Garden update: ripening fruit, pickling peppers, and caterpillars

After a few weeks away on holiday, we were interested to see how our garden would be. My parents looked after it whilst we were gone, but with barely any rain there was not surprisingly a couple of casualties: a Banksia spinulosa dwarf that I had put in recently died and my Xerochrysum bracteatum ‘Dargan Hill Monarch’ is on its way out.

There were six bright red tamarillos on the tree (the first crop we have ever had) and plenty of yellow chillis (also referred to as peppers), capsicums and jalapenos to harvest. We were also delighted to find quite a few raspberries ready for picking; something we were not expecting as we had only planted it in spring last year.

A tamarillo almost ready for picking

One thing I have noticed since having a productive food garden is the need to learn ways of using the produce regularly and learning how to preserve what we won’t eat straight away. We had so many jalapenos and yellow chillis in our garden that I had to find a recipe to pickle them. I found this pretty popular recipe and hope that it will work out well. The great thing was that it was easy to do.

Pickled peppers
Pickled yellow chillis

We also recently discovered a couple of caterpillars on our grapefruit tree that I had never seen before. I was very quickly able to identify them as caterpillars of the Dingy Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio anactus), which is native to Australia but originally used native citrus as their food plants. Not surprisingly, with so many citrus trees in people’s backyards, they have done well spreading into new territories.

Dingy Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio anactus)
Dingy Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio anactus) on our grapefruit tree

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