Week in Retrospect 2019 – Week 3 (14 September – 20 September)

Hello & Welcome to Week 3

Three weeks into spring, and things are going well. Albeit a bit slower than I’d like – not the plants’ or weather’s fault… but just life and budgets coming in to play. If you didn’t know, I’m working to create my new homestead garden and farmyard to a near non-existent budget – it’s under a hundred dollars every few weeks, so not much play. And this past pay cycle saw us having to fix the car’s clutch ($1500!!!), so bye-bye went my garden spending money for a couple of months. Which means I could not get the load of soil I need to finish off the three-sisters garden, or get the insect netting for the brassica garden (see problems below), or the replacement plastic sheeting for the greenhouse.

But I still got a lot of things done, never a dull moment! And although it’s frustrating to have the whole garden set up take longer than I originally wanted, I am still most grateful to have this opportunity to live out my dream of working toward self-sufficiency, and won’t complain too loudly!

That said – I’d be most appreciative on leads on talks or workshops I can give in the Canterbury region… and I’ve got some more seeds to sell… and I always have extra plants and seedlings too from my homestead in Waikuku.

Weather & Climate

Did we have a wind this week! And just after we visited the Christchurch museum last Saturday with their fascinating display on the winds of Canterbury – notably the Nor’wester.

My friend who lives in Amberley said it was the strongest the wind blew the whole of this past year (they moved from Auckland in July 2018), and was quite surprised at the strength of it. It definitely rivaled the blasts we got in Whangaparaoa – the wind surely knows how to blow across the peninsula!

None of my plants suffered damage, although my friend said some of her new plum blossoms got blown off. The beautiful new arch entryway that Rick built me did get blown over – but now is secured with steel stakes and other big strong struts. I also had to dash to tie down the little plastic greenhouse I have – visions of scattered seeds and seedlings and soil everywhere from past experiences hurrying me on to strap her down despite getting my hands scratched in a thousand places by the lemon tree in the way! What we won’t do for our plant babies!

The rest of the weather has been pretty typical of what I expect for spring – some frost, some rain, some really hot sunny days.

Looking Good in the Garden

Problems

The birds are starting to be a problem in the newly dug gardens – they are enthusiastically looking for worms and other tidbits, but seem to not care for the plant carnage they leave – having me replant discarded seedlings strewn about at the end of every day. The ideal solution would be the butterfly netting which I should get up soon – yes, I’ve seen my first white cabbage butterfly already!

Planted, Sowed, Grown

Heirloom Tomatoes

I managed to transplant, or pot up, the first 21 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. They’ll stay in these bigger bags for a while longer before I contemplate planting out – everyone around here warns to not plant into the garden outside until at least after show weekend in early November, so I think I’ll heed their advice.

The potager got a row of kohl-rabi and bok choy, and I planted a whole lot of companion flowers, edible flowers and meadow flowers about in the garden too, I planted:

  • Phacelia
  • Dianthus – Rainbow Loveliness
  • Honeywort Pride of Gibraltar
  • Borage
  • Cornflower
  • Hollyhocks
  • Gaillardia
  • Foxglove
  • Poppies

Learned

Not plants, or plant medicine of food form plants, but a bit of meteorological information:

The Nor’wester, like similar winds in the rest of the world (Foehn in Switzerland, Chinook in Canada, Santa Anna in California, and Berg Wind from my birth country, South Africa), is a positively charged warm and dry wind which makes people irritable, can be a cause of migraines, and in some countries is even recognized by the law as driving people temporarily insane.

Used

A nearly self-sufficient meal... pikelets for brunch made with quail eggs from my aviary, edible flowers and basil from my garden, and hazelnuts from my friend's farm. Next year, the milk and the berry coulis should be coming from my homestead too! Working forward slowly but surely!



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