NZ Kitchen Garden

Home grown goodness for the kitchen and pantry

The proof is in the produce


What a month or so it has been for harvesting, now that we are well into summer! I have really enjoyed watching other people’s successes as they reap the benefits from their gardening passion. The vibrant colours of ripe tomatoes, colourful beans and rainbow silver beet, shiny courgettes, leafy greens and more, mean that I have been more “green eyed” than “green thumbed” during this plentiful period.

My focus for most of November and December was more on tending the “cabbage patch” than my vegetable patch. The arrival of our son early in December, followed by the festive season, provided more than enough reason for me to neglect my gardening duties and only make quick trips out to pick what we needed for the next meal. There was no time for tip toeing through the ever-increasing pumpkin tendrils or acknowledging the growing list of things to do (like tame that crazy pepino plant and swat those hungry bugs!).

Despite my rather poor attendance, we have enjoyed our fair share of bounty and it is great to finally stop and look over the few photos that provide evidence of the work leading up to summer harvests.


Seemingly endless supplies of broad beans and strawberries

Carrots for Christmas lunch

Carrots for Christmas lunch


Washed leafy greens ready for the freezer

Despite the distractions, not much went to waste. We managed the swell of broad beans and strawberries, snacked on peas and lunched on lettuces, ate home grown carrots on Christmas Day, and froze caulis and leafy greens for easy vegetable soup. Very satisfying and lots of proud moments.

The down point to mention is that the garden did eventually get away from me. So, with the New Year approaching and summer still stretching out before us, I dedicated four hours one Saturday morning before Christmas to pull out everything that had gone to seed or had passed its best. It was “out with the old” silver beet, spinach, kale, peas, carrots; many of which had gone to seed and seemed metres in height. Then it was “in with the new” lettuces, rocket, spring onions and a few more silver beet seedlings – all store bought, given my other priorities.

On closer inspection still, I have found that my berries and tomatoes are infested with Japanese Beetle and some other pesky critter, my passion fruit is providing cover for aphids, and my pepino has enjoyed its environs a little too much and has cast more leaves that fruit.

The garden is still producing plenty of young spinach, kale, carrots, radishes, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, berry fruit, strawberries, corn … and a few other edibles, so all is not lost.

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New in the zoo:  Cape Gooseberry. I am not sure what to expect from these guys

There's no end of young pumpkins at our place

There’s no end of young pumpkins at our place

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Three varieties of tomatoes on the go with heirloom to follow

The next wave of lettuces are on their way

The next wave of lettuces are on their way

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A little bit fancy, on trial for growing over winter

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Corn is a first timer and it’s surprising how little space is needed for a good  crop

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First time for berries also, with raspberries and blackberries making a shy appearance

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The asparagus patch is full of ferns, a good sign for seasons to come

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The strawberry patch is humming, with a new addition of a white fruiting native

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Telegraph and apple cucumbers are coming to life

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Peppers and chilis are fruiting nicely

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Basil and friends are bushing out the herb garden nicely


Marigolds, lavender and allyssum border the garden to entice bees

4 thoughts on “The proof is in the produce

  1. This all looks so delicious, especially from all the way over here in midwinter Paris! Though the temperatures have been scarily mild so far this January, I am unsure what to make of it.
    I found a strawberry on my dessert plate this evening at a restaurant. I tried to eat it but it was sour, watery and vaguely tasted of strawberry. It probably came all the way over from NZ. Yours look so much more appetizing and I am a little bit sad for this poor strawberry who got thrown away in the end. This is all sounding a bit weird but it is just my way of saying how disappointed I am that we seem to think it is a good idea/ normal to eat strawberries in winter!

    • Thanks Nancy, yes the more you grow your own food the more you understand seasonality. The sight of a strawberry midwinter would be nice, but yes you would want it to taste nice.

  2. PS I love your knobbly carrots!

    • Thanks! They are a short, stumpy and quick growing variety and I was a little light on thinning them this year, hence the curly ones that grew around each other!

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