Saturday, June 8, 2013


I've forgotton the name of these little lantern fruits. That's it, Cape Gooseberries. Seems odd to have a harvest of them just as winter officially arrives. About this time of year I am very aware that we are on the south side of the hill and our sun window is about 10 until 2 as we get to the shortest day. Too windy, shady and damp here for these almost tropical fruits, weeds apparently.

Don't ponder the mystery, they were a gift from a friend on the other side of town. She lives on a north facing flat section, hedged in on four sides with macrocarpa and such to a good height;  effectively they have a walled-garden microclimate.

These cape gooseberries are a bit like an aromatic, almost spicy,  tiny tomato;they  grow well in poor soil which explains why they grow like weeds by her hedge. M clips them back with the hedge clippers after fruiting. That seems to be the only care.

I have put the plant into the tunnel house here to survive and will put it out in late spring. I made the fruits into the nicest chutney I have had for a long time. Possibly the best use for them of all.

Now I've been going to vege club, and I am ashamed to say I was a bit disparaging at first.  I completely underestimated the  hidden depths and qualities of these marvellous people.
When the president mentioned that they played vegetable bingo at the last mid-winter club dinner I realised it was time to participate more fully in what the club had to offer...

I bought a few celeriac plants at the club last year and they have quietly grown into this thing about the size of a turnip. The leaves got a bit tatty which suggested to me that they were now fully grown, and I hoicked this one out of the ground and rinsed off its roots for the photo shoot.

In the end I made a scalloped potatoes and celeriac with cream, garlic, and cheese and the dish was scraped clean. Really delicious. I expect these things will sit in the ground unattended,  as root vegetables do here, and then start to grow again in spring. I'll grow these again.


The carrots are my brag shot as there is no gardening at all going on at the minute. It's a great thing to have good soil for growing carrots and there it is, the soil has done it all. These followed peas  and the ground has had nothing from me in the way of additions since I began that piece of garden.Well done you lot.

The red brussel sprouts above, well those plants came from vege club too. The club has a sales table where members sell off surplus plants. Apparently these were grown from a Kings' seed variety and the red ones are sweeter than the green. They are a great alternative to a big cabbage which sits in the fridge getting progressively older and nastier to eat. I  pick these as I'm cooking tea and they remind me that fresh brassiccas are a completely different vegetable from stale ones.
I can see by successes  that I am working with what this climate and garden grows best (sometimes);  yams are in that group. It was mild enough this year  that the tops have only just frosted down into slime the way they do.
Now I planted some garlic elsewhere that hasn't come up and I suspect it may have rotted.  We'll have to eat the yams a bit faster to make room to plant more garlic.

The ground is so wet here that I'm reluctant to do anything: however garlic is important enough to get my gumboots out for. I'm thinking about making raised or sloped  beds on the flat parts to improve winter drainage.

Think away, it seems too wet to do anything for the next few months at least. Fortunately I have overgrown hedges of my own to tackle and they seem to be a big enough job for any spare gardening moments.


  1. Goodness, celeriac is a bit of a glamour vegetable as far as I'm concerned. I only ever see it for astronomical prices in the speciality section of the supermarket, and on the menu only in virry exclusive restaurants. How enormously satisfying to have grown one yourself. I can imagine how delicious that gratin was.
    How does one play vegetable bingo I wonder?

    1. Isn't it funny that celeriac should be a glamour vegetable when it can't be far from the lowly turnip family. It does have some boasting value actually because not everybody can get the root to form and they end up with a mass of foliage. I would suspect too much nitrogen/manuring in the soil in that instance.
      Happily I have many neglected parts of the garden that have received no sustenance at all, and aren't too far from their humble clay origins either which seems to suit root vegetables.

  2. yeah I was wondering about vegetable bingo too? Sounds terrifyingly like the sort of game that might get played at the Frances Hodgkins Staff Christmas party. Am about to teach Louis how to play Euchre as he keeps beating me at snap and I need to level the playing field. I begged him not to tell Mary he kept winning at snap in case she thought I was a loser but Louis said "Don't worry Ken, Mary is your best friend so she won't think you are a loser!". As Dostoevsky said "the soul is healed by being with children". We are hoping to get to Dunedin for a few days soon so hopefully catch you then. Ken

    1. Ah the vegetable bingo, I buried that one deep in the blog and wondered if it would be overlooked. Certainly caught my fancy. Vegetable Club do vegetable goodie bags at the Christmas Party too,so much to look forward to.
      When you come up we'll have to get out the monopoly deal and teach that to Louis. A few rounds of that and you'll need to buy your own pack on the way home.