I’m not grumbling!

I am loath to talk about the spring weather. Don’t get me wrong, I love that spring is here, the grass is growing like mad, spring flowers are blooming, blossoms are out in the orchard and buds are bursting on the trees. But the truth is, spring is often unsettled in Auckland and can be super windy. And we know what the wind can do don’t we? It has also been a chilly lately, so when our shearer Murray rang to ask about shearing our two rather plump sheep, I was quick to say that it was still too cold … and yes I’m a blouse! The good news is, my girls will enjoy their woollen jumpers for a bit longer.


So what is happening in my garden? The buckwheat is growing nicely, even though an escapee chook has been scratching about in this bed. It’s time to throw about some more homemade seaweed fertiliser in the direction of the garlic, Egyptian & red onions. This is just the tonic they need for some serious spring growth. The old brassica and salad bed will stay intact until it is time to poke in the summer seedlings – the decision is made and the ground will be kept covered.


My strawberries are looking good. They will also enjoy a good splash of that seaweed brew and some more pine needle mulch. I often forget to mention that I have an array of herbs too ..


  • oregano which is growing like mad appearing to be on steroids
  • loads of parsley in various gardens, which given the time of year means it is going to seed
  • pineapple sage that is sporting some lovely red blossom (salvia family)
  • a rosemary plant which is about 4ft high and is swathed in purple flowers and bees
  • lemon grass which is in dire need of some TLC
  • chives
  • chervil which has self seeded everywhere
  • Vietnamese mint that is divine in my Asian salad dressing
  • sorrel that is perfect stuffed into a sandwich or thrown over the fence to the chooks
  • peppermint and mint
  • horseradish and varieties of thyme
  • stinging nettle with loads of new growth and I still haven’t been stung!


Of course, basil and coriander are growing happily indoors and will be planted out in the next few months.

I need to start chitting my spuds, which usually involves dipping them in more of that seaweed tonic and then sitting them in a warm spot to start sprouting. I have also decided that I need to acquire another codlin moth trap (the last one fell to bits) and this year I will actually ‘hang it in the orchard’!


This pic has nothing to do with anything, other than I wouldn’t mind a piece of cake right now!

Oh BTW, I have changed my mind on the shearing … Poppy was in my veg garden again yesterday munching on spinach. Now that’s gratitude for you.

Happy gardening!

42 thoughts

  1. I love reading your updates and seeing pictures of whats what in your world,,Yes, please do have a piece of cake. you will feel better..lol! Take some time to rest a bit if you can..

  2. Love your posts Julie. You write so well and your photos are terrific! I agree with Roberta — kick back and ‘lax every once in awhile. 🙂 I’m curious — with all the produce and whatnot that is the fruit of all your labors — do you market it in any way or is it consumed by just your family? Perhaps the answer to this is elsewhere on your blog so I apologize in advance if I’m being a bit of a dolt!

    • Hey Julie … gosh I’m really pleased that you enjoy my writing. I have my doubts about my ability at times. Yes, we eat all our produce or I give it away to friends and neighbours. Love sharing … Yes, I need to kick back – always a good thing to do isn’t it?

  3. You tempt my belly with those wonderful treats! Enjoy spring. Here, in North India, we have a short spring. We have a hot wind in summer called “the loo”. It is awful and can dehydrate you. I remember once, many years back, I sat by the banks of the Ganges in Benares, and had to drink 5 litres of water in 30 minutes to avoid dehydration.
    The wind these days, however, is beautiful.. Breeze, actually..

  4. I agree with Mother Hen… Love reading your updates Jules! So much going on.
    The wind is a pain isn’t it? We’ve had our share too. Wishing you some great days soon.
    You’ve been a busy girl in the garden as as usual your photos are divine!!
    Love the last pic ‘chucked’ in because you feel like some cake. Funny girl 🙂

  5. Hi Julie, wonderful photos! The oregano looks like it is going crazy. Very nice closeup of the forget-me-not (I like the blues)! I had to look up what chitting meant. Here the taters seem to take care of that right in time for planting. I hope that photo wasn’t the only thing you picked up when you passed the bakery. Take care.

    • Hello Bob! Love it when you stop by. Glad you like those photos too – although hubby doesn’t like my macro lens. The oregano is going berserk! Very happy about that as we eat quite a bit of it. You made me laugh looking up chitting. Yes the taters will do it on their own, but the seaweed stuff gives them a hand. Aren’t the forget-me-nots great? Now all I need to do is get out at night and take some pics of the stars … hmmm, think I’ll leave that one to you!!! Take care

  6. Incredible photos Julie and your blog layout makes me wish mine looked a little more professional! Spring here can be beautiful but also very unsettled and the wind drives me crazy. Your garden looks and sounds incredibly productive. May I ask what you use the buckwheat for? Love those stinging nettles. Oh my…now I really feel like cake. x

    • Thank you Jane! My hubby said I went overboard with my macro! LOL … Yes the wind drives us nuts too. It is so destructive. The buckwheat .. I grow it as a cover crop (green manure) – specifically to cover the soil from the weather but the beneficial insects adore the stuff when it flowers. Which given I’ll be planting in the next 6 weeks – may not happen. How good does that cake look? 😉

  7. How wonderful to see some spring growth as our garden starts to wind down for autumn. Are you cultivating those stinging nettles? I do wish you hadn’t put that pic of the cake at the end – now I wouldn’t mind a piece of cake.

    • Hi Anne .. I have so enjoyed your blog over summer and all your great pics. Slow start to spring here .. I do grow the nettles but am yet to use them – apparently they are good to add to compost as an activator – or enjoy as a tea! Interesting combo 🙂 … those cakes look good don’t they? Sorry!

  8. Lovely herbs…you make me long for spring already as we put our gardens to bed for the winter. I’ll have to garden vicariously through you for the season. Also, pictures of cake are always welcome 😉 Cheers, Ben

    • I sure do .. we are so lucky having a beach close by where I grab seaweed that is washed up. Into a drum goes this and fish bodies and water. It breaks down fairly quickly and then I dilute with more water and splash over the garden. The plants love the stuff! 🙂

      • That’s great!

        In Britain, we have to get permission from the local council to forage for seaweed (strictly speak, seaweed belongs to the Crown). I am sure permission would be granted but you can’t just take a spontaneous trip to the beach to do some harvesting, unfortunately.

  9. Great that your spring is underway and I hope the wind will not effect the blossom too much. The heat here in Crete still go’s on and with no rain since May you can imagine how burnt and dry the land looks only the Olive trees make the landscape look green. But when soon we get rain we will see wild flowers shoot up within a week colour and grouth will return.

    • How amazing, no rain since May! I think we are getting yours too 🙂 Olive trees are so hardy. They grow like mad here .. And don’t need much TLC. How beautiful are wild flowers? Thanks for stopping by …

  10. How thoughtful of you to keep the girls a bit warmer for longer, Julie! In Switzerland where I used to live they always shear them in autumn before they house them and it often gets so cold before that you’d wonder why they don’t get a pneumonia!

    • Hello Annette .. yes my girls are lucky they shall keep that wool for a few weeks more. It never ceases to amaze me when the farmers shear their sheep .. usually when it is cold and bleak. Doesn’t seem to bother those sheep though … Good to hear from you 🙂

  11. September sounds lovely and full of life. Here we still have a few tiny flowers and lots of berries. I like your tip on seaweed fertiliser for for red onions. Mine didn’t grow much last year. Just off to a local ecological seed fair and plants from local Eco fincas. Hope there’s cake too!

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