Sunday, January 04, 2015

Hot Weather Heroes

Happy New Year Everyone! May it bring plenty of rain and bountiful gardens to all! After a relatively cool start to the summer the very hot weather is well and truly upon us. We attended a New Year's Eve party 160km up the road and on our arrival the car thermometer read 39 degrees C at 6.30pm! Today it is 44 degrees. Hopefully some of the festive season excess will melt off me….

Some plants in the garden amaze me with how well they cope in the heat while others, which I expect will cope, sizzle and die.  The little coffee tree, which is planted in semi shade and gets heaps of water, is horribly sunburnt and threatening to cark it while the blueberry seems to be coping splendidly.

Speaking of the blueberry I must tell you that, in spite of bearing copious flowers, it set just a single little fruit which I stupidly picked too early for fear that a bird would eat it before I could….I really should have waited as it was green inside and tasted quite sour. On the upside I now know fruit set is possible and if the plant survives the rest of summer I will purchase another with the aim of increasing pollination this  year.

The rhubarb is also still alive under shade cloth, although I am watering it every day in order for it to remain so. If I can just keep it going through the summer it should reward us with stems to harvest during the cooler months.

The kale is surviving in the veggie garden but the silver beet  seems to be dying of heat exhaustion one by one. I am still picking the odd zucchini and the Lebanese eggplants  produced well but have slowed right down now. The Tommy Toe tomatoes are coping well where they are protected and burning where they are not.

I am pretty excited to be picking the first pumpkins I have grown here, and although very small they are otherwise fine and taste great. Last night we went for a picnic at a pool on the river and I took this home-grown roast pumpkin, green bean and cherry tomato salad to go with our fire barbecued lamb chops.

Roast Pumpkin, Green Bean and Tomato Salad

  • 600g Butternut pumpkin chunks- oiled, salted and roasted in a  single layer at 200 deg C for about 35mins until slightly caramelised. Turn pumpkin over after about 20mins.
  • 400g Green beans- blanched for 3-4 mins and then plunged into iced water to cool quickly. Drain well and cut in half.
  • 250g Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • crumbled feta or goats cheese to taste - I used about 60g
  • 2-3 pinches roasted, ground cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, grated

Place all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands. 

Dress with:
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Just waiting for the chops!


  1. Its hard work gardening in the heat! I have invested in more shade cloth, but even then, it seems like the water just evaporates before the plants can use it. Keep searching for hardy plants that can survive and forget about the sooks, too much work to keep them going! I find kale is one of the survivors and chilli, but I don't know what to do with all the chillies! Good on you for persevering in difficult conditions.

    1. Have you tried making tomato chilli jam Liz? Sweet chilli sauce uses quite a few chillies too but yes, one tends to grow more than one can use!