Bill Hankin came around last night to sit on the porch at sunset with us (after the obligatory garden tour) and to drink red wine with pesto on brown bread, various cheeses and late-season grapes.
Bill’s a real organic farmer, as distinct from your regular backyard seed-saver like me, managing a big organic property called BioPark up in Mount Barker. We’ll hear more from Bill in the next month, as I do some ghost-writing for him about his environmentally-friendly farming methods.
Bill asked why we hadn’t taken to the hedge-shears to the basil, which is flowering wildly as it runs to seed; cutting off the flower heads prolongs the picking season, and the accompanying luxury of basil pesto on our bread. (‘Pesto’ is basil leaves, rocket, almonds, olive oil, herb salt and garlic ground into a paste and covered with more olive oil in a dish to prevent it oxidising.)
And so I explained ‘bee tax’; during autumn each year I feed up the bees in grateful thanks for all the good work they’ve done for me this past growing season, pollinating all the veggies, particularly the pumpkins and zucchinis. (Bill’s looking a bit askance at the pumpkin patch here – I guess it seemed a bit mundane after I’d explained the wonders of my ‘super cloche’ - behind him - used to keep birds off the chard and silverbeet seedlings. It’s made of high-pressure gas pipe that I found beside the road…)
So here they are, the friendly little fellows, enjoying the flowers of the ‘common mint’…