I’ll tell you what’s growing in the garden, the allotment, the orchard and every bloody where else – WEEDS, that’s what. And grass, lots of it. Unfortunately Kho, my right hand man on the farm, was taken ill over New Year when we were at Nambiti Game Reserve. All I know is that he collapsed with a severe headache and had to be taken to Northdale hospital (in Pietermaritzburg) in an ambulance. We went to visit him as soon as we heard the news but the doctors, quite rightly, would not tell us what the problem was and Kho is none the wiser! He was given a spinal tap to drain fluid from his brain is all we know – could be meningitis, Kho thinks that rings a bell. Anyhow, he is home now and recuperating. I’m plying him with Vitamin C (my cure-all) and Ensure nutrition drink to boost his strength. Keep fingers crossed, he is a special person. But in the meantime the weeds and grass are proliferating.
Our potato crop has been disappointing. We’re averaging about 5 potatoes per plant and they are mostly on the small side. However, they are delicious and despite the effort (digging them up and washing them) I still prefer them to shop-bought because I know they are not chemically treated.
Our maize has also been a bit disappointing. I’m not sure if the seed we used was old or whether we planted too early – we did have two hectic frosts after sowing. I think we were duped by a false early spring. We have never been successful at growing mealies so I don’t have high expectations.
So what is good? Peter propagated a variety of tomatoes, most of them from Franchi Italian seed, which have done surprisingly well. Our climate here is not conducive to growing tomatoes but we are really enjoying an abundance of baby rosa and cherry tomatoes. He also propagated a shit load (nothing Peter does is in half measures) of Italian courgettes (zucchini), gem squash and red onions. The difference between these courgettes and squash and what you buy in the shop is astounding. The courgettes can quite easily be eaten raw and the gem squash, as large as they are, when cooked can be eaten skin and all. And the onions are good too.
Our pumpkin, butternut and hubbard squash are also doing well. The artichokes and asparagus are having their second flush – not great but we harvest a few every now and then. We’re eating blackberries, strawberries, granadillas (passion fruit) and Cape gooseberries for breakfast, as well as our freshly laid eggs.
And just about all our salad stuff is coming from the allotment right now – lettuce, rocket (arugula), baby spinach, beetroot, spring onions and herbs.
It’s funny how one can live with this abundance and still be disappointed. I suppose I just have to learn that not everything does well at the same time. At least my hens don’t let me down – they just keep on laying.