It’s been two months since I provided my last garden tour and boy have things changed. Here’s the latest update on my garden – such growth, such change, such excitement for an enthusiastic vege grower like me!
The warmer weather of spring here in the north has certainly provided a boost to the seedlings that I planted in late autumn and during winter. Almost all of the early kale, spinach and silver beet has made it to the kitchen table, my pantry and freezer, making way for the younger seedlings to have their time in the sun literally! Last weekend I spent a day clearing out the older plants and the large undergrowth on the newer ones to increase air circulation. Here’s what’s currently happening in the garden.
Vege (and fruit) garden
I have built upon the new pathway, which was in behind the raised vege beds just before my last update. This little change made way for a new garden bed, which is well-draining and receives full sun for most of the day. A simple irrigation system has been installed to water the garden each night on a timer and a boxed raspberry bed has also been installed. Seeds of all varieties are now being sown directly into the ground to keep the garden successively stocked.
Birds and the bees
What started out as a scrawyn little border garden is now flourising and full of life and colour. Every now and then I snip a bunch of blooms for my kitchen, which encourages more growth and yet more blooms – it’s a win-win!The bees are loving it, buzzing around the plants and up on my vege garden terrace. The manukau that hangs over my vege beds is also doing its bit to keep them fed and watered. The swan plants are bringing the Monarchs in droves and maybe some are returning to their home ground to ensure the next generation arrives in the garden. Walking around the garden is made even more pleasant by the buzzing of the bees and the fluttering of the butterflies – just what I was working towards and it really doesn’t take to much to achieve it.
I experimented with growing basil and coriander in egg cartons, which I then buried in the planters. I did this to get a head start on growing them when conditions were not ideal and because coriander dislikes being transplanted. Although they grew and are composting into the soil as we speak, the growth was less than what I would achieve in normal seedling pots. I have now taken advantage of the warmer weather to sow basil, coriander and dill seeds directly into the planters to grow.
- The hot house cabinet has performed marvelously, raising at least four full crops of seedlings – so I am calling it a success and will keep it on. It will probably lie unused now until late summer, when I ready my autumn and winter seedlings.
- Winter and autumn plantings of beans, peas, spinach, kale, silver beet, beetroot, rocket (the list goes on) all did really well. Great for my goal of year-round home grown supplies.
- Although recycling my egg cartons as seed planters was a nice idea, I think I’d be better to put them into the compost bin (if I had one – next year!)
- I lost quite a few red onions and spring onions, which were all well and truly leafing above ground before they just wilted away. I’m still trying to figure out why.
- Most of the radish crop planted in winter looked great above ground, but below ground they were tough (still fine to eat). I guess this was the cold, so perhaps early plantings would benefit from cover.
- My tomatoes have had a hard time with the strong winds. So next year I will put a clear plastic shelter around them – they’ll enjoy the added warmth.
- Slugs, snails and ants (uurrggh!!) These little blighters plagued my seedlings and first strawberries. They’re under control now, thankfully!
Overall, a great success with a few little blips to keep me interested and trying new things.