Fish, wicking beds and ginger beer.

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Yesterday I bought a couple of fish. It’s obvious why… I don’t have enough lives to look after here.

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No, the real reason was that I brought home some azolla from Bev’s place and I keep it in a bucket, floating around so it can activate the compost every now and then. I was starting to get a bit worried about breeding mozzies so the fish seemed like a good idea.
I went into the aquarium shop around the corner and asked for two common as muck goldfish. The guy asked if I wanted to choose them and I said that I don’t want to bond with them, that I want them to work for a living. (See? I’ve learned form having the chickens. We’re down to 2 or 3 eggs a day… I might have to buy some for the first time in two years… but do you think I can get rid of any of them?
Well… maybe Lizzie. She’s a bit of a bitch. But she’s also one of the only ones still consistently laying, so she’s safe.)

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I took the plastic bag down to the bucket and popped it in to acclimatise the fish to their new home. The bucket stands next to the chicken run so I let the gerlies out at the same time, then opened the lid to extract the broody Hazel. She was sitting on two eggs that she stole from the other hens, but she’s not quite as broody as Pudgy was. She has no objections to wandering around for a while and taking a dust bath with a friend.

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The gerls have denuded the area under the fig tree, but I don’t mind because it’s at the back of the block and hardly anyone goes down there.

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Here’s an action shot of her kicking the dust up onto her back.
The funniest thing about this is when they decide to get up, walk away a few steps and then shake themselves. They’re enveloped by a cloud of dust that they emerge from, striding boldly like Indiana Jones on a mission. It doesn’t look at all comfortable, but they adore it.

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After 10 minutes or so the fish were ready to be released into the wild. One fish was happy as Larry, chasing wrigglers and gobbling them up like a Pac Man. The other fish sank to the bottom and stayed there, morosely musing on the injustices of life.
I wasn’t sure he’d make it but this morning they were companionably swimming in the middle of the bucket, so that’s a good sign.

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I tried a ginger beer today. It didn’t taste very strong, so I’ve put the opened bottle in the fridge and I’ll try another one tomorrow. It was fizzy, though.

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I’m discovering the joys of having ready-made salads in the fridge, ready to go. This one was made with our own home grown beetroot, mint and radishes. So good! Evan15 and I went to a regular cleaning job that we have every holidays and when we came home I was STARVING. The kids had eaten all of the bread rolls I made yesterday (though I did get to have one for breakfast with freshly made labna mixed with our fresh basil… mmmm). I just grabbed a bowlful of beetroot salad and coleslaw and settled down to watch Dr Phil. (My guilty holiday pleasure.)

I’m really getting a kick out of growing and eating our own food and seeing the kids getting involved. A little while ago Ryan17 was hungry so he grabbed Evan15 and got him to show him how to use the thermomix. They mixed up pikelet batter and as I’m typing I can smell warm pikelets drifting in from the kitchen.
The smell, I mean… not real actual pikelets drifting in!
Last night I was trying a new recipe in the thermomix; a fried rice that was cooked in the steamer; and I thought I’d have to go to the shops because all I had in the crisper was a bag of carrots. But when I went for a bit of a wander I discovered that the rattlesnake beans had started, so I picked a handful. The button squash plants are slowing down but there was still 3 or 4 big enough to pick. A couple of huge silver beet leaves later and I had enough to make the meal without racing to the shops and opening the wallet. Good times, people!

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I still keep the old food processor on the bench.Linda Woodrow in her book mentioned a friend who used to put food scraps for her worms in the food processor jug, then when it was full throw in a cup of water, whizz it all up and then feed the sludge to her worms. I’m doing that and they seem to like it.

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As a follow-on to the whole wicking bed saga, I thought I’d grab the camera and let you all see how they’ve come on. This morning I’m showing you the 3m long bed underneath the boys’ back window. I stuck a trombocchino zucchini in at the right because I grew it from seed and I didn’t know where else to plant it. I have two others in the ground. For a long time this one lagged behind the others, but then it suddenly took off, far outstripping the others with the little zuccs it has.

My scarlet runner beans that I bought from Diggers sulked for ages, (a bit like the fish in the bucket) but a few days ago decided to produce flowers. These plants had such a rough start so I’m not expecting big things, but all I need is enough pods to save some seed from for next year. Though I won’t complain if we get a feed from them…

I didn’t plant tomatoes in this bed, but when my friend Mick from the gardening club gave me some worms for the wicking beds, he kindly donated tomato seeds in with them. I’ve been pulling out little seedlings all over the place, but I let some of the bigger ones grow.

I also have garlic here, but apparently garlic doesn’t like wet feet so a wicking bed probably isn’t the most considerate place to plant them. All but one have died.

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A close-up of the trombocchino… or should I just call it ‘trombone zucchini’? It’d be easier!

Apparently the seeds all stay in the bulbous end and they go this long straight shape when they’re grown up a trellis. If they sprawl out along the ground the zucchinis bend into all sorts of shapes. We’ll be seeing both sorts, so that’ll be a bit of fun. I’m toying with the idea of growing these up against the water tank next year, though I’ll have to erect a trellis thing. I think it might be a good way to make an unproductive part of the garden become useful. It’s also a good plant to have when you don’t want your whole garden overun with zucchini plants. Much better to grow up instead of out. (That goes for people too!)

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Look! Free peas from the pea straw! I always thought that the peas that sprouted were the flowered kind, but clearly not.

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Here’s the other end of the bed. It’s like a microcosm of the gardening club, with Mick’s carrots and tomatoes, Shane’s marigolds and Bev’s parsnips. Bev, you’ll be interested to know that Mick showed us a photo of a parsnip he grew from one of your seeds… it was as big as his head. (Well… it was pretty big, anyway.) There’s some purple bush beans that I bought from Ceres when I had to spend the day in Northcote because David18 had a seminar there, and if you tilt your head sideways and squint to the right you’ll see a chilli bush with some white flowers.

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And a baby chilli.

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This entry was posted in chickens, cooking, gardening, pets, thermomix, vegetables, wicking beds. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fish, wicking beds and ginger beer.

  1. Liz says:

    I’m loving your larvae munchers – great idea!!!! Those trombone zucchini look interesting – I’ll be interested to know what they taste like.

  2. river says:

    Your fish are cute, but I’m guessing you won’t name them?
    Trombone zucchini sounds like my kind of food! Where can I get seeds?

  3. Mrs Bok says:

    There is always so much going on at your place!
    I adore the trombocino – we’ve been harvesting loads of it and it keeps coming. They still make me giggle 🙂

    I made a resolution to always have a fresh salad in the fridge for snacking on too, but it always seems to get eaten so very quickly…your combination sounds very enticing…

  4. Bev says:

    Not fair, Mick. Would you believe I’ve never grown a parsnip that was fit to eat. They’re either too skinny, or with forked roots, or they just run to seed! At least someone else has benefited from the seed.

    Pea straw peas are great value. I’m still growing them from ages ago when I was buying pea straw. I’ve tried other varieties since, but the pea straw ones are the best!

    I put garlic in a wicking tub last year and it lived to tell the tale. Bulbs weren’t very big, but then neither were the ones in the ground. And now I remember, the garlic in the ground got garlic rust and the ones in the wicking tub didn’t. I’m going to do it again this year, maybe give it another try, Froggie.

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