Summer rain …


Oh wow, in a blink January has gone – and what a hot, dry month it was too! Still, before it left the skies opened and we received a few days of much needed rain. Nothing like a good soaking provided from above. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the place greens up and that lovely lushness returns.


What’s more, it is Garden Share Collective month  … a beaut initiative where a group of global bloggers share their veg patches. The trials and tribulations of growing your own. Pop on over to Lizzie’s blog from Strayed from the Table and meet the crew!

As you would expect, there has been loads happening at our place! And not all of it good either. I hauled out a tomato plant the other day (sniffing at the time). I suspect that as December was so wet and married with Auckland’s ‘humid climate‘, that some nasty fungal disease has nailed our heirloom toms. Such a shame as they are cherokees with the most divine flesh and flavour. I’m now down to 2 plants – although the Scoresby dwarf seems to be ok.

Then there is the arrival of the green shield beetles – they never do things by half. One day a couple of them are basking in the sun, the next day there are scores of them procreating in my salad bed. One consolation, I can kill two of them at once! If you are unfamiliar with these smelly suckers – they also enjoy eating tomatoes and beans. Shame on them.


Do you ever do silly things? I seem to do them often. I over plant, let things grow that shouldn’t (a cucurbit growing very happily in a pot with our dahlia – this has disaster written all over it), try to do to many things at once, plant stuff that we don’t eat (go figure), plant so many flowers that my veg beds look like the botanic gardens! LOL Ah, such is life, would I change any of it?



I love growing my own organic food! How good is it skipping out to the garden and grabbing food for dinner, lunch or a filling for a sandwich. What have we been eating you may ask?


Lettuce, beetroot (gorgeous baked with other veg and garlic, lemon juice, water, olive oil, oregano), spinach & the NZ variety, sorrel, spuds, loads of beans, zucchinis (help does anyone have any brilliant recipes) spring onions, baby carrots, garlic, rocket, red and walking onions and herbs – think loads of them!

As happens, egg production is on the decline. I have a chook who is moulting (bad bad hair day), plus Gladys and her buddy Edith are clucky. Sally isn’t and has resumed her daily flights over the gate and into our back yard!


To Do list

  • Stitch up the hole in the netting!
  • Keep squashing those rotten green shield beetles – best day over the weekend in one bed 30+
  • Remove peaches from the orchard the birds have taken over from the possums
  • Weed, feed and talk to the garden – especially the pumpkins
  • Put up barricades, my flowers are falling all over the chillies (which by the way are looking divine)
  • Mulch flower gardens – if you don’t mulch then go stand in the naughty corner
  • Get my brother on to that worm farm ..
  • Jump into the canna lily gardens and haul out the bind weed
  • Whizz up and see how much of the wandering jew has regrown (take box of tissues)
  • Get cracking and do the plan for my winter garden – now that’s exciting. The what goes where and when 🙂
  • Check out my seed collection, time to buy more seeds
  • Sit down and get out the tutorial for my camera
  • I have been thinning out those carrots Bob, but I need to get really serious about it!
  • Stop grumbling about no olive harvest this year – we still have 10 litres left from last


Too lucky …

Happy gardening!


And for all those cat lovers .. Eric!

48 thoughts

  1. Pretty amazing pics Julie. No time to read today but will tonight. Hope Howj is doing all the work!!! So you can have a rest. Is Bill over there at the moment?


  2. Hi, Wish my Zucchini had grown more fruits, was determined to have more this year…planted six plants! Still not enough, a few went yellowish and mouldy too. But; recipes I like zucchini slice, bacon, onion, parmesan, eggs and flour; and zucchini patties with mint and feta. My latest fancy is Zucchini Pakora’s: 2 zucchini grates, 1 red onion fnely sliced, 1-2 red chillies (how hot do you like it) 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 egg S&p mix together then add just enough self raising flour to make a thickish paste (about 11-150gms) shallow fry turning to brown. Sere with a minted yogurt dipping sauce or your favourite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

    • Hey Cath, I wish you lived closer – I’ll give you some! I have three plants and they are literally machines. I have come to the conclusion that if I remove the leaves with mildew, it seems to extend their lives … Love the sound of those recipes though – thank you so much for sending them. I shall enjoy for sure 😀

  3. My goodness what a wonderful update! Talk about envious. I can’t tell you how good everything looks. I could almost feel my forearms being scratched by the spines on the zucchini plants! What I would give for some garden fresh produce. All of our vegetables are either pickled or frozen. And those carrots look great! It looks like you are thinning them while eating them, and that’s the best way! Take care.

    • Hello Bob .. ah don’t be envious. It will be your turn soon! You can’t beat fresh veg though can you? And those carrots are particularly good – I think of you every time I haul some of then out. Cheers

  4. Such beautiful photos Julie. Your harvests look amazing and that honey too – wow. I too get upset when pulling out tomatoes, nothing worse. I have had fruit fly like no tomorrow and the rest of my garden has gone to fugal issues with our humidity. Lets see how we get on for next month.

    • Hey Lizzie … thank you. And you are so right, there is nothing worse than hauling out plants with disease. Especially when they have been grown from seed with loads of TLC! Yep humidity and fungal nasties …Glad you like the pics Miss 🙂

  5. I wouldn’t worry about that camera manual Julie. Fantastic pics as always! Those peaches and carrots make me jealous. Nice job all around!

  6. Oh wow! As usual your garden looks stunning Julie. I so sorry to hear you lost your tomatoes. That is such a shame. It has been a strange Summer with the weather doing it’s best to wreak havoc. Fingers crossed there is no further damage to your beautiful produce. That honey comb looks AMAZING!

    • Hi Kyrstie … it has been a strange summer here too! Damned tomatoes 🙂 Seems so unfair when they are grown from seed and nurtured, but it is the weather for sure. That honey tastes as good as it looks too. Thanks for stopping by …

  7. Hi, Julie. Greetings from the Eastern Bay of Plenty where we, too are finally having some rain. I haven’t posted to you before, but I have followed your blog for many months and enjoy your idiosyncratic pictures particularly.

    Zucchini: use it instead of pasta for a wonderful linquini-like textured dish that requires no cooking of the zucchini itself. Cut your zucchini into strip (or use a potato peeler) and then pour whatever hot pasta/vegetable sauce you want over the strips just before serving — mix it around in a pan until the zucchini is slightly soft — takes about two minutes.
    Serve as you would a spaghetti dish — even with parmesan cheese sprinkled. It is a lovely alternative to pasta, with less heaviness but loads of taste.

    Best wishes,
    Deborah Mainwaring

    • Hi Deborah .. So pleased that you have left a message! Nice to know that you go have been following me 😊 I’m going to try your zucchini dish. I adore pasta, And have a glut of zucs . Thank you!

  8. Hi Julie, those green beetles are a real pain. This year I have taken to making them a (very) hot spa bath in an icecream container, which I sneak under them. Their propensity is to drop, and they die instantly. I’m getting lots more this way than just squishing them, more pleasant too. I discovered that they love the broccoli that I let go to seed, they are easy to spot on the seedheads, but best of all, have moved off my tomatoes. I have since read that Kay Baxter of Koanga Nursery uses mustard plants as a “catch crop” for the green shield beetles. You have an awesome production despite the pests.

  9. A good rain is delightful, is it not? Gorgeous photos – love the shot of the carrots. My favorite vegetable! Love them – always have. My grandma used to make creamed carrots and I always went back for more. Raw carrots? Can eat a whole bag in one sitting. The only way I don’t care for them is vinegared. Shuttering at the thought…

    Hope you steer clear of the naughty corner but if you can’t, I’m sure you can devise some devious fun all the same!


  10. No chance of you going idle, is there?! 😉 I’m fascinated by those fantastic lichen on your garden furniture – I have never seen anything like it. Air must be very pure where you are.

  11. More loveliness – I know I keep saying that, but it’s true 😉
    Glad you got some much needed rain – January was sooo dry here too.
    Your Eric reminds me so much of my dear kitty, Kato who we had for many years.. A very handsome boy 🙂

  12. So how did that happen Julie? One minute I am happily following you and then it just disappears, slipped off the list, banished to being a non-believer again. Well anyway, normality has ben restored and I am back following, the curse of the computer grey,line won’t get in the way for too long. This is a great post and I am in love with your set up, classily amateur and full of endeavour. Some great images to boot, MM 🍀

  13. Oh the work and the reward! I bought a Padermo spiralizer (plastic but works) for my zucchini and used it daily for salads last summer. Great with lemon juice and olive oil, even better with fresh pesto.
    I love love growing my own veggies and eggs from our chickens and can’t wait this year for goats milk – fingers crossed- I think my Nubian’s belly is expanding. We also get raw cow’s milk from the island. We are blessed!
    Also brought home from my store a square of honey comb- divine.

  14. Hey Wendy.. Yes it is loads of work, but always so rewarding. Oh love the idea of zucchini with pesto! I have had so many great recipe suggestions. Yay .. How good is growing your own? I love the idea of having your own milk. Fingers crossed here too 😀 so good to know you stopped by!

  15. wonderful pictures and a peak into your glorious garden (as always!). love those stripy zuchinis – maybe i’ll invetisgate those next year! i too must think about my winter gardening but it is hard when i’m in the thick of summer crops like beans and zuchini (and more beans and zuchini…). before i know it, it will be too late!
    and yikes, that hole in the net! the birds here would have demolished the frut in an intsant if they had that access…

    • Oh thank you .. the stripped zuccs are cocozelle great to grow and hold there own against powdery mildew which is alive and well in my garden now 🙂 Oh I’m like you too, it’s so hard to think of winter fare when the sun is blasting down. Ha ha, that hole is a beauty isn’t it? The nutty this is some of the nets were open to the sky – and we still managed to get a good crop. Ah the joys of wildlife! Thanks for stopping by …

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