happy with this part of the garden at the moment.  I wish I could say the same for the rest of it.  Since working out we would not be in this place for much longer, the urge to plant new things has decreased a bit.  I'll be sad to say goodbye to my fruit trees though, and before I've even gotten an apricot from our apricot tree.  I'll have to keep my fingers crossed for an early crop this year.  Last years crop was a grand total of one single apricot which somehow disappeared entirely while still green.  I think a bird must have flown off with it.

How is your garden going?  Autumn is such a lovely time of the year to spend outside isn't it?  And do you plant new plants via the moon planting calendar?