Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reach for the Sky

Temperatures in Brisbane ran about 25 degrees every day and I came home to snow. Everybody complained as they got off the plane in Dunedin but it is spring and this is spring weather. Now we are preparing for THE BIG STORM. The lambs are wearing little coats and newly shorn stock are being brought in to shelter.

There was a progaramme on TV in Autralia, called, say Letters and Numbers. The winner consistently created the longest words out of a random selection of letters. If you want to share the fun, todays letters are E E A O I L T T (and Jen, it is not toilet).

I've achieved a massive seed credit with Otepoti Seed Savers so on top of my modest order, Bart sent another dozen or so packets to try. My own selection seems boring in that it is carefully considered on a practical level, trying to please everybody and not pushing the growing boundaries. I really enjoy trying out these surprise items. Cue the unrelated photo. (I have a feeling that text and photos are not going to align this week.) Below, enjoying the experience of a Polyanthus potting success story; just the one. The tub still has its plug.

There is a certain ignition point in the growing year when everything seems to take off. It happened while I was away and suddenly my red onion sets have become spring onions. We'll use them as such and go on to plan B, C, D, E...Things often don't go exactly to plan.
This week is planting week so I'm sowing seed for the hardier things and early glasshouse crops: Leeks 'Frosty Morning', more tomatoes, Black Krim and 'Heather's' (gifted seed), Zuchinni Striato D'Italia, Lettuce 'Rubin', Dill, Celery 'Crunchy Dwarf', Parsely 'Coastal Otago', Spinach 'Pounamu' ,Broccolli 'Multi Cropper'. I'd like to get the Sugar Snap peas in too but that requires a little bit of site preparation...

The first tomato seed is potted up and this year I have constructed a little fleece tent in the glasshouse. At night I pull over some bubblewrap for extra warmth. The days are not necessarily cracking 10 degrees here let alone at night. I suspect that the later plantings will quickly catch up with these because of the warmer temperatures.

In the other glasshouse I've rogued out the potatoes. The bits and bobs from last years crop come up a few weeks earlier than the intentional seed so it is easy to pick them out now to clear the ground for the legitimate crop. Potatoes will grow from the smallest scrap but they won't produce a good crop.

The tomato seedlings on the left were on top of a high cupboard and when I got home they were stretched and pale and reaching for the sun: ETIOLATE -to make a plant pale by excluding light.
I've got plenty of other seed (photo on right) so I won't use them. I read a book called Hands-On Agronomy while I was away and Mr Kinsey reminded me of the concept of the 'growing highway'; of as much as possible, creating an uninterrupted trajectory of growth. I didn't have enough grasp of the science to take it all on board but the book was all about establishing the correct mineral balance as the starting point for your soil. It's a farmer's book really; it could be a litmus test on how serious you are about gardening or an indication of peaceful hospital moments, sitting by a sleeping patient's bedside.
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  1. must be the night for blogging - just updated mine. hope the lambs etc survive ok. it's stormy up here too, think the garden will be okay, although waiting for the inevitable power cut. all your growing is looking very impressive. i've cleaned up the greenhouse at the kids school, and figured they won't mind/notice a few extras snuck in here and there.

  2. Those lambs are just adorable all dressed up in yellow! I have to say, toilet was the first word I saw there. Must be a family thing, cos I can see mum seeing that too. Hope the big storm is kind! Ive heard it's supposed to cause horrendous winds in Wellington but what's new.

  3. I love the little lamb coats - such a good idea! The word I made was "loitee" as in a person who loiters. I'm sure there's no such word, and if I had noticed toilet I'm sure that would have been my first choice, too.

  4. I'm glad to see the little lambs tucked up in their coats. Hope you guys are doing okay in the storm - I hear the snow is falling thick and fast! Just what you want for spring.

  5. the words I saw were eat a lot which actually is more than one word and uses more than one a. SO hows that for thinking only of food.

    ALas my garden malingers. Nothing done or doing for a while yet.

  6. I saw toilet first off, of course I did. Then "A toilet", but once I saw etiolate I thought "why didn't I think of that"? That's a word that I know and love. I come across it quite regularly in my line of work.
    Sylvie is down with the pox now, she has it reaaaaal bad, poor little sausage.
    Love J