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We have just returned from a magical few days down at Sambo’s farm.

The New Years Eve dinner tables were painstakingly built (between glasses of spritz) by the boys and decorated with quince branches by Angele, Olive, Jane and me. Dinner at sunset was followed by performances in the theatre and lots of dancing.

The rest of our days were filled with trips to the waterfall and the gorge to cool ourselves in the summer heat with 30 of us comically spread across two utes to travel, watching movies under the stars with everyone piled on mattresses in front of the projector, and eating an unimaginable amount of food prepared with so little fuss by Que and her team of mates.

To old friends and new, and most importantly Sam, Kali and Rupert, thank you for such a great escape.

   Photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

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Growing from seed is pretty rewarding stuff. I’ve grown tomatoes for a long time as they are super easy. I have yet to master the art of saving seeds, but I have a few books on the subject so am hoping to learn. When we were down at the old farm awhile back my ex boyfriend’s mother and I attempted to save some heirloom tomato seeds but we didn’t get the process right. It still looked pretty.

Seeds

The proper way to save tomato seeds:

  • Choose the best ripe fruit from the best plant
  • Scoop out the seeds and jelly membrane into a clean container
  • Add a small amount of water
  • Partially cover the container and leave in a warm place out of direct sunlight to allow fermentation
  • After a few days remove the foamy mould on the top and then thoroughly rinse the seeds
  • Lay seeds out and allow to dry for roughly a week
  • Store in an envelope in a dry dark place

The Backyard Farmer has an illustrated guide if you need more info.

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My brother and sister in law bought me a bunch of lovely heirloom seeds which I first planted in rich seed raising soil in protected little containers, and then transferred to the ground at the old farm and Nonno’s.

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Unfortunately most things I planted at the farm got eaten by bugs and rabbits, but my beans did really well, and I was able to fill my hat to the brim with crunchy green beans.

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All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

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