The spring weather the last two weeks have hindered gardening efforts (the word “appalling” comes to mind, but I know better than to insult Mother Nature!). Periods of warm and sunny weather promises productive days in the garden, but I’m quickly chased back inside with gusts of wind, bouts of hail and torrents of rain.
Inside. Which is exactly where your warmth-loving summer crops should still be – especially if you are in the colder parts of our beautiful country. I know we are tempted to put them out, and by all means do – if you have checked and double checked YOUR OWN micro-climate, or have enough seeds and seedlings to play around with. I confess to have beans in the garden and even a zucchini (or two!) and will probably plant my first 8 heirloom tomatoes very soon too. But I’m in a warmer area, the raised beds warm up nicely, night-time lows are not often under 11C, there’s wind shelter, and we don’t often get frost (not even in mid winter). So I feel confident enough.
Temperamental weather and me nursing my twisted ankle, meant that not a lot went on in the garden and the nursery this past fortnight, but it never really stands dead-still, so here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to:
In my garden
A lovely archway got put into my bee and butterfly garden (also my driveway verge garden), creating a natural entryway to my garden from the road. I’m excited to plant my sweetpeas over it this season, and perhaps get a climbing rose over it next year. It’s about time I planted out some of the (10) punnets of sweetpeas I had sown – they desperately need to go to ground now.
Cosmos seashells mix have gone into that garden too, and some more poppies and calendula.
Borage is flowering profusely all over my garden where they self-seeded. Absolutely fantastic for all the bees that are now starting to zip and zoom around the garden. I’m still looking at getting a hive or two for my garden as well – more on that hopefully by next week!
And just yesterday a whole new 2m strip was dug out for me to fill up with flowers and herbs! Just love a new blank space!
The vegetable garden has a new raised bed added – a friend saw one for “free” alongside the road and promptly picked it up for me, knowing I’d love it and have a good use for it (don’t you just love good friends like that?!). Amazingly that solves exactly the space needs I had after planning my garden for spring and summer. The rest of the raised beds are getting cleared one by one, with compost and manure added and left to rest – ready to be planted up in the next week or two.
Like I said above – I did plant zucchini and have my Takamatua Black-seeded scarlet runner beans in already. I’ve also planted 8 more Hughey’s Crimson broad beans – the first 8 starting to form beans now already. Hopefully this extends my season enough to have a good continuous harvest of gorgeous broad beans. There’s some more heritage beans that beg to be sown, but I’m just not sure where I’ll have space for them – especially if I would like to make sure they don’t cross pollinated with my other pole beans…
Heritage tomatoes are coming along very strongly – and still more seeds have been sown to have a later fruiting crop too. The chillies are just about ready for their new potted homes, I might just wait a little bit longer before putting them into the ground. Excited about the new varieties I have, and naturally, some of the old favourites will feature too.
The orchard is doing great in early spring – my apricot has gotten all its leaves (so no blossoms again this year…. but at least the leaves are healthy and show no leaf-curl), the fig has new leaves, my kumquat has spurted masses of new growth, and the lemons are forming flower buds. My finger lime is also showing fresh new growth – and hopefully we’ll have some fruit from it this year! I eventually caved in and got my columnar crab apples, we all knew I would in the end, didn’t we?
My red currant has finally shown growth! I just adore these little red jewels, and am very glad I’ve got a chance of having another quaint little harvest from my small currant bush again this year.
In the nursery
Seeds of Passionfruit – Black Beauty are coming up, nothing yet on the Red Banana Passionfruit, but I’ve had success with these before, so patience is key. I have more Butterfly plant (Asclepias currasavita) coming up, as well as Swan plant (Asclepias fruticosa). More scabiosa and zinnia has been put into seed trays too – adding to the Monarch butterfly feeding grounds.
I’ve had ONE of the cosmos chocolate seeds come up… and die down… so that was an expensive exercise that bore no success. Maybe I’ll try it again some other time.
Zucchini Custard White, Zucchini Fiorentino, Zucchini Black Beauty and Zucchini Cocozelle have all decided to pop up and will be ready for markets (and my garden) in a few weeks. Unfortunately my Rampicante Zucchini which was a favourite last year, has not come up at all, and my seeds are all done. Perhaps a reason to plan a new seed order (snigger-snigger). So far there is no life on the long-neck dipper gourds I sowed, and also not the snake gourds. But I have croockneck squash poking green leaves through the soil!
Seedlings of red tamarillo, purple shiso (beefsteak plant) and red rubin basil are looking strong and healthy – ready for the next set of potting up.
What I’ve used
I was ecstatic when a neighbour knocked on my door asking if they may use some of the rosemary in my garden for their roast. Sharing is caring, and I truly believe that your excess should be free to your neighbours and friends!
In case you missed it – I made kawakawa balm (admittedly not from my own garden, but foraged with permission from a nearby forest), and that worked a treat in helping to heal my twisted ankle! Here’s a post and recipe on that: http://meadowsweet.co.nz/2017/09/13/kawakawa-balm/
I also upped my intake of golden milk (Turmeric Tea) to help fight the inflammation that came with the twisted ankle.
My herb group made smudge sticks – which I enjoyed very much!
I also baked quarter chickens on a bed of lemon and freshly harvested herbs from the garden.