The beds are warming up! This month marks the beginning of a lovely spring! Hooray!
If you haven’t already, please have a look at our YouTube videos which display all the lovely tasks the children have been getting up to in Kitchen Garden.
This month is our favourite, simply because the garden starts to wake up. It’s still cool enough to sow seeds and seedlings, but it’s warm enough that we start seeing lots of new plant growth and bug activity.
We have been absolutely feasting on snow peas. Some children just plonked themselves on the garden beds and snacked on handfuls of the sweet, crunchy, green, podded deliciousness. We discussed the benefits of harvesting the snowpeas while they are still young. Allowing the peas to mature tells the plant that its job of making new babies (seeds) is complete and it can now retire for the year. If we continue to pick the pods, the plant will continue to make new pods – all the better for us! Although, when the weather becomes too hot, it signals to the plant that its time is up! This will be a good opportunity for the children to see how we can save seeds, allowing us to start another delicious crop come autumn.
The sunny faces on our sunflowers are making us feel happy and adding colour to our space. Some children have discovered the sweet nectar inside the ‘spur’ located on the base of our bright, red-orange nasturtium blooms. Nibbling the spur allows the sweet, honey-like nectar to leak out. The archway is so pretty now and it’s buzzing with foraging bees. We can already see the seeds which look like tiny brains! Again, we will learn to save some to plant next year and maybe pickle some.
We have looked at how we can help to control the spread of fruit flies by making traps that are now hanging around the garden. They have been described as ‘stinky’ and ‘yucky’ and that’s quite accurate! They are attracting lots of flies and we are looking at them under our microscope to see if we can determine if they are male or female.
Aphids have made themselves home on our orange trees. We are using a soapy spray to deter them from their sucking habits. We inspected them with our powerful microscope and could see the little stylet protruding from their head which is used to suck (phloem sap) goodies out of the plant.
Tomatoes are abundant in the garden and we tried our hand at making a delicious tomato and bacon soup. We also have broccolini in droves, and our latest discovery was the lovely fluffy white cauliflower heads which are popping up now. We made cheesy air-fried broccoli and bacon.
We have been learning how to propagate new plants from cuttings of lavender, rosemary and mulberry stems.
Our new hydroponic tables are up and running now, allowing us to explore and experiment with this method of growing without soil! Feel free to drop by and have a look at what we have started growing.
We have cleared out a few garden areas, with the idea to make way for some perennial plants. Asparagus is one of those plants. It lives for many many years, providing an abundance of delicious crops come spring and summer. Turmeric and arrowroot have now been planted. This will provide a terrific treasure hunt to dig up next winter. Potatoes are chitting, signalling they are ready to plant in the ground now.
We started looking at what clues plants give us when they need something. Nitrogen is needed for healthy leaf growth and when the leaves are turning yellow, this might be a good indicator that plants need a feed. The children found our citrus trees were yellowing slightly. We will give them a good feed with some dynamic lifter.
The holidays are approaching again. I hope you all stay safe and enjoy each other.
Tomato soup with bacon, onion, and capsicum.
2 X 420g tomato soup
2 x bacon mid-rashers cooked, 1cm pieces
1 x brown onion, finely chopped
1 x green capsicum, 1cm pieces
Chia microgreens, if available
Heat tomato soup in a pot on medium heat.
Chop bacon, onion, and capsicum. Fry for 5 minutes until softened.
Add to tomato soup mixture.
Add 1 tsp sugar and mix.
Add microgreens to serve.
Cheesy Broccoli with bacon, lemon & microgreens.
Broccoli 3 heads
Garlic, minced 1 tbsp
Olive oil, 1 tbsp
Water, 2 tbsp
Bacon 2 mid rashers
Lemon zest 1 tbsp
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Calendula petals, 1 flower
Parmesan Cheese, half cup
Slice bacon into smaller pieces, and add to the air fryer for 5 minutes at 200 degrees.
Cut Broccoli into small florets. Toss generously in olive oil.
Add freshly minced garlic, and stir through.
Add 1 tbsp bread crumbs (gluten).
Add the cooked bacon and mix through.
Add 2 tbsp of water to the air fryer (prevents broccoli from smoking).
Add all to the air fryer at 170 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Put a fork through the Broccoli to test if it’s soft.
If yes – remove from the air fryer, and toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, microgreens, calendula and parmesan cheese (dairy allergen).
Simple Garden Biscuits.
Makes 30 decent sized biscuits.
Contains gluten, dairy, and citrus.
150g caster sugar
450g self-raising flour
A lemon or orange for zesting (optional) for decoration
Mix softened butter with sugar
Form balls, slightly flatten
Decorate using: orange or lemon zest, celery leaves, calendula petals, viola petals, dianella, nasturtium flowers, rosemary, lavender flowers, broccoli flowers etc.
Brush with milk.
Bake 180 degrees / 160 FF for 15minutes.
Allow to cool, and enjoy.
Nicole Young, Kitchen Garden Coordinator
GCC families can see all the photos on Pixevety here.