Countdown to Autumn

poplar window-1050560

Oh dear me, mid Feb and only a few more weeks of summer! Not that the weather will suddenly deteriorate mind you .. autumn in NZ is just wonderful. No, I was actually alluding to the fact, that March is nearly with us. Hmmm

corn and sunflowers


Our garden is looking great, even if it has been hot & dry. My version of the 3 sister’s garden (corn, cucurbits and sunflowers) is skyward bound. Yesterday I splashed about seaweed and fish fert around this plot, corn are huge feeders and need lots of tucker. There is a raft of self seeded stuff in here too, cleome, tomatoes, phacelia, borage and heaven only knows what else. And guess what? I have no intention of hoisting any of it out either. Including the ‘what on earth is that cucurbit?’ that is growing like mad in the same space. It reminds me of a body builder flexing muscles as it shoulders other plants out of the way. Yes, I’m more than happy with this garden, and spend time here gloating.

lemon bergamot-1050551

Powdery mildew is alive and well in my garden too – Jack be Little pumpkin and Cocozelle zucchini are playing host. So as I do, I cut off as many infected leaves as I can, pop these in a bag for the rubbish and then spray the plants early in the morning with fish fert. Other than feeding the plant, this application should help to change the pH of the leaf. Of course, this doesn’t always work so next out will be the baking soda and then ….

Pests, summer brings them out in hordes. Green shield beetles, passion hoppers, katydids, aphids, thrip and crickets. Most of them are ignored or simply not seen with the exception of the green shields who adore sun baking on just about everything. I have no hesitation in squashing these guys either, especially when I see the mess they make of my tomatoes – but that’s another story.

The phacelia that I broadcast the other day as a cover crop has amounted to ‘zip’. So I have broadcast lupins which will do nicely feeding the soil (nitrogen fixers) as they also cover it from the sun, wind and rain. Perfect! Lots of self seeded borage is popping up here too – I suspect this plot will be chocka.

Home grown spuds

My brother who is staying with us from Aussie and who like me has a green thumb, helped me lift our Lisetta, Rua and Nadine spuds the other day. While the soil was a tad dry (my watering endeavours here have been poor) .. the lucern mulch had managed to retain moisture below and feed a stack of worms, who I must say, weren’t overly happy about the disturbance. Armed with 2 rather large buckets of big and small spuds and leaving behind a pile of spent greenery, we headed indoors for a rewarding beer and a ‘pat on the back’. I have since lightly broad forked this bed (I do prefer ‘no dig gardening’ where possible), hosed it and will dump some composted horse pooh and planting mix in situ. And yes, more lupins! Perfect.

At last, I have done my winter planting plant and have even sown some seeds in a couple of ice cream containers – which I’m very happy about too. Check out my ‘how to sow seeds‘. So, into a sieved planting mix went: –

Cauli – Green Macerata
Cabbage – Violet Scilian
Cabbage – Verona purple
Broccoli – De Ciccio
Giant spinach
Celery Elne
French Sorrell
Basil – Sweet Genovese
Pak Choy
Lettuce – Great Lakes, Paris Cos

British shorthair cat

I learnt yet another lesson last year about cats and seed boxes that resemble ‘kitty litter trays’, so I have opted to do things on a ‘smaller scale’ this time round. Great idea.

fish pie

Andrew’s dad Bill, is here too from the UK – and as he is a sensational cook we are being spoilt rotten. How good is it to eat stuff you have grown yourself?

Damson jam

Damson jam … thanks Bill!

Happy gardening

8 thoughts

  1. Your garden is looking beautiful Julie. I love how you add colour with the flowers. Thanks for the heads up on what you’re sowing at the moment – as a novice it’s good to know what the pros are doing!

      • I’ve got Madeleine from NZEcoChick coming round to look at my garden today (she was doing the Art Deco thing in Napier). So I’ve been frantically weeding!! Haven’t done much blogging recently…better get back into it 🙂

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