Early August 2008, I have completed and sent off the manuscript for my new book “The New Curry Secret” and have some time before I start the next book, so I have the opportunity to create my much awaited organic vegetable garden. Following a great deal of observation and discussion (and a little argument) we’ve chosen a site on the north eastern side of the house block, just down a rocky escarpment from where the main house will be. It will get sun all day and have some protection from the cold southerly winds. The olive trees we’ve planted in the north east corner directly opposite the site of the vegetable garden, and some fast growing conifers along the remainder of the northern fence will (eventually) provide protection from the hot northerlies. No solution to the cold easterlies and westerlies yet, will need to work on that.
We’ve decided to use raised beds – a quick and easy (albeit more expensive) solution to the hard, grass and weed covered clay soils. Fill ‘em up with good organic soil from Australian Native Landscapes and off we’ll go. Raised beds are also a good barrier to slugs and snails and they are easier to work – you don’t have to bend down so far. We order 7 of them online from a Queensland company when we get back to Sydney.
Late August 2008, nearly spring in Australia. We’re back at Mount Sugarloaf and I am armed with about 40 packets of assorted heirloom and organic seeds that I eagerly ordered from the Diggers Club about a month ago. Heirloom varieties that are tops for flavour unlike modern hybrids and genetically modified crops bred for transportability and storage. Heirloom vegetables are our inheritance; selected and saved by our ancestors, over hundreds even thousands of years, they offer some of the best yielding, best tasting and disease resistant varieties. Each season they produce fertile seeds that you can sow again. Seeds from genetically modified plants have to be purchased each year from the large multinational companies together with lots of petroleum based chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides at ever rising prices. The idea of a few large, greedy corporations controlling the world’s food production alarms me. I have been impatient to get started ever since my package from Digger’s arrived, but the raised beds that were supposed to arrive from Queensland have not and we have to go back to Sydney tomorrow. No sowing yet.
This gives me time for some cooking so I make Mustard Pickles. This will let them mature so that they are ready in time to have with the Christmas Ham.