Not the olive trees ….

I was sitting in the dining room last night tapping away on the laptop writing this post. A particularly pleasant aroma was wafting around the room – rosemary, garlic and roast lamb (sorry all you vegetarians). Hubby was cooking our dinner …

Truthfully not everything is always rosy at Frog Pond Farm.  Andrew arrived indoors the other night and said ‘something has been munching on a few of our olive trees’. That made me stop what I had been doing. Those trees you see, have become very important to me – they produce fantastic olive oil and the thought of losing a tree or two just isn’t on the agenda at all. Believe me ….

olive tree damage-1080808

I have my suspicions on the insect culprit involved – but the jury is out until someone in the know confirms!

What have I done? Smeared pruning paste over the furrows which I dug into removing frass and bark … wiping a tear at the time. Then I applied Neem granules into the soil around the affected trees. I gave one tree (pictured above) a massive feed of Rok solid (seaweed/fish/basalt rock) and rubbed a bio dynamic pruning paste into the wound (kindly donated by a good buddy of mine – thanks Vick!).

Enough of olives …


I planted a spud garden over the weekend, which given that we had spuds growing in the same place last year is fraught with danger. I’m a huge advocate of rotating crops to avoid pests and disease. But I’m also a realist and given that this bed doesn’t get all day sun by any extent of the imagination, there isn’t much that will grow in this space with the exception of potatoes. Do we get good spud crops from this garden? Absolutely! So hubby cleared all the weeds and bits from here last weekend and gave the bed a mini broad fork, the soil in here by the way is amazing.  As much as I hate disturbing the soil and destroying those microorganisms abodes, sometimes it is necessary to aerate the soil and make it more friable.  I then threw about coffee grounds, wood ash (lime substitute), Rok solid and lots of good growing vibes. I created 3 rows mounding the soil to a height of about 5 inches, placed the spuds on top at about 12 inch intervals. Next up, I poked the spuds sprouts up into a hole lined with comfrey leaves and piled the dirt back over. Then as I do, I grabbed a watering can and splashed about chook and sheep poo tea … Heaven! I can nearly see those spuds growing. Oh they are Purple Heart and Cliff Kidney varieties, fingers crossed for Christmas munching.

The spring flowers are springing! Wow … this is such a pretty time of year. So much colour and vigour in the garden.


Oh I hasten to add and nearly forgot – I had to net my strawberries. Within a few days they have started to redden up and were providing the wildlife with a sweet snack!

To Do

  • Feed all the olive trees with seaweed fertiliser (spray)
  • Apply organic boron to same trees
  • Give those olives a ‘pep talk’
  • Find out what has damaged our olive trees
  • Labour day is earmarked for plant removal and bed prepping – time to get my seedlings in the dirt and out of our kitchen
  • Throw about more homemade seaweed brew into veg garden
  • Keep an eye on the newly planted spud garden – attack imminent by escapee chooks
  • Spend time gazing at the buckwheat and thinking how lovely it is
  • Buy 1/2 tonne of rok solid and then …
  • Fertilise all our fruit trees. Perfect!
  • Spray the lemons soon with Neem oil for white fly and thrips




  • Carrots .. no comment I’m still laughing
  • Spring onions the odd one
  • Loads of herbs – mint and parsley are going into our morning juices
  • Lemons –  these go into the juices too, plus dressings, casseroles and anything else that needs some life!
  • Kale – juices in the morning
  • Spinach – thrown over the fence to the chooks
  • Beetroot –  perfect with the kale, carrots, herbs, pineapple and whatever else I can get my mitts on for those am juices
  • Eggs – the girls are nearly at full production already

And to finish more pics of our place …


Macadamia blossom


strawberry netted-1080775



Weeping cherry



Happy gardening …

36 thoughts

  1. A lot of work- I keep my fingers crossed that the olive trees will recover. They are in good hands with you.
    Very beautiful pictures of your flowers, I love it!

  2. Hi Julie. Gosh red strawberries already! Your garden seems to be progressing much faster than mine. This spring has not been kind in my garden. I hope you get to the bottom of your olive pest. It is one thing to have an annual plant attacked because you can always start again next year, but a tree is a much more important investment.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Hey Sarah .. I know, I nearly fell over when I saw the red berry. I think the birds were falling over themselves too 🙂 Spring is being absolutely rotten today … blowing a gale through the orchard. Yes, I have my fingers crossed on the olive pest .. hopefully the olive trees don’t taste too good.

  3. nice blog, the olive trunk, poor thing. macadam flowers look fantastic. should get a few nuts this year. Good Carrot.

  4. What a brazen carrot! Beautiful garden as always. I have some teeny tiny wild strawberries that are ripe but my big ones have a long way to go right now!

    • Hey lovely … so good to see you here! Yes that carrot needs some decorum. LOL you should have seen my face when I hauled him out of the garden. We have loads of those tiny wild berries too, what a shame they don’t taste as good as they look! 🙂

  5. Julie, Wow! Loved the picture of the carrot. And you said you couldn’t grow carrots! Wonderful pictures. It looks like spring is overtaking you. Those spuds look respectfully chitted and ready for planting. I never worry about planting spuds in the same place two years in a row, they always seem to make do. All the best with the olive trees. Take care.

    • Hey Bob! Glad you liked that carrot .. I do have problems growing them trust me as you can see 🙂 good news that you too plant spuds in the same place in consecutive years! Fingers crossed for those olives! As always great to see you here.

  6. Your garden is looking brilliant, Julie. I love the lavender…..ours is gorgeous right now too. I’ve planted kale, mini spinach, thyme, camomile, chocolate mint, tomatoes, beans and capsicums during the last month, and as I type, I hear the sound of the bob-cat, way down the back yard, digging and preparing my brand new vege garden! Exciting stuff. 🙂

    • Oh now I have garden envy! A new veg garden, how exciting. I have a feeling that I have chocolate mint growing too .. Just not too sure. Tastes great in our am juices though. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 best of luck with your garden

  7. Hi Julie

    Just read your potato growing method . What I was shown by my Dad was to start with a trench and plant the seed in the bottom and as the plant grows cover it with soil leaving just the top showing till they are growing in the mound. Food for throught.


    Sent from my iPad


  8. Lovely spring flowers and strawberries already! Shame about the olive tree but with luck you’ve noticed it quickly enough. Whatever it was that attacked it made a very neat job.

    • Hi Anne .. Yes the culprit has done a great job on those trees. Just hoping that the one in the pic hangs in there. First time I have grown strawberries .. Can’t wait to try one or several 🙂

  9. Has that deep cut around the stem been caused by an animal? That looks rather peculiar, no? Hope you find the culprit! Roasted lamb…mmmh, can I join you? 😉 Lovely spring pics which make me yearn for spring already although it is a long way.

  10. Hey Annette .. No a grub for sure. A good sized one at that! I have a feeling whatever has done this has long gone. Would love you to join us for dinner 🙂 at your place though, I so want to see your garden! Glad you like the pics ..

  11. Good luck with the olives and the spuds Julie.
    Everything looks gorgeous except for that poor tree.
    Oh and that man carrot…. Bah ha ha… Belly laughing still… Snicker!

    • Hello Miss … That man carrot is a scream! You should have seen my face when I hauled it out of the dirt .. I was falling over the raised bed laughing! Glad you enjoyed 😉 Yes fingers crossed on our olive trees – I suspect that one photographed will die .. but not for my lack of TLC! 🙂

      • Came to see if you replied… and as I suspected WP is not sending me notifications :O
        The carrot is hilarious. Would’ve loved to have seen you finding it. Would have been a scream!
        Sorry about the olive. It looks like its been ringbarked? Am I seeing that correctly?
        Really surprised that any insect can do that. Must have teeth!!!!
        I know if theres anything you can do, you’ll work it out.

      • Hiya Robyn … yes that poor tree is ringbarked and done by a grub with serious fangs 🙂 That carrot still makes me laugh .. he’s currently residing in the fridge won’t be long before he goes into one of the morning juices!

  12. I’m sat in the kitchen reading your post on the first cool and wet day we’ve had this autumn… I’d much rather be in your spring garden, it looks wonderful. Do you get to harvest nuts from the macadamia? – this might sound like a dumb question, but it’s all very exotic to a gardener in Yorkshire!

    • Hey Sarah .. .the sun is shining which is nice. Warmish but windy. Not a dumb question at all … we do get some nuts from the tree but only a handful. Crazy really as it is swathed in blossom. Truth is this tree is planted in the wrong spot (gets hammered by the prevailing wind) and then … wait for it, rats adore macadamias and will carry them away to munch on them later. Oh dear! 🙂

  13. Wow. A lot going on there! Your depth of knowledge amazes me. Do you have a horticultural or agricultural degree or just learned courtesy of the School of Hard Knocks? Your post is full of cues for all the senses! Great photos too.

    Oh. And I loved this bullet point:

    •Spend time gazing at the buckwheat and thinking how lovely it is.

    Indeed! 🙂

    • You are gorgeous! Love that … school of hard knocks! LOL … no I did horticultural certs & diplomas for about 4 years. Loved it too! Plus strangely enough I have this giant green thumb! 😀 … you know what, my comment on the buckwheat – I do that, I just love it. Pale green leaves rolling in the breeze … and it survived my chook attack too. Big smiles back at you Julie!!!!


    • Hi Bob good to hear from you. We believe that it was caused by the Puriri moth’s larva .. which while they enjoy puriri trees they also seem to enjoy olive trees. Out of interest, while the damage seemed significant, the trees are still alive and producing …

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