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2 Fruit and 5 Vegetables a Day for Mid Summer

We thought it was going to be one of those super bumper years for mangoes, like 2010, when the trees were flowering, but it’s turned into just an average good season. Mangoes  are biennial, and this is the good year, but it has been a bit wet around flowering time to be a huge year.  Still though, we have enough that mangoes have to be one of the two fruit.

The other one is a close contest. We still have  paw paws going strong, though it is getting to the end of their season. Our peaches are finished, but the local farmers market still has them coming from within my 100 mile range, from higher country up on the tablelands, along with nectarines and plums.  Our grapes had a very hard time in the wet last year, and I pruned them back really heavily to get rid of funghus diseases. The result is a smaller than usual crop.  Lychees are ripening, and the pomegranates are just about to ripen, and it’s a really good year for them.  I really love using them. They add a lovely acid sweetness and jewel colour to salads and sauces and baking. I’m picking lots of tamarillos.

But I think number two has to be bananas.  The turkeys still get most of ours, and to make matters worse the geese have decided they like eating the palms. But this is the first real seasonal peak since Yasi.

With vegetables – zucchinis and all their relatives are in glut at this time of year.  I’m specially liking growing tromboncino for the first time.  Eggplants are always difficult for me – flea beetles are one of my troublesome pests –  but they are just coming into season now. I have lots of capsicums coming on, and enough chilis to be thinking about drying and pickling some. We’re eating green beans  just about every day, and the bean jars are starting to fill with shelled dry beans for storing. I’m picking the first of the snake beans now, and we like them so much better than every other kind that the Purple King and Blue Lake will probably all get left to mature now.

I think I’ve got  cucumbers right this year, for a change. Usually I’m scaring friends away with bags of them by now too, but this year I have two or three different varieties bearing at any one time, and a nice amount for eating and gifting.  We eat some kind of cucumber raita or tzatziki most meals.  My ginger and turmeric have been liking the heat and rain, so with them and the chilis, and some coriander and cumin, I have most of the ingredients for curries from scratch.  My tomatoes are doing really well this year.  I’m making pesto from the basil, and I have lots of lemon, lime and Thai basil too. The first of the sweet corn is just about ready, and I’m just digging the last of the spring planting of potatoes.

But the pick of the lot, the five, would be: tomatoes,  basil, beans,  zucchini, and cucumbers.

So this is the harvest around which I base my cooking this time of year.  I’d love to hear what’s harvesting in other places.


{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Evi January 12, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Linda, Iv’e been meaning to thank you for the lovely pea recipes you left for me recently – pea fritters are on the menu this week!
    So moving on from there….we have snow peas, perpetual spinach, the beginnings of new potatoes, onions and lovely fresh turnips coming from the garden. Different climate here in Tas ;o)
    Plums, that my kids are at this moment gleaning from some back laneways! and rhubarb and strawberries from my first successful patch!! Oh, and we are just using up the last of the red and black currants
    It doesn’t seem like much but now that I’ve written it down I realise that it contributes quite a bit to our meals. Thanks for the reminder!!

  • Jason Dingley January 12, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Cucumbers would be our number one at the moment. No sooner than you pick one there is another. And that’s just from one plant got another three about to start. I am sure the neighbours won’t mind. We have had drop in tomatoes but now have 4 plants heavily loaded with ones just about to turn. Lots of Basil, moderate amount of beans, potatoes, is that 5? But mostly it is all just starting. I think in a few weeks you will be able to see my graph actually show something.

  • Elaine coolowl January 12, 2012, 3:36 pm

    The 5 and 2 thing really is weird. As a diabetic, you’d reckon that my eating up to 6 fruits in one day would send the old blood glucose off the meter. Nuh. Back on the fruit meal and sometimes 2 meals of fruit, the BGs are back to normal. There’s something to be said for whole fresh fruit, not cooked, maybe it’s a combination of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibre and whatever-else is in fruits. Juice doesn’t cut it, it’s got to be whole fruits and while I’d prefer organic, mostly it is just standard commercial fruit. The same results do not apply (for me) eating a majority of vegetables even raw ones. I’ve planted Bananas, Pineapples, Strawberries, Blueberries, Paw Paw, Babaco, Dragon Fruit and Canistel. One day they will all produce, some are just babies but the Strawberries (Redlands Joy) are good performers.

  • Linda January 12, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Fruit juices are one of my pet hates, specially the ones marketed targeting kids that, when you read the fine print, aren’t really juices at all, but reconstituted concentrate with none of those enzymes and fibre and precious little of anything else. I’m interested, but not really surprised that real whole fruit is good for blood sugar levels. Lucky for you you are in a climate that’s pretty good for fruit!

  • cityhippyfarmgirl January 12, 2012, 4:41 pm

    Linda, I’ve got an odd question for you. But what plant would you reccommend for a placenta pot planting? Would a dwarf citrus be too much for the nutrient levels? It needs to be a fairly hardy plant as my sun exposure is fairly minimal. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Elaine coolowl January 12, 2012, 7:37 pm

    Ah Linda, the fruit juices of which I type are home-made ones. Using an single-gear machine and a mix of Celery, Apple, Ginger, Cuke and so on. Great stuff. Not that reconstituted krud nor the canned muck. Yecch. It’s pretty good around Briz for fresh fruit but in the winter the choice other than citrus is very limited and we tend to slip off our high-fruit intake to the detriment of our health.

  • celia January 12, 2012, 8:38 pm

    We’ve got beans galore in about six different varieties, although a big wind came through yesterday and blew a few of the plants over. Tonight we brought in three zucchinis (blackjack) and five Lebanese cucumbers, as well as some small new onions. The garden is awash in purslane, the Golden Nuggets are just making babies, and the perennial leeks are always there if we need them. Our Lebanese cukes are nearly finished now, but we’ve planted apple cucumbers which are just at the flowering stage, so hopefully we’ve timed that correctly. In the enclosed verandah there are still a few lipstick caps and hot bullet chillies. Oooh, and my exciting news, I’ve finally managed to get a Bishop’s Crown chilli to grow – it’s covered in beautiful green bells at the moment!

  • Chris January 13, 2012, 7:17 am

    ^^we love our summer fruit – local watermelon is wonderful, as are strawberries, plums, peaches, lychees and lady finger bananas.
    We’ve been enjoying beets and beet tops in salads and stir fries. I find it hard to stick to 2 fruit – 4a day seems moderate with all this abundance, and icy cold watermelon and lychees are especially good in the heat of a Brisbane afternoon.
    Elaine ^^we source winter citrus in Brissie through food connect – wonderful tree ripened organic fruit grown near Gympie. Our family literally ate a box a fortnight.

  • Linda January 13, 2012, 9:13 am

    That’s my kind of juice. I specially love celery and ginger in juice – I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

  • Linda January 13, 2012, 9:36 am

    That is an interesting question Cityhippyfarmgirl. Mine were a pecan and a flame tree, but they’re both huge trees. I was thinking long lived and hardy, thinking olive, but they like sun at least in summer. Meyer lemon, but they like sun too, and enough water. Tamarillo won’t mind less sun, but they’re short lived. Grape vine, if you have somewhere for it to climb. Or, if you are thinking about the sentimental side, you could plant a big, long lived tree in a park or reserve.

  • cecilia gunther January 13, 2012, 9:42 am

    Wow you live in a paradise for fruit! how wonderful, i am sitting looking at a massive freezing blizzard hurl itself at my windows and reading about your garden. lovely.. c

  • Linda January 13, 2012, 9:53 am

    I do Cecilia. I remember every day to realise how lucky I am!

  • Elaine coolowl January 13, 2012, 4:16 pm

    That’s what I mean … citrus is not something I could each much of however delightful. That Food Connect thing is useless, poor quality fruit, sour and tiny. Only good fruit we got was the Dragonfruit and I’ve got them growing now. Having to drive somewhere to pick up stuff which should be delivered is hardly environmentally-friendly; too bad if you don’t have a car.

  • kim January 14, 2012, 12:16 pm

    We would be harvesting scarlett runner beans and apples if the goats hadn’t eaten them. But otherwise we are harvesting lots of leafy greens, japanese bunching onions , tomatoes,corn…..with eggplant ,more tomatoes and zuchin i to come very soon and 500mls of goat milk everyday.

  • Teresa January 18, 2012, 4:13 am

    I’ve been managing some kale and enough lettuce for a salad or two once a week. Since most winters we’d have a foot of snow on the garden at mid-January, I can’t complain! It’s surreal to read your blog during a New England winter, even a mild one.

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