Tasmania is a small island at the bottom of Australia. We have the cleanest air in the world and beautiful green pastures. Sprout encourages you to eat local and according to the season. Local and seasonal food is fresher, supports your local small producers and tastes good!
Below are ideas about what to plant now, what local food is available and a few delicious recipes from Luke Burgess.
What to plant now by Joy Phillips (Sprout board member)
By now you would have already cleared out the Summer crop residue from your garden beds and possibly sown some green manure crops in beds that need a build-up of organic matter for next Summer. If you have had a productive Summer season, you may also have built a good sized compost pile to be used next season.
It’s very important over Winter to stay on top of the long grass and weeds in or near your garden beds. It’s especially vital in these cold and wet months, as snugs and snails are opportunistic and make themselves at home if allowed to. The more you can keep areas from getting overgrown over winter and early Spring, the happier you’ll be when putting in your precious seedlings come Spring. There is nothing quite as disappointing as seeing your newly planted seedlings eaten overnight…
Garlic should be going into the ground without any delay. This is the tail end of its planting season, as the planted clove really needs time to develop a healthy root before Spring arrives. The garlic plants will then put the majority of its energy towards forming a nice big healthy bulb into Spring/early Summer. Depending on your preference for working outdoors during Winter, you have a few options when growing throughout the Winter.
You can choose to leave all your beds out of production in the Winter months, although it is wise to make sure you get a green manure crop into all your unused beds. This will assist in enriching your soil’s health, which then contributes to a healthy crop next Summer. When Spring arrives (& before the green manure crop has formed seedheads), you will need to cut down and turn the green manure into the garden bed where it was grown. It is ideal if you incorporate the green manure crop 4-6 weeks before you want to plant your Summer crops, as this will give the soil microbes time to start breaking down the green matter.
One way of enhancing the growth of your Winter crops is by altering the environment. You can do this easily by using the simple technique of installing plastic poly-tunnels over individual beds. The plants can benefit from being protected from the frigid cold winds as well as maintaining the solar warmth built up in the soil during the day. Poly-tunnels are very handy when used in late Winter/early Spring, as you may be needing to dry out the saturated soil if it’s been raining now stop for weeks. Alternatively, you may have planted out a variety of crops in Autumn with the intention of having all your plants to fend for themselves without any extra protection.
You may also be interested in starting an indoor growing area for fresh wintergreens. They don’t have to take up much space but are a lovely flavour addition to any meal you are preparing. Rocket, parsley, coriander, chives or even lettuce can easily be cultivated in containers indoors. All you need are a few containers, some seeds/seedlings and a sunny spot to let them do their thing. It is ideal to have them in a North-facing warm spot that gets as much sun as possible.
Or why not try growing microgreens indoors? This is another way of making sure you’re getting the freshest possible greens throughout the Winter and early Spring. Microgreens differ from sprouts, as they grow in soil and are allowed to mature to the point of having their first ‘true’ leaf. Once the ‘mini plant’ is cut, it can be use a variety of ways in the kitchen. Try putting into a sandwich, sprinkled onto of a soup/stew or made into a salad by tossing with a light dressing. You can grow many different types of vegetables as microgreens. Try experimenting with purple/green cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, rocket, mizuna or Asian greens, mustards and even radishes or turnips work well. There are many different colours to stems & leaves.
Planning for Spring & Summer crops stars now
Don’t forget to start your planning for your Spring/Summer garden. It’s a pleasure to sit in front of the Winter’s fire while flicking through pile of seed catalogues, dreaming of what you want to grow in the coming warmer months. It may feel like there is a long way to go after the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice. But in fact you need to start planning to get your seeds sown into trays if you what to get a jump-start on our short summer-crop growing season. June, July & August sowing or transplanting Spring Broccoli, Cabbage or Cauliflower can be sown in June/July to be transplanted into the garden August/early September. Coriander seedlings can be planted now and will be harvested from late Winter onwards. Garlic really should be in the ground in June, so it has time to develop strong roots before its major growth spurt during Spring. Lettuce seedlings can be planted any month but growth will be considerably slower in the Winter. Onion seedlings can be planted in June, July or August. Spring Carrots sown in August/September will be baby carrots from October onwards. Spring Snow Peas/Sugar Snaps/Pod Peas can all be directly sown from August onwards. Shallots are ideal to be sown in July or August, to be harvested in late December/early January.
Ahhh Winter. What an excuse to curl up in front of the fire with a plate of cheese and some wine or invite over some friends and pull together a big roast dinner.
For those who grew up in Tasmania, or for those who have more recently moved to our fabulous island, this time of year sees a change in what we find on our tables.
Whether you have a backyard garden or 10 acres, as the months cool you might find yourself seeking out those tremendous root vegetables to create thick, rich soups or reinventing how to serve your kids brussel sprouts or whatever comes into season.
If you’re a meat lover you might also find yourself thinking back to mum’s roast lamb and vegetables and reinventing it to suit your friends or family. You might also create time to find yourself some of Tassie’s warm mulled cider or find a lovely red wine to match the roast.
There is something truly wonderful about getting into seasonal produce. When you wander around Tasmania’s farmer’s markets, or visit the website or facebook pages of Tasmania’s producers there are a few items you will find appearing on the shopping list.
Here are just some finding their way to the produce table this season.
Olives. There are a surprising number of olive growers in Tasmania and we can’t be luckier to think that they are grown and sold right here in our backyard.
Tomatoes. They still seem to be on everyone’s lips long after we would normally see the last of our tomatoes, but the growth of Tasmania’s greenhouses means that those ruby orbs just seem to keep turning up and aren’t we lucky when tomato soup really is needed.
Brassicas. It is a good excuse to make sure you get your greens at this time of year. Grandma’s Brussel sprouts, cabbage and broccoli have undergone modern-day makeovers and are in hot demand in farmers markets and shops all around our island state.
Peas and carrots. Forrest Gump would have been proud. Baby carrots and snow peas are making a regular appearance at Farmers Markets and while they provide an awesome crunch straight from the stall, they also make a good accompaniment to mum’s roast lamb.
Meat. There really is something about this time of year that gets you thinking about roast lamb, beef stroganoff and other memories associated with roaring fires and red wine! Mmmm, now there’s a thought.
Whatever your choice, there is also something delicious and in season in Tassie. Just a few are listed here but you might also find roasted nuts, with a tankard of mulled cider, or a lump of aged cheddar with a wee dram of whisky could well warm you right into the Winter months. Enjoy the season.
Recipes from Luke Burgess formally of Garagistes (Sprout founding board member)
The cusp of autumn and winter in Tasmania is a window of unique fruits and vegetables that challenge us to do more than just knock up a salad or chop up an apple. It’s a time for celebrating the flowering of spring and the long growing period of many interesting root vegetables and dense leafy greens. It’s also a time for enjoying the process of cooking these things and the recipes here focus on taking the time to coax out the flavour, texture and aroma of these sometime overlooked superstars of the cold months. Be it the intense heady scent of quince cooking and releasing all the volatile compounds of aromatic blossoms or the yielding but firm flesh of a celeriac cooked on it’s own steam. Unmistakable signs of what season we are in. The recipes here are concentrating on allowing you to experience the pure flavours of each key ingredient and add your own twist to how they’re served.
Designed to encourage a fantastic way to enjoy the time spent over the stove, working in the garden or shopping at the farmers markets, but also to take from classic techniques and apply them to what this temperate island grows so well.
CELERIAC BAKED IN A SEAWEED CRUST
2 large celeriac
100 gr salt
100 gr flour
100 gr dried kelp or kombu
200 gr water
salt crust method: Blend seaweed into a powder in a food processor or spice grinder. Make the salt dough by combining all ingredients making sure the kelp is distributed evenly throughout. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest at room temp for 30 mins.
Wrapping the celeriac: Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Peel celeriac removing all dirt and skin. Unwrap the salt dough and divide into two blocks. Roll the dough out to a size that will cover the entire celeriac. Wrap the dough around the celeriac to completely cover and seal it. you may need to sculpt the edges to obtain perfect seal. It should resemble a rock and have none of the celeriac visible.
Place the celeriac on an oven tray and bake for 1 hr. To check the celeriac insert a sharp knife as you would for a roasted potato. If you encounter no resistance it’s ready. Allow to rest for 15 mins then remove the salt crust.
It’s ready to serve with any condiment or sauce you may like. My suggestion is for smoked eel or smoked trout, crème fraiche, dijon mustard or butter.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE CAKE
120 gr raw honey
15 gr olive oil
170 gr almond meal
25 gr plain organic flour
10 gr baking powder
5 gr thyme
300 gr washed + grated jerusalem artichokes
method: Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and grease a 20cm diameter shallow cake tin. Beat the eggs, sugar, honey and oil. Sift the flour, baking powder and almond meal into the egg mixture. Combine well. Add the thyme leaves and grated jerusalem artichoke to form a batter and place in greased tin to bake for 25 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin on a resting rack. Remove from tin and slice to serve with cultured butter and nice cup of tea.
1 large quince
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt
75ml mild extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
method: Peel, quarter and deseed the quince. Cut into even small pieces, place in a pan and cover with water. Cook until tender. Drain off the water and reserve at room temperature. Cut the garlic in half and mince in a mortar with the salt, the add the quince and mince until a puree is obtained. Slowly add the olive oil whilst beating it with the pestle until you have a thick and emulsified paste. Add the lemon, vinegar and honey. Season to taste. Hold in the fridge until needed. It will last 1 month in the fridge.