Hanging tomatoes & lemongrass sauce

It's International Permaculture Day today, but we couldn't host our planned tour due to imposed restrictions. Instead I will post about our recent preparation for Winter in harvesting certain things before the first frost and doing a few other preventative measures.

Firstly, I pulled out and hung up many tomato plants in the carport to prolong their availability (Thanks Milkwood). We could preserve them by turning them into sauce, but we like to keep eating them for as long as possible as a fresh fruit. It's quite a long time before we will eat them fresh again.

Secondly, I harvested a large clump of lemongrass. This involved using secateurs to cut the stalks off at ground level and then trimming them up. We are after the non-fibrous centre white part that is then chopped up small, blended with olive oil and water, and then cooked uncovered for a few hours on the woodstove (water needs to evaporate off). It has some garlic, chilli, and coriander added for flavouring before blending. It's bottled into jars and then one to three teaspoons are used for Thai/some Asian dishes throughout the year. One should wait at least 6 weeks after bottling for the fibre to further soften. We didn't need to keep the leaves for drying for herbal tea as we already had plenty. All the leaves and stalks are left on top of the clump as a mulch frost protection over the Winter.

Other prep involved draining the water out of the solar collector for the outdoor shower. We now will shower indoors with hot water heated by the woodstove (or gas on the days we don't light it). We put a frost cloth cover over the newest citrus tree to give it a little more protection for its first Winter here. We also harvested all the remaining watermelons - it has been a bumper season with both red and yellow ones being abundant and delicious. We repaired some holes in the greenhouse plastic - it's been 5 years so far and we were told by the shop that it would last 4 years, so it's doing well. We now close the door at around 3pm each day and open again at 9am. This extends the warmth and things grow well. I have my usual cuttings in pots and Evita has grown some lovely greens.