Garden update …

Garden update ….

I hauled out that massive cabbage today. Weighed a ton! Ok less … the scales gave out at 2kg – so it was heavier than that. Such a fine specimen. I just couldn’t stand leaving it for more abuse from the slugs and snails. So up it came. In fact we’re having some of it steamed tonight for dinner. Yum!

Splendid specimen even with the slug holes!

Weeded around the leeks and red onions today. I could remove a couple of leeks that are size, but I shall wait. I will probably also mulch this bed, although there are a variety of seedlings coming up which I suspect might be alyssum.

As for my garlic! It is up in both beds skyward bound. I will slosh about some fert as it will give them a head start. The birds thank heavens have been kind and left the bed without netting alone.
I have this wonderful Garlic book called The Complete book of Garlic, which I have been reading lately … it has a raft of info on this wonderful bulb and its many uses. Not only does garlic have antibacterial properties but it also has antifungal and antibiotic properties. But the secret with garlic is to chop, mash or crush it before using it in your salads, dressings or rubbing it onto your bruschetta – raw of course! The action of crushing or slicing the garlic starts a chemical process within the clove … one that turns that tasty allium into a medicinal power pack!

Ideally don’t cook your garlic although you will be forgiven if you do,  apparently allicin which gives garlic its antibiotic properties is destroyed when cooked … in saying that cooked garlic still contains numerous sulphur compounds so it still does have therapeutic benefits, and let’s face it, when cooked it heightens the flavour of any dish!

Garlic is fab stuff to grow. The leaves poke through the soil and its off! Really easy to grow, but it doesn’t like competition in the bed so you will need to be diligent with your weeding. I usually mulch the beds once the garlic has sprouted this helps to keep the weeds under control and also protects that wonderful soil from the winter weather, which by the way has been pretty good lately!

Heirloom garlic complete with horse pooh!

Companion planting …

I suspect I haven’t mentioned the beetroot, celery and parsley growing in RB4 either … well it is doing fine. The peas clambering over the pathetic trellis I popped up are desperately trying to pull it to the ground. It just amazes me how well it is cropping. I’m going to get Geoff to make me a steel frame (portable of course) which I will be able to use in this bed next summer. I have decided that I will grow some runner beans (maybe scarlet) up a frame, rather than my usual 3 sisters garden.

For those that don’t know, the 3 sisters is a Peruvian garden combination where you grow corn, pumpkin (any cucurbit) and beans in the same garden. The runner beans are planted next to the corn and cleverly they use the corn to climb skywards. Corn is a voracious feeder so having beans (nitrogen fixers) so close at hand is a bonus a good supply of tucker. The pumpkin grows along the base of the garden keeping the ground cool and moist. Sadly in Auckland our humid weather will eventually ensure that these gorgeous prickly leaves will be covered with powdery mildrew, not a great deal can be done, baking soda or seaweed spray will help these leaves, but I have found the best thing to do is remove them (binning of course). This is a fab garden .. great companions and being me I added another to the mix by including sunflowers. Again the beans loved climbing all over these and the cucumber I had growing in here last year lemon heirloom also enjoyed hoisting itself up these very sturdy plants.

Three sisters garden … my version last summer!

Lovely gardening day today … gorgeous. Even the bumbles were sunning themselves .. spotted a few German wasps which isn’t surprising given they don’t mind cold weather. And I took great delight in squashing a couple of green shield beetles too although a nymph managed to slip away … I was most surprised to actually see this as these bugs are a complete metamorphosis and I would have thought this cycle would start in spring / summer. Ah, just goes to show doesn’t it?

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