NZ Kitchen Garden

Home grown goodness for the kitchen and pantry


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There are holes in my brassicas, dear Lila

Is there anything more frustrating than tenderly raising a seedling, only to have it munched to pieces by a predator? Well, the white cabbage butterfly and it’s iridescent green offspring have found their home among my young broccoli and the results have been devastating. However, I hope that my recent efforts have thwarted their attempt to crunch their way through the second wave of seedlings that I planted out last night. Continue reading


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The simple joy of mashed veg

The taste of vegetable mash takes me back to childhood memories. Mashed potato with whatever was growing in the garden, a dollop of butter hidden in the middle and a splash of Lea & Perrins (when I was older) reminds me of dinners at my grandparents’ or the simple, but seemingly special, healthy treat that I was often given when unwell.

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New growth spurs on Autumn enthusiasm

My vege garden has taken a backseat to raising our new baby over the last few months. However, a couple of hours clearing out the overgrowth and preparing my beds for autumn has renewed my interest and provided much needed motivation to make time again for my green thumb. Continue reading


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It’s getting hot in here

It feels great to grow your own seedlings, if you can. You need a little time and space, a little gear (like a hot house/cabinet), a little warmth, and then you need to remember to keep the tender stems moist as they grow over the coming weeks. Carefully selecting and packing seeds into seedling trays has become a day that I look forward to on my gardening calender. You reap the rewards every time you see the new growth and, of course, when you eventually plant them out and count the savings! Continue reading


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It’s Alive!

I guess that’s a bit dramatic, however I am so excited that my garden is still going through its first autumn and winter! Yes, growing has been slow – but there is growing, and that is the main thing.

The one year anniversary of my all-year-round vege patch occurs at the end of September, as that is usually when I plant my seedlings in preparation for harvesting over summer. This time last year, I wasn’t even thinking about my garden. The first day of spring would usually bring the first inklings of excitement and planning of what would take root come “planting weekend”. Continue reading


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Preserving Herbs

At the very start of May, my herbs had been flowering and seeding for a few weeks, but were still plentiful shrubs. I decided that it was a great time to chop them back, clear out the woody bits (sage and thyme, I’m talking to you!) and curb the creep of the oregano. Lingering from the previous bountiful herb season was the guilt that I experienced from proudly harvesting a heaving basket full of herbs, with no idea what to do with most of them once I took them inside. Sure, I used as many as I could fresh, but I found that after procrastinating too long, they ended up in the bin. Sinful! Continue reading


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Mushrooms with chilli, herbs and butter beans

It must be perfect weather for growing toad stills here at the moment. There are quite a number growing quite well around the base of our oak trees and in the shelter of the flaxes. Continue reading


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The world for some Coriander!

If you are anything like me, then you will have struggled growing coriander at some point in your herb growing time. It is always worth persevering until you get it right, as coriander is a really versatile herb that can turn pork mince + oyster sauce + the humble iceberg lettuce into an authentic-tasting Asian extravaganza (fun for the whole family – use the lettuce leaves as spoons/scoopers). It is definitely one of the most used herbs in my kitchen. Continue reading


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Seedling “Hot House Cabinet”

For some reason, growing seedlings has always been a messy, problem-laden experience for me and it mostly seems to be the contraption that I am attempting to grow within. I have bought and built various structures, but all have turned out rather flimsy or not quite right in other ways. This year I have decided to experiment with another idea. Continue reading


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Mean, green Brussels Sprouts

I have been planning my next garden (aka the mega garden) and have been undecided about the tight little mini cabbage-type greens called brussels sprouts. If selected, they will not be planted until January or harvested until May, but I like to know what’s coming. If it is not brussels sprouts, then I need to pick something else and lock it in so that my plan is nice and tidy! Continue reading


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Taking Stock

We are four days away from the beginning of winter in New Zealand and an icy blast is bringing snow to some South and North Island communities. Even up here in “the winterless Northland”, smoke can be seen rising from several chimneys – ours included – and we have a chilling wind, rain and hail beating down on us. Continue reading