Harvesting macadamia nuts

macadamsia-nuts

Macadamia nuts are the queen of nuts and I love them. I have wonderful memories of whiling away the hours cracking nuts from the tree in my backyard. I used to gather up the nuts and crack them and eat fresh or add into pesto. Any that were crushed too much in the cracking process were fed to my chickens who absolutely loved them. These chickens were spoilt as at the time I worked on a blueberry farm and used to bring home the blueberries with the caterpillars in them. They would gobble them up as quickly as they could. They had the shiniest coats and were incredibly healthy. They laid the nicest eggs I think I will ever eat ever again.

Moving to Adelaide I lamented the loss of living in a subtropical zone. More so for the loss of knowledge of plants. When I looked at the landscape then I could read it like a book. Its plants were like characters where the names, history and relationships were known. It was a happy day when I found out Macadamia’s grew on the Adelaide Plains and even better when I found a few growing on public land. Macadamia trees are a good contender for a guerilla gardening plant and would be cheirshed by other foragers for many years to come.

The nuts start dropping to the ground from late March to September. In the lead up to the season the tree will start dropping baby nuts and some mature nuts. The nut needs to be taken out of the husk as soon as possible so it doesn’t get damaged. You don’t need to cut the husk, just wait for the green husk to split open then remove. I put them in a basket in a warm spot to speed up the husk splitting open.

Put them back in the basket in the warm spot until they rattle around inside the shell and then they’re ready to crack open. Use a hammer to crack the nut open on a surface with a little indentation so the nut doesn’t roll away while cracking. If you have a regular steady supply then it would be worth investing in a purpose built macadamia nut cracker.

Garlic

garlic

I love garlic so I decided to grow my own last year. I got some great tips from a friend who grows about half a ton each year to supply some of the local organic shops. First I had to work out how much we eat each year. We eat at least one bulb a week and thought we could  grow extra to give some to family as gifts. Also grow extra to have plenty of seed (cloves) for next years planting.

I thought 80 should be enough. To get 80 plants I needed 80 cloves. For better results it’s important to start with organic bulbs. The non organic bulbs have usually been treated with a sprout inhibitor which will stunt the growth. Garlic gets planted on the Adelaide plains at Easter and is harvested at Christmas.

I prepared the soil well by adding heaps of compost, manure, and gypsum for my heavy clay soil. I planted the cloves in rows 15 cm apart, pointy side up and twice as deep as the clove. Then I watered in. After they sprouted I laid lucerne hay between the rows to stop the weeds coming up. I didn’t water much as they can rot. We get plenty of winter rains on the Adelaide plains but I did water a few times as the weather warmed up.

The garlic is ready to harvest when the stalks start to die back. I used a small garden fork to gently pry them out of the ground. Keep the dry stalks intact to use for plaiting them for storage. Hang in a place in the house with good ventilation and no direct sunlight as it will keep longer.

Keep the best bulbs aside as your seed stock for next year.