Obsessed with tomatoes

In Adelaide this time of year, anybody the least interested in cooking will be thinking of little other than tomatoes, day in and out. We have some sort of heirloom tomatoes growing out the front – whether we will get edible fruit from them, I don’t know, but the bush is happily beavering away, it’s got three stakes holding up some of the branches and it has green tomatoes in abundance.

Meanwhile, I’ve been buying heirloom tomatoes in bulk at the Wayville Farmers’ Market. Once ripe enough, I’ve been frying onions and garlic in ghee (sometimes in olive oil), adding chopped tomatoes and cooking on a low heat until they are disintegrating, and then on a high heat to thicken the sauce. During this process I add a little sugar and salt. After cooling, each batch goes into the freezer. Some will end up in pasta sauces. Some will become curries or chickpea dishes.

The sauce I’m making has a marvelous depth of taste and colour. This is partly due to the rich red, strong-fleshed tomatoes I’ve been using. But I have been adding some black tomatoes too, which I’m sure improves the colour.

What IS a ‘small’ garden?


The other day at Our Australian Gardens, I clicked on their subset ‘small gardens’, looking for inspiration, analysis, HELP! But the two gardens discussed are both huge by my standards. We live in a modern semi-detached with a small courtyard back and a slightly larger front garden. When we first bought the place the front was nothing more than succulents, unloved ones at that. We’ve taken them all out and put in flowers, trying to create something that looks pretty instead of sensible. At the same time, in our very small back, we have four citrus trees planted by the last owner and a magnolia, all along the fence, trying to create privacy screen which is pretty and useful between us and the people behind. We have a vine and flowers along the side and the vine is to do the same thing, provide privacy. It’s amazing what can fit in a small space.

We would love to see what people who are good at gardening do with such spaces – maybe it’s a contradiction in terms, maybe if you are a good gardener you just don’t get a place like ours. We’ve never gardened in our lives (we are not young either!) and so it’s all a mystery to us. We’d love enlightenment.

It seems to me that this kind of place we live in is very common in Australia and that there must be lots of people who would love to be more informed about what others do with their (truly) small gardens.

One issue that particularly pertains when  you have neighbours so close at hand as you do when you have places with shallow back yards abounding is the ways in which you can improve privacy – both visual and noise, without encroaching on sun where it may be wanted.

And finally, what should one be patient about and what should one seek for instant gratification such as advanced trees ready to plant. For people like us, we don’t have 40 years to watch trees become established. We need something quicker. But nor do we want something that looks like a quick fix….