Thursday, September 10, 2015

criminal minds

There's a couple of new things happening in the garden at the minute.
Partners in crime, here they are high-tailing it to a freshly dug patch of ground. They don't realise at all that they are pets livestock and have a mad intent to get inside. They hang around the back door in the mornings pecking to be let in, and should you or I  leave the front door open, then they are strolling the red carpet.
I'm trying to think of suitable whimsical names but whimsy arrives sideways, it isn't planned or worked out, it is bestowed.  

That's a seed potato in the foreground: my Christmas investment, a dozen red king seed potatoes.
The liberal pine needle bed is  some protection from wire-worm, and chickens ought to help with that too, eventually, when we target their browsing. I'm leaving the flowering broccoli in for wind shelter and bee forage. Yes, the weeds are part of the plan.

Nobody remembers it as a great winter but apart from the flooding, there were lots of dry, clear days.
The first morning that B borrowed a concrete drill and began to work on the garage-door footings was also the morning that our neighbour got in from A and E at 7 am after a grueling night and was trying to sleep.
It was school holidays so we cut work,  managed to unplug a teenage boy from his computer, and went to the beach.
The little barbecue has just enough oomph to boil the coffee pot after the sausages are done, very well done today....

Long Beach in winter, it could easily be summer, never a crowd.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


There was a gap between taking the photos, and the writing of it this week, and I've already moved on to other things, but let me dredge my mind. Why did I take these photos?
The cucumbers seemed like a greater triumph, for some reason, than tomatoes and basil; all three are amazing just because they are home grown. How often do I say that?
Even the grotty tomatoes make  pasta sauce that has no comparison to one made with a can of tomatoes and  the slug-chewed sunburned basil becomes delicious pesto. I know, if you are reading a gardening blog I am preaching to the converted.


The timer is a reprimand. I popped the sprinkler on in the tunnel house, flouting watering restrictions because the job is so tedious... but then I forgot. 
If the ground reaches saturation point within 1/2 hr, and the water flow was say, 2 litres a minute, how many litres ran down,  the "River Driveway"  for the next 2 hours?
B retrieved a timer out of the garage, a commendable feat in itself, without saying anything, another commendable feat, and taped it to the hose.

I was given 3 different strawberry varieties this year that I am keen to trial. First step is multiplication.  Just the one runner so far for Type A, but A comes highly recommended for big red fruits; in a rare bit of top-class care, I have tucked the progeny into a snug little punnet of potting mix. Grow strong little one.

Now this is a conundrum. The fejoia is 'Unique' I think, suggested for this climate, but I don't understand how something that is flowering right now, can produce fruit on the cusp of the season like this. I may have to move the pair of them; I wanted them to sit nicely in front of the compost bins but they seem to be telling me that their needs are not the same as mine. I'm listening but I'll give it another year in case they come around. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

fear factor

The distance between what I envisage for the garden, and what is actually there, has never seemed so great. Part of the problem is all the ideas on hold that are milling around in my mind; but it is so dry and to move a plant right now is to lose a plant, or at least set it back some. 
And then there is the mid-season disappointment as it becomes fully apparent what is faring well and what isn't. Silly really, it's not a competition and my little carrots taste just as good as big ones would; they are just following a different trajectory. 
In a world post-NCEA results, where plans for the schooling year are being made, it's good to remember that life is not a competition and there are many trajectories.

One of the chickens got out yesterday and she had a wonderful time scratching amongst these plants, broccoli inter planted with pak choi.  They are the follow-on from the garlic. It's a lovely transition, and an accomplishment, to have plants ready to go in as spaces become available.
In this instance the plants are my solar battery, harvesting the warmth and sunshine to draw on later.

There's a handful of blood and bone each and some scraggy compost; a big part of gardening, and cooking for that matter, is gathering and replenishing  your resources so that they are available when you need them.

The leeks I planted in December have all gone up to seed so I have planted more as the potatoes are lifted.
Some potatoes you dig, others you lift; and then there's bandicooting.

Today  it crossed my mind, will the garden ever be up and running or am I just making excuses. I remembered that garden makeovers are not my style. I really enjoy the process and potential and it is not a race. Come to think of it, the NCEA student has just endured my talk to that effect in the car; I love a captive audience. 
A family friend asked this son recently "What would you do if you couldn't fail?"
I think that idea is a good one for envisaging what I want in the garden. "If I could do anything what would I do?"
Let's see what unfolds...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

glasshouse envy and brag shots

Greetings from the sunny south. 
For the record, I am growing the runner beans in the tunnel house and what a success. 
However, as is often the way, it may be a trade off. The little cucumber beside them is possibly suffering from their success. 
Cucumbers really need the hottest sunniest spot and were I to achieve a glasshouse in the near future, these things can happen unexpectedly sometimes, I would put the cucumber in it. 
Meanwhile I am reluctantly buying cucumber. 

It's been the year of the strawberry. These things have assured their priority status forever. You guys can keep that sunny spot and I promise to take care of your progeny forever, well next year anyway if I need to replace you (No need to broadcast it but I already have some runners on the go from other varieties).

Rust on the broad beans. It appeared really quickly, right after I had the sprinkler on . Once the foliage starts to break down like this there's not going to be any growth so I've cut my losses. The beans are already blanched and in the freezer. 
They were in a bit late and are best in November when there is less in the garden for eating. 
Note to self, plant beans by Anzac Day. 

Well that's how it looked a day ago. suddenly my garden is looking bare. 
It's been really dry but we had a big rain on New Year's Eve. I was weighing up the benefit of the extra rain bulking up the bulbs over the potential for the moisture to degrade the skin. If the bulb doesn't store well it doesn't matter how big it was. 
Caution won the day. Garlic is hanging in the shed.
 Note to self, plant twice as much next year. 
I got a bonus bucket of new potatoes from amongst the broad beans. From memory it was a new variety called Highlander that I planted in January for Easter new potatoes. 
I'm glad I let them co-mingle. Usually I pull rogue potatoes out.

Incidentally the potatoes had very little wire worm which I attribute to the pine needles. 
Wire worm have a selective palette and seem to also like our favourite red kings over other varieties.
Well all this success is going to my head. Next post I must include a few 'when plants go bad' photos...if I can find some.