I meant to do a posting about the Permaculture course I was on a couple of weeks ago but of course, life's not like that. It took me ages to "reclaim" my kitchen, sort out the garden, catch up with paperwork (Did I ever tell you that I'm Fabrice's secretary?) and just spend time with the animals. We've had loads of visitors and lots of late nights and laughs and spending time on the 'net just hasn't been possible.
I also seem to have lost the knack of taking photos, maybe it's because by the time I feel like getting out my camera the light's gone and this rainy weather hasn't helped a lot either.
One of my delights when I came back was to see how fast the loofahs have grown up the tent frame and when I looked closer I realised I have about eight which are already a good usable size. My plan is to use them as scrubbers for the kitchen and bathrooms instead of buying those spongy things - one less thing we have to buy when we go out shopping ! I can even dye them different colours and if I've enough they'll make lovely presents.
The other thing in the garden which is doing really well is Sweet Peppers. I bought a few plants early in the season and sowed far too many seeds all of which have been keeping us in peppers all summer and there will be enough to do quite a few jars for winter.
The Aubergines are ripe and we've been eating them for a while too, but they really need more heat to produce a second crop - like the tomatoes which are taking too long to ripen, although we usually manage to get a handfull every day for a salad and when there's more I make a meal based on them.
My prettiest Peppers are these black ones which I bought as young plants - they're so shiny and even black and unripe they taste quite sweet.
I also have two bought plants of another very early variety which must have produced at least 40 fruits per plant and they're still growing well. (The photo below was taken in mid-July) I imagine they're both F1 hybrids though and the seeds will be sterile - I must find that out from our neighbour Yan who sells spices on the markets and was kind enough to bring me back these very early plants as soon as he saw them for sale. I really miss my little greenhouse for starting off things - I'll sort something out for next year I hope.
Let's hope it stays fine for a while tomorrow...
This is an update to let you see how our Loofahs turned out.
I finally got about 13 decent sized Loofahs and gave some away to friends to let them clean the loofah out themselves - that way they get to keep the seeds.
Cleaning them out takes time and patience. It consists of cutting the ends off the loofah, then wetting it and squeezing it gently to get the fleshy insides out along with the seeds - pushing them gently to the ends until they plop out.
Some people wait until much later in the season when the loofahs are completely dry but I was very impatient and I've still got a few hanging on the vines which I'll experiment with after Christmas.
After they were empty of all the stuff inside them and the seeds were all removed, I washed them well and left them to dry naturally. You can bleach them but I like the natural colour and my septic tank doesn't like bleach!
I dyed a few but I've misplaced the photos and given the ones I dyed away as presents.
I'm very pleased with them and have a few around the house for wiping around the bath and washbasins and scrubbing myself with in the shower and a good few left over to last me for quite some time.
I intended to use them to do the dishes but after a couple of weeks they tend to collect bits of food and rot quite quickly so I think I'll give up on that idea.