A Week in Retrospect 2019 – Week 1 (31 August – 6 Sept)

Hello & Welcome

The first week of spring just shouts of new beginnings, doesn’t it! So, of course it was the perfect time for me to get on a roll again with my blog.

So, a warm welcome to the first new issue of “Week in Retrospect”, a gardening diary featuring herbology, horticulture and homesteading from my acre in Waikuku. I will use this forum to keep a record of my journey towards self-sufficiency, and hope that it can also serve to excite and inspire others to grow and use food and medicine plants.

For those who need a bit of background – here’s the “Introduction” to this series of blog posts.

Weather

Starting with brilliant weather early this week, Spring definitely sprung! Frosty mornings gave way to clear blue skies and sunny days – warm enough for me to wear a t-shirt in the garden. But as I write this at the end of the week, I am again donning full winter weather gear and have the fire crackling. Fickle spring!

Not that I mind, I needed something like bad weather to force me out of the new potager garden so that I could get some sowing done! And rain is always welcome.

Looking Good in the Gardens

Weather notwithstanding, spring is definitely happening in the garden. There are daffodils everywhere, peonies are starting to send up their new shoots, and most trees are full of leaf and flower buds.

Ornamentals: I’m rather pleased about a pendulous (weeping) flowering cherry that is about to burst into masses of deep pink blossoms.

Herbs: The rocket I planted a few weeks ago in the Quick-Access garden is doing what its name implies – rocketing. That’s fine though, I’ll do a new lot soon, and will let these flower and set seed so I can save some more. The rosemary is flowering too, so I get two crops for one – edible flowers, and edible leaves. I’m excited too to see the French Tarragon putting up some shoots after winter dormancy, meaning the root cutting I brought with from Auckland took and is growing well in the new garden. Same with hops, and horseradish.

Potager: The violas I planted as an edge to the Early Spring bed is full of flowers – a happy addition to my salads.

Orchard: The orchard is currently my pride and joy. I have finished with row one and it looks splendid

Daffodils
Weeping Cherry
Weeping flowering cherry
French Tarragon
French Tarragon
Viola
Viola
Orchard
Orchard

Problems

Broad Bean
Broad Bean

My broad beans, Hughes Crimson cultivar, are flowering. They’re only 15cm tall, so I was worried about this because usually my broad beans reach 1.2m before they even think of flowering. I asked around, and it seems to be a climatic thing, and most local gardeners reckon they’ll shoot off once the weather warms up a bit more. I’ll keep an eye on it though, I can’t think of a spring without broad beans!

My heirloom purple podded shelling peas are also not looking too grand… not sure why they are unhappy… still growing, but not as lush as I’d been used to.

What I've Learned

Coriander Seeds

I've found out that there’s such a thing as Indian Coriander – and it is a bit different to what we know as common, or European Coriander. Firstly, the seeds are oval – that’s how I stumbled upon this tidbit of information on a herb that I thought I knew pretty well. I found a packet of gifted seeds marked coriander, but with ovoid, not spherical seeds. This put me onto Google and I found this cultivar of Coriander which is said to grow greener, and has pronounced citrus overtones.

I’m hoping these seeds are viable, and I get some interesting plants from them – I’d love to do a real life comparison between these plants and what I have as “Slow-bolt” coriander.

How did I use my produce this week...

Fennel Seeds
Dry roasting fennel seeds for use in Caramelized Apple & Onion Pork Sausage Rolls with Fennel.
Pansy Pikelets
Edible Flowers - Pansies and Viola - on pikelets as they cook.
Rocket Leaf
Rocket Leaf adds brightness and bite to this homemade Chorizo and Sundried Tomato Pizza


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