Even the weeds look good

I haven't had time to do a lot of seed raising, planning or planting this spring, but luckily for the last six years I have established many of the herbs and fruit trees we need. Radishes, kales, beetroots, lettuces etc self seeded last autumn and are now providing us with tender salads along with the addition of a few choice self seeded weeds. I've also been indulging in some local olives and oil just to top them off.
( Just need to find a source of nice local feta to barter.)
It is interesting that Motherwort and nettle are thriving in my garden at the moment. My friend who is a herbalist once suggested to me that all the plants you need for your well being at any point in time will colonise your surroundings, this might also explain why I just cannot grow some herbs despite much persistence while others rampage out of control. The nettle is being taken as tea for the iron and vitamins, while the Motherwort is helpful for woman's cycles.

Other herbs and medicines also thriving are: Elderberry and elecampane, chickweed and calendula, comfrey and hop plant, lovage, marshmallow, borage and lemon balm. Listing those herbs makes me really think about all their properties as well and how I must "make hay while the sun shines" so to speak. The warm, windy weather is quite favourable for harvesting and drying them.
The weeds are also doing a good job of "supporting" some things I have planted. The broad beans for example don't need to be staked as they are being held upright by weeds.
The planting that I have been doing has involved planting 6 telegraph cucumbers in the tunnel house, a few, "Ahem!" F1 hybrid tomatoes in the glasshouse. Ox heart tomatoes curving round the corner of the garden path leading to the blueberries. Tomatoes and basil near the water tank. Sunflowers and Phacelia by the neighbours fence with spinach and hearting lettuces poked in the shady wet spots. The onions were a disaster, I think they were too little when I planted them out so only half have taken off. Peas look good, a few flowers showing. The red head has a very close eye on the strawberry patch after a lesson in why we don't pick the strawberry flowers for Mum, a few weeks ago.
One row of spuds in, one more trench dug and lined with comfrey.
Hope to get the Purple Cherokee tomatoes planted in the tunnel house this weekend as well as the cannelinni beans and gherkins outdoors. Have four zucchini in but have been a bit slow to plant the pumpkins and forgot to buy corn seed altogether. Will watch a friends experiment with saving corn seeds this summer with interest.
If any Kiwi's want motherwort roots, sunflower seeds or cannelinni seeds drop me a line.
I'll happily pop some in the post.


A Breath

Here goes, .............. a long deep breath before summer.

Pj needs new tap shoes and her term fees paid. Practice, practice, practice before the end of year concert.

Skatey will be off to school camp on his birthday. Trapping possums, eeling, orienteering, camp fire cooking and other adventures.

The school book and Country Fair. Fundraising for the solar heating on the new pool.

The teen will sit his exams and go on summer holiday early.

Grandpa will need help picking strawberries and peas at the farm.

I will sew for markets and events and grow a garden full of beautiful food.

Pj asked tonight " Mum when will we have raspberries and cream after dinner?"

Our future is uncertain here. But I can grow sprouts and herbs anywhere.

Mum gave me a plaque which I like:

"No matter what

No matter where

It's always home

If love is there."



Time out

I've realised that techniques I learned for observing children at Playcentre, come automatically
now and help me with interpreting what my own children need. "Notice, Recognise, Respond" is the little phrase that runs though my head.
The other day I noticed one of my children seemed upset. Recently I have learned myself that a change of scene, especially a walk to get the blood pumping can really help put things in perspective. I had no trouble convincing the other three adventurers to come. A lovely walk to a lookout through the beech trees cliff side and over to the next beach for a play, where the first thing we saw was a perfect tree for climbing. Of course once skatey jumped out of it the others wanted to as well. This is probably why I end up at the hospital with kids with broken bones. Thankfully not this time. Off to the store for an ice block and a cheered up car load of kids on the way home.


Saved seed verses bought

It's interesting to note how my own saved strain of sunflower seeds compared to a packet of bought seed of the same variety. I've been saving my strain for about 6 years. This year I only had quite a small amount of saved seed to plant because I didn't do enough collecting in Autumn, so I bought a packet. I sowed one tray from the bought seed and one tray of my own seed on the same day in the same potting mix and raised them under identical conditions.
So there they are sitting next to each other, my seed on the right is growing bigger and healthier looking plants. I am very encouraged.
Just wanted to show this good recycling idea too. We buy old ironing boards from the recycling centre for $2 each. Because they fold down flat they are ideal as market tables in summer, with a cloth over them you'd never know. Then when they get to tatty for that I use them as potting tables around the garden and in the glasshouse.
My plant tags are cut up icecream containers or venetian blinds.