Permaculture in Action

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hit the Ground Running

This is what happens when you take your eye off the ball....

Our mandala garden has turned into a jungle.

Mark and Chris, our WWOOFer have been working hard to clean it up.
We've had a lovely rest over the Christmas / New Year break. We both got books for Christmas and I didn't feel one bit guilty reading in the middle of the day, and I got some sewing done as well. But now it's time to get back in to work mode once again. We have been blessed with cool wet weather over the past few weeks and the garden has become quite overgrown. Thankfully a WWOOFer has turned up and he and Mark have been very busy taming the jungle, using all the weeds to make a compost heap.

There has also been a lot of activity in the kitchen preserving the summer bounty. Zucchini and duck eggs are very abundant at the moment so Mark has been making chocolate zucchini cakes to freeze... abundance of Purple King beans.... freeze. Placed in boiling water for 1 minute (Blanched)...

..then immersed in iced water...

notice how they have changed colour from the hot water
...and placed in bags in meal sized portions for freezing...

I use a straw to suck the air out of the bag
And we got a couple of trays of organic mangoes for a good price and we spent a good part of a day preserving them using our Fowlers vacola bottling gear....

Peel the mango, slice and place in jar

Add syrup. we use a light syrup of 1 cup sugar to 3 cups water

Using a bamboo skewer  to remove air bubbles

Add the lid

and the clip

And place in the water bath. We were 3 jars short so preserved some berries at the same time.
The jars are covered with water and heated for 1 3/4 hrs.. We just had to taste some when they had cooled and they were delicious!

I am grateful that we are able to take WWOOFers( Willing Workers On Organic Farms) who can help Mark on the farm, as at this time of year I seem to spend more and more time in the kitchen preserving our produce and less and less time helping Mark in the garden.


  1. Oh welcome back, Kate!! Nice to 'hear' from you again! I had a feeling you've been very busy in the garden - I know just how it is........ One minute everything is looking lush and green and the next it all looks like a verdant jungle!!
    Lovely to have you back!

  2. The mangoes look wonderful Kate. Do you use a reference for processing times for different produce? The information from different sources seems so varied, and from what I've read is changing all the time as more research is done. Being a newbie to this preserving stuff, I'm terrified of killing someone with my canning.


  3. It never stops, does it?! At least everything looks very productive. Good soil and water by the looks of things! I love all that wonderful food you're preserving.

  4. I use the Fowlers Vacola Preserving book as reference for processing times. It is a relatively new edition and has new times and temperatures. it also has a problem solving section which helps to take away some of the fear for me.

  5. Happy New Year Kate! It looks like y'all have been very busy. I am a little envious of all your fresh bounty, but honestly am ready for a little break too.
    Today I will be juicing oranges for the freezer as my husband plants thousands of onions. Our cabbages are just about done as is the broccoli. Collards we keep all through the winter and I just pick as needed.
    There is always something to do isn't there? It nice that you found time to read and sew, those are important activities too!
    Have fun.

  6. I was so glad to read this post as our garden was looking equally unkempt at the moment! Nice to know even you can let things go from time to time!!

  7. Thanks Kate. I'll have to find myself a new edition.