Pumpkin solution

finch

I was hoping to have a break from the gardening this weekend, but alas once I started I kept finding things that needed attention. The seedlings that I grew from seed in peat pots desperately needed to be planted out into soil. I love peat pots so much that I ordered some more. Actually they are called jiffy coco pellets and are made from renewable coconut husk. The only down side is that the pots can dry out easily and need watering every second day. I planted a number of tomato seedlings in empty spaces throughout the four vegetable beds. We have a feral tomato growing from compost up through the passion fruit vine, but the red cherry drops are flavourless.

I planted a red kuri pumpkin in a green square pot. I hope it will grow in a container, but I’m yet to work out a good position for it, because I know it will sprawl outward. I’m tempted to put it over the grape and choko vines, but Matt thought it would prefer the ground. While browsing through a The Diggers Club catalogue later, I pointed out the World’s largest pumpkin which can grow fruit to 227 kilograms. It’s a shame Matt doesn’t like pumpkin that much, because we would only need to grow one pumpkin and we would meet our goal weight for this year!

Matt thinks we have black aphids on our garlic and shallots. He also concluded that they are harmless because he can’t see any damage. I looked them up, and it’s best to let nature take their course as they’ll eventually be eaten by predators.

I pulled up a couple of potato plants left from our first attempts at growing them from the beginning of the year. I was surprised to collect three baby spuds, which Matt later roasted up. He ate them and said they were nothing exciting. I’m not sure whether he was just saying to make me feel better because there wasn’t enough for both of us. Our newer potato plants are starting to die back, but they haven’t flowered yet. We’re not sure if this is ok? We used sugar cane mulch to pile around the stems and encourage more growth but perhaps we should have used compost to provide more nutrients.

Pumpkin and apple soup

Before the drought, my aunt and uncle used to have a lush native rainforest in their backyard. Unfortunately with the water restrictions it has since been cut back and only the hardy plants remain. Over the autumn, they  found two different pumpkin vines growing from their compost heap. They harvested over  30 pumpkins and my aunt made soup, bread, and curry. We gratefully received one golden nugget and one jap.

I try to keep my soup recipe simple and let the pumpkin shine. Having said that, some pumpkins taste much better than others, so try a different kind if you think you don’t like them. If it’s a special occasion and you have the time, you could roast the pumpkin and apples first (and then follow the rest of the recipe cutting down on the simmering time). The apple and nutmeg give this comforting pumpkin soup a flavour lift.

It’s also worth using a decent stock as there are so few ingredients in this recipe. If you boil the kettle, you can top up with more hot water as you go and the soup won’t lose heat.

1 red onion, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
½ pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2 cups of vegetable stock + hot water
½ tsp of nutmeg

  1. Brown the red onion in some oil in a pot.
  2. Boil the kettle for your stock. Make up stock and add to the pot.
  3. Add the pumpkin, apples and nutmeg. Add more hot water to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Gently simmer until the pumpkin and apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
  6. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Serves 4.