Garden notes

August has been full on with the weather and all the birthdays. I did my seed sowing earlier in the month with the first quarter of the moon. Alot of those seedlings are up and looking pretty healthy. We had a good spring rain this weekend quite warm and wet. I put all the seed trays out in the rain as rain is better for them than being watered by the hose. I think they get nitrogen from the rain?

While the "red head" was at Montessori this afternoon I potted on corn cockle, Phacelia, cornflowers and statice from their seed trays to punnets. They all help attract the beneficial insects into the garden. I separated and planted out some parsley and lettuces, then potted up my beefsteak tomatoes. My back gets sore at this time of year from bending over the seedlings and bringing them in and out of the glasshouse so they harden off. If you put them straight from the window sill or glasshouse to the garden the wind and cold is too much of a shock.I put some sweet peas into the garden too, scented plants remind me alot of my grandmother's garden. She had Winter sweet, Daphne, Freesias, Violets, Hyacinths, and Roses. I think of her when I smell any of those.

Kez asked me about frost cloth.It helps in spring to stop the frost killing plants. It's a loosely woven, white, light cloth which we get in our garden centres. We need to start alot of our more tender plants under it and things like young avocados and citrus spend the whole winter underneath it. In my old garden we used fronds of a native? fern commonly called "pig fern" draped over things to protect from frost. It was more aesthetically pleasing than the frost cloth.

The family sit on the sun room steps eating fruit and throwing the stones into this skinny wee garden next to the neighbours driveway. I let this apricot grow from seed and have espaliered it's branches about 3meters along the fence. This is it's 3rd or 4th winter and this year for the first time it has a couple of blossoms at the end of it's branches.

Giant red mustard, just because it looks so good.


Thank you : )

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I feel a bit embarrassed really because I've been a bit of a non blogger lately, with pretty vague posts, no pictures and not alot of commenting. So I really appreciate people taking time to send me good wishes.

Take a peek at what else I got for my birthday. Beautiful spring/summery retro fabrics.

I've been making an effort to get some bags made:
This one though was cut out before winter out of an old wool skirt. I need to get cracking on some spring time ones now.

I've sort of been pottering in the garden in between working and trying to practice positive parenting. I planted some early seed potatoes which I plan to cover with frost cloth when they pop up, I put in some carrot seed, ever the optimist that one day I'll have a really good crop of carrots. I'm still holding off on planting alot of seed, the hardy herbs and sunflowers have popped up as well as the tomatoes and peppers on the window sill. I've been enjoying reading the New Zealand Gardener magazine lately the collector edition book at Christmas really got me hooked. The monthly magazine suggests to soak the glasshouse for a week to get rid of salts that might build up in the soil. I'm giving that a try as last year the glasshouse plants didn't take off very well and that might be why.


From the universe

In the free box at the op shop, a birthday present for me.

35 feels good.


Snow, tra la la

I guess I should have known that as soon as I posted my tra la la spring post we'd be hit by a huge snowy winter blast. L wasn't able to make it over the "Hope saddle" to get back to work because it was closed with 2 ft of snow for three days. Friends in Murchison said they hadn't seen it this heavy for thirty years.
Aside from the cold, the wet and the fear that the shed roof was going to blow off, life carried on as usual.
I feel grateful to have:
a shed still half full with dry wood,
celebrated 15 years of motherhood,
some seedlings coming up in the glasshouse,
a night out at a book party and laughing till my sides hurt,
a Mum who works all week then saves my sanity by having the two littlies for the night,
apricot blossoms so close to popping,
and 10 chooks laying 9 eggs a day.


Spent the week sowing seeds, skipping spring is in the air and swearing at the chook that got in the garden.


Growing in the kitchen

At a recent seed swap with friends I was also given some Kefir grains. You use them to make a fermented milk drink which is good for your digestive system. I didn't know much about it and let my first lot perish somehow, so now with a fresh batch of grains I'm determined to keep it growing this time. Here's some info I found on growing Kefir , but I'd love to have advice from anyone else who's using it. My friend didn't tell me to wash the grains each time so hopefully that is where I've gone wrong. The ever suspicious and fussy kids are not keen on the taste but I plan to sneak it to them in fruit smoothies as summer comes. My friend told me the Kefir is something that should be given, not sold so if I can keep mine alive I'd be happy to share with anyone who wants to try it. I see there are plenty of people offering it for sale on "Trade me" and through the web if you're further away.

Again I'm wishing I had a goat or cow to milk, maybe I spend too much energy in wishing and not enough time in making things happen!