Monday, 25 February 2013


I'm so excited!!! It's actually GROWN! Yes, thats right! I have GARLIC!
Pure grown NZ Garlic! I unearthed about 18 bulbs - about a kilogram! They aren't even small pathetic things... they are normal sized! Whoop whoop! I was so thrilled I had to jump on here straight away and share it with you!!
It smells divine! I think I'm supposed to hang it up and let it dry out for a bit.... but its already pretty dry so it may be ok in the cupboard! Will have to do a bit of research!

Enjoy the beautiful weather! :)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A pumpkin in the rose bush?

Today I was just reminiscing about just how big my zuchinni and squash plants got in the garden and how good it was to have lots of fresh zuchinnis to eat before the plague. Then I remembered I planted a few next to the fence because I ran out of space in the garden and wondered what happened to them? The fence obviously didn't do them justice, and even though I planted them at the same time - look at the difference!! Guess position plays a big part in success!!!!

Needless to say the plague has made what was green, yellow and wither and die with not a single zuchinni to show for themselves! 

One funny event in the garden is that a completely RANDOM pumpkin decided to grow by the roses (who knows how that happened!) and the pumpkin decided that in the MIDDLE of the rose bush would be the place for it to grow and live! Guess that's going to be a fun job removing it! Not exactly the easiest of positions!

I've been thinking about what I want for over winter and getting those cauliflower/broccoli seeds planted. I heard that once the weather turns the germination period slows down significantly (around March) and so its really the time to get sowing. Which means for me.. to get thinking and planning!

Not sure what I'll start with - I think I'll give cabbage a miss this year since my summer cabbages were a flop! I'm thinking I'll try brussell sprouts (I've never tried them - so how do I know they are terrible?!) but to be honest I don't think I've ever planted a winter vege garden! What are winter veges? Lots of Asian style veges, carrotts, brassicas, spinach, silverbeet, turnips, sweedes..... they all sound not the most appetising things to eat

I think the biggest challenge wont be growing them, but learning how to use them! 

It's all well and good having turnips grow - but what tastes good with a turnip? Brings back childhood memories of that Enormous Turnip story! Did they all eat turnip for the rest of their lives?? I can't remember the story but don't want my winter supply to be tasteless regrets! 

Another chore I have to do is weed the gardens and get the beds replenished of all the nutrients they need for the next cycle. Do I have any idea how to do this? Not really! Shove a bit of compost and sheep pellets in?! That's about all I have at the moment to use so I'm guessing that's all I'll be doing for the time being. My carrotts were 'claws' due to high organic matter.. so maybe I don't need to do much at all? I'm definatly going to put the gypsum I bought into the beds (to break up the clay) and leave them for a while before I replant. It says its non-toxic... but it never hurts to be cautious! At least my compost has started to look like compost! All those decomposing veges have done well with the compost enhancer and brown matter I've put in. Worth the turmoil of layering it! Now its just not a stinking pile of rotting veges! In fact it dosen't smell at all!

There isn't much left of the summer veges...... I'm going to pull the garlic and onions out soon & get them dried - they are starting to yellow.... and I have high hopes for both! The beans still have a few flowers coming on them and capsicums have about 1 per plant! haha! That's not exactly the HUGE harvest I was hoping for since I love capsicums! One is turning black too.... it probably has something ominous going on!  Maybe I could say its a new rare collectible worth thousands? (yeah right!) 

My tomato plants are more brown than green now! But still the troopers although plagued with disease have produced a steady quantity through the last few weeks and still have some to come. The beefsteak's I planted are FABULOUS! I love the flavour and texture - they are so rich in colour and full of flavour! So much better than the ones in the shops. My challenge over winter is going to be growing one in the greenhouse! Is it possible?!? Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes have had mixed results - some are golf ball sized some are pea sized! They tasted good and have been great for kids sandwiches. 

From left: Tomatoes, onions, capsicums and a few sporadic carrots and basil plants
Oh and can you believe it? A watermelon seed has finally sprouted in the greenhouse!!! Hilarious... it will probably produce nothing.. but I feel an ounce of guilt chucking the little thing out since he's taken all this time to finally make himself known in the world! Maybe I'll let him grow for another few weeks and see what happens!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Berry Glory!

There was nothing better over the holiday period than having lavish berries to put in puddings, cakes, muffins and everything glorious over Christmas!

We were getting at least a bowl full of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries every second day - which was ample to eat (but of course never enough!. It would be nice to have some more for jams! :)

My favourite was having fresh berry meringues with cream! Oooooo so good I can't wait for next years supply already!!!
The raspberry/blackberry plants fruit on a years growth. So, as my book has directed me, I've cut off all this years canes and the new canes growing now, will bear next years fruit. I guess thats if I can get rid of those horrible passion vine hoppers. I've always had issues with them... squashing each one by hand is a painful ordeal and you never get them all!

As for the strawberries, they are sending out runners for some new plants. The plants I have are about 2 years old now... so they will probably be coming to the end of their prime next year. Hopfully the new ones will just self set and I wont have to buy new plants!

I cheated this year and ate all the strawberries the plants gave me, and bought some strawberries for jam. Its delicious jam and set well! Made some plum jam too with all the plums off the neighbours tree! I had so many to eat with a measly two branches overhanging the fence with AMPLE leftover for jam! A great way to save those pecked half eaten ones from the birds!! The secret to the setting is using the not the ripest fruit apparently - which worked well for my plum jam! What a fabulous plum tree! May my trees have just as good a harvest in the future!!!!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Long time!

It's been a long time since I wrote anything - partly due to holidays and Christmas but mainly because I've been SO depressed about my garden!

I got back from holiday to find that my once gorgeous and abundant zuchinnis were plaged and shrivelled with powdery mildew. My tomatos had some dying disorder and all the leaves are yellowing and falling off with no signs of ripe tomatoes! The berries were nearing the end of the season & I was really gutted at them all!!!

My cucumber at its prime!

So I had to pull all the zuchinnis and cucumbers... which had only rotting tiny fruit and no leaves.... you really couldn't call them plants anymore! I was so excited when I left for holiday that I got those beautiful cucumbers climbing up the trellis. But alas I got one curled small cucumber as the only harvest off it before it shrivelled into nothing!

But its not all woe on the garden front as I've found out! I dug up the spuds & got a massive amount in return! Good value! Success Story!! Wahoo!

Beans were another success! I pulled off about 4kg from the first harvest and blanched/froze them all. Should last a good while through winter & some of the plants are still flowering! The best harvest were the french dwarf and the green climbing beans. The purple ones came in a close second - but the yellow ones didn't do well at all. Most of them curled and went into all different shapes and most of all didn't taste the best.

The tomatoes although they are all very much in the dying stage are finally ripening and we are getting a good steady supply. I've talked with a number of people and tomatoes aren't going well for the majority this year. It's a shame as my 4 measily plants I planted last year gave us far more tomatoes than the 14 I planted this year!! I had plans for sauces, relishes and everything good! But instead we have enough for salads each night and maybe one lot of tomato sauce if we are lucky!

Rhubarb is going strong - getting some huge stalks off it! Look at these funky carrots! They are the 'claws'! haha. This apparently occurs with too much organic matter - which I think is really quite funny since they are in clay gardens with a bit of compost! :)

Things that are still coming: Our capsicums are slowly growing they have a few big ones on them now almost ready to eat. The onions are looking good and the garlic tops are starting to die off. Can't wait to see whats underneath!

So now that all the summer veges are starting to go... its time to plan the winter veges! haha