Chop off the bottom and chop off the top'
Now at this point, seasoned Southland gardeners will know what I have been doing this week. The rest of you will have to guess.
It's been unusual growing conditions this year. This sounds like an excuse for something that has gone wrong; not quite, it provides answers.
1. There have been alot of aphids owing to the mild weather. There is a short delay and then the ladybirds arrive en corresponding masse. Cosmetic damage only(particularly to the blackcurrants).
2. The weather has been mild, cool at nights and perhaps less sunshine hours. A -5 frost on the 12th December took out the courgettes in the garden and checked the potatoes. Most people around here just clip off the potato damage with hedge clippers.
3. The slow but steady growing conditions have really suited things like lettuce, not so much the heat lovers like yams.
Further jobs over the last few weeks have included thinning the apples, plums and blackboy peaches. The latter I probably took off 3 out of 4 as it is the first year fruiting and the branches aren't robust enough to carry alot of fruit. Apples I reduced any clusters to one and plums just nicked out what I could reach to thin them out a bit. This can apparently be done with a stick, whack whack. If I'm not careful the whole fruiting spur comes off leaving...nothing. Sharp fingernails are a good tool.
Leeks, of course. My seedlings seemed to just stand still this year. They've been so long in the pots that now they are starting to yellow off through lack of nutrient. See the beautiful dibble that has been a split wood handle in another life. The shears to choppity chop off the top few inches and reduce the roots to the same. Into the hole, a good pinch of blood and bone to give them a boost, water them in and they disappear like Alice down the hole into Wonderland. I planted the thinner ones that last year I would have tossed away, in two or three to a hole.