One of the great things about living in such an icy climate like Orange is that come the winter months, apart from some maintenance, there’s not really a lot to do in the patch.
During July in the vegetable garden, activity is fairly minimal. I’ve planted my garlic and onions, nurtured the Asian greens and broccoli from seed, sprayed a chicken purple and felt the resurgence of the chilblains. All pretty standard when you live 1,000 metres above sea level.
For the next two months I’ll just be kicking back, maybe designing part two of the veggie garden, that being the really big one I’m scared to begin, hacking at a few weeds, feeding the garlic that’s popping up everywhere and eating a lot of Asian greens.
Speaking of green, all we’re eating from the garden at the moment is Chinese broccoli and Pak Choy. I’ve always loved these vegetables and I can’t understand why we don’t see more of them in our local Asian restaurants. Steamed or quickly stir-fried, they are a massive favourite of mine. You need to keep an eye on them though, they usually come to seed all at once and it only takes a few warm days for that to happen. You can still eat them of course, they’re just a touch bitter and tough the older they get.
Out in the chook house, one of the four chooks was being victimised by the others, feathers were scattered everywhere and the poor thing was next to naked. In mid June, that’s not a good thing. The treatment is quite simple. Get some of that purple antiseptic spray that they put on animal cuts. Apparently it taste really bad, like kale chips, and stops them from pecking at the poor subordinate. To get near the chook, just go out at night and corner it. Just be careful not to wear a nice new shirt when you do it. If she takes off, it’ll splash everywhere.
Winter is the perfect time to begin some new beds and give your main patch a bit of TLC.
Don’t try to fight the frost, embrace it. Use its power to subdue nearly everything, including the blood flow in your fingers. A few years ago I decided that -3c wasn’t too cold to go weeding, by hand, with wet gloves on. End result was that for the first time in decades I had chilblains on my fingers. Caused by cold weather and poor circulation on the extremities, chilblains are really uncomfortable but can be fixed by nitro-glycerine gels used for other problems including angina, just ask your pharmacist, they’ll know.
For more gardening articles head on over to the Pitt and George Food Company Website