Summer bounty

Thank goodness the Christmas rush is over, I think I spent the week before Christmas shut inside making presents. Every couple of hours I'd pop out to the garden for a walk around to refresh myself, sometimes I'd walk past a spot that needed weeding so badly I'd take a bit of time off to do so but despite that it's going to take awhile to catch up. I did however get all my Christmas presents finished including the homespun jersey which I finished sewing up at 11pm Christmas eve. Boxing Day was fabulous my brother set the net at the beach on Christmas night and we got up really early to haul it in. We didn't get the snapper that we were after but got about 20 huge paddle crabs, a rig and plenty of seaweed which I bought home for the garden, the asparagus bed will get it I think. We're spoilt for choice in the garden now, I picked 2lb of raspberries last night and have accumulated about 1lb of red currants to be made into jelly. The plum tree is providing it's usual abundance and when the kids get home from holiday they can pick a few bucketfuls to sell at the gate and for me to make sauce out of. I have dug a wee bit of garlic it's looking ok but could do with a few more weeks I think. I'm trying to find a balance between sewing for the Pokororo Fair and catching up with the garden. It's pretty important to start getting the brassicas in for autumn too.



I'm really pleased with the cover crops I put in this year, they are much nicer than bare dirt or weeds. I put in radishes, buckwheat and phacelia which is as a santuary for predatory insects. I checked it out today and I saw plenty of bees, small hoverflies and ladybugs. I have left the buckwheat to go to seed instead of digging it in as I'm keen to find out how to use it in the kitchen. The radish seed is also destined for the kitchen as a seed to sprout. I'm waiting for a free day to sew some more seeds as I want to get the autumn brassicas into the ground I've had great spring broccoli this year and aim to have a better selection available for winter. I wish I could get carrots to grow as well as the broccoli, the germination has been sparodic this spring and I've only got a small patch in the glasshouse keeping us going, any tips would be appreciated. I've tried planting just after the full moon but that hasn't been any better. Here is a sneak peek of the jersey I'm working on, it is homespun wool and the gold colour is achieved from dying with onion skins. As it is a Christmas present I better get on with it.


Sewing instead

Not much happening in my garden, with the full moon I've been reluctant to sew any seeds and the kiwifruit orchard behind us has the beehives in so the garden is full of bees, which is great for the pollination of grapefruit and raspberries but quite a hazard when walking past them or weeding. So with a market this weekend I've been whizzing up these bags.


Getting inspired

I love visiting other peoples gardens and this week I've been lucky to visit two good friends gardens, one which I keep well up to date with and another for the first time. My friend gave me a quick tour after a garage sale on saturday morning and I was amazed how much her garden had grown in a week, she has fabulous looking organic raspberries grown in her own compost and horse poo. They are well netted as she has more of a bird problem than we do. We also speculated on the peach tree which she grew from seed, she was expecting a "blackboy" but it is looking alot like a "golden queen" with no sign of leaf curl which they seem notorious for. Garden talk got me inspired to come home and feed my plants with liquid manure and put down this carpet to suppress the weeds. I also got around to potting up some lemongrass, I got the seed from www.kingsseeds.co.nz . My other friend has some fabulous mature fruit trees and the biggest goseberry bush I have ever seen, I wish I had taken my camera. Seing these trees made me come home quite excited about how mine will look in a few more years. I'd been aiming to enter some veges into the local A and P show on Sunday but had to stay home and catch up with some chores and make leather booties for a Christmas Fair next weekend. Today I managed to get five more pairs cut out so hopefully I can drag myself away from the garden to finish them before Sunday. This afternoon I did sneak out and do some weeding, I planted the last watermelon plant and some more sugar snap peas. The first raspberries are ready this week and we're eating our own broccoli, lettuce, beetroot, potatoes,peas, spring onions and strawberries. I can't wait for the tomatoes and cucumbers to be ready. I need to have another go at planting carrots this week and might sow some more brassica seeds and leeks. I have squashed alot of stink bugs in the garden but the ladybirds are taking care of the aphids quite well.


Rabbits in my Garden

Usually we live in harmony with our pet rabbits they have large enclousures and get turns to have a run around, but when one escapes there's trouble. Cottontail got out thismorning, he's our favorite boy and just wanted to visit the girls and his babies but on the way there he dug up the roots of several cucumbers which I discovered as I showed a friend around the garden. So he's now in the bad books. He use to have free range of the whole yard but would always eat seedlings as they poped up, not old brassicas we'd finished with so we put a stop to that last autumn by putting him in a cage, I felt awful but couldn't sacrifice my garden. They're beautiful pets and their poo is a great addition to the compost heap, just look how irristable these babies are too. They'll be off to visit the kids at Playcentre this week and destined for new homes at Christmas.
I haven't had much time in the garden this week as the kids and I have been sick of and on, but I did manage to pot up some wee Christmas lily seedings which I sewed in early spring. It will be interesting to see if they are true to seed, I hope so. One of my peach trees is getting alot of attention too, it has quite bad leaf curl which I've been picking off and burning though it's still growing more. My gardening friends are divided on the fate of my tree one says it will kill it and others say it'll be ok. Not wanting to use anything that's not organic I have had nettle and seaweed spray suggested, seaweed might be easier as my nettle seedlings are only little and I'm keen to make tea for myself out of them.


After the rain

I love the garden after the rain, the plants perk up and look happy and bright. I took the cloches off the melons so they could get some natural water. I have them on mounds with black plastic to keep the weeds down and cloches over them to keep them warm, after three years trying to grow them I hope I've got it right this year. I took the seedlings out of the glasshouse too, a bit of rain will often trigger them to grow. I'm waiting on some Asparagus seed and lemongrass to take off. On the down side the rain sure gets the slugs going, some beautiful " Summer Queen" lettuces are full of them and the strawberries seem to rot quickly when it's been raining. We have a rule here if you're going to eat strawberris or peas you have to weed them as you go. The kids are quick to tell tales on each other if they see someone eating and not weeding. My oldest, 13 spied the strawberry in this photo and said "bags that one", little did he know I'd eaten it not long after I took the photo.