It is pleasant to report that over the past five days I have not needed to use any heating at all in a Canberra May! Sunlight has been enough to keep the house very warm. This may change after the colder weather expected this weekend but it is promising.
A rough calculation shows that I grew around 30% of the food I ate in the warmer 8 months of the past year. Most of that was from vegetables grown in Summer and then stored one way or another. I am still eating zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and chilli from before the frosts. Raspberry jam from two weekends ago should last about a year. There is a kilo or more corn in the freezer and I made tomato puree that will do for a few weeks. If I am lucky I might be able to increase this percentage for next year with more garden beds and a better approach to growing corn and capsicum. What I cannot conveniently grow myself are dairy foods, cooking oil and most grains. So for the next two years I will experiment with:
- Nut trees/bushes. Hazelnut and walnut seem appropriate for this climate
- A small amount of grain crop – yet to be determined
- Starting capsicum seedlings early in the glasshouse and transplanting in October
- Starting tomatoes from seed and transplanting in November (glasshouse again)
- Growing more basil and coriander in a mini greenhouse and/or inside
- Add another 3 sq metres of garden bed for more vegetables
- Better distribution of plants so that they get more light and are less crowded
- Plan my corn two per week over 8-12 weeks so I get more over a longer period (and don’t have to pick and freeze)
Slightly exciting to plan this.