Week in Retrospect 2019 – Week 2 (7 Sept – 13 Sept)
Full steam ahead with my garden diary / inspiration blog. If you've missed the beginning, feel free to check out the Introduction, and last week's first edition - Week 1.
It was propagation week this past week according to the Lunar Planting Calendar, so I did loads and loads of sowing! It was a good de-cluttering exercise too – I planted most of my really old seed, ones I got or saved as far back as 2014! We’ll have to wait and see what comes up, and if they don’t, it’s no real loss, because it unburdened a bit of my seed stash, and I can make space for more new and interesting (fresher) seeds.
This led to me perusing many a seed catalog, and not only the ones available in New Zealand… Oh my! There’s some really stunning herbs and vegetables out there in the world – Blue Keyes Tomato (go Google it!) and Black Thai TQ Chilli has stolen my heart this week! Not to even speak of the chillies… pumpkins… eggplants…
But while there’s import restrictions on seeds, and I’m not quite set up to be an importer (yet), I had to make do with local suppliers, and even though I have thousands of seeds in my seed collection, of course, I still found quite a few things I’d like...
This Week's Weather
Typical spring weather continues with cold days where the maximum does not reach above 8C, and really hot days where it rockets over 18C. We had some rain, some frost, some light winds and some lovely sunny days too. It’s a roller-coaster ride!
But the plants seem to know what to do, even with the ups and downs and there’s so much springing into action now!
Looking Good in the Garden
The violas and pansies are looking simply delightful! I’ve grown a selection of violas all around the edge of my early spring garden bed (the one with peas, lettuces, broad beans and some kale). Miya and Leia (my daughters) have had endless fun picking them for fairy salads, for food parcels for the guinea pigs and bunnies, edible bits for themselves, and as “nature paint”. They even hammered a few flower designs on paper.
I’m very excited by all the buds on my fruit trees (except the plum – I hope it is not going to feature as a “problem” in one of my blogs…). I am learning so much about the different stages and types of buds on apples and pears. A tip - don’t search for “Apple bud” on Google… it comes back with some kind of in-ear headphones for Apple devices. And on the same note, if you search anything “blackberry”, make sure you qualify it with adding “plant” to the search terms!
The dahlias are also starting to make a show for it! Of all the bigger named dahlias I planted so far (from tubers I brought with from my old place), seven have come up already. Two has yet to show their new growth, and sadly one of these is my star performer of last season – Penhill Watermelon. I do so hope she is just a bit of a late sprouter…
Here's some more blooms and buds from this week:
I've got chooks! I was very lucky to be given two fully grown chickens - not even a year old. I'm really in love with these poofy little black shiny Pekin Bantam hens with their feathery feet!
Also, my quail started laying! Whoohoo! Only one egg a day for now, hopefully the other hens get their lay on soon.
Roses… I’m very saddened by the fact that, of the six Matthew’s roses I bought for my new home, only the Cappucino is thriving… Heaven Scent is to all my knowledge dead, as is Sweet Dreams. Veilchenblau has one or two little red buds which I’m hoping will actually eventually become proper growing bits, and the same with Kiwi. Felicia isn’t dead, but she’s sure not thriving either… I really don’t understand it as they are planted in the exact same way and in the same garden bed as two roses I got from the clearance section at Mitre10 (Jubilee Celebration and Spiced Coffee) and three Warehouse barerooted roses (barely a stick when I bougth them) – Scent to Remember, Roayal Dane, and Pascali, as well three roses I brought with from Stanmore Bay (My Mum, Scentimental and Blackberry Nip…
I’ve never had issues with their roses before, but as they have been treated the same as all the others, and are the only ones not thriving, I’m wondering if I should write them an email?
Sowing, Planting, Growing
What did I sow? Um… everything? No! But nearly!
I sowed: coreopsis, cosmos, marigold, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, chillies, basil (all sorts of different basil!), coriander, rocket, snapdragons, mugwort, foxglove, hollyhock, parsley, dill, fennel, motherwort, scabiosa, honeywort, aquilegia, shiso, salad burnet, nasturtium, viola, echinacea, delphinium, corn cockle, queen anne’s lace, borage, asters, aremian basketflower, cleome, forget-me-not, echinops, larkspur, liatris, sunflower, orlaya, phacelia, autumn sage (white flowering and salmon flowering), goldenrod, moth mullein, zinnia, poppies, viscaria, cucumbers, chives, chervil, orach, strawberry spinach, savory, feverfew, Tansy, thyme, fenugreek, anise hyssop, marshmallow, cornflower, catmint, bee balm, costmary, eggplant, chicory, endive, … and possibly even more!
I have also put in my first potatoes - the early crop (Rocket) and second early crop (Ilam Hardy). Next week or the week after I'll do the main crops. This is very exciting for me because it is the first time I'm doing potatoes in a garden bed, previously being restricted to tubs and buckets in the urban rentals. They did give crops, but I counted it more as a fun garden activity than a self-reliance crop! Hopefully I have many many potatoes to harvest this year.
What I learned
I learned that Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) flowers are edible. They are apparently quite sharp tasting – very much the same as their fragrance, and are actually most often used pickled.
How I Used my Produce
I know offal is not everyone’s thing, but I do enjoy livers and kidneys, and actually need the iron-rich food once in a while. So this past week I made a chicken liver and bacon salad. Chicken livers always need some parsley in my opinion!
And while these are not really my own produce (need to set up some warm spots for turmeric and ginger again) - it definitely is worth adding it here: Turmeric Tea