It’s raining in Sydney tonight. I mean really raining. The sort of rain that gardeners love because it’s a soaking kind of rain that brings so many benefits to any garden.
Lucky for us we managed to get some planting done late this afternoon just in time before the rain started. I planted three ‘Provider’ bean bushes which propagated very strongly from seed so hopefully they’ll grow to be productive plants. They’ve gone into the centre of the banana banana circle as we’ll have at least 12 months before the bananas take over the circular garden bed. Hang on, did I just say banana banana circle? But isn’t it a banana paw paw circle? Well yes and yes but at the moment there aren’t any paw paws because they’re not available in Sydney until November or December so until then we only a banana banana circle.
I don’t know about you but I love truss tomatoes. The only problem is they are frightfully expensive and….invariably over-packaged! I’ll leave that topic for another time but is all that plastic really necessary? Anyway I have a couple of favourite truss tomato dishes I enjoying serving so I decided that it was a definite must have for the permaculture garden. It too has gone into the centre of the b b circle where I believe it will do extremely well for in the centre of the b b circle is a well matured compost pit. I’ll also be planting a few other companion plants including a sweet potato runner and cassava. A few sunflowers will be grown against the back rock wall to add a touch of colour and sunshine and will be a wonderful treat for our soon-to-be adopted chooks.
I mentioned earlier in my post on banana paw paw circles that bananas are actually the largest of the herbaceous plants (herbs) which means that they have leaves and stems that die down to soil level at the end of the growing season. Banana plants are not replaced by seed but rather by suckers that grow at the base of the old stem. These suckers grow up to be the new banana stems. So this is how the banana cycle continues: suckers grow into stems, then flower, then fruit and then die. Their suckers grow into new stems, flower, fruit, die etc etc. Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it.
Anyway, bananas are gross feeders which means they require a lot of nutrient rich food to stay healthy and produce a good crop of fruit. If you’ve ever seen a healthy fruiting backyard banana then it will be no surprise to you that each Williams Cavendish banana plant could produce in excess of 60 bananas. Commercially it’s many more than that. To sustain a banana circle in the permaculture garden, it’s best to grow them around a compost pit or pile of decomposing organic matter as the nutrients leach into the root system and feed their voracious appetite. At the moment our bananas stand at less than a metre tall but each one of them has 2 suckers. They’ll take about 18 months to reach maturity to be able to provide us a crop but in the meantime I’ve decided to utilise the space around them to take advantage of the nutrient rich soil.
I mentioned the other day that I’d be trying out the Kale, Asparagus and Leek Tart and I can now profess that it’s an absolute winner. Straight from the garden, kale has a mild cabbage flavour and like normal cabbage leaves, is rather stiff. But after being plucked fresh from the garden just before being tossed with other ingredients, it softened beautifully leaving no hard texture. The mixture of Gruyère cheese, Asparagus and dill tasted magnificent and offset with a glass of lovely red and fresh organic lettuce it got the thumbs up from the resident food critic.
Thank you to Phil Dudman and Julie Ray for providing this wonderful recipe.
Anybody living nearby who might be interested in trying out kale, I’m only too happy to share from the garden.