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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Summer


It’s a nice planting day today and I’m sort of ready – which is just as well because I have to go out and I’ll only get an hour or so in the garden today.  I have advanced seedlings of carrots ready to go out, and places to put them, and seed raising mix for another batch of seed using my standard method for carrots.   And the same for beetroot and parsnips. We eat a fair bit of beetroot and I plant it every month, but this is the first round of parsnips for a while.  Parsnips are hard enough to germinate without adding the frizzle weather of midsummer to the challenge.  I have some new seed – the seed doesn’t stay viable long – and these ones will reach maturity just as it starts to get cold enough to make them sweet, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

I could just about plant potatoes this time, but there isn’t really room for them, and it is a little early, and I haven’t got around to getting seed spuds anyway  – all good excuses for waiting till next month.

I’ve planted the first round of onion seed for the year in seed raising mix in the shadehouse. Just a very few this time, as insurance, because it’s a bit early for them too. I’m planting Hunter River Brown and Red Creole this year.  I need short day varieties this far north (northern NSW), so the choice is a bit more limited than further south where the summer days are longer.  I have some bulbs of potato onions ordered by mail from Greenharvest. I’ve never had success with them – day length again, and also the wetness of our autumns up here.  But I love the idea of perennial onions, so I keep trying!

I also have a dozen tamarillo trees in the shadehouse ready to plant out. Tamarillos are a subtropical, short-lived perennial, small tree.  They bear very prolifically, acid-sweet fruit that is to my mind more like a passionfruit than a tomato in flavour, but like a guava in texture.  They are my daughter’s very favourite fruit but I like them best cooked into sauces and chutneys.  I’ve just made a batch of tamarillo chili sauce that is gorgeous.

If I get a chance I’ll visit the local nursery on my way home for a few more fruit trees too.  This is the perfect time of year here to plant them. We are likely to get enough rain to establish them over the next few months, and there’s time before it gets too cold.  If I plant trees in spring up here, it’s a major job to keep them watered and the summer heat just knocks them over before they get established.

It’s a lovely day for gardening. Just wish I had all day to do it!


{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Liz February 3, 2013, 9:46 pm

    I planted out a new tamarillo today. They are my daughters favourite fruit too and i agree that they are more reminiscent of passionfruit than tomato.

  • Tom January 20, 2014, 7:38 am

    Hello To All,
    The Harissa sounds very tasty .
    Refrigerator space in my home is at a premium so if you have a recipe for Harissa powder that is used with Cous cous meats and sauces etc.It would be a very welcomed in my pantry

  • Linda January 20, 2014, 8:18 am

    Hi Tom, my original version of this recipe was preserved. I make mine in small jars, then put the sealed jars in the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 20 minutes. I’m happy and comfortable with keeping them on a pantry shelf like that, and only putting one in the fridge once it is open, when it usually goes within a week. (My fridge is tiny too). Preserving like this works with anything with a high enough acid level. My cherry tomatoes are acid enough, and it has lemon juice as well, and the salt helps too. The problem is that if the acid level is too low and the pressure cooking doesn’t take it to high enough a temperature or the lid leaks at all, the risk is botulism, which is deadly. You can add vinegar, which makes it quite safe, but that changes the flavours.

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