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Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

Planting garlic at jacican

Some days at the moment the sun is shining and even though it's cool, you can still get outside and do some gardening. Somewhere I heard that garlic has to be planted before the winter solstice, so outside I am on a fine day making sure that happens. Garlic is one thing that I plant every year under and around the cherry, peach and apricot trees as companion plants. Each year when I pull out the crop, I invariably miss a couple of bulbs, so I like to keep it contained to the same garden bed for that reason.

A selection of garlic varieties

This year I have sown eleven varieties of Diggers seeds garlic

Garlic bulbs ready to go in  Garlic bulbs in the ground

Pictured is a bulb called "Dynamite" - one of the largest and hottest garlics in the collection. It was very easy to plant: make a whole with your fingers; stick in a clove, root end first, and cover with dirt. Done!

Seaboard helping in the garden

Just remember thourgh, that one of the most important things to do while you are gardening is to throw the ball for the helper, so keep repeating this as you go along.

Now I just have to wait until November for the garlic to flower and be ready for harvest and drying. Then there's garlic for the restaurant for another year... if the helper doesn't dig it all up.

Blueberry Burst ready for planting

I am trying to get ahead with the 2015-2016 growing season, so before the cold (well, cooler than it is already) weather sets in, I am trying to plant out some of the edible landscape.

Even though I have about 1800 m2 of garden to play with (which is about the size of three suburban house blocks), I am very conscious of the amount of space a plant takes up and how large it will become. For this reason, I chose to plant dwarf blueberries - Blueberry Burst. According to the PlantNet website, Blueberry Burst has these qualities: "...extremely large fruit size, high yielding, early season flowering and early season harvest". It is suggested that the fruit size will be at least three times bigger than the other blueberry varieties available. As I am in a cooler area, I should expect a harvest around August/September over a three to four month period. I am looking forward to this.

The blueberry in the ground  Adding some lime on the blueberry

Each plant only grows to 1m x 75 cm, so I planted four plants. I was told that blueberries like the soil a little bit sweet and to therefore give them a feed of lime - which I did.

Blueberries planted in the garden

Now let's wait until August to see if we have any fruit.

Keep gardening.  Jaci

I tried growing artichokes for the first time this year. I followed the instructions on the packet - sow in the spring, keep the water up (essential as we haven't had a lot of rain lately) and postion in full sun. The main garden is to the rear of the property, but the front yard is north facing and in sun most of the day.

Turns out, the front yard is the perfect spot for growing artichokes! We've had a few unseasonably warm days in Mirboo North and they have thrived on the heat. This variety is Imperial Star (I think), brought from Diggers.

An artichoke growing at Jacican

The next question is... what to cook with them?

Jaci

Meet Chicken Number 1.

Meet chicken number 1

A few months ago I noticed she wasn't hanging out with her friends as much. She was in the coop, on her own - a lot.

This has happened before - quite a few times - and it's a sign from her that she's broody. She wants to be a mum -I thought about setting up at Tindr account for her to find the rooster of her dreams.

The only trouble with this is we have no rooster (hey, we live in town, so I'm sure the neighbours will thank us for that decision). I put out the call for some fertilized eggs - luckily, Chicken Number 1 isn't fussed that they aren't actually her eggs. I got the eggs, she settled in, and three weeks later...

Baby chickens

Seven of them!

 

Chicken Number 1 with her babies

Chicken Number 1 is now hard at work teaching her babies how to be chickens. There are lots of lessons in scratching dirt, making appropriate chicken-like noises and in following mum about (they're still working on that one).

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