Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Well we finally got some rain at the weekend, probably the first time in a while anyone around here has got excited about a wet Easter! Luckily this was accompanied by enough sunny weather to keep the beachgoers happy as well.

So having finally reached the point where it looks like things won't bake as soon as you plant them (the general idea being grow your veggies, then cook them - not the other way around!) it was time to get the winter veg garden going, and preferably growing too.

This year I've been able to plan out the garden better and do some major reorganising, hopefully meaning that the resulting crop rotation will increase our output. With various perennials firmly in place it had been limiting the options on that front so I've gradually been moving some of them around to more logical places to enable better use of the space we have rather than trying to extend the patch any further as it is already considerable as far as I'm concerned. But then I still haven't quite got used to a quarter acre section (of land) being the norm, certainly not when it comes to maintaining it anyway.

Another thing I'm still getting my head around is what grows when up here in the Far North given that our winters recently have been on a par with my parents' Scottish summers (although that is probably more indicative of how bad their weather has been than how warm ours was!). I don't need to worry about frosts but I do need to make sure I don't plant certain things at a time when you have an uphill battle beating the caterpillars and stink bugs to your produce (always check your summer broccoli very carefully unless you like it with added protien...). I was just googling when was a good time to take rosemary cuttings and happily clicked on the Gardeners' World website without thinking... then backtracked to find somewhere with the seasons in the correct months and an understanding of gardening at 35 degrees latitude!

But anyway, having checked a local planting calendar I set off for the garden centre knowing I was looking for onions, silverbeet and spinach, beetroot and broccoli at a seasonably appropriate time. I have had mixed success with root veggies here but certainly plan to have another go. The tomatoes are still going strong and since the rain have been producing cherry sized tomatoes again rather than pea sized which is a definite improvement when it comes to using them! I'll probably put in some quicker growing chinese leaves to tide us over until the spinach and silverbeet get big enough to harvest - but there was only so much I was planning to carry the 3km home in one go.

I've started reorganising the strawberry bed, but know I'm really a bit early on that front. However the bed has been elongated and narrowed, so using early runners to plant out the new patch plus digging up a couple of plants that were now in the 'wrong' place was a good start. I'd love to have raised beds but meanwhile I just have to remember to leave myself some footpaths when planting out and add in the odd stepping stone for getting around without trampling on anything I don't want to.

We're a long way off being self sufficient with vegetables but we're getting a lot closer. When we were clearing out the garage recently I found a pile of old sacks - ie real sacks, made of sack cloth! So I'm planning to use them to plant spuds in - you roll them down to about 15cm, plant your spuds and gradually roll the sack up and add in more soil as the plants grow. Same as the tyre stack method really I suppose. Anyhow, sacks we have, tyres we have not, so sacks it is! I found that idea in a recent AA magazine (as in cars not alcohol - Phyllis is a member!) although they suggested using coffee sacks. A cunning plan if you live somewhere like Wellington with it's abundance of coffee roasteries, but less so in Kaitaia.

Seeing as Phyllis loves her sweetpeas I planted a load of seeds we'd saved from this summers plants and then soaked for a day or so before planting to give them a boost. If they all come up I've no idea where we'll put them all so I'm thinking a 50% strike rate would be just fine!

Now I just have to hope the promised rain for later in the week comes otherwise I'm going to be wishing I waited another week or so as I lug the watering can around seeing as our hosepipe ban is still firmly in place...


fabkebab said...

If you are talking about your garden, you need to post photos!!

Anna Dunford said...

Hmmm, but then you'd see all the bits of the garden that still need doing too!!! Seriously I generally haven't put photos on my blog as for more years than not I've only had slow connections and once I'd uploaded photos to flickr I really wasn't about the upload them anywhere else too. I will get around to taking some photos though, and they will appear on flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/annadunford/sets/72157628186394443/ but give me a few days to get a 'to it'!

Calgary Lawn Care said...

Thanks for posting pictures on flickr, those are great! I love your garden to death, haha. All your flowers are just so vibrant.

Anna Dunford said...

okay so I ended up shifting the 'update' photos into a different set....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/annadunford/sets/72157633390346767/ - ordered so the most recent are first

The other one now just has the more picturesque photos in it rather than endless shots of the same bits of garden!

Thanks for the comments re the flowers =) They are Phyllis' pride and joy, I'm much more interested in the edibles!